The breed standard for toy poodles is up to 10 inches tall for the American Kennel Club, and up to 11 inches tall for the European F?d?ration Cynologique Internationale. A toy poodle larger than 10 inches is considered a miniature poodle, with miniatures allowed up to 15 inches in height by the AKC and 14 by the FCI.
Because toy really denotes a height class and not a separate breed, there is considerable overlap in weight, comportment and temperament between toy poodles and their slightly larger cousins. The American breed standard for all classes is the same, demanding a lively and intelligent dog with an overall square figure, the height equaling the length of the torso from breastbone to rump.
Both toys and miniatures are derived from the larger standard poodle, a dog which was originally bred to retrieve water fowl. The smaller classes of poodle were created by selective breeding within the poodle group, and not by crossing with other miniature dogs, such as the cocker spaniel. Like standard poodles, toys and miniatures were bred to be working dogs. Their small size and intelligence made them ideal truffle-hunting dogs, as they could be trusted not to damage the delicate mushrooms.
Toy poodles are the smallest of the three varieties of poodles recognized by the AKC; the other poodles are the miniature poodle, which is taller than 10 inches but no more than 15 inches at the shoulders, and the standard poodle, which stands over 15 inches at the shoulders. "Teacup poodles" are simply very small toy poodles. Poodles of all varieties are known for their intelligence and are usually active, playful dogs.