Dog breeds

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Teacup King Charles Cavalier

The teacup King Charles Cavalier is a miniature version of the original breed that has gained popularity in recent times.

King Charles Cavaliers are known for their wide eyes, beautiful coats, and friendly temperaments.

They were originally bred in the 16th century and are currently the 18th most popular dog in the US.

Thinking about getting a teacup King Charles Cavalier? Read on to find out if this is the dog for you.

The Appeal of the Teacup King Charles Cavalier

Originally bred to be a lap dog, the teacup King Charles Cavalier’s affectionate nature combined with its cute small frame is what attracts many potential owners.

Their tiny size is not only seen as endearing but can be practical for certain lifestyles. People living in small apartments may desire a smaller sized dog due to lack of space.

A smaller stature typically means less walking is required, an advantage to those who are busy or cannot provide long walks.

If you’re interested in getting a teacup King Charles Cavalier, you should learn more about where they come from.

Where Do Teacup King Charles Cavaliers Come From?

The teacup King Charles Cavalier is not currently recognised by the American Kennel Club as its own breed. It is instead a miniature version of the original King Charles Cavalier.

To obtain its smaller size, the teacup King Charles Cavalier has to be bred using one of three methods.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each one.

Mixing with a Smaller Breed

One way to breed the teacup dog is to breed the standard King Charles Cavalier with a different, smaller breed.

This can reduce the risk of the offspring obtaining predisposed genetic disorders as it creates more genetic variation.

However, the offspring will inherit traits from both breeds, meaning there’s a chance it will not look much like a King Charles Cavalier.

Here are some of the mixes commonly advertised as teacup King Charles Cavaliers by breeders.

Miniature Cavapoo

A miniature Cavapoo is a King Charles Cavalier mixed with a miniature Poodle.

The Miniature Poodle is a curly-haired breed that is 10-15 inches tall. This is around the same height as the King Charles Cavalier, so there is a possibility that the mix will not be “teacup” sized.

Miniature Poodles are vulnerable to a number of predisposed health issues including von Willebrand’s disease, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia. Therefore, a King Charles Cavalier mixed with a miniature Poodle is more likely to suffer from these problems.

Miniature Poodles’ temperaments are smart and proud, so these positive traits are likely to be seen in a Cavapoo.


A Chilier is a King Charles Cavalier mixed with a Chihuahua.

As the smallest dog breed, the Chihuahua is a viable and popular option when mixing breeds to breed the teacup King Charles Cavalier. They are 5-8 inches tall, so their mixes are likely to achieve the “teacup” size.

There are a few health issues that both Chihuahuas and King Charles Cavaliers are genetically predisposed to, including patella luxation (loose kneecaps) and eye conditions.

As both parent breeds are predisposed, a Chihuahua King Charles Cavalier mix is far more likely to experience these problems.

Miniature Cavamo

A miniature Cavamo is a King Charles Cavalier mixed with a miniature American Eskimo.

Perky and playful, the miniature American Eskimo’s loveable temperament is likely to be passed on to a King Charles Cavalier mix.

They are 9-12 inches tall which is slightly smaller than the King Charles Cavalier, increasing the chances of the mix having the “teacup” size.

They are active and require a lot of exercise, which may take away from the appeal of a teacup breed.

They are genetically predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy (a condition that causes vision loss) which could be passed down to a miniature American Eskimo King Charles Cavalier mix.

Introducing the Dwarfism Gene

Dwarfism is a genetically inherited condition that stunts growth, resulting in abnormally small physical features. Sometimes, breeders will breed two dogs that carry the dwarfism gene to create a teacup dog.

There are different kinds of dwarfism genes and they usually occur due to random mutations.

They all carry potential health complications that may be seen in a teacup King Charles Cavalier if bred using this method.

The health issues associated with dwarfism include:

  • spinal abnormalities
  • underdeveloped muscles
  • dental complications
  • cranial problems
  • hair loss
  • heart complications

It is unlikely a teacup King Charles Cavalier will be bred using this method as it is rare that breeders have access to two dogs of the same breed that carry this gene.

There is a test that can be carried out for the dwarfism gene, so it’s worth asking breeders for health records or asking them to get the test done.

This will reduce your chances of getting a teacup King Charles Cavalier that may experience these health problems.

Breeding From Runts

The final way a teacup King Charles Cavalier can be bred is by breeding from runts.

The traditional meaning of a runt is a puppy that is of abnormally low weight and size when born. They are more vulnerable to health complications than the rest of their litter.

Because runts are small, breeders may breed two together to create a teacup dog.

If a teacup King Charles Cavalier is bred this way, they are more likely to experience immune system difficulties and heart conditions later in life.

To reduce the risk of obtaining a runt-bred teacup King Charles Cavalier, you can ask breeders for a dog’s genetic history.

Is A Teacup King Charles Cavalier Right For Me?

The best way to ensure you’re getting a healthy teacup King Charles Cavalier is by getting a mixed breed and asking the breeder for the parent dogs’ genetic histories and health records.

You can also get the dog screened for certain health issues. Keep in mind that certain health problems may not show themselves until later in life, so regular vet visits are encouraged.

The teacup King Charles Cavalier is best suited to a small home with little or no stairs, as their small size makes climbing stairs a struggle.

They love snuggling in your lap so are a good match if you spend a lot of time at home.

If you have young children, you should consider the dog’s small size as it makes them more vulnerable to injuries from being mishandled.

Finding A Teacup King Charles Cavalier

As the teacup King Charles Cavalier is not a recognised breed, it might be hard to find one.

Finding a healthy teacup King Charles Cavalier can be even more of a challenge. As the standard breed already suffers from predisposed heart disease and syringomyelia (a condition where the brain is too large for the skull), the teacup dog is also likely to experience these health issues.

The best way to find a healthy teacup King Charles Cavalier is by going to a dog shelter, as they typically have a lot of crossbreeds.

If you find a breeder who breeds teacup King Charles Cavaliers, be sure to inquire about how they were bred to minimise the risk of buying an unhealthy dog.

References and Resources

  • Kyöstilä K, et al. “Canine chondrodysplasia caused by a truncating mutation in collagen-binding integrin alpha subunit 10”. PLoS One. 2013.
  • Kustritz M. “The Dog Breeder’s Guide to Successful Breeding and Health Management, 1e”. Saunders Publishing. 2006.

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