Why The Tiny Teacup Poodle Is The Perfect Pal

Last Updated on April 27, 2023

Teacup Poodles are the tiniest size of poodle and one of the smallest dogs in the canine world. There are micro teacup poodles, too, which are smaller! 

You may see them called Teacup Poodles or Micro Poodles, but what they all have in common is that they’re cuddly little lovebugs with all the great characteristics of their larger cousins.

a pretty Teacup Poodle laying on a garden with pink flowers

Ready to learn all about this petite pooch? Keep scrolling.

Where did the Teacup Poodle originate? 

Despite what many people think, Poodles aren’t originally from France.

While the French love their Caniche chien, which means “duck dog,” the poodle was initially bred as duck retrievers in Germany over 400 years ago.

That curly coat, which doesn’t shed like dogs with fur, protects them against the cold water as they dive in to retrieve waterfowl.

The name “Poodle” is actually a derivative of the German word for splashing around in water, which is puddeln. In Germany, poodles are called pudels.

Eventually, breeders created three sizes of poodles. The standard is a larger dog that averages around 50 pounds, while the miniature is smaller.

Then there’s the toy poodle, which was bred in America in the early 1900s to be a companion dog rather than a hunter.

Teacup poodles came on the scene a few decades ago when breeders combined the smallest toy poodles together to create an even smaller version. This version is meant to be a companion, as well.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the standard, miniature, and toy poodle, but it doesn’t recognize the teacup poodle.

You can certainly register a teacup poodle that’s bred out of two registered poodles, but they won’t fit the breed standard.

What does a Teacup Poodle look like?

All Poodles look the same, but the teacup version is only smaller.

They should have a proportionate body, a moderate skull with a defined stop, and a long straight muzzle with a defined chin. And their eyes are very dark and oval in shape.

Their topline is strong, with a deep chest, a muscled neck, and at the back is a straight tail.

Some breeders choose to slightly dock a poodle’s tail to make them look more proportionate, but not all breeders do. Teacup breeders sometimes take this a step further and dock them quite short.

This video shows you the difference between the toy and the teacup: 

How big do Teacup Poodles get?

They usually weigh around 3-5 pounds (1-2 kg) and have a height of under 9 inches (23 cm) at the shoulder.

Some breeders aim to get the smallest dogs possible, and some have been known to only weigh 2 or 3 pounds (0.9 or 1 kg) when full grown, with males being slightly taller and heavier than females. 

Teacup poodles stay incredibly small, even when they reach their full size at 1 year of age. They’re almost like forever puppies because they stay so miniature.

With that said, they make really good apartment dogs. They can fit in just about any space, even the tiniest apartment, thanks to their small size. 

All about that unique Poodle hair

Poodles stand out because of their special coat that’s corded or curly. Instead of having fur, they have hair, as humans do.

That means instead of shedding their coat like most other dogs, they retain their hair and just drop the occasional strand here or there.

a sweet brown Teacup Poodle puppy
Source: @poodle.in / IG

Teacup poodles come in a huge range of colors. You’ll usually see them in solid colors like black, silver, gray, brown, white, cafe-au-lait, and beige. Some have red, blue, apricot, or parti-colored.

Note that brown dogs tend to turn gray at a younger age than other colors.

If you want to know more about these different colors, please check out our guide to poodle colors.

Teacup Poodle vs Other Types of Poodles

So what’s the difference between the different types of Poodles? From a Standard Poodle and a Teacup Poodle, it’s mostly just size, but standards tend to be more athletic and quieter.

a black Standard Poodle laying on side profile
A charming Black Standard Poodle portrait

Miniature and teacup poodles are more similar than standards and teacups, but again, the biggest difference is size. Again, we have a full guide dedicated to the miniature Poodle. 

a gray Miniature Poodle standing after having an English Saddle Cut
Source: @sleeksnoutsgrooming / IG

Finally, you may be wondering what’s the difference between a Toy Poodle and a Teacup Poodle?

There actually isn’t a huge difference. Teacup poodles are often bred out of toy poodles, so they usually look and act quite similar.

A chocolate-colored Toy Poodle standing on grass
A fluffy brown Toy Poodle standing on the grass

Personality & Temperament: Are Teacup Poodles good family dogs?

They do make a great family dog, provided that any small kids know how to be careful around them.

Being extremely small, they’re fragile and can easily get hurt. Homes with babies or toddlers probably aren’t a good idea, either.

Other than that, they’re perfect for anyone looking for a constant companion. They always want to be by your side or on your lap. They’re loyal, friendly, and will do anything to get your attention.

Sometimes that might even mean that they’ll be naughty if it means you’ll focus on them!

They’re also excellent pets for older people and people who don’t have a lot of space.

They don’t need a ton of exercise and they don’t require a lot of space. Just give them a spot on your lap and they’re good to go.

a gray Teacup Poodle sleeping
Source: @millieteacuppoodle / IG

The downside to breeding dogs just for size and rather than health and personality is that you can end up with nervous, anxious, or aggressive dogs.

Because of their extreme size, teacup poodles may sometimes have small dog syndrome.

They can act aggressive and like a dog ten times their size in order to present themselves as confident and in charge – even if they aren’t.

It can be a problem but it also makes them a pretty good watchdog.

They can also lunge at or nip other dogs or humans to show dominance and that they’re the pack leader.

Some people let inappropriate behavior slide when it’s coming out of a tiny dog, but you should train your pup and correct any inappropriate behavior right away before it becomes worse.

That said, many teacup poodles, especially ones that are well-socialized when they’re young, are sweet, friendly, and sociable dogs.

They like to meet strangers, though they won’t fawn all over them, and they can easily get along with cats and other pets if trained.

Bred as companions, they can be prone to separation anxiety. They may bark a ton, chew on inappropriate things, and even urinate in the home if they get upset or lonely.

Teacup poodles are incredibly smart, though, so you can easily train them to be calm when you leave, though it will take dedication and consistency.

Because of their intelligence, these dogs need daily mental exercise. That can be playing hide and seek or doing a food puzzle.

It can also mean agility exercises. While they don’t need a lot of physical exercises, a poodle left to their own devices can become mischievous.

These dogs can also be difficult to potty train simply because of their size. But remember, these are clever dogs and you can train them not to potty in the house.

Some people opt to train them to go potty on pads or on a litter box indoors.

Whatever you decide, just remember that you need to use positive reinforcement and lots of praise.

You must always be consistent. Socialization is absolutely necessary for encouraging good behavior.

How to take care of your Teacup Poodle

a Teacup Poodle laying on the clouds
Source: @millieteacuppoodle / IG

Standard poodles have a reputation as being fussy dogs that are high maintenance. So you might be wondering, are Teacup Poodles high maintenance?

In this case, their reputation is earned. These little dogs need quite a bit of grooming, care, and protection from the elements. They also can’t be exposed to cold weather or extremely hot weather.

They should also have protection from the rain and snow since they just don’t have enough body fat to keep themselves warm. A rain slicker and a winter sweater are must-haves.

Exercising your Teacup Poodle

Teacup poodles have moderate energy levels, but because they won’t need plenty of space and exercise. Chasing a ball across a small apartment and a few short walks should be all you need.

A teacup poodle should ideally get about 30 minutes of exercise per day. That will help keep them nice and calm when they are indoors.

Otherwise, they might get a little bit too energetic when you’re trying to focus on your work.

They enjoy chasing a ball, agility, hide and seek, and other dog games. All poodles usually enjoy the water, and if your pup does, feel free to let them go for a swim.

Just be sure to warm them up after they get out, and don’t let them stay in cold water for too long.

You don’t need to get all their exercise in at once. Three 10 minute walks each day is totally fine.

Grooming: Do Teacup Poodle dogs shed?

Teacup poodles, like all poodles, are hypoallergenic. They’re non-shedding dogs and they only drop a few hairs a day, much like humans do. 

The downside to no shedding is that you’ll have to groom them frequently.

Teacup poodles need to be brushed every few days and they’ll need a trim every six to eight weeks, depending on the type of Poodle haircuts you prefer.

Longer cuts can go longer in between, while shorter cuts will require more frequent trims.

Teacup poodles don’t smell like some other dogs with oilier coats, but they definitely need bathing. Aim to bathe them every few weeks.

Feeding a Teacup Poodle

Teacup poodles need about 250 calories per day, and you should break their food into multiple meals to keep their blood sugar stable.

Depending on the food, that could mean just a 0.5 cup of food split between two meals. 

We have an entire guide to help you figure out what the best dog food for Poodles is.

Also read: Best Dog Food for Poodles

What health problems do Teacup Poodles have?

a Teacup Poodle on a couch wearing a blue cone
Source: @millieteacuppoodle / IG

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: teacup poodles have a lot of health issues.

Because they’re bred to be so tiny, they suffer from a range of issues, like cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and may become blind because of it.

They also get hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patella luxation, allergies, heart problems like heart murmurs, slipped stifles, and skin conditions.

Like many small dog breeds, they’re prone to low blood sugar problems, known as hypoglycemia, and heart defects.

They may have diabetes or epilepsy, which causes seizures. They might also have Addison’s disease, which can be deadly, or Cushing’s Syndrome.

Keep an eye out for Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) and digestive Tract Problems.

These dogs can easily experience broken bones because of their small size, as well as ear infections and runny eyes. You’ll want to get frequent checkups to monitor your tiny friend’s health.

What’s the average life expectancy? Micro poodles have an average lifespan of about 12 to 15, which is shorter than a toy poodle. Most poodles die of heart disease or cancer.

How much does a Teacup Poodle puppy cost?

a Teacup Poodle sitting inside a pink cup
Source: @taffyteacuppoodle / IG

Teacup poodles have tiny litters, with an average of just 2 puppies. That’s part of the reason that they can be expensive.

Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more, and keep in mind that you often get what you pay for.

Dogs from backyard breeders who aren’t trying to create healthy dogs may often charge less than good breeders who want to create happy, healthy animals.

Don’t forget that you’ll also need to pay for frequent vet visits and grooming if you don’t do it yourself. That adds up!

Speaking of bad breeders, keep an eye out for puppy farms and never buy from a pet store.

If a seller won’t guarantee their puppy’s health and has multiple different breeds for sale, run the other way! Good breeders want dog owners to stay in touch and be well informed.

Finding Teacup Poodle Breeders

Finding a good breeder of toy poodle puppies can be hard.

Try checking the AKC Marketplace for toy poodle breeders and contact a few to see if they have any micro poodles available. You can also check with the Poodle Club of America.

But here are specific kennels that have Teacup Poodles for sale:

  • Quality Teacup Poodles
  • Little Fuzzy Poodles

Watch out for breeders that have lots of dams and studs under one roof or that won’t let you come visit their facility.

Teacup Poodles for adoption

Instead of buying, you might want to consider adopting or rescuing canines who are looking for a new home and family.

You can check out the websites of the Columbia Poodle Club, Best Friends, Carolina Poodle Rescue, and the ASPCA.

Can Teacup Poodle be mixed with other breeds? 

Poodles are commonly mixed with other smaller dog breeds. For instance, check out the Chihuahua Teacup Poodle mix (Chipoo). Another common mix is the Yorkie Poo (Yorkie and the micropoo).

We have a whole guide to the various Poodle mixes out there, including lots of teacup dog hybrids.

Who should get a Teacup Poodle?

a charming Teacup Poodle with a pink bib
Source: @taffyteacuppoodle / IG

A teacup poodle can be a good dog for first-time owners. These little lap dogs mostly just want to be with you and they don’t need tons of exercise.

Training is easy because they are smart and willing to please, just be sure to give them plenty of mental stimulation.

Unlike, say, a German Shepherd, you don’t have to worry about giving them hours of exercise and a lot of space to roam. Some fun playtime and a few walkies and the tiny teacup poodle are totally happy.

Further Reading: More Tiny Pups


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