The different sizes of poodle are not distinct breeds; they are determined by measuring the individual animal, not by ancestry. It is possible for a puppy whose dam and sire were miniatures to grow up to be a standard or a toy.

In the United States, a standard poodle is a grown animal standing over 15 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (but most are 23″–28″); a miniature poodle stands 15″ or less but more than 10″, and a toy poodle is 10″ or under. (Poodle Club of America, July 14, 1959; approved by American Kennel Club.)

In Great Britain, any poodle standing 11 inches or under at the shoulder is a toy poodle. (The standard is set by the English Kennel Club.)

In Germany, standards must be over 20 inches; miniatures are 15″ to 20″; dogs higher than 11″ and less than 15″ are zwergs (dwarfs); and dogs 11″ or under are toys.

Breeders attempting to create ever smaller dogs have created two new unofficial classifications, not sanctioned by the AKC or other kennel clubs. Weight, which is not a factor in the official poodle classifications, figures prominently in these classifications. A tiny poodle stands more than 8″ but less than 9″, and weighs 4 pounds or less (some breeders say, less than 5). A teacup (sometimes spelled T-cup) poodle stands 8″ or less and weighs less than 3½ pounds (although opinions vary from 3 to 4).

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