Teacup poodles are toy poodles that are smaller than the American Kennel Club breed standard. Teacup poodles are typically shorter than 9 inches and weigh less than 6 pounds, but this is an unofficial size variation. The AKC and does not recognize any size designation smaller than toy.
Healthy teacup poodles have a 12 to 15 year life expectancy. However, they are prone to genetic disorders, including immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, diabetes, epilepsy, digestive tract problems and heart conditions. Some develop cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy, which sometimes cause blindness. Some teacup dogs develop Small Dog Syndrome, a behavioral issue in which the dog displays unwanted and sometimes aggressive behaviors, such as excessive barking, snapping, growling or biting, towards humans or other dogs.
Poodles are highly intelligent, agile and easy to train. Although teacups do well as apartment dogs and like to play indoors, they need regular exercise, including a daily walk. Regular bathing and clipping is also important, because poodles don't shed.
Poodles originated in France and Germany over 400 years ago as water retrievers. The breed includes several size variations, including standard, which is the largest, miniature and toy. Poodles also have several different color coats, including apricot, black, gray, white and brown.