Parti Poodles: A Complete Explanation (With Pictures)

Poodles are great family dogs and loyal companions to owners worldwide. Typically known for having an easily trainable temperament, as well as having a hypoallergenic coat, poodles are largely sought after by individuals and families alike. Despite being commonly solidly colored, poodles can come in multicolored varieties such as the Parti Poodle.

Parti Poodles are multicolored dogs with a coat coloring of at least 50% white hair and patches of one other coat color. These patches can be black, brown, cream, blue, or red and can be anywhere on a Poodle’s body. While the AKC recognizes Parti Poodles, they are excluded from most conformation contests.

This specific type of Poodle is a wonder to see and will make a great companion to nearly any kind of person or living situation. Parti Poodles have many different aspects to them and a rich and interesting history. Keep reading to understand these beautiful dogs a bit better.

Typical Poodle Coat Colors

Before we get into the specifics of Parti Poodles, it is important to understand how they are different from the other colors and patterns that Poodles can have. While poodles are typically known to be solidly white or black, they can be all sorts of different colors, whether solid or patterned.

Solid Colors

Poodles come in many different, exciting colors, even if they are just one solid color. While solid-colored Poodles might seem a bit boring, the shades and slight differences that in their coats make them one stunning animal.

The most common solid coat colors for poodles include:

  • Black
  • White
  • Cream
  • Apricot
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Brown
  • Blue

Black Poodles might seem like they are very common, however, there are very specific requirements for a Poodle to be truly black and not silver.

Black Poodles are born with a very dark, shiny coat, so dark they appear to be covered in ink. These dogs have black points located on the nose, paw pads, eyelids, and lips. When shaved, truly black Poodles have dark grey skin, and shaved hair will appear as dark as long hair.

If a black Poodle does not meet all of these requirements, they are more likely to be a silver or blue Poodle.

White Poodles are very common, but what makes them interesting is that they are born stark white. Cream or apricot Poodles can fade to white, but white Poodles are brilliant white at the time of birth. White poodles have black points, which is a requirement for dog shows.

Cream and apricot Poodles have beautiful coats that often fade to white over time. These Poodles are born brown and fade quickly to their lighter color. Cream and apricot Poodles have black points as well instead of the typical liver-colored points of lighter dogs.

Silver is a recessive color in Poodles.

Brown and silver Poodles are each unique in their own way.

Brown Poodles do not often possess strong color genes. They often fade as adults and are not their original, rich brown from when they are puppies.

Silver Poodles are rare, as silver is a recessive color. They are born black but fade around the face and paws relatively early in life. Ideal silver Poodles are a nearly platinum color and are extremely uncommon.

Red and Blue Poodles are very rare, beautiful dogs.

Red poodles have only recently been recognized by the AKC in 1980, and consequently, are relatively new on the scene. Red Poodles often fade as their color genes are not very strong, but while they are young they have rich, beautiful hair.

Blue-haired poodles are also very uncommon. This blue color is a faded black with hints of silver—this color is a delicate balance!

Multicolored Poodles

Not all Poodles are one solid color. Many are multicolored, but there are multicolored Poodles that can not be considered a parti poodle.

Multicolored Poodles that are not Parti Poodles include:

Poodles With Ticking

Ticking is a pattern that appears on the coats of many kinds of dogs, including Poodles. This hair pattern appears as spots with small marks, similar to freckles on a person’s face. This pattern can be bold (black on white) or subtle (grey on black). If a Poodle is described as “Merle,” they will have ticking.

Phantom Poodles

Phantom Poodle patterns are very interesting as they create a sort of organization in a Poodle’s coat. A Phantom Poodle is a dog with its main hair color having tips of a different color. These “tips” appear on the chest, face, eyebrows, and ears. This pattern is not considered to be parti as there is not enough space filled by the secondary color, and the pattern is too organized.

Tuxedo Poodles

Tuxedo Poodles are popular due to the unique patterning of this poodle’s coat. This tuxedo pattern is the main color pattern and is blanketed over the underside of this dog. The chest and paws stay white while the rest of the dog is a darker color, giving the appearance of the dog wearing a tuxedo. This pattern is not considered to be parti either because white is the secondary color, instead of the main color.

Mismark Poodles

The final multicolored Poodle is the mismark, or abstract poodle. This coat pattern called mismark because there is too much white to be a solid-colored Poodle, but not enough white to be considered a parti poodle. This pattern can be based on any color. It is not quite a tuxedo or phantom patterned Poodle because these white spots do not follow any organization and are quite random, or asymmetrical.

Proper Parti Poodles Colors and Patterns

A proper Parti Poodle is easily confused with its multicolored counterparts. Proper Parti Poodles are at least 50% white with patches of one other color. The body can be more than 50% white with smaller, or fewer colored patches. A Parti Poodle’s hair can also be black, brown, cream, blue, red, or silver.

No two parti poodles have the same markings.

The word “parti” refers to how a Poodle is partially, or particularly colored. Parti Poodles are predominantly white with partial coloring in seemingly random places throughout the coat. Parti Poodles are different from other kinds of multicolored Poodles because their markings are set on a white base, they are randomly placed, and the markings do not overpower the white.

No two Parti Poodles have the same markings. Similar to fingerprints, every pattern on Parti Poodles is different from all others. No matter the color, no markings will be in a predictable pattern.

Proper Parti Poodles have few differences from solidly colored poodles or other multicolored poodles. Their coats are what separates them from other poodles. Parti Poodles have a fascinating history, and the debate about the way they are seen in the competition world is also quite interesting.

Are Parti Poodles Similar to Solid-Colored Poodles?

In most aspects, Parti Poodles are similar, if not identical, to every other Poodle. These similarities include temperament, training, size, and health. The only difference between Parti Poodles and their solid-colored counterparts is their hair color and patterned coats.

Let’s explore each of these different Poodle behavioral characteristics and compare and contract Parti Poodles with each.


Poodles and Parti Poodles both have a highly sought-after temperament by exhibitors for dog shows, individuals, and families. These dogs are incredibly loyal to their owners and tend to attach themselves closely to one person.

Both Poodles and Parti Poodles are affectionate and friendly to both strangers and familiar people. This affection comes with a small downside of needing attention, or it can become destructive. If left alone too long, Poodles often become anxious and can cause problems.

Poodles are known for being one of the smartest dog breeds out there and make great show dogs in all categories, such as obedience and agility.


Both Poodles and Parti Poodles are very obedient and incredibly smart, as previously mentioned. This means they are easily trained and even enjoy following orders. They love their owners unconditionally, so Poodles derive joy from making their owners happy. They learn quickly and train well with lots of treats and plenty of praise.


Poodles can vary in size, and this applies to Parti Poodles as well.

Poodles come in toy, miniature, and standard sizes. Toy Poodles are the smallest of this breed at 10 inches tall. Miniature Poodles are a bit larger than the toy variety at 11 to 15 inches tall. Standard size Poodles are the largest of the bunch. These pooches can be anywhere from 15 to 27 inches tall!

Parti Poodles come in these same sizes as solid-colored Poodles, just with different-colored hair.


Parti and solid-colored Poodles live anywhere from 11 to 17 years, more commonly between 12-15 years. Parti Poodles and solid-colored Poodles are equally prone to health conditions such as include bloat, hip dysplasia, Cushing’s Disease, and eye problems.

The health of any dog is very important to consider, and Poodles are no exception. The coat coloring of a Parti Poodle does not affect their health. Parti Poodles, like all Poodles, are hypoallergenic. They do not shed and instead require frequent and consistent grooming. The lifespan of a Parti Poodle is the same as solid-colored poodles.


One considerable difference between Parti Poodles and solid-colored poodles is breeding. Because the MITF gene which causes random coloring is recessive, Parti Poodles are more difficult to breed than solid colored Poodles. The only way to breed a Parti Poodle is to breed with two parti poodles together.

Poodle litters are often completely solid-colored. Though uncommon, up to half of the litter can be particolored in some litters. Parti Poodle puppies in litters like these are not expected but are more of a happy accident.


Another big difference between solid-colored Poodles and Parti Poodles is their history. You wouldn’t typically think of such a specific dog having a history, but Parti Poodles are unique this way. In more recent decades, solid-colored poodles have been highly sought after while Parti Poodles have largely been rejected.

Parti Poodles were the original Poodle breed. From the 1400s to the 1800s, Parti Poodles were the most common version of Poodle and were widely known. In the mid-1900s, culling Parti Poodles at birth while preserving solid colored Poodles was popular, quickly becoming the Poodle breed standard.

Solid-colored Poodles are often seen as the original, most purebred Poodles, but Parti Poodles were the real original Poodles. The first dog book in the United States featured an image of a Parti Poodle under “poodle.” An image of the first truffle hunting Poodle shows patches of darker hair on its ears. Parti Poodles have been through a lot and have only recently been recognized as actual poodles instead of defective dogs.

Parti Poodles in Show Dogs

Poodles are well known for being great show dogs. We have already talked about how smart they are which makes them adept at following orders. Poodles excel in several dog show categories.

Poodles perform well in all dog show categories Including:

  • Agility
  • Obedience
  • Conformation

Agility consists of the dog running through a series of obstacles at the trainer’s guidance as quickly as possible.

Obedience has the dog follow a series of commands immediately and accurately as they are given.

Conformation competitions are when a judge who is an expert in that breed of dog decides if the dog is a perfect version of their breed.

Parti Poodles are excluded from most conformation competitions.

Solid-colored Poodles can excel in each of the three categories mentioned.

While the American Kennel Club recognizes Parti Poodles as purebred dogs, Parti Poodles are ineligible to compete in most dog shows. As a result, Parti poodles are excluded from conformation competitions hosted by the CKC (Continental Kennel Club), ABKC (American Bully Kennel Club), and the AKC.

However, Parti Poodles are not excluded from grooming competions, as seen in the video below:

Because of their exclusion from most conformation competitions and questions concerning their purebred status, Parti Poodles are typically less expensive than solid colored poodles. These dogs can range anywhere from $600 to $2000, as opposed to solid-colored poodles usually being a minimum of $2000.


Parti Poodles are overall a treat to have in your home and make great pets. Parti Poodles are just like solid-colored poodles, with the exception of sporting a more interesting coat. From their history to their interesting combinations of colors, Parti Poodles are beautiful dogs. Parti Poodles can make a great addition to your family!

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Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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