Poodle Colors: 31+ Poodle Coat Colors Explained (With Pictures)

Black Poodle and Apricot Poodle playing on thick snow

Poodles are remarkably versatile dogs, and this manifests not only in their retrieving skills but also in their appearance. They can be groomed in different clips, and they come in a multitude of colors which are all equally adorable.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) reports that there are 10 standard Poodle coat colors and 18 non-standard. There are also some color varieties that are registered on the AKC but are not allowed in the show ring. That would be 30 plus shades to choose from once you decide that they are the right pet for you.

To help you choose from these overwhelming Poodle tones, l have listed all of them in this article, including some descriptions and pictures. I also answered some major issues involving yellowing and graying hairs.

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Does Canine Color Really Matter?

If you’re unsure if this article is worth reading because you are a firm believer that canine color doesn’t matter, allow me to change your mind.

There are already several studies solidifying the claim that a dog’s coat coloration is directly related to its health. Several tones are proven to be predisposed to a list of congenital diseases including brown/chocolate, merle, white, and piebald.

The health issues that commonly afflict them are deafness and blindness. I will be discussing all of these in one of the succeeding sections.

What Are the Different Poodle Colors According to Major Kennel Clubs?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) have the most number of acceptable Poodle colors.

However, I also included the ones recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC), The Kennel Club (TKC), and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) to show you that these clubs do not uniformly accept all coats.

Kennel ClubsRecognized Coat Colors
American Kennel Club (AKC)Apricot, Black, Blue, Brown, Cream, Gray, Red, Silver, Silver Beige, White, Black & Apricot, Black & Brown, Black & Cream, Black & Gray, Black & Red, Black & Silver, Black & Tan, Black & White, Blue & White, Brown & Apricot, Brown & White, Cafe au Lait, and Cream & White.
Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)Apricot, Black, Blue, Brown, Cream, Gray, Red, Silver, Silver Beige, White, Black & Apricot, Black & Brown, Black & Cream, Black & Gray, Black & Red, Black & Silver, Black & Tan, Black & White, Blue & White, Brown & Apricot, Brown & White, Cafe au Lait, Cream & White, Gray & White, Red & Apricot, Red & White, White & Apricot, and White & Silver.
United Kennel Club (UKC)Apricot, Black, Blue, Cream, Gray, Silver, White, Red, Silver Beige, All Shades of Brown, and Cafe au Lait.
The Kennel Club (TKC)Apricot, Black, Blue, Brown, Cream, Red, Silver, White, Apricot & White, Black & Tan, Black & White, Brown & White, Blue & White, Cream & White, Parti-color, Red & White, Sable, and Silver & White.
Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)Black, White, Brown, Grey, and Fawn.

Poodle Standard Coat Color Description and Examples

Standard coat colors are shades that are native to the breed. For Poodles, the usual colors are single-toned like apricot, black, and blue. You can learn more about these and seven other shades through the descriptions and samples below.

Apricot Poodle

Apricot Poodle
Photo from @kariandme (IG)

Apricot Poodles have a dull orange coat that is medium-saturated. They are actually dilute of red, so there are times that they almost appear similar. Some Poodles who possess this color may have a lighter shade of orange which is already bordering on cream.

Black Poodle

Black Poodles are jet black in color with no hints of silver and blue. If their face is shaved, it should be almost as dark as their hair. Their coat should also never fade to gray, and they should not have any white hairs.

Blue Poodle

A blue Poodle does not actually have a blue coat but a dilute black tone similar to charcoal gray. All blue Poodles are born having a black coloration, and then they clear or lighten as they grow.

Usually, this takes place within their first year, but some pet owners claim that they turned blue when the dog reached two years of age.

Blue Poodles are often mistaken as black because their outer coat is dark-colored. You can distinguish them from black Poodles by looking at their roots which are lighter.

Brown Poodle

A brown Poodle has a deep, dark coat with liver points and amber eyes. True browns do not have any black points on their body and may appear reddish-brown when seen in sunlight.

Cream Poodle

Cream Poodles are so light in color that they almost look white at first glance. Some also confuse this coat for the cafe au lait and the silver beige, but a true cream Poodle has a black nose. Most cream Poodles also have black points, and this is completely acceptable.

Gray Poodle

Gray Poodles aren’t similar to the blues because they are visibly lighter. Some of them are born jet black and eventually clear, while others are already gray when they were born.

Red Poodle

Red Poodles were only recognized in the year 1980, so they are still on many pet owners’ top faves. They may appear almost similar to an apricot Poodle, or they may have a dark mahogany coat.

Silver Poodle

Silver Poodle
Photo from @groomer_hr (IG)

Silver Poodles possess a coat that is a dilute of black. Just like the blue pups, they are born dark-colored, but they lighten as they age. When they reach six weeks, their face and feet should already be silver.

Note that this coloration may vary from a sparkling platinum to a pewter color. It is also expected that they have black points and deep brown eyes.

Silver Beige Poodle

Silver beige Poodles are born brown, but they lighten just like the silver. At six weeks, their face and feet should already be silvery. Once they reach their final color, you’ll notice that they are either the usual silver beige or they are platinum silver with a brown tint.

White Poodle

A white Poodle can have an icy or creamy shade. The majority of them are born with apricot or beige tinted ears, but this still adheres to the standard. Black points are allowed on their coat, but any tickings that make them appear dirty is not permissible.

Poodle Non-Standard Coat Color Description and Examples

The Poodle colors, which are dubbed as non-standard, are duly registered on the AKC but are not allowed to compete on conformation shows. Here are the 18 colors that currently on non-standard standing:

Black and Cream Poodle

Black and cream Poodles have a dark coat with lowly saturated medium yellow markings. These cream points only cover a small area of the Poodle’s body.

Black and Apricot Poodle

Black and apricot Poodles have a black base coat and apricot markings. The apricot tint usually appears to be dull orange, but this may still vary depending on the Poodle’s genes.

Black and Brown Poodle

The black and brown Poodle combines two dark colors in their coat. Their base is black, while their markings are a deep chocolate shade.

Black and Gray Poodle

Black and gray Poodles possess a rich black coat with markings that are a lighter shade of blue. Some people mistake the markings for silver, but this color is entirely different.

Black and Red Poodle

Black and red Poodles combine two different colors. The base is jet black, while the markings are different red varieties including mahogany and chestnut.

Black and Silver Poodle

Black and silver Poodles can be distinguished from the black and gray through examining their markings. They should have a light gray tint on their chest, feet, and face contrary to the dark charcoal gray shade.

Black and Tan Poodle

Black and Tan Poodle
Photo from @ostrovgrez (IG)

A black and tan Poodle has a black base coat and tan markings on some parts of their body made possible by the pigment called pheomelanin. The tan coloration is one of the many dilute varieties of the color red.

Black and White Poodle

Black and white Poodles boast of a black base coat and white markings which are typical for other dog breeds. According to the AKC, this coat is often mistaken as parti-colored, but they are a separate coat variation.

Blue and White Poodle

Blue and White Poodle
Photo from @yarrafay (IG)

Instead of having the usual black coat, blue and white Poodles possess a dark gray base and white markings which are quite aesthetically pleasing.

Brown and Apricot Poodle

A brown and apricot Poodle has a brown base which is a bit reddish when viewed in the sun. There are visible apricot markings on their body which are medium-saturated orange in color.

Brown and White Poodle

Brown and White Poodle
Photo from @aseasister (IG)

Brown and white Poodles also have a brown base coat, but instead of apricot, their markings on their chest, feet, and face are plain white.

Cafe au Lait Poodle

This color is often mistaken by novice breeders and pet owners as the silver beige because of their resemblance. If you study cafe au lait Poodles closely, you’ll notice that their light tan color is actually shiny. Most of them have liver points and amber eyes.

Cream and White Poodle

The cream and white Poodle combines the two lightest colors of the breed. They are cream or lowly saturated yellow, while they also have whites in them.

Gray and White Poodle

The base coat of a gray and white Poodle is a lighter tint of blue coloration. The markings found on their body are all white.

Red and Apricot Poodle

Since the red and apricot colors are almost the same, it is quite hard to identify if a Poodle is solid red or it has apricot markings. You should keep in mind that the red coat is usually dark, while the apricot markings are more orangey.

Red and White Poodle

Red and white Poodles are just that, red-based dogs with white markings found on some areas of their body. The red coloration may vary so you may assume that your dog is tan and white or apricot and white.

This is understandable, but remember that Poodles only have the red and white combination and not some other shades.

White and Apricot Poodle

The more dominant color of the white and apricot Poodle is the white tone. The apricot coloration only serves as their markings.

White and Silver Poodle

White and silver Poodles are predominantly white with silver or platinum markings that can be found on several areas of their body, including the face and chest.

What Poodle Colors Aren’t Allowed in the Show Ring or Considered Faulty?

Some colors are either not allowed on the show ring or completely excluded by the AKC because they are associated with multiple diseases. Here are they:

Parti-Colored Poodle

A parti Poodle has a white base color and irregular patches of the standard colors on their coat. This is considered a major fault by the AKC, but they still allow their registration. If you come across a Poodle that is 50% white, that is exactly how a parti-colored pup looks like.

RELATED: Parti Poodle: 17 Things to Know Before Getting a Parti Poodle

Phantom Poodle

The phantom Poodle is another variety recognized by the AKC but not allowed in the show ring. They are also a combination of two colors; that’s why they are confused with the parti Poodle.

To identify them, you have to be familiar with the specific location of their points. Their second color should be seen on their muzzle, chin, throat, eyebrows, chest, legs, paws, and under their tail.

Merle Poodle

Poodles do not naturally come in Merle coloration, so pet owners are discouraged from purchasing this variety. You can easily identify them by examining their unique coat. They have a white base coat with mottled patches of the acceptable colors for the breed.

Albino Poodle

Albino is not actually a coat color but a term used to address dogs who suffer from albinism. Poodles with this condition appear to have a white coat, but they actually don’t have any color because of the lack of pigments.

True albinos have a pinkish tinge on their skin, so it is possible to distinguish them from the white Poodles.

What Are the Rarest and Most Common Colors of Poodles?

Black Poodles and white Poodles are known to be the most common and the most popular Poodles out there because of their solid clean coat. This means that they aren’t that expensive as compared to the other varieties.

Meanwhile, apricot Poodles are the rarest and probably the most costly because they are the last color to be registered and acknowledged by the AKC.

The first-ever apricot pup named Sowden Yellow Gall was born in 1898 and was thought to be liver. Eventually, the owner has noticed that he has a different tone and should be considered another shade.

If you want to see an apricot Poodle and how light they are compared to the red-coated, watch this video:

Apricot and Red Standard Poodle Male Puppies

Poodle Coat Genetics: Why Do Poodles Have Many Different Colors?

There may be too many existing Poodle colors, but it all begins with two: black and red. You see, every dog has pigments on their skin called eumelanin and pheomelanin which are responsible for their coat coloration.

The eumelanin or the black pigment is modified by various genes; that’s why some Poodles turn out blue, brown, or gray. These colors are tagged as a dilute of black.

The second pigment, which is the pheomelanin, has a default red color. It changes shade in the same manner as the first pigment: through gene dilution. Colors produced by this phenomenon vary from mahogany red, orange, yellow, tan, gold, and cream.

The Effect of Coat Color on Poodle’s Health and Behavior

There aren’t any pieces of research which prove that coat color is related to a dog’s behavior. All we got are myths and stereotypes which cannot stand as valid bases to predict a dog’s temperament.

However, in terms of health, canine scholars have long been studying several coats. They already found out that some are more prone to certain health issues. A detailed description of these conditions can be found below:

  • Deafness: A number of merle, parti, chocolate, and albinos are predisposed to deafness. The loss of hearing they experience is already present at birth and is not acquired.
  • Blindness: This is one of the leading health concerns of albino Poodles. Some of them are born blind, while others have a clouded vision which progresses to blindness.
  • Sun Sensitivity: Both the merle and the albino Poodle are sensitive to UV rays. They easily acquire solar dermatitis when exposed to too much sunlight, and a number of them acquire skin cancer. 
  • Skin Cancer: The worst thing that can happen when albinos and merles are exposed to the sun is skin cancer. Poodles may acquire several skin cancer types, including malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mast cell tumors.
  • Conjunctivitis: Many anecdotal accounts claim that parti Poodles are more susceptible to conjunctivitis because of genetic reasons. These dogs are often seen with yellow-green pus or mucus on their eyes.
  • Eye Deformities: This is more common on albino Poodles. Aside from having abnormally small eyes, they often have deformities on their lens, sclera, and iris.

Do Poodles Change Color When They Grow?

Poodle puppies with different colors

Most Poodles change color when they grow. They usually assume their final color during their second year of age, but there are some instances where their color still stabilizes when they reach three.

Here are some examples of how Poodles change color:

  • Blue, silver, and gray Poodles are born black.
  • Cafe au lait Poodles are usually born dark brown.
  • Apricots are born with a darker shade.

Why Do Some Poodles Coat Turn Dull or Yellowish?

Some Poodles’ coats turn dull or yellowish due to the following factors:

  • Sun exposure
  • Air pollution
  • Natural aging process

In most cases, this does not indicate any serious health issues, but if you want your Poodle to retain the same shine and richness of their coat, your best option is to use canine color enhancing shampoos.

Do not use any human shampoos on your Poodle because its pH level may not be suitable for them.

Is It Normal for Poodles to Turn Gray?

Breeders would often tell you that Poodles may turn gray as they age. This is accurate because some black, brown, and blue Poodles possess the gene called G locus which is responsible for the progressive graying of the coat.

If, for instance, one of the parents of your Poodle has this gene, there is a 50% chance that your puppy has this characteristic as well. The color change usually starts when they are two to three months.

Some dogs complete the graying process as they reach maturity, while there are also Poodles who still manifest small changes throughout their lifetime.

Poodle Eyes and Nose Colors

In general, there are only two acceptable eye and nose colors for Poodles, but here’s what the standards set by various kennel club state:

Poodle Eye Colors

Kennel ClubsAcceptable Eye Colors
American Kennel Club (AKC)Dark eyes are preferred, but dark amber eyes are also permissible.
Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)Very dark
United Kennel Club (UKC)Black and liver
The Kennel Club (TKC)Dark eyes including dark amber.
Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)Black, dark brown, or dark amber.

Poodle Nose Colors

Kennel ClubsAcceptable Nose Colors
American Kennel Club (AKC)Black and liver
Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)Not specified
United Kennel Club (UKC)Black or liver
The Kennel Club (TKC)Black and dark liver
Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)Black and brown

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Poodles Heavy Shedders?

Despite their dense and curly coat, Poodles do not shed much because they are single-coated. They also do not blow their coat when the season changes unlike a number of breeds.

What Kind of Coat Do Poodles Have?

As mentioned above, Poodles have a single-layer coat. Because of this, they are known to be hypoallergenic but not totally allergen-free. Faux breeders would tell you otherwise, so you have to be cautious.

Final Thoughts

It seems that Poodles got it all. They have a balanced temperament, and they are good at being water retrievers. Their coat can be clipped in different styles and come in 28 coat colors.

I hope that by learning about all your color options, you get to bring home a pup that will not only charm you with his wits but also with his appearance.

Avoid parti, merle, and albino as much as possible because they are associated with too many health issues. This way, you’ll still be able to save money because your dog won’t require constant vet assistance.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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