No specific breed is a teacup by default. That leaves unscrupulous breeders to devise new and brutal ways to shrink an already small breed like a Chihuahua or Yorkshire terrier into something new and terrible.
Aside from Paris Hilton's dubious menagerie — she says she has 35 pets — teacups are also frequently seen at shelters. Shelters like East Valley, where Perry often sees teacup dogs brought in. People will return them and say, "I can't do anything with them."
As though they're expecting teacups to be like, well, dogs.
Trouble is, these pint-sized pooches are not Swiss watches. They're not ingeniously designed micro-marvels. Physiologically, tiny breeds take a licking - Perry cites tiny bones that scarcely develop, precious little exercise, overworked organs - and more often than not, they don't keep on ticking.
"They have tiny little hearts," Perry says. "And tiny little lungs. They don't last as long."
And, much to some new teacup owners' surprise, they can't quite do all the things normal-sized dogs do. Even some things that are quite vital.
"The reasons why people want toy dogs are the worst things for dogs." Indeed, a life spent inside purses, having little exercise and even less interaction with other dogs is never a recipe for a healthy, happy canine companion.
"No matter what, they're dogs," Perry explains. "Dogs are social animals."
Frail-bodied teacups don't get a lot of opportunities to just be dogs. And often, to meet surging demands for the micro market, they hail from places like this: