The curly-coated Poodle is one breed that comes in a range of colors. From the Toy Poodle, right through to the Miniature Poodle and the Standard, various coat colors can occur.
These include the commonly seen solid colored dogs, through to multi-colored variations.
Let’s take a closer look at the different Poodle colors out there and what to look for when choosing a Poodle puppy in a particular color.
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How do Poodle color genetics work?
Each Poodle puppy receives one color gene from each parent. The coat color you see in your dog will be the result of the dominant gene.
For a recessive coat color to be displayed, no dominant coat color gene should be present. Some genes also result in various markings and color patterns in purebred Poodles.
What are the different colors of a Poodle?
Solid-colored Poodles are the most common and what most people associate with the breed.
Black is the most common color for Poodles of all sizes, with other solid colors including blue, apricot, brown, cream, red, silver, silver beige, white, gray, and cafe au lait.
Also, purebred Poodles can have multi-colored coats; while accepted by the breed standards, these are not recognized for the American Kennel Club (AKC) conformation show ring.
The United Kennel Club (UKC) does allow parti Poodles to be shown, but they are still not considered preferable.
10 Solid Colors of Poodles + Cafe Au Lait
There are ten different accepted solid Poodle coat colors, with Cafe Au Lait, the eleventh variety, actually falling under the brown spectrum.
Along with red, apricot is one of the newest color variations to be accepted in the breed. Apricot poodles are the result of a recessive gene.
A real apricot Poodle will have a black nose and darker ears. Liver points are also accepted but not preferred.
An apricot dog can produce a red, while some apricot Poodles are so light they can appear to be cream.
While challenging to differentiate from cream-colored Poodles, apricots still have a slight red tint to the fur, giving the dog a more vibrant appearance. Apricots can also fade to cream with age.
A black Poodle is the most common variant with this coloring caused by a dominant coat color gene.
A true black Poodle’s coat will be a deep, inky black, with the dog having a black nose and eyelids, black lips, black foot pads, and dark brown eyes.
The skin of a black Poodle will also be a dark grey, and these dogs won’t have any blue or silver tints.
A blue Poodle’s coat will be a faded black color, almost like black clothing that has been worn and washed a lot. All blue Poodle puppies are born black and lighten as the dog gets older.
The blue color results from a black Poodle carrying both a dominant and recessive version of the silvering gene. As a result, this is quite a rare color to find.
While the outer coat will look blue, if you were to shave a blue Poodle, you would see the coat’s base hairs are a mix of colors. Blue Poodles have dark brown eyes and black points.
4. Brown / Chocolate
Not to be confused with Cafe Au Lait Poodles, brown Poodles have a deep rich brown coat. Although brown is a common Poodle color, it results from the dog carrying two recessive brown color genes.
Brown Poodles can come in various shades, from light brown to deep chocolate; however, there should be no black coloring anywhere on the dog.
All brown Poodles should have dark amber eyes and liver points. There should also not be any silvering genes in a true brown Poodle.
Cream Poodles can be differentiated from Silver Beige or Cafe au Lait by their black noses.
The Cch gene causes brown Poodles to show up as cream, while these dogs can also have the apricot gene with a dominant and recessive version of the silvering gene.
Lighter than apricot, many cream dogs can turn white.
Gray poodles are typically born a charcoal color, fading to a lighter gray as they age.
That said, some Poodle puppies can be born a glorious medium-gray color, staying this color throughout their lifetime.
Red only became an official poodle color around 1980 and today is one of the most sought after shades of Poodles, primarily due to their rarity.
Breeders in Canada have even formed an Apricot Red Poodle Club to promote these dogs.
Red poodles can come in several shades, from light coral to deep, dark mahogany. The red gene is a recessive one that tends to appear in apricot lines due to the Rufus gene.
True red Poodles will have black points, and while liver points are sometimes seen and accepted, they are not preferred.
Silver Poodles look like a light gray with the coat color caused by the silver allele V gene.
This is similar to the blue Poodle with the silvering gene present in an otherwise black dog; however, there should be two recessive genes in this instance.
Many silver dogs may look black as puppies, but you would see the silver hair at the roots if you were to shave them.
All silver Poodles should have dark brown eyes and black points.
9. Silver Beige
Silver Beige Poodles are always born brown, turning to a light brown color as they age.
If you were to shave these dogs, you would see the silver coloring at the roots of the coat, as well as the cream undertones in the fur. Silver Beige dogs have either black or liver noses.
White Poodles are typically a pure white color, although some can be tinted with a light apricot or beige.
Small black spots are sometimes also accepted on white Poodles; however, ticking should not occur on solid white dogs. Real white dogs have black points.
11. Cafe Au Lait
Cafe Au Lait is a light tan color that is often confused with silver beige. The main difference between the color variations being that Cafe Au Lait dogs always have a liver nose and are slightly darker.
Cafe Au Lait Poodles are also born this color, while Silver Beige dogs fade to their actual color.
Multicolor Poodles garner attention, with many people thinking that these are mixed breed dogs. However, they aren’t.
Poodles were originally bred to be more than one color, with this feature being bred out of the dogs in favor of the solid coloring. However, nowadays, multi-colored Poodles are making a comeback.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the various multi-colored variations out there:
Brindle Poodles are very rare as they result from two recessive genes, with both parents needing to display the brindle color in their coats. The brindle color looks like tiger stripes on their fur.
Poodle purists say that although DNA tests prove brindle Poodles as purebred dogs, as a non-naturally occurring variant, it must have been introduced by a different breed at some point.
The hair or sable Poodles have black tipping.
This can occur with any coat color but is more common on brown dogs, giving the appearance of a burnt toast color. Sable is a dominant gene, but despite this, these dogs are hard to find.
Sable Poodle puppies also normally only display this color for a very short time. Puppies will look very dark but start to fade by around six months, with the black tips present only on the ears as the dog matures.
Parti Poodles are the most common and popular type of multi-colored poodles. The term parti refers to dogs with a white base coat and patches or spots of another white color.
The piebald gene causes this white coloring. To be considered parti Poodles, these dogs need to be more than 50% white.
Like parti poodles, phantom Poodles have two colors; however, the primary color need not be white.
The secondary coloring should also be on specific parts of the dog’s coat, such as around the eyes, on the feet, and under the tail and the chin.
More of a marking than actual coat color, the ticking is little spots of color that occur all over the dog, as you would see with an Australian Cattle Dog.
Tuxedo also refers more to specific markings than coat color, with many parti Poodles being marked in the tuxedo style.
Tuxedo Poodles will have a white throat and chest, a white stomach, white legs and white under their tail, with a colored saddle on their back.
Although typically occurring in white and another color, tuxedo markings can happen in any colored Poodle.
Mismark or Abstract Poodles do not have white as a base color but can be any colored dog with random patches of white. Mismark Poodles do not have enough white on the coat to be called parti Poodles.
Do Poodles change color as they age?
Most Poodle puppies change color as they grow up. If they get to keep the same coat color, it is called holding. But many of them “clear”, meaning their coat can go light over time.
The clearing is usually uneven over the coat, ears, and thicker guard.
A reputable breeder should know if their puppies will hold their color or if they will clear as they age.
For instance, gray Poodles are born black, clearing to their color fully by about four years old.
Also born black, blue Poodles and silver Poodles show their proper coloring when they are about a year or two old. True black Poodles, on the other hand, will not fade.
Cafe Au Lait Poodles are born brown and change to a lighter shade around two years old.
Silver beige Poodles are also born brown, with the lighter coloring appearing by six weeks on the feet and face, covering the full coat by two years old. True brown Poodles should not fade as they age.
Apricots and creams also lighten as they age, with some even fading to white, while red Poodles can also fade to apricot.
Why do Poodles lose their color?
It is not unusual for a Poodle’s coat to become yellow or dull as it matures. It’s a part of the natural aging process and can be exacerbated by exposure to sunlight and air pollution.
To keep your Poodle’s coat looking vibrant, it is recommended to always wash your dog with a special canine color enhancing shampoo.
Some Poodles can also carry the Progressive Graying or G locus. This dominant gene causes the coat color to dilute as they get older, with the graying even starting to come in from two or three months old.
A Poodle’s skin color can also change as they get older, with the change occurring due to exposure to the sun. This change can be seen most on the belly, with darker spots sometimes appearing on the skin.
Do Poodle colors affect behavior?
While some people say that brown Poodles are very naughty or red Poodles very shy, none of these claims have been scientifically proven.
Coat colors do not relate to temperaments, and this has to do more with the parent dogs and how the puppies are raised and trained.
Do Poodle colors affect health?
While skin color changes are common in the Poodle breed, this is more prevalent in lighter dogs. There is cause for concern if any dark spots are raised as this could indicate skin cancer.
Always be wary of Poodles that have no coloring around their ears. No pigment in the ears can be a sign of deafness.
An oddly spotted or mottled coat on dogs that make them appear merle can also be a sign of pigmentation issues, indicating deafness or eye disease.
How about Poodle eye color?
Most Poodles have dark brown eyes; however, blue or yellow eyes can occur with Poodles. Sometimes light eyes in Poodles are simply a sign of a genetic mutation; however, this can also indicate eye disease of blindness.
Taking care of your Poodle’s coat
As mentioned, the best way to maintain the coat color and shine of your Poodle’s coat is to bathe them regularly with a color retaining shampoo.
As Poodle’s eyes tend to weep, causing tear stains to form on lighter colored Poodles, the eyes should also be wiped daily.
If left ungroomed, a Poodle’s coat can mat or cord. It is recommended to get your Poodle’s coat professionally groomed at least every six weeks to keep it looking shiny and healthy.
If you choose to keep your dog in a longer clip, you will need to brush them daily to prevent tangles from forming.
Which Poodle color will you choose?
Now that you know a bit more about the various beautiful colors available for the Poodle breed, do you have a favorite?
Will you opt for the common but no less attractive black, or will you hold out for that a picture-perfect red Poodle?
Do you already have a Poodle of your own? Let us know what color they are in the comments below.
Further reading: Poodle mixes
In addition to coming in a range of colors, Poodles are often crossed with various other dog breeds to form some gorgeous Poodle mixes. Take a look at some of our favorites here: