Poodles are known for their curly hair and high levels of intelligence. Most people imagine the standard white or black poodle when they think of this dog breed. Poodle coats, however, can come in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Poodles possess solid or multicolored coats and come in a variety of colors. Solid coat colors include variations of white, black, red, and brown, and multi-colored poodles have patches of these variations throughout. While Poodle hair types vary, proper hair care can help prevent hair loss, mange, and allergies.
With such a wide range of potential poodle colors, it can be hard to decide which poodle coat color you like the best. I have provided a list and photos of the poodle coat colors and included which poodle coat colors are most common and which are rarer.
What Colors Can Poodles Be?
Poodles have unique, curly coats that can be a solid color or multi-colored. There are a wide variety of both kinds of coats to choose from to suit your specific preferences.
Solid Poodle Coat Colors
The most common solid color for poodles is black, but there are many other colors in the spectrum of solid colored poodles. Solid-colored poodles have coats of all one color.
Solid coat colors in Poodles can include:
- Cafe Au lait
- Silver Beige
Multi-Colored Poodle Coats
Poodles were bred to be one solid color, but multi-colored poodles still exist. If your poodle has a multi-colored coat, this does not mean that it is a mixed breed dog. Multi-colored poodles are a mix of two or more coat colors.
Multi-colored coats in Poodles include:
1. Brindle Striped Poodle Coats
Brindle-colored poodles have coats that are two colors in a striped pattern along part or all of their bodies. These poodles can be a combination of black, silver, brown, or white. These colors are prevalent colors in poodles, and in other breeds of dogs as well.
2. The Lighter Sable Coat
Sable dogs are dark brown or black as puppies, but their coats lighten as they age. Some dogs will lighten so much that they will become a light cream color. The longest hairs on their body often remain a dark brown or black, typically on specific areas of the body, including:
- Tips of the tail
3. Spotting or Ticking on Poodles
Ticking refers to small spots in a poodle’s hair. Poodles with ticking hair can have one patch of spotted hair, or it can be across their full coat. Ticking usually occurs as dark-colored hair on light-colored poodles like cream, silver, or white.
4. Two Colored Parti Coats
Poodles with parti coats have crisp white hair on their underbody, and then a secondary color in their coat in patches with clear lines separating the two colors. No two parti coats will be identical. Poodles with parti coats are very popular but are not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
For more in-depth information and photos of Parti Poodles, check out this article I wrote recently called Parti Poodles: A Complete Explanation (With Pictures).
5. Unique Phantom Poodle Coat
Similar to the parti coat, the phantom poodle coat is a combination of two colors on the poodle’s body in patches. The difference in a phantom poodle coat is that the color patches are in specific areas on the poodle (upper side of body, butt, legs) and can fade in and out over time.
6. Poodles with a Tuxedo
Tuxedo coats are those that include a white bib on the chest and a white belly. These poodles also have a darker color that covers the saddle, or back, of the dog. This darker color can be black, brown, red, or in rare circumstances, even blue.
7. Mismark Poodle Coat
A mismark poodle coat is one main color that is not white on more than 50% of their coat. These coats then have light or white markings throughout the rest of their coat, but it is not the main color. When shaved down, the skin of a Mismark poodle will be fully the darker color of the poodle’s hair and will not show white.
Does a Poodle’s Coat Change Color?
A Poodle’s coat often changes from one color to another as they age. Poodle puppies “clear” or fade from a dark color to a lighter color by the age of two. However, the second phase of fading can sometimes develop causing further lightening and resulting in the final adult color emerging by the age of three.
Common color changes you can expect in your poodle as they age include:
- Cafe Au lait Poodles: These poodles are normally born with dark brown hair, which changes to a lighter, shiny blonde.
- Apricot Poodles: These poodles are often born a dark brown color, but their hair begins to lighten to an almost cream color as they age. The hair will maintain a red tint.
- Blue Poodles: The unique grayish blue of blue poodles evolves from a black puppy coat as the dog grows.
- Silver Poodles: Like blue poodles, silver poodles generally start as black puppies and their coat fades and gains shine as they age.
- Progressive Graying: Poodles often have a gene that causes a poodle coat, of all colors, to progressively grey as they grow older, gaining lots of gray hairs.
What is the Most Popular Poodle Color?
The most popular, and common, Poodle coat color is black. However, solid white poodles are a close second and are well-liked by owners worldwide. Although black and white are the most popular poodle colors, Red Poodles have become increasingly popular across the world in recent years.
Check out this article I wrote called Red Poodles: Everything you need to know to see pictures and learn why Red Poodles are all the rage today.
What is the Rarest Poodle Coat Color?
Apricot poodles are the rarest poodle coat color in the world. The apricot coat is a variation of a red poodle coat that is much lighter but maintains a red tint even as the hair lightens. Many apricot poodles are mistaken for cream-colored poodles, but a breeder should be able to tell the difference based on lineage.
The Genetics Behind Poodle Coat Colors
As poodles gain popularity, owners have shown increased interest in the seemingly never-ending list of poodle coat colors. There are many genetic reasons that your poodle might have its specific and unique color.
Some things to consider about the genetics of poodle coat color include:
- Color-related genetic risks: Certain color poodle coats are known to carry more inheritable diseases. Mixing coat colors by mixing breeding lines helps dilute the genetic pool and lower the risks.
- Unique red coat gene: It is unknown where the original red poodle coat gene originated from, but it is suspected to have evolved from breeding with red cocker spaniels.
- Recessive traits: Recessive traits statistically appear less in breeding. Apricot is one of the most recessive traits for poodles which accounts for its rarity and popularity.
- DNA testing: There are many companies that will test and trace your poodle’s heritage to determine if its breeding and coat color signifies potential health risks.
Types of Poodle Coats
Poodles have extremely dense coats that are known for minimal shedding. While a Poodle coat is normally soft and curly, there can be some hair variations based on age and care.
The types of coats you can expect your poodle to have include:
1. Puppy Coat
When they are very young, Poodle puppies have a different type of hair than you would expect from an older dog. A Poodle Puppies coat will often be less curly and less coarse. As they reach around 9 months to a year in age, you should expect your Poodle’s coat to become wavier and more curly.
3. Curly Coat
The most traditional coat you can expect to find on an older poodle is a thick, curly coat. These coats are dense and will range in texture from deep waves to tight small curls. Poodle’s curly coats require extensive grooming to avoid matting and tangles.
3. Corded Coat
Some owners prefer to allow their poodle’s coat to naturally mat into long cords, called a corded coat. These curls tend to mat into small ropes and can be grown on just the head and ears, or all over the body. Corded coats are notoriously hard to maintain and can be irritating to poodles with sensitive skin.
Ways to Clip Your Poodle’s Coat
In addition to having a wide variety of poodle coat colors, there are also many different hairstyles for your dog. Clipping your Poodle’s hair will not only help to keep him well-groomed but also allows you to choose a style that best shows off your dog’s color scheme and personality.
Some popular clips for your Poodle’s coat include:
1. Continental Clipped Coats
The most famous poodle cut is a short trim around the face, tail, and legs, leaving pompoms at the end of the tail and feet. This cut is called the Continental Clip, or sometimes the lion cut because of the thick hair around the face. This style is most often used for poodles competing in dog shows and isn’t traditionally found on smaller or younger poodles.
2. The Light Bikini Clip
The Bikini poodle cut is sometimes also called the “Miami clip” because of its origin and style. With this cut, a poodle is shaved around the face, tail, and feet, but the hair on the rest of the body is grown out a bit longer. Like with many poodle hairstyles, this cut can also include a pompom on the end of the tail.
3. A Cool Summer Cut
With thick, dense hair, poodle owners often groom their coats back in the summer to keep them cool. The Summer Cut usually involves very short hair all over the Poodle’s coat allowing your dog to have a lighter style for the summer. It is also often referred to as the “Kennel Cut”.
4. Town and Country Poodle Clip
The Town and Country Poodle cut is relatively modern and is extremely popular in the poodle world. The identifying factor of this cut is that the legs are trimmed uniformly to look like cylinders. The groomer will round the coat on the head and ears, but the rest of the coat will be traditional length and texture.
5. Adorable Cupcake Cut
The Cupcake Cut is a fun and unique style for poodles. The cut involves angled, fluffy hair around the ears that make the poodle’s head resemble a cupcake. Cupcake Cuts are known to be more difficult for novice groomers but are well recognized by poodle owners.
6. Uniform Puppy Clip
Poodles that have their coat cut at the same length throughout their body are known as having a puppy cut. Puppy clips are traditionally done on young puppies but can be used on older dogs if the owner requires a low-maintenance trim. The Puppy clip is sometimes also referred to as the “teddy bear cut” because young dogs with this cut resemble the stuffed toy.
What is Unique About a Poodle’s Coat?
The color and style of a poodle’s coat are some of the most unique and beautiful aspects of the Poodle breed. There are a number of distinctive characteristics that might contribute to your decision when choosing a poodle for your family.
Distinctive qualities of a Poodle’s coat include:
1. The Texture of a Poodle’s Coat
The texture of poodle coats is coarse, thick, and curly. Poodles are also known for having soft fur when they are blown out and brushed regularly, which makes them great dogs for families looking for a dog to cuddle.
2. A Poodle’s Single Coat
Most dogs have double coats, which means they have a shorter undercoat underneath a longer outer coat. Poodles, however, have a single coat, which means that they do not have an undercoat and their hair growth cycle is longer than those breeds with double coats.
3. Limited Shedding
Poodles are hypoallergenic and shed less than most other dogs. A Poodle’s single coat means they shed less throughout the year because they aren’t ridding themselves of an undercoat. Their hair is so thick, however, that the loose hair tends to catch in itself, and they appear not to be shedding.
Are Poodle Coats Hyper-Allergenic?
People with pet allergies are often allergic to either:
- Pet urine
Poodles have single coats, which results in a lower level of shedding. Less shedding combined with thick hair means that poodles produce less dander than an average dog. Ultimately, Poodles can still cause allergies but are better for allergy-sensitive owners.
Health Problems with Poodle Coats
The soft curly hair of your poodle does come with its own set of unique problems that you will want to consider before adopting a poodle. Poodles are known to be high-maintenance dogs, and their coats do have some common issues that affect the breed.
Health Problems that can affect your Poodle’s coat include:
1. Hair Loss
When poodles develop health issues, the first indication is hair loss, which may or may not grow back with time. Male poodles can lose their hair in the groin area after castration, and this hair loss can sometimes spread to your dog’s trunk. A genetic defect called Sebaceous Adenitis that causes scaly skin can also cause hair thinning or loss.
2. Poodle Coat Thinning and Bald Spots
Female poodles especially have issues of coat thinning based on hormone changes with age or pregnancy. Their coats may thin so much you can see the skin. Matted hair can cause poodles to bite and pick at their hair, pulling the hair out and leaving a bald spot. Bald spots in poodle coats may be the cause of a variety of ailments including:
- Poor grooming
3. Red Mange and General Poodle Allergies
Poodles have a high sensitivity to foods and shampoos, which can cause your dog to scratch their skin until their coat begins to thin. Additionally, there are mites that live on all dogs, but poodles often have an allergic reaction to these small bugs, which is called red mange. Allergies can cause a number of reactions, including:
- Hair loss
4. Hypothyroidism in Poodles
Hypothyroidism is a hormonal imbalance that can cause a wide variety of reactions in Poodles. Some poodles develop hypothyroidism which can make their coat lose some curl and become extremely thick. If your poodle has hypothyroidism, it may also be lethargic and slower to react.
Care Tips For Your Poodles Coat
Your poodle’s coat will need daily maintenance if you want to avoid mats and tangles. There are some basic tips for poodle coat care that you can follow to ensure a bright-colored coat and a nice shine.
Care tips for your poodle’s coat include:
1. Brushing Your Poodle’s Coat
Ideally, poodle coats should be brushed 3-5 times a week, if not daily. Without proper and frequent brushing, your poodle’s coat can become matted and irritate your dog’s skin. Use a wire brush, like this one from Poodle Pet that is specifically designed for dogs and found on Amazon.
2. Frequent Grooming
Poodles often require professional grooming because their thick coats are hard to trim and because poodle owners often like unique styles for their dogs. It is a good idea to have your poodle groomed every 6-8 weeks.
3. Fluff Dry for Volume
Allowing your poodle’s hair to air dry will cause tight, small curls that are more likely to mat. Using a blow dryer on your poodle’s hair will create the iconic fluffy appearance of show poodles. You can purchase a blow dryer designed for dogs like the Pet Club Dryer, found on Amazon, or use your own blow dryer on a low setting.
Deciding on a Poodle Coat Color
There are many choices of coat colors and styles to choose from when looking for your next pet. Whether you choose a traditional black-coated poodle or one of the more rare multi-colored poodles, you can be sure that with a little TLC, your poodle’s coat will be soft, curly, and unique to your dog.
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