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Poodle Colors: What Color is My Poodle?

According to the AKC registration application the variety of Poodle colors vary:
  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Cafe Au Lait
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Silver Beige
  • White

Many opinions surround similar colors and are debated among breeders, owners and Poodle fans when it comes to a particular Poodle color.
To truly discuss color let’s first talk about “clearing” of coat color. This is a process by which a Poodle’s coat color changes through his/her life until it stabilizes in color at about 3 years of age. In some cases even after age 3 the coat color can continue to “clear”. For example Poodles that start off with what is thought to be a black coat can fade to blue or gray and even a platinum Silver when they are finished with coat clearing.
A true Apricot starts off literally the color of an orange then clears in hue to, in some cases, a very light peach almost unrecognizable as the same color as the once brilliant orange of the puppy one brought home from the breeder at a young age. Puppies that start off dark brown can clear to what some would call a Cafe Au Lait (coffee with cream) or even a Silver Beige as they mature. Where as Red puppies can clear to what one would be inclined to perceive the coat as an apricot. A true cream starts off with a solid coat of dark peach, not peach tipped ears or splotches of peach on the coat but a dark buttery color. Creams clear to a  buttery color that is consistent throughout the coat. Where as whites start with ear tips and perhaps a patch down the center of the back that has a peachy looking color. Then there is the “Ice white” puppy that is snow white from birth.  White to white breedings that produce these ultra white Poodles can be risky as a pure white genetic line can be prone to health issues that are not worth the risk to get that ice white coat from birth. Especially when the puppies that are bred more diversely with a black Poodle here and there on the pedigree will have a better chance of having the gorgeous black skin pigment around the lips, nose and eyes we like to see and will eventually clear to white.
It must be mentioned that coat care has a lot to do with the color a Poodle may clear to and how fast. Take for example the Silver, Grey or Blue coats which go through sort of a brown stage as they clear. I have seen young blue Poodles that I would swear were brown throughout during their adolescent and young adult stages of life. Then I see later on and they have cleared to a gorgeous dark pewter coat as a 3 year old adult knowing that they started off black makes the transformation even more interesting. An adroit groomer will use specific products to bring out the best in a Poodle coat at the different stages of development and change.
To get the most out of coat color one must keep the Poodle out of the sun. In the case of white coat clearing from a creamy puppy coat, they must be out of the sun and water. Proper shampoos and conditioners must be applied. White, blue and silver coats need a good bluing products in order to bring out the white in the coat like many whitening shampoos, conditioners and coat dressings found at Coats of every color should be bathed a minimum of once a week to really bring out the preferred coat color.
A breeder will register a Poodle marking the color he/she anticipates the coat will clear to. so if a puppy looks to be prone to being a blue when older the breeder will mark that the puppy is blue on the registration papers even though the puppy appears to be black at the time of filling out the papers. Very seldom does a coat of a 5, 10 or 15 year old remain the same as when the dog was 2 months or even 2 years old. Again one must take into consideration the coat care the dog receives as mentioned above.