Poodle colors


Poodle - a breed exceptionally diverse not only in size, but also in the color of the wool. Officially recognized FCI colors - five, but there are many more unrecognized: fawn, silver-beige, a number of discontinuous colors, red, etc.

Breeding often presents us surprises - both pleasant and unpleasant: it's getting puppies with a solid color, different from those present in both parents, with spots and tan marks, with non-standard solid color. Sometimes you simply marvel at how, where, why? As it was said by the poet Igor Huberman - "genes clotted in the belly of a sleepy". Of course, any divorcee must have an idea of ​​the elementary principles of inheritance, including color. Ideally, the breeder should have a good idea of ​​how the scheme works in general, understand, be able to predict and explain, plan on the basis of pedigrees and information received. This topic is extremely interesting and useful in the theoretical and applied sense for readers - both experienced and beginners (after all, people constantly ask why black puppies were born from silver dogs or why black puppies were born from black apricots and when they lighten) .

So, let's consider the colors of poodles.
I. White color
1. Dazzling white color without any shades, combined with bright black eyes and nose. The skin is pink or truffled (spotted). Puppies are bright white from birth; are born with pink noses, centuries, pads of paws. Noses and eyelids darken gradually, often with dots, the number of which gradually increases. Paw pads often remain pink for life. Claws are always light.
2. Kipno-white dogs with dark skin and claws. In this case, the eyes may not be as dark as in the first case. Puppies are born pure white. Pigmentation of the skin is dark from the moment of birth or gradually "misty" in the first days.
3. Kipenno-white dogs with dark skin and claws, eyes often brown. Puppies are born pale yellow of different intensity of color, but always of a cool shade, with good pigmentation of the skin; "Blossom" in a completely white color by the age of six months,
occasionally a little later.
4. Dogs warm white tone with dark skin and claws. Eyes are brown. Puppies are born pale yellow of different intensity of color, warm shade, with excellent pigmentation of the nose, pads of the paws, skin. "They blossom" mainly to the year, sometimes later and sometimes not completely.
5. Dogs warm white with medium intensity pigmentation. Noses are usually black, often lightening with age, eyelids dyed, but not bright. The mask is weakly expressed. The skin is usually pink, its claws light. Puppies are born with a pale warm tone. Pigmentation of the skin gradually increases. The "blossoming" of such dogs is often delayed for a long time. All dogs born with fawns can have truffle skin, but if in pure white dogs of the first type it is pink with rare dark spots, then in dogs of subsequent types, the skin is usually gray with rare pink spots. Often poodle puppies with truffle skin have pale spots of different tones. Usually the location of spots on the coat corresponds to dark spots on the skin. Poodles with a predominance of pale tone and having dark skin with separate depigmented areas can have corresponding white spots. With age, as lightening, all the spots become indistinguishable, and the dogs become pure white. Such spotting is not a tribal marriage, and these poodles can be used freely in breeding, but as partners it is better to select dogs with continuous pigmentation of the skin. When knitting such dogs with colored dogs, heterozygous for white spotting, it is possible the birth of spotted puppies. This circumstance is sometimes specially used by breeders.
6. White poodles, "blossoming" from silvery. This is either dogs born gray and "faded" to white color, or dogs "sable" type at birth, quickly "blossoming" to white.
7. Spotted dogs with small black, gray or brown spots in the residual depigmentation centers, which can lighten with age and become completely invisible. The intensity of skin pigmentation strongly depends on the sunlight. Dogs tend to "sunbathe" in the summer and brighten strongly in the winter. In dogs living in southern latitudes and mountainous areas, the pigmentation is much more pronounced than in the middle band or in the North.

II. Black color
In black poodles, both pigment - black eumelanin and yellow pheomelanin - are evenly distributed in the hair. However, in this case, the eumelanin granules are larger and the density of their distribution in the hair exceeds the density of the pellets of pheomelanin, so the black pigment almost completely masks the manifestation of yellow, and the wool looks black. Surprisingly at first glance, the intense black color is the most stable genetically and contains less "pitfalls" than the lighter colors. Crossing of black dogs with dogs of other colors is usually done in order to improve the quality of the wool and the exterior of the latter. The resulting dogs usually have a less deep black color, and often a worse exterior than black. In the future such individuals should be used in breeding with dogs of the appropriate color. The intensity of hair coloring is highly dependent on the thickness of the hair itself. Pigments are synthesized in the skin and then migrate into the hair. Eumelanin is encased in larger granules than pheomelanin, so its penetration into thin hair is difficult. In this regard, the under-current is often colored less intensively than the integumentary and coarse hair, and has a brownish hue. Modern imported black dogs have a somewhat different wool structure than the old-type poodles, whose hair was thick enough, the covering layer of individual hair - dense with tightly fitting scales, thick hair - literally "stuffed" with pigment granules, and the specific structure of the cover layer made them shiny. All this combined and created the effect of bright and shiny black "raven's wing". Unfortunately, almost all imported champions of recent years and most of their descendants do not have that deep and brilliant black color, like the previous domestic dogs - their color is duller, with a brownish or grayish hue, which often forces owners to resort to cosmetics. Some dogs turn gray very early. This deficiency is the result of the use of producers whose genotype, due to constant mixed dilution with other colors, is saturated with genes that impart undesirable shades to the black color. Selection of poodles of the modern type goes along the path of selecting dogs with long, thin, moderately crimped wool, having less thick integumentary hair, in structure consisting of loose, loosely overlapping scales giving the hair dullness. This coat is less intense and glossy, but it grows longer, it is easier to straighten out during combing, which makes it possible to create modern hairstyles from it.

III. Brown color
Poodles of a pronounced brown color (absolutely evenly colored dark dogs, whose color does not change with age) are close to black by genotype. Such specimens are extremely rare in practice. Most of the brown poodles, unfortunately, carry the genes that make the color heterogeneous and strongly brightening with age. In dogs with thin and "wadded" hair, the undercoat hair can be colored much lighter than the coat. Back, neck and tail, on which the outer hair is larger, will appear darker than, for example, the legs and abdomen of a dog. Currently, all breeders try to knit a clarified brown poodle with dark ones. This trend can hardly improve the light color; on the contrary, it causes irreparable damage to good color due to clogging it with clarifying alleles. From the point of view of genetics, the breeding of dark and light poodles should be conducted completely separately: only in this way it is possible to keep dogs of good brown color clean. Of great interest is the occasionally occurring isabel color, otherwise known as silver ti ("silver tea") or silver beige. This is a light brown or beige color with a shade of cocoa or even purple. Dogs of similar color have a brown nose and light, sometimes a greenish shade, eyes. Such puppies are born more often in litters of silver poodles of mixed breeding. In puppy-aged dogs, these dogs have a bright red-brown color and "blossom" with age.

IV. Silver color
This is a vast range of gray, blue and silvery tones. Age clarification in silvery poodles begins soon after birth and by the time of actinization is clearly visible on the cropped muzzles and puppies' legs. The four-to-six-month-old puppies "under the lion" have dark ends of hair on the mane, paws and tail and almost black ears. Since the intensity of the color is associated with the structure of the hair, the finally silver color is formed in parallel with the formation of the texture of the coat. As a result, until almost three years of age, it may not remain quite uniform.
In addition to the usual silvery poodles, periodically there are dogs, the age lightening of the wool in which they go very differently. Black color of puppies becomes less intensive, acquires a brownish hue, then gradually becomes dark blue. Similarly, "kerry-blue terriers" "blossom". Finally, the blue color is established no earlier than three years. In the formed state, it turns out to be very even and beautiful. Sometimes this color is called anthracite or blue. Poodles of this color are born more often when crossing silver poodles with dogs of other colors or as a result of crossing white and black poodles with each other. Sometimes in silver dogs, puppies are born immediately gray. Such puppies, as a rule, have light eyes and a dark gray, but not a black nose lobe.

V. Apricot color
The appearance of apricot (red) colors in poodles is primarily due to the action of a recessive pair of genes, under the influence of which the pigment eumelanin, in one form or another necessarily present in dogs of red color, does not spread through the dog's body, but focuses on the skin of the nose, lips , century. When the color is solid, an even apricot color is formed, however, the outer hair is usually more intense than the undercoat, so the areas of the coat with a larger number of core hair often appear darker. In fact, in adult apricot dogs you can find all the colors, from red to almost white. The study of the coloration of dogs of different breeds and animals of different species showed that, like eumelanin, which exists in two forms and provides black and brown color, pheomelanin also has several forms. Among poodles, we observe several variations of red color (red, bright apricot, light apricot color). Despite the similarity of some clarified apricot poodles to clarified browns, their colors are genetically fundamentally different. The proof is that when crossing apricot dogs with brown, black or gray poodles are obtained. Unfortunately, the entire population of apricot dogs is saturated with genes that promote lightening of color, so both red and bright apricot dogs, with rare exceptions, strongly discolor with age, and sometimes are born as such. And especially strongly decolorize the dogs of red color. Red color poodles were first obtained in America, where mixed color breeding is widely practiced. There is a point of view that such color in poodles could appear due to introductory crossing with an English cocker spaniel or Irish setter. But it is also possible the occurrence of a mutation that led to the appearance of this form of pheomelanin in the poodle.

VI. Non-standard colors
FCI does not recognize any colors, other than the five, stipulated by the standard. In some countries of the American continent, spotted and tan poodles are officially bred. They exist in some countries of Europe. So, in Germany popular poodles are spotty (white with black or gray spots) and tan color. They are officially exhibited and bred. In many journals published abroad, for example, such as "Pudel-Inter National" or "Der Pudel-Spigel", you can find advertisements for litter puppies of poodles like harlequins and black and tan color. Interestingly, such puppies are more expensive than dogs of standard colors. However, in order to "legalize" them in the FCI, the Germans went on a little trick: they were called the German poodle-dogs. From the point of view of physiology and genetics, non-standard colors do not carry anything harmful to the health of the dog and are not genetic markers of hereditary defects.

VII. Spotted poodles ("party color" or "harlequin")
In Germany, the poodles of the "color party" have a standard regulating the location and size of dark spots on a white background.
Several years ago in a number of clubs there were experimental groups of dogs of this color, corresponding to the German standard.
Most often poodles "party color" are obtained by crossing white dogs that have truffle skin, with silver or black, carrying spotting genes. The dimensions of black spots and their distribution depend on the presence of modifier genes. The main problem in the breeding of such poodles is associated with their origin from silvery, causing the age-related bleaching of black spots from birth. In this case, selection should be done by selecting dogs that do not change color with age. Strongly lightening dogs must be uniquely discarded.

VIII. Tanned Poodles
Occasionally, when poodles of different colors are crossed among themselves, puppies with a clearly delineated tan pattern are born, as, for example, in Dobermanns. Abroad such a color is called "phantom", "ext" or "black end". In the presence of genes of black color, black and tan dogs are obtained, and in the presence of genes of brown color - brown-tan.

Unfortunately, since such puppies are most often born from silvery and apricot or silver and white dogs, they are greatly clarified with age. In the first two months after birth, black and tan puppies look like English Cocker puppies and are extremely attractive. But then, unfortunately, age-lightening factors start to work, and adult dogs usually turn gray with white legs. The best option is a dog with the color of the Marengo with a light gray tan. Highly clarified dogs are undesirable for breeding neither in tan, nor in silver color and should be subject to culling. Selection of tan dogs should be conducted in the direction of selecting the most bright and persistently retaining color. The most promising way is to cross between black and apricot poodles, which carry the genes of the taiga. From such dogs there is a chance to get black-podded poodles with a red tan, which can be preserved in the adult state. This is a very difficult task! Therefore, it is not yet necessary to speak seriously about their breeding. But enthusiastic lovers of this color exist and, perhaps, they will be able to bring out "non-perpetual" dogs with bright colors.

Every new or rare sign (especially if the dog carrying it causes a violent emotional and aesthetic reaction) can become the subject of self-expression, self-affirmation of a person or a group of people, a breeder or a country. Unfortunately, the centers of origin of diversity and the centers of its distribution do not always coincide in time and space - otherwise there would not have been such historical incidents as the English breed of cats "Russian blue". In Ukraine, despite its fabulous wealth of any variety, including genetic selection, human competitiveness is extremely high - however, it can be two different consequences of a common cause, but there is no accountability to the future for accidental wealth. Therefore, it is possible to talk about the inherited colors of a poodle in the native language only abstractly and with an obvious share of nostalgia for that future Motherland.

Oksana Vishnyak,
Kiev, doctor of veterinary medicine,
veterinary help "4 paws"

1. Sotskaya M.N. Actually the colors of the poodle: www.poodle.ru, 2005.
2. N. Armstrong. Genes in the Poodle. - Michigan, VetGen, 2000, 102 p.
3. CC. Little. Inheritance of coat color in dogs. - NY, 1957, p. 187-190.