Poodle  Junction dot com
Poodle Colors and Markings Table of Contents

We often have parti poodles for sale and occasionally have phantoms.
Contact us for details.
Poodles come in a wide variety of colors and markings.

This page will make an attempt to clear up at least some color confusion. Wherever there is a clear cut definition provided by the AKC I will use it. If not I will use my interpretation based on my dogs. In this case it may not be a "standard" description but will at least help those who are buying dogs from me.

Solid Colors

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) there are 11 colors. They are:
  • apricot
  • black
  • blue
  • brown
  • cafe au lait
  • cream
  • gray
  • red
  • silver
  • silver Beige
  • white


The color of a poodle at birth is not necessarily the color it will remain. Silver poodles for example are born black and turn silver, generally in the first few weeks. Many red or apricot puppies lighten as they get older and some that are apricot at birth become cream colored. I have had one apricot/red puppy who darkened (slightly) in her first year.

In order for a poodle to be shown in the conformation ring it must be a solid color. (See the AKC Poodle Standard) This has recently (2004) changed with The UKC (United Kennel Club) which now allows parti colored poodles in the conformation ring.

Many early paintings of poodles are of black and white parti poodles. For some years after the parti fell from favor many breeders drowned parti puppies at birth, rather than selling them. Those who did sell them as pets (or give them away) did so with restricted registration to ensure that any offspring would not be able to be registered with the AKC.

There has been a recent explosion in the popularity of poodles that are not solid colors with some interesting colors/markings carrying hefty price tags.

Poodles of any color combination or markings may participate in obedience and agility events sponsored by the AKC. 


In French parti means consisting of two or more colors.

The following definition is from the AKC Glossary: "Parti-color Two or more definite, well-broken colors, one of which must be white. For example, black parti-color would be black and white. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description."

The AKC Poodle Standard says "The coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but is of two or more colors."

Some breeders make a further distinction between Parti and Mismark wherein parti colored dogs are those with a white background and mismarks are dogs of another color (other then white) with white or other colored markings. This seems to be a moot point since they will both end up in the same (disqualified) category in the AKC confirmation ring. If you are concerned as to whether a dog is a parti or mismark see the dog or pictures of the dog.

Markings in a parti poodle may be appear to be random or may show as a mask, bib, saddle or any combination. A number of my black puppies have had a small white star (or triangle) on their chests and no other markings.


Warning: Never look at a phantom poodle if you aren't sure you want a poodle. They are irresistible!

The marking pattern shown on the puppies below is the same as the marking pattern on a Phantom Poodle. It is often referred to as a "tan point pattern". These markings may show on any colored dog, it does not have to be a black or brown dog. There are many times when a dog is genetically a phantom but because the main color and the markings are similar in color the appearance is not as dramatic or not even noticeable.

Rottweiler Puppy Doberman Puppy
 Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Phantom Poodle Puppy

Although phantom markings are usually visible at birth they become more pronounced as the puppy gets a bit older. This also depends on the colors. Some colors become more pronounced after a few weeks.

Revised: 05/27/05.
site by cybergalleries.com