What Are the Differences Between Toy, Teacup, and Mini Poodles?

Categorized as Poodle FAQs, Poodle Breed Information
What Are the Differences Between Toy, Teacup, and Mini Poodles

Poodles are a beloved breed of dog, known for their intelligence, loyalty, and hypoallergenic coats.

The AKC officially recognizes three sizes of poodles: standard poodles, miniature poodles, and toy poodles.

However, the AKC leaves out one other size – the teacup poodle.

Toy, teacup, and miniature poodles are three different sizes of a common dog breed – the poodle. All are descended from the standard poodle but vary in weight, height, and life expectancy. 

Miniature poodles, toy poodles, and teacup poodles – together, comprise the smallest sizes of the poodle breed.

Each of these sizes offers different pros and cons in terms of appearance, temperament, cost of ownership, and more.

In this article, you’ll find the answers to all your questions about the smallest of poodle sizes so that you can make an informed decision about which is right for you!

The Surprising Origins of Miniatures, Teacups, and Toy Poodles

Illustration of a black and a white poodle that was published in 1886 “Pittoresque"
Illustration of a black and a white poodle that was published in 1886 “Pittoresque”

According to the AKC, there are three sizes of poodles: standard, miniature, and toy. But that’s not quite right. Teacup poodles are a tiny breed of toy poodles that are not recognized by the AKC.

Miniature poodles, toy poodles, and teacup poodles all fall under the smallest category of poodles—you could call it “smallest” or “petite.”

There’s a lot to love about poodles: their curly hair, the way they prance around like they’re a king or queen, and those adorable little haircuts. 

But did you know that poodles were originally bred as duck hunters? And that their signature style was actually meant to protect their joints from water?

True story! The poodle was first bred in Germany in the 15th century, and it has quickly become one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. 

Back then, though, the poodle was a large dog — they needed to be large enough and strong enough to bring back ducks and other prey for their owners. And while they may have been cute, they were also very intelligent and agile, which made him ideal for a hunting dog. 

In France, where the breed became popular in the 15th Century, they were bred down in size to create companion dogs. Three sizes soon developed: the Grand (or standard), Moyen (or medium), and Nain (or dwarf).

Another difference between these sizes is that Standard Poodles were originally bred as hunting companions for retrieval on land or water due to their athletic build; Miniature Poodles were also hunting companions but were used as truffle hunters; while Toy Poodles were bred solely for as companion animals (and not for hunting purposes).

If you’re interested in learning about the history of poodles, I’ve got a thing for you. I wrote this comprehensive piece that touches on all the important bits about their history. Check it out here: Poodle History – Where Do Poodles Come From?

For good reason, poodles are a popular breed in the United States, no matter what size they are.

Poodles are known for their high energy, which makes them great companions for anyone who wants to bond over physical activity.

Whether you’re looking to take long walks or play fetch at the dog park, poodles are always ready to be active participants. They’re also highly intelligent, so they can easily learn tricks that will impress your friends and family.

How to Differentiate Between a Miniature, Teacup, and a Toy Poodle?

The smallest of the poodles look very similar, and it’s often difficult to tell the difference between miniature, toy, and teacup poodles. These are the three smallest varieties of poodles. 

Difference in Poodle Sizes

There are several factors that separate these poodles and help you distinguish which variety you may have.

The smallest of the poodles look very similar, and it’s often difficult to tell the difference between miniature, toy, and teacup poodles. These are the three smallest varieties of poodles. There are several factors that separate these poodles and help you distinguish which variety you may have.

Here’s how:

First of all, check out the height! A miniature poodle will be over 11 inches but under 15 inches tall, a toy will be 10 inches or less tall, and a teacup will be under 8 inches tall.

The next thing to look at is weight. A miniature poodle will be over 15 pounds but under 17 pounds, a toy poodle will be under 9 pounds, and a teacup will be under 4 pounds.

The next factor is life expectancy. A miniature poodle can live for as long as 12 to 15 years, a toy can live for as long as 11 to 15 years, and a teacup poodle can live for as long as 10 to 14 years.

Here’s a table summarizing all of the information in a concise and convenient way.


Miniature Poodles

Toy Poodles

Teacup Poodles

Height (Inches)

11 – 15 in.

9 – 10 in.

6 – 8 in.

Weight (Pounds)

15 – 17 lbs.

6 – 9 lbs.

2 – 4 lbs.

Life Expectancy

12 – 15 Years

11-15 Years

10 – 14 Years

For our EU readers, here’s all the information converted into EU units of scale.


Miniature Poodles

Toy Poodles

Teacup Poodles

Height (Centimeters)

27 – 38 cm

22 – 25 cm

15 – 20 cm

Weight (Kilograms)

6.5 – 8 kg

2.5 – 4 kg

0.9 – 1.8 kg

Life Expectancy

12 – 15 Years

11 – 15 Years

10 -14 Years

The differences between these dogs are in their size, which is a result of breeding for that specific size in order to create that type of dog. 

For example, when breeding a Miniature Poodle you would only breed two Miniature or smaller-sized poodles together in order to get puppies who will stay within that small to medium range rather than growing into larger Standard poodles.

The table above is a great guideline for figuring out what kind of poodle you have, but keep in mind: that you won’t be able to determine the size with certainty unless you know about its pedigree, family history, and coat characteristics. I’ll explain why in a minute.

Why Your Poodle’s Stats Might Vary from the Table

Have you noticed there’s a gap of a few pounds between the three small sizes of poodles?

If you’re asking yourself, “Why is that?” we can help.

The weight of a poodle in healthy ranges falls into these categories, but it’s less common for them to be heavier.

It is also possible that the guidelines provided are an estimation and not an exact average. This would cause the numbers to be rounded off, with smaller poodles being on the lower end of the range and larger poodles being on the higher end.

However, most likely the deviations are due to one of the following four reasons.

  1. There might be a connection between your Poodle’s gender and the difference in their size. Generally, male poodles are larger than female ones, especially when it comes to weight.
  2. There is a possibility that your Poodle is overweight, which is why you see a deviation in their weight.
  3. It is possible that your poodle has parents of different sizes. As an example, if your pet’s parents are a toy poodle and a teacup poodle, it’s possible that he or she will have attribute(s) such as height, weight, eye color, or fur color that differentiates him from the rest of the pack.
  4. Another cause of weight discrepancy could be the age of your pet. If you recently adopted a poodle, keep in mind that they may still be growing and gaining weight.

A properly fed and exercised poodle will grow up to be a healthy poodle, so if you have any concerns about the weight of your pet, talk with your veterinarian.

Comparing the Average Lifespan of Miniature Poodles, Toy Poodles, and Toy Poodle

Your Toy Poodle’s lifespan will be around 12 to 18 years. The same goes for your teacup Poodle, as well as your mini Poodle.

There are many factors that determine how long a dog lives, and some of these factors are the same across all sizes of Poodles. For example, their diet and nutrition play a big part in how long they live.

Another large factor in their overall health during their lifetime — whether or not they suffer from any major medical conditions also plays a big part in determining how long they live.

Other factors include genetics (and the care involved in breeding), and simply the dog’s environment and lifestyle.

Because there are so many variables that affect each individual dog’s lifespan, it makes sense that there isn’t much difference between the average lifespan of teacup Poodles versus mini or toy poodles (or even standard-sized poodles).

Comparing the Temperament Of Miniature Poodles, Toy Poodles, and Toy Poodle

All varieties of Poodles are extremely intelligent, they are very loving and affectionate, and they are loyal and great companions.  They bond very closely with their families and are wonderful with children and other animals.

Poodles make excellent pets as long as you have the time to spend with your dog.  Do not buy a poodle if you plan on leaving him or her alone for extended periods of time.  Poodles need companionship from humans so be prepared to spend a lot of quality time with your pup.

Some Teacup Poodles can be more active than others depending on their parents’ temperaments but Toy Poodles, in general, tend to be a little more active than Teacup Poodles because they generally need to burn off more energy.  A Toy or Teacup poodle is an excellent choice for an apartment dweller because he does not require a big backyard in order to get his exercise although it’s nice if you have one!

The only difference between Toy and Miniature Poodle temperaments is the amount of exercise needed by each variety of dogs. In general, Miniature Poodles tend to need slightly more exercise than their smaller cousins due to their larger size but remember that each dog is an individual with his own personality so don’t let this be the only factor when choosing between breeds or even puppies!

Common Health Problems of Poodles

Common Health Problems of Poodles

Poodles have a reputation for being healthy, but like any dog breed, they have some genetic diseases that you should know about. By learning about them, you can be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of illness in your poodle.

If you are considering buying a poodle puppy, it’s important to find a responsible breeder who has health tested their breeding dogs. A good breeder can tell you if there are any illnesses that commonly show up in the lines of the pup’s parents or grandparents.

Genetically, poodles are prone to a lot of different kinds of diseases. Many of them are inheritable, so it’s important to make sure your puppy’s parents didn’t have any of these diseases before you buy a puppy. Some of these diseases are more common than others.

Addison’s Disease

This disease is an inherited condition that affects the adrenal glands. It causes the production of insufficient amounts of corticosteroids and aldosterone. The symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, and collapse.

Cushing’s Disease

This is another inherited disease that affects the adrenal glands. Dogs with Cushing’s disease produce larger than normal amounts of cortisol. Excessive thirst and urination as well as a ravenous appetite are common symptoms in poodles suffering from this disease.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which the body produces insufficient insulin or cannot utilize it properly. Symptoms include excessive drinking and urination, weight loss, increased appetite, and fatigue.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland functions improperly or does not produce enough hormones. Symptoms are lethargy, weight gain, and hair loss.


Epilepsy is a disease that causes seizures in your dog. It is one of the most common neurological disorders in dogs. 


Gastric dilatation-volvulus (bloat) is common in deep-chested breeds like Poodles. This life-threatening condition happens when too much gas builds up in the stomach and causes it to twist out of shape. 

Hip Dysplasia

This is an inherited disease in which the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) 

It is essential to follow a few basic steps to ensure that your poodle lives a long and healthy life. 

Proper medical care can help prevent many of these problems. Regular vet visits and a healthy diet can keep your toy poodle happy and healthy for many years. Poodles are always happiest when they have a loving family around them, so make sure to give your dog the love and affection it needs!

Are There Any Diseases Specific to These Small Poodles?

A White Toy Poodle Being Vaccinated by Vet

The toy poodle is prone to certain diseases that affect smaller breeds more than other sizes of dogs. Tracheal collapse causes narrowing of the trachea, which can cause coughing or breathing problems when excited or stressed. 

Proper medical care can help prevent many of these problems. Regular vet visits and a healthy diet can keep your toy poodle happy and healthy for many years.

How to Tell if a Miniature Poodle Is Right for You

How to Tell if a Miniature Poodle Is Right for You

If you want a loving and intelligent dog, who is eager to please, then a miniature poodle is right for you!

Miniature poodles are the perfect size for families with young kids. They have all of the cuddliness and smarts of their larger counterparts but in a more manageable package.

If you have a smaller home or no yard at all, then a mini poodle is an excellent choice because they do not need much space. These dogs are very active and love to run around. However, they don’t take up space as large dogs do.

How to Tell if a Toy Poodle Is Right for You

How to Tell if a Toy Poodle Is Right for You

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a dog. You’ll want to look at how much space you have and how much time you can devote to taking care of your pup—the smaller the dog, the bigger their need for attention.

In this section, we’re going to talk about Toy Poodles and all the important things you should know before bringing one home.

Toy Poodles are known for being smart, loving, and very loyal dogs. They easily get bored though, so it’s important that this is a companion that will be with you most of the time.

Toy Poodles do make great apartment dogs since they don’t need a lot of space to play in and tend to walk more than run around outside.

If you live in a single-family home or an apartment building where there is no yard available—and if you have enough room inside your place—a Toy Poodle could be right for you!

How to Tell if a Teacup Poodle Is Right for You

Black Teacup Poodle

Is a poodle right for you? It’s a big question and one that we believe the answer to is almost always yes!

But if you’re still not sure, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Do you want a pet that will be your best friend and follow you everywhere? Do you want a dog that actually listens when you call it and doesn’t run away or get distracted by every squirrel and leaf it sees? Do you want to be able to take your dog everywhere with you? Or do you want to be able to leave them home all day while you work without having to worry about them getting into trouble?

If these sound like things that would make your life better, then chances are great a teacup poodle is just what you need! Teacup poodles are known for being easy-going, friendly dogs that love kids, cats, other dogs, and all people. They’re very smart, so they’re easy to train as well.

The only thing our teacup poodles can’t handle is the cold weather—they have very little body fat and can get hypothermia easily because of their low body weight. 

Controversy Around Teacup Poodles: Reality or Marketing Ploy

Teacup poodle owners can attest to the many benefits of raising these little dogs.

There’s something so fun and enchanting about having a pint-sized pup. They are perfect for dog cuddles on the couch, naps in your lap, and squishing into tiny outfits that make them look like little teddy bears—or, in some cases, like actual teacups. It’s hard not to feel happy when you’re spending time with a teacup poodle.

But it turns out that a lot of what makes teacup poodles such great companions goes beyond their small size and charming appearance. Researchers are discovering that there is a lot more to loving these little dogs than meets the eye.

For example, research shows that owning a dog of any breed reduces stress levels and increases happiness in humans. But it seems that there’s something special about owning a teacup poodle—likely because they are so small and easy to carry around with you everywhere you go.

But, on the other hand, I have talked to several people who share a strong opinion on Teacup Poodles and why they are a scam.

During the writing of this article, I got in touch with Jerry, a good friend of mine who is a breeder with an incredible amount of experience.

This is what he had to say when I asked how he views teacup poodles:

“I know this is probably going to be a controversial take, but I’m just going to come right out and say it: teacup poodles are a scam. And yes, of course, I realize how cute they are. But trust me when I say that they are not special because they’re smaller than a toy poodle—in fact, they’re just toy poodles that didn’t meet the size requirements. They’re literally just the runts of the litter, and breeders try to make you feel like you’re getting something more by charging you more for them.

Why would breeders do this? Well, for one thing, it’s a great way to make some extra money on puppies that didn’t meet their size requirements. It’s also a great marketing scheme—who doesn’t want an adorable tiny dog?”

As for me, I’m all for smaller dogs. So long as the owner is prepared to own a small dog, I think it can be a wonderful thing for both parties. While I do agree that smaller dogs do require more attention and care, I think that’s what makes them so much fun to own! Their energy and excitement keep you on your toes and keeps you going out into the world.

I have owned two small dogs, and I learned so much about health, nutrition, and general well-being from all of them. I didn’t know how to take care of myself before I had one of those little guys. Sure they’re high-maintenance and a lot of work, but they’re also a lot more interactive than larger dogs. They often act as though they are human themselves – they’ll follow you around your house, soak up your every word, and give you all the love they have if you just spend some time with them. 

If someone has their heart set on getting or owning a small dog, then I say go for it!

How Much Do These Small Poodles Cost?

Now to answer the question on everyone’s mind: how much will it cost? The answer is, as, with most things in life, it depends. But, here’s how much you can expect your small poodle to cost on average.

The cost of a Miniature Poodle is $1,200 to $1,800 USD. 

A Toy Poodle will cost you between $1,200 and $2,000 USD. 

A Teacup Poodle can be more expensive than both depending on the breeder you choose to buy from. If you are looking for an extremely small dog that’s no more than a foot tall then you may have to pay at least $1,500 to as much as $4,000 for one of these tiny dogs.


Cost (in USD)

Miniature Poodle

$1,200 – $1,800

Toy Poodle

$1,200 – $2,000

Teacup Poodle

$1,500 – $4,000

First off, let me say that you should always adopt a pet before buying one. There are so many beautiful pets that need good homes! If you do decide to buy a poodle, here are some things to consider.

Poodles are expensive because of their popularity, but also because they are high-maintenance breeds that require frequent grooming, training, and shots. So if you’re considering adopting a poodle, make sure you have the means to care for them properly!

A reputable breeder will not sell you an inbred dog. If you get your dogs from someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t care about their animals’ well-being (like a puppy mill), then yes—you might end up with an inbred dog. However, this is not the norm for breeders of any kind of animal.

The price of a Poodle will depend on several factors: size, breeder, and location. The more reputable the breeder is, the more expensive their dogs will be, but this can mean that you’re getting a healthier puppy with better training practices. Finally, where you get your puppy from plays a big part in determining how much it will cost.

Many breeders will charge more for puppies that are expected to be show quality or have champion bloodlines in their pedigree. This will make them significantly more expensive (as much as several thousand dollars), as breeders expect these dogs to be sold for breeding purposes.

If you want your puppy to come already trained, fully vaccinated, with registration papers and a health guarantee in place, this too will probably cost extra, so take that into account when planning your budget.

Adopt a Poodle, Don’t Buy One.

Adopt a Poodle, Don’t Buy One

There are thousands of poodles looking for their forever homes at shelters around the country. They’re waiting for you to open your heart and home to them. You can find one near you using our shelter search tool!

People often assume that shelter dogs come with “bad baggage.” But many shelters do extensive background checks on all incoming dogs. These dogs were loved by someone somewhere, and many simply cannot be cared for anymore because of extenuating circumstances, like divorce or the death of a caretaker. 

It’s unlikely that their former owners would have abandoned them if they had other options, so most of these dogs are just as affectionate and loyal as any dog you would purchase from a breeder or pet store. Many shelters even offer training programs, which can be extremely useful in helping your new dog bond with your family and adjust to its new environment. 

Shelter workers are also very knowledgeable about each dog’s personality and temperament, which means they can help guide you toward a dog that will be a good fit for your lifestyle and family situation.

Thousands of sweet little poodle pups are waiting in shelters and foster homes, just hoping that you’ll come along and give them a home to call their own. 

By adopting rather than buying, you’re saving not just one life—the one you’ll be bringing home—but countless others, too. That’s because when you adopt a poodle from an animal shelter, it opens up space for another pup to get adopted who might otherwise have been euthanized due to overcrowding. 

We’ve all heard the stories about how many dogs are put down every year—by choosing adoption over buying, you’re helping to change that.

Takeaways: What Are the Differences Between Toy, Teacup, and Mini Poodles?

  • Teacup Poodle: The term teacup poodle is used to describe a Toy poodle that is smaller than average, usually about 2 to 4 pounds in weight. However, teacups aren’t recognized as an official breed and are not recognized by the AKC.
  • Toy Poodle: Toy poodles are considered the smallest of the three sizes and they weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. They’re ideal for small homes or apartments due to their compact size.
  • Miniature Poodle: Miniature poodles are slightly larger than toy poodles but smaller than standard poodles. They weigh between 11 and 15 pounds and are perfect dogs for families who have either big or small homes but want a dog that’s friendlier.

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!

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