Teacup Poodle Facts

Teacup Poodle Profile

The modern pursuit of animal companionship that will fit into a busy life in a small apartment has presented many options from the dog world. For a small, intelligent dog that needs little exercise, there are various terriers or small mongrels at your disposal. 

But if the goal is to have something you can fit into a purse, it’s better to get a literal toy and not a toy poodle. The toy can be just as cute, won’t come with any health conditions and won’t soil your carpet.

The teacup poodle is not a purebred dog breed, and isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). It’s a very small and cute selectively bred variation of the toy poodle with curly hair.

Teacup Poodle Facts

Teacup Poodle Facts Overview

Habitat: Domestic
Location: Worldwide
Lifespan: 15 years
Size: 23cm (9 inches)
Weight: 1.8kg (4lb)
Colour: Varied, usually grey or light brown
Diet: Dog food
Predators: None
Top Speed: Slow
No. of Species: 1
Conservation Status: Not listed

Poodles are notoriously the victims of overbearing and borderline sectionable behaviour by their owners, and the toy poodle line is no different. 

Unsatisfied with simply giving them a ridiculous haircut and making them dance, breeders have begun to tweak their very genetic makeup, selecting for dwarfism and reducing the health of the breed in the process. 

The toy poodle is yet another example of why ‘cuteness’ should not have such a high weight in the calculation, and represents the final stage of the descent of the grey wolf: from apex predator to handbag accessory in just 30,000 years.

Interesting Teacup Poodle Facts

1. They are one of the smallest dog breeds

As you might have guessed by the name, teacup poodles are very small. They weigh as little as 2kg, and be 20cm tall! This is one of the smallest dog breeds available.

This is slightly false advertising, as a standard tea cup is usually no more than 6cm tall and weighs less than 200g, but most people are not wise to this and spend exorbitant amounts on these dogs regardless. 

Teacup poodles are also substantially more expensive than their ceramic equivalents, often selling for over $2,000 to people with more money than sense. 

The list of famous owners includes people like Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Marilyn Monroe, which gives you some insight into the plight of the breed. 1

Teacup Poodle

2. Teacup poodles are surprisingly smart

But for such a symbol of vacuousness, it’s ironic that teacup poodles are such a relatively intelligent animal for their size. Poodles as a rule are one of the smartest dog breeds, despite their reputation as being entirely for pomp and ostentation. 

They were originally bred as hunting and retrieving dogs, which meant they needed to be intelligent and attentive. They could also swim remarkably well, making them excellent retrievers of waterfowl. 

And even with generations of inbreeding, they’ve retained some of those smarts. Their smarts make them easy to train and this is another perk for an animal that will likely spend a lot of its time indoors. 

3. They’re hypoallergenic

And as poodles, they have a low chance of giving you allergies. They shed very lightly and leave a lot less of the irritating dander that spikes people’s allergies. 

This is another quality that makes them good house pets, but like all dogs, they need the mental and physical stimulation of daily walks outside of the home in order to be healthy. 

This is a breed that’s said to be prone to nervousness, though it’s equally likely the treatment of the animal rather than the breed has more to do with this. Any dog kept indoors for too long is going to express frustrated nervous energy and an inattentive owner is likely to miss the cues. 

4. They can live for a long time

As smaller dogs, a well-kept teacup poodle can outlast even a sickly child at around 15 years. That’s 124 times the tenure of the shortest-serving Conservative prime minister. 

This is, of course, if the dog is healthy and well looked after. And that’s not always the case. 2

5. They’re good with kids

Teacup poodles are affectionate and good with young children like most poodles. They are not known to be aggressive and are playful in behaviour.

Due to their size, very young children will need to be careful with them, as they could be easily injured.

They are also good with other dog breeds, but due to their size a larger dog breed might not be the best choice as a partner in crime! On walks they will get tired quicker than larger dogs due to size.

6. They can be very sickly themselves

Tiny dogs have been deliberately bred to be tiny. This process involves selecting the smallest animals from a litter and breeding them with other smallest animals, then repeating this for generations. 

The trouble with this is that while only selecting for size, other factors come along for the ride. The smallest surviving dog of a litter is also often the least healthy runt, and by breeding this individual with another runt, you can also be selecting for several other defects. 

So, ignoring the dubious ethical implications of breeding a sentient animal as a ‘toy’ or an accessory, there are also concerns about the ethics of bringing unhealthy animals into the world whose lives will be filled with potential suffering as a result of their health conditions.  

7. Sadly, they have countless ailments

The list of diseases common in teacup poodles is staggering.

Hypoglycemia, hydrocephalus, liver shunts, dental diseases, collapsing trachea, heart diseases, and more are commonly reported in this breed, purely as a result of the inexcusable practice of breeding toy dogs without proper care to genetic diversity. 

Their bodies aren’t big enough for their organs, including the brain, and can cause pressure where there shouldn’t be, and teeth that don’t fit in their mouths. 

As it stands, the breeding of teacup poodles is relatively unregulated and purchasing these animals from breeders contributes to suffering. 3

Teacup Poodle in clothing!

8. The healthiest dogs are often mongrels 

Teacup poodles, just like any highly-selected breed, have a much lower genetic diversity in their breeding history. They’re a product of inbreeding to a degree that’s much higher than the majority of mix-breed dogs, and as mentioned, this brings with it a host of issues. 

Some purebred animals are perfectly healthy, and the practice of maintaining a breed isn’t inherently unethical, it’s just relatively unregulated and fraught with corner-cutting and selfish incentives. 

And in general, a mixed-breed dog is always going to be healthier and longer-lived than a purebred or a crossbreed. They’re going to be less likely to suffer from any particular illness, contain a mishmash of all the smarts from their diverse lineage, and come in all shapes and sizes. 

If a tiny animal is what you want, consider rescuing one or adopting a mongrel. If you want a toy, try one that’s already stuffed. 

Teacup Poodle Fact-File Summary

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis

Fact Sources & References

  1. “Teacup Poodle: Dog Breed Guide”, Dog Academy.
  2. Jennifer Coates (2023), “Looking for a Teacup Dog or Puppy? Read This First”, petMD.
  3. Fernando Mata (2023), “Investigating the relationship between inbreeding and life expectancy in dogs: mongrels live longer than pure breeds”, NIH.