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Poodle Colors & Patterns

Poodles historically come in all kinds of colors and patterns!  Want to learn more about the genetics behind poodle colors?  Visit thePoodle Genetics page.  Have a photo to contribute?  Email us!  We are currently looking to add more photo examples.  Credit to you and / or your website or social media will be given.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to find what we are looking for.

Solid Colors

Black

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Black poodles are deepest black with black noses, eye rims, and lips.  They remain black as they age.

Brown

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Brown - Photo by Ayri K. Photography

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A faded brown.  Note that this is genetically different from cafe au lait, though can look very similar in appearance.

Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

Brown poodles are a deep chocolate brown with brown noses, lips, and eye rims.  They often fade with age to have more of a silverish tone to their brown.

Red

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Red - Photo by Bohemian Poodles

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Red Abstract - Photo by Alana Marina McHugh

Red poodles are caused by a recessive gene that modifies black or brown poodles to red.  This same gene is responsible for all red-based colors such as red, apricot, cream, and white.  Various intensity genes are responsible for how dark or light the red is.  Recessive red also masks any K-locus based patterns such as sable and phantom.  Red poodles are often born dark red and fade to a darker apricot color as they age.  Red poodles have black noses, lips, and eye rims.  Red poodles that occur from brown-based dogs will have brown noses, lips, and eye rims, however red poodles should be black based according to the breed standard.

Apricot

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Apricot poodles are caused by a the same recessive gene that modifies black or brown poodles to red, but other modifying genes lighten that red to an apricot color.  Apricot poodles are often born a warm orange and fade to a lighter apricot color as they age.  Apricot poodles should have black noses, lips, and eye rims but it is possible for them to be brown-based and have brown pigment instead.

Cream

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Cream poodles are caused by the same recessive gene that modifies black or brown poodles to red, apricot, or white.  Cream poodles are often born a light tan with darker ears and fade to a light cream or almost white as they age.  Cream poodles should have black noses, lips, and eye rims but it is possible for them to be brown-based and have brown pigment instead.

White

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White poodles are also a form of the recessive red gene.  They are often born with cream ears and their cream coloration fades within the first year.  They should have black noses, eye rims, and lips but it is possible for them to be brown-based and have brown pigment instead.

Dilute

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Photo by Lisa Martin of Laahtoy Toy Poodles

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Photo by Lisa Martin of Laahtoy Toy Poodles

Dilute poodles can resemble a silver poodle as an adult, but instead of progressive greying causing a black poodle to fade to silver, it is two copies of the dilute gene which causes them to be born silver, with blue noses and eye rims.  Dilute poodles, as with other breeds where dilute is less common, can be at risk for color dilution alopecia which causes weakening of the hair to complete hair loss in any dilute areas.

Progressive Greying

Blue

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Blue poodles are born black and clear to a dark gunmetal color that can almost look black.  Blue poodles can take several years to clear and it can be difficult to tell them apart from black poodles at a young age.  Blue poodles can vary greatly in shade with some staying quite dark and some looking more like a dark silver.

Silver

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Silver as pup and adult - Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

Silver poodles are born black and begin to fade quickly.  Their silver roots are apparent around 4 weeks of age but it takes up to 1-2 years to fully clear to their adult coloring.  Like all progressive greying colors, the final color result ends up on a spectrum, with some lighter and some darker.

Cafe au Lait

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Cafe au lait is a brown poodle with one copy of the progressive greying gene (what makes black turn blue or silver).  They are born darker brown and will fade to a milky coffee color with age.  Noses, eye rims, and lips are brown.  Like all progressive greying colors, the final color result ends up on a spectrum, with some lighter and some darker.

Silver Beige

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Silver beige on the left and cafe on the right, 4 month old littermates.  You can see how the silver beige is already quite a bit lighter than his littermate who has only slightly faded from dark brown.

Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

Silver Beige - Photo by Silvabirch Poodles

Silver beige is a brown poodle with two copies of the progressive greying gene.  They are born darker brown and will fade to a very light tan color with age.  Like all progressive greying colors, the final color result ends up on a spectrum, with some lighter and some darker.  Noses, eye rims, and lips are brown.

Patterns

Sable

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Black-Based Sable

Photo by Karen Walker

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Brown-Based Clear Sable

Photo by Karen Walker

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Black-Based Shaded Sable

Photo by Jordan Burns

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Brown-Based Clear Sable Progression

Photo by Jordan Fisher

Black-Based Yellow Shaded Sable

Photo by Sandi-Lynn Chen

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Black-Based Clear Sable

Photo by Jordan Burns

Sable poodles can vary greatly in color, usually starting out fairly dark and fading very quickly.  Some look like they have phantom points at birth but they can be easily distinguished from phantoms as their bodies start to fade.  Some sable poodles stay darker, some end up almost white with dark ears and tail known as clear sable.

Brindle

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Blue Brindle - Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

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Cafe au Lait Brindle - Photo by Top Hat Parti Poodles

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Silver Brindle - Photo by Sarah Faye

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Black Based Brindle

Photo by Mount Mazama Kennels and Rhapsody Poodles & Cresteds

Brindle poodles often look like sable poodles at birth but once their faces and feet are shaved their stripes become more visible.  Brindle poodles have stripes of light and dark (color and intensity varying from dog to dog) all over their body.  Sometimes they have a darker face and ears.

Agouti

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Black-Based Agouti

Photo by Hosha Phantom Poodles

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Blue Agouti

Photo by Karen Walker

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Black-Based Agouti

Photo by Karen Walker

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Black-Based Agouti

Photo by Karen Walker

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Black-Based Agouti

Photo by Devin's Purple Poodles

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Brown Agouti

Photo by Karen Walker

Agouti gives the hair different bands of color and often looks quite close to sable.  Agouti is fairly rare in poodles.

Phantom

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Black Phantom

Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

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Blue Phantom

Photo by Alexandra Gav

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Brown Phantom

Photo by Bohemian Poodles

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Silver Phantom showing the progression of the silver and tan points.

Photos by Jenna Burton

Cafe au Lait Phantom

Photo by Tracy Taylor

Also known as tan point, phantom poodles have a black or brown-based body that has lighter areas on the legs, chest, muzzle, bum, and eyebrows.  These tan points can range from a dark red to almost white.  Phantom poodles are often born with minimal markings and the markings appear more striking within the first 8 weeks.

Brindlepoint Phantom

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Black Brindlepoint Phantom

Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

Black Brindlepoint Phantom

Photo by Ayri K. Photography

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Silver Brindlepoint Phantom

Photo by Jaiden Lydick

Brindlepoint phantom is a phantom with brindle stripes on their phantom points.  These tan points can range from a dark red to almost white.  Brindlepoint phantom poodles are often born with minimal markings and the markings appear more striking within the first 8 weeks.  Brindlepoint phantoms may have darker or more minimal markings due to the brindle stripes.  The shorter the hair, the more visible the brindle is.

Creeping Tan

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Black-Based Creeping Tan Progression

Photo by Jaiden Lydick

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Brown-Based Creeping Tan

Photo by Lisa L Love

Creeping tan (also known as saddle tan) is a gene that modifies phantom points so they get larger and "creep" into the rest of the solid body.  The dog is born looking like a normal phantom but as the puppy ages their tan points start to get larger and in some cases blend together.

Parti

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Apricot Parti - Photo by Kat Bromley

Blue Parti - Photo by Ashley Shepherd Vaughn

Brown Parti

Photo by Ayri K. Photography

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Red Parti - Photo by Marjorie Taylor

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Sable Parti - Photo by Karen Walker

Parti (short for particularly colored) adds white to a poodle's normally solid color.  Parti poodles can come in any color or pattern.  Some parti have small areas of color and some are more heavily colored.  Some parti have ticking where they have little flecks of color within the white areas.

Tuxedo

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Phantom Tuxedo

Photo by Karen Walker

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Blue Brindle Tuxedo

Photo by Valerie Schutz Fisher

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Cafe au Lait Tuxedo

Photo by Sandi-Lynn Chen

Tuxedo is a form of white spotting similar to parti but instead of being 50% white, the white is mostly on the legs and belly and chest, making the dog look like they are wearing a tuxedo.  What causes these exact markings is not testable, and even when two tuxedos are bred together it doesn't always result in tuxedo puppies.

Ticking

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Brown Parti with Ticking

Photo by Mostly Mischief Miniature Poodles

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Black Tuxedo with Ticking

Photo by Alana Marina McHugh

Ticking is small spots of color on otherwise white areas of a parti or abstract dog.  The ticking usually develops when the dog is a few months old and can grow in intensity as the dog ages.

Help us add to this page!

We are looking for more photo examples to add to this page!  If you would like to contribute a photo, please email us and let us know how to credit you.  We can just use your name or provide a link to your website or social media.  Please make sure you are the photographer or you have permission from the photographer to share the image.  Dogs should ideally be fully grown and well-groomed and posed to see most of the body and the photos taken in natural lighting.  We are looking for examples of the following colors / patterns:

Black     Brown-based Red     Brown-based Apricot     Brown-based Cream     Brown-based White  Roan     Other Sable Shades

Various Examples of Agouti     Cafe au Lait Phantom     Silver Beige Phantom     Brown with Creeping Tan     Blue with Creeping Tan     Cafe au Lait with Creeping Tan     Silver Beige with Creeping Tan     Black-based Brindle (diverse expressions)     Brown Brindle      Brown Dilute (bbdd)     Tuxedo (any color)     Every possible color of parti     Ticking

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