Everything You Need to Know About the Teacup Corgi
What's better than a Corgi? Okay, you got us -- clearly, nothing is. But how would you feel about a Corgi small enough to sit in your pocket or purse? They say the Welsh Corgi is a big dog in a small dog's body. However, what about the Teacup Corgi? Is it a miniature of a miniature? Actually, I think most owners would prefer the term fun-sized instead.
Where does the Teacup Corgi come from? And is the fun size as much fun as the original?
More to the point, does the teacup Corgi have the same great mix of sweet temperament, intelligence, and refinement as the classic Corgi? And how do they do with families?
About the Welsh Corgi
The two Corgi breeds, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, originated in Eastern Europe. The breed found its way west, where the Vikings embraced these intelligent, surprisingly tough dogs as shepherds. When the Vikings came to Wales, they brought the ancestors of the Corgi breeds with them.
Though the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis developed in different parts of Wales and had different characteristics, they were considered a single breed until 1934. At this time, the Kennel Club in Britain decided that the differences were great enough for the two variants to be considered separate breeds.
Both Pembrokes and Cardigans are working dogs -- shepherds, to be specific. Yet as agriculture decreased in Britain, so did the need for shepherding dogs. In fact, Corgis were in danger of going extinct until Queen Elizabeth II of England fell in love with them.
Her support of the breed brought them back into the public eye, this time as pets. And they remain one of the most popular family dogs even today. They're stars on social media, too!
Teacup, Toy, or Just a Small Dog?
You might hear the terms "teacup," "toy dog," "miniature," and "small," and wonder what the difference is.
In this case, size does matter.
A small dog is any smaller-sized breed, 30 pounds or less.
A "miniature" dog, on the other hand, is a smaller version of a given breed of dog. Miniatures often come from careful breeding of the target breed with a smaller dog, like a Chihuahua.
A "toy" dog is any dog breed or individual that weighs 18 pounds or less.
And teacup dogs? There's no standardized measurement for teacup dogs. But teacup dog fanciers would say a teacup dog should weigh four to five pounds or less as an adult, and stand no higher than 17 inches.
There are Teacup Chihuahuas, Teacup Dobermans, Teacup Yorkies, and yes, even a Teacup Corgi. The name comes from the fact that some of these miniature dogs are almost small enough to sit in a teacup -- although many are a bit larger than that.
The Recipe for a Teacup Corgi
A Teacup Corgi? Corgis are already pretty small -- vertically, anyway. This is because Corgis carry the gene for achondroplastic dwarfism. This gene is the reason their legs are so short. It's also why a Corgi crossed with other breeds still maintains that classic Corgi shape. The gene for achondroplastic dwarfism is dominant.
Interestingly, Corgi means "dwarf dog" in Welsh. An apt description, although the ancient Celts probably didn't know much about genetics.
So, how do you get a Teacup Corgi? Like all breeds, the Teacup Corgi is a product of selective breeding. Specifically, to produce the Teacup Corgi, breeders choose the smallest Corgis from every litter and breed them to create even smaller Corgis.
For centuries, breeders have used selective breeding to concentrate and bring out traits that people find useful or attractive.
Some of these traits, like Catahoulas' amazing ability to work together as part of a pack, have made certain dogs valuable for tasks like hunting or herding. Other traits, such as the Pug's flattened face, make them cute in our eyes but can cause physical problems for the dogs themselves.
Creating teacup dogs, that is, breeding dogs down for size, can result in a number of different physical problems. These include heart defects, seizures, liver defects, and hydrocephalus -- or "water in the brain" -- and more. They can also be prone to dangerously low blood sugar, which means that missing a meal can make them very, very ill. And their tiny bones can be more delicate than those of larger dogs as well.
For these reasons, some people oppose breeding dogs down to teacup size.
The Teacup Corgi: A Quick Guide
A Teacup Corgi isn't a separate breed. It's a Pembroke or a Cardigan Welsh Corgi bred down in size. So, although both of those are recognized by breed clubs like the American Kennel Club, the Teacup Corgi is not.
A full-sized Corgi weighs between 25 and 27 pounds. A Teacup Corgi weighs around five pounds -- that's half the size of your average cat.
Adorable? Yes. At the same time, their size makes them very delicate. While a full-sized Corgi is one of the best breeds for families, a Teacup Corgi is too easily injured to be a good pet for children.
What does the Teacup Corgi have in common with its larger cousins? Quite a bit, actually.
The Teacup Corgi and the larger Corgis share the same friendly temperament, for example. The mini-Corgis are just as smart as their larger cousins, too.
They also maintain the Corgi's famous double coat. However, because of their physical delicacy, you can't brush them out with the same vigor. Yes, even a too-enthusiastic brushing can result in injury. So be careful!
Larger sized Corgis are energetic dogs. They were originally bred to herd cattle and sheep, and they need a lot of exercise. The Teacup Corgi also likes to exercise and play. At the same time, their size makes them vulnerable to a host of outdoor dangers, including other animals, foot traffic, and also heat and cold.
For this reason, some people recommend exercising a Teacup Corgi by playing with them indoors.
Are Your Ready for a Pocket-Sized Corgi?
A teeny, tiny Teacup Corgi can be a lively companion and a loving pet. Their size makes them a good dog for people who live in apartments. And if you want to take your pup everywhere you go, a Teacup Corgi makes it easy.
At the same time, their size and delicacy mean that they need a quiet home, preferably without children or other pets. You'll have to get used to watching where you walk, and you'll have to be extremely gentle.
And if you don't have the resources to provide high-quality veterinary care, then this dog may not be for you.
What do you think? Are you ready for a teacup dog? Or would a full-sized Corgi be more your style?
We'd love to hear about it in the comments!