Last Updated on May 24, 2022
We’ve all seen those cute photos, with a teacup dwarf pony snuggling in a flowery meadow! But what is a teacup dwarf pony, and why are they so small? Let’s find out!
What Is A Teacup Dwarf Pony?
A teacup dwarf pony is an equine that is much smaller than normal horses and ponies. In appearance, they resemble children’s toys, with short, fluffy legs, a cute little body, and a foal-like head. All in all, they are pretty adorable, but why are they so small? And is it a good thing to have a pony so small?
The reason that these ponies are incredibly tiny is because they have a genetic condition called dwarfism. When this occurs, the horse is born with an abnormally short stature, but this can come with many problems. Dwarf horses can have health conditions including functional handicaps, digestive problems, pain, and welfare issues.
Types Of Dwarfism In Horses
Dwarfism is hereditary and can be passed on from the dam or sire to the foal. Breeders are encouraged not to breed from horses with disproportionate dwarf genes, in order to eradicate them from the equine population. There are two types of dwarfism in horses:
In proportional dwarfism, the whole body of the horse is smaller, but still in proportion. They look just like a normal horse, but one that has been shrunk in the wash!
These types of dwarf pony are less susceptible to health problems, as they do not suffer from as many conformational abnormalities. In fact, this is sometimes seen as a desirable trait, especially in breeders of miniature horses.
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In disproportional dwarfism, not all of the body parts are smaller, and this gives the horse an odd appearance. It may be that the limbs are shrunken, but the body and head are normal-sized. This puts considerable strain on the limbs and the horse may be in constant pain.
Health problems suffered by disproportional dwarf horses include:
- Disrupted organ function, causing starvation or recurrent colic.
- Locked jaw, with poor jaw alignment and a reduced ability to chew food.
- Roach back as a result of abnormal spine formation.
- Musculoskeletal issues such as hip dysplasia, sickle hocks, and goose rump.
- Angular and flexural limb deformities, leading to arthritis.
- Poor liver function.
- High susceptibility to respiratory disease.
- Cardiac issues, such as heart murmurs.
- Reduced activity due to metabolic dysfunction.
- Poor life expectancy; from 1 to 15 years.
As you can see, these little ponies really do have a tough life! If you are considering buying a dwarf pony, look for one with proportional dwarfism, to avoid these potential problems.
Feeding A Dwarf Pony
Feeding a small pony can be tricky; many of them have dental and digestive issues, and their small size makes it hard to scale the amount of food down to the correct amount.
Ponies with severe dental problems may need to be fed on mash or a liquid diet; if your pony suffers with bad teeth it is vital to reach out to your veterinarian for advice. Inadequate food intake in horses can quickly lead to some serious health problems, and the horse may starve to death.
It is easy to assume that dwarf ponies are too fat, as they have a large abdomen. This big belly occurs because the internal organs are large and bulging, and the pony is not fat. Small ponies need to eat a surprising amount of food.
Dental Care For Dwarf Ponies
Dwarf ponies commonly suffer from dental problems, caused by jaw abnormalities. They should be checked on a regula basis by a qualified dental professional, normally at least twice a year. Ponies with dental problems may need treatment every two or three months.
Specialist equipment is needed to carry out dental care on dwarf ponies, and you may need to travel some distance to find a equine dental practitioner with the right equipment and expertise.
Farrier Care For Dwarf Ponies
Many dwarf ponies suffer from abnormal hooves, which are a result of skeletal abnormalities in the limb. They may require corrective shoeing, such as glue-on plastic shoes. They should have regular farrier checks from a young age, to help keep the limbs straight and supported as the pony grows and develops.
Buying A Dwarf Pony
If you are tempted to buy a dwarf pony, this is a decision you need to think long and hard about. A dwarf pony is one with a genetic abnormality that can lead to many developmental issues, and dwarfism has caused health problems in many horse breeds. Deliberately buying or breeding a dwarf pony is not responsible, and breeders are now carrying out genetic testing to remove this trait from their breeding stock.
Summary – Teacup Dwarf Pony
So, as we have learned, a teacup dwarf pony is one with a genetic abnormality that causes the body to be abnormally small. These ponies can suffer from many health problems, and breeders are trying to eradicate these genes from their breeding stock.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about these amazing tiny ponies! Have you always dreamed of owning a teacup dwarf pony? Or perhaps you’ve got some questions about the best place to buy a teacup dwarf pony? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
How Big Do Dwarf Ponies Get?
The maximum height for a pony to be classed as a Miniature Horse is 34 inches tall.
How Long Do Miniature Horses Live?
A healthy Miniature Horse with no genetic abnormalities can live for up to 30 years.
Do Miniature Ponies Make Good Pets?
Miniature ponies make great pets, but they need the same care as any other type of equine. They cannot live in the house or garden, and need hay, shelter, and equine company.
How Much Does A Teacup Pony Cost?
Miniature Horses are difficult to breed and can cost more than a full-size horse. Expect to pay at least $1000 for a good-quality miniature horse that is free from health problems. A cheaper pony is likely to come with expensive health problems that will cost more in veterinary bills in the long run.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE