Teacup vs Miniature Poodle (with PICTURES)

At first thought, Miniature Poodles and Teacup Poodles might sound like the same dog. Both names suggest that the Poodles are small, so most people think they are the same.

However, this thought is only partially correct. Both dogs come from the same breed, which is a Poodle. But, their breeding process is different.

teacup poodle vs mini poodle
Comparing the Teacup Poodle vs Mini Poodle (one is standard one is not)

Teacup and Miniature Poodles both derive from the Standard Poodle. Therefore, you should know more about the Standard Poodle to compare Teacup and Miniature Poodles.

Origins – The Standard Poodle

Standard Poodles originated in Germany and were bred as duck hunters about 400 years ago. Truffle finding was another task that Poodles are known for due to their excellent sense of smell. Many people seem to think that they came from France due to their popularity in this country.

brown standard size poodle
Tan coat Poodle on gray concrete floor. A larger standard size Poodle.

But, their starting point was indeed Germany. 

Their name originates from the German word “pudelin.” This word means “puddle” or “splashing in water,” which is very fitting considering that the dogs were bred to be water retrievers. Their curly, water-resistant hair (not fur) helps them swim without being weighed down.

Show dog Poodles usually have a shaved neck, legs, and tail. And their joints, hips, and chest have a full coat. It may seem that this recognizable haircut is just for looks, but it used to serve a purpose years ago. 

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Hunters wanted their Poodles to be fast swimmers, but they also needed their dogs to handle the cold. Less hair meant less resistance in the water. But, the Poodles wouldn’t be able to handle the winter waters if the hunters shaved them. 

So, the solution was to keep some hair on vital parts of their bodies to keep them warm and shave the rest. This is where their typical haircut originated. Now the haircut is more for aesthetic than practical reasons.

side by side teacup and mini poodle
The Poodle clubs only recognize the Mini Poodle – but some call the samller than Toy Poodle “Teacups”

Not only were Poodles used for practical uses, but they were for entertainment purposes as well. Their stunning looks and brilliant brains made them a prime subject for circuses. Poodles are bright dogs and can pick up new tricks effortlessly.

If you choose not to cut your Poodle’s hair, the curliness will cause some matting. The curly hairs can also trap lots of dirt and debris. They require a lot of brushing to prevent this.

That’s why many Poodle owners tend to get their dog’s hair groomed and cut short. Their hair is much easier to manage when it is short. 

Another fun fact about Poodles is that they rarely shed. The most you’ll find around your house is just a few hairs. Poodles are also hypoallergenic dogs.

So, they are a good choice for people who may be allergic to dog hair or if you don’t want dog hair on everything in your home. 

Over time, people began breeding Standard Poodles to get other sub-breeds or variations. And this is where Miniature and Teacup Poodles come from. So now we can get into the Teacup Poodle vs. Miniature Poodle comparison.

Teacup Poodle

Teacup Poodles are an unofficial variation of the Poodle. The Kennel Clubs (AKC) only recognizes three kinds of Poodles. These include the Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle.

teacup vs mini poodle
The Poodle clubs only recognize the Mini Poodle – but some call the samller than Toy Poodle “Teacups”

A Teacup Poodle is essentially just a smaller version of a Toy Poodle.


The Toy Poodle originated in America in the 20th century after years of selective breeding. The AKC officially recognized the Toy Poodle as a breed variation in 1887. By this time, these tiny Poodles were purely for aesthetics and to serve as small companions.

After 1887, breeders kept selectively breeding until they got to the teeny Teacup Poodle. 

At first, the purpose of Toy Poodles was companionship for people living in the city because living spaces are much smaller. Small living spaces mean you don’t have room for large pets. But now, many people, living in the city or not, walk around sporting their tiny Poodle buddies.

Teacup Poodle breeding happens with two small Toy Poodles. Most of the time, they use runts for breeding because they are the smallest of the litter. 

Physical Traits

Like other teacup dogs, a Teacup Poodle usually weighs around five pounds or less. They need to be in that weight range and stand less than ten inches tall to be in the category of a Teacup Poodle. Their size is great for small apartments as many apartment complexes only allow small pets.

Since the Teacup Poodle derives from the Standard Poodle, it inherited the Standard Poodle’s coat. Teacup Poodles have naturally long, curly, water-resistant hair

The dogs come in a variety of colors, such as:

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue (it is similar to gray)
  • Brown
  • Cafe au lait (similar to taupe)
  • Cream
  • Red (similar to a rust color)
  • Silver
  • Silver Beige
  • White


Teacup Poodles are quite affectionate dogs, and they love to play. It’s best to keep them active because of their high energy levels. Teacup Poodles are very social animals.

They love people, and they are generally okay with other dogs, but anxiety is a big reason they may not get along with other dogs.

These Poodles are intelligent dogs. Their past as retrieving dogs contributes to this intelligence. Due to this, they are easy to train and teach new tricks.

cream poodle toy runs across grass
An incredibly happy toy Poodle having a run in the park

Health Issues

Like all dogs, Teacup Poodles can develop health issues. Consider these issues before getting a Teacup Poodle, as most of their health issues are because of their size.

The average Teacup Poodle has a lifespan of ten to 18 years, so your furry best friend is sure to be around for a long time to keep you company. Although their lifespans are long, Teacup Poodles are known to have a list of possible health issues. But, this doesn’t just apply to Teacup Poodles. It applies to teacup dogs in general. 

Some common health issues include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Heart defects
  • Collapsing trachea
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory issues
  • Digestive issues
  • Blindness
  • Liver issues
  • Dental issues
  • Patella luxation (sliding kneecaps)
  • Hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain)

Keep in mind that these things are not definite if you get a Teacup Poodle. These are just predisposed conditions due to their size.

Miniature Poodle

According to the AKC, Miniature Poodles are the next size down from a Standard Poodle. Their history is slightly similar to the Teacup Poodle since they derive from the Standard Poodle. However, they still have some differences.

poodle getting brushed
Using a blunt comb to groom and style a Mini brown Poodle dog


France began selectively breeding Poodles in the 1800s to create new variations. This is where the Miniature Poodle originated. Like Toy and Teacup Poodles, Miniature Poodles were for people who wanted smaller versions of the Standard Poodle. 

Many found that the Standard Poodle was too big. So, the solution was to selectively breed the Poodles until they were smaller. Breeding them was specifically for companionship, rather than hunting, like their bigger ancestors.

Once the Miniature Poodle was available, it became a popular variation among the French. Particularly among aristocrats. You would commonly see wealthy people carrying them around in the 1800s.

Miniature Poodles were almost like a status symbol.

Physical Traits

Miniature Poodles are a little larger compared to Toy Poodles. They weigh around ten to 15 pounds and are about ten to 15 inches tall. So, they tower over Teacup Poodles when compared side by side.

side by side teacup and mini poodle
The Poodle clubs only recognize the Mini Poodle – but some call the samller than Toy Poodle “Teacups”

But, Miniature Poodles are still lap dogs. 

Akin to the Standard, Toy, and Teacup Poodles, Miniature Poodles also have that signature curly coat. Their hair is long and water-resistant. Like the other Poodle variations, the Miniature Poodle’s hair can get matted and dirty, so grooming is a must. 

Miniature Poodles come in the following colors:

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Cafe au lait
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Silver beige
  • White


Miniature Poodles are people pleasers, loyal to their families, and crave attention. These Poodles are good with children and new people. This is why many people choose them as family dogs.

naughty poodle has caused a mess parti mini
Naughty Poodle dog with sock in the mouth.

They’re usually okay with other dogs, but again, anxiety plays into why they may have issues with other dogs.

Similar to the Teacup Poodle, they have tons of energy and are extremely intelligent. You must play with them and take them for walks. Miniature Poodles need opportunities to let their energy out and should get both physical and mental exercise.

Miniature Poodles require a lot of socialization

Health Issues

Miniature Poodles have about the same lifespan as Teacup Poodles. So, about ten to 18 years. Their lifespans may be similar, but Miniature Poodles are prone to different health issues than Teacup Poodles.

chocolate toy poodle
Lead and clicker training for a Miniature Poodle puppy in the garden.

Most Teacup Poodle health issues have to do with their tiny size, but that isn’t the case for Miniature Poodles. 

Some potential health issues seen in Miniature Poodles include:

  • Entropion (inward-growing eyelids)
  • Distichiasis (another eyelash disorder)
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Other eye issues
  • Epilepsy
  • Joint issues
  • Urinary stones

Health issues differ significantly between a Teacup and a Miniature Poodle. As a reminder, these are not inevitable. This variation of the Poodle is just predisposed to these conditions.

Teacup Poodle vs. Miniature Poodle: Which Dog Is Right for You?

If you’re looking to get a dog, a Poodle is a great option. All variations of Poodles are very kind and loving. The hard part is figuring out which Poodle is best for you and your family. 

The main difference between a Teacup Poodle and a Miniature Poodle is its size. However, both dogs have about the same temperaments and traits. They differ slightly from each other, but they come from the same origin, so they’re pretty similar.

But, no matter how similar they may be, they are not the same dog

This Teacup Poodle vs. Miniature Poodle comparison should help you decipher which variation is best for you.

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