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Parti Poodles Today

The genes that produce the parti-colored Poodle have survived over a century of expurgation. Why the parti-color was banned from Poodle clubs is a matter of conjecture, but that it is a historically "correct" color of the Poodle is authenticated by documentation in various historical dog books. See Emily Cainís "Poodle History Project" at http://www.poodlehistory.org/   This is a  historically correct, properly patterned, parti-colored Standard Poodle that was painted by the renowned artist George Stubbs (1724-1803).

Today, many challenges face breeders of parti-colored Poodles. One of these challenges is to write a standard that categorizes the different two-color patterns. Since the term "parti-color" means more than one color, there has been some contention as to what should be acceptable in terms of a color standard. The breed standard for the Parti Poodle would, of course, be the same breed standard as for the Poodle Club of America -- with the exception that the parti-color pattern is allowed.

Several different parti-color patterns exist in Poodles. There is the "historically correct" pattern, which is a white background with other-colored large patches (usually black, gray, brown or apricot) and a colored head with a white stripe up the nose. A variation of this pattern would be a dog with a white body, a different solid-colored head and usually (but not always) a colored saddle patch and/or a spot covering the base of the tail. It is preferred in both patterns that the dog have a white tip on its tail. The "tuxedo" is a pattern where (ideally) the body, tail and head are of one solid color, while the legs, chest and underbelly are white. There is a brindle pattern, which often clears to a solid color, and a phantom, which is marked similar to a Doberman. There are also other two-color patterns that breeders refer to as mismarks, i.e. white chest patch, white toes, etc.

All of these patterns can carry parti genes and can produce the correct parti-color if paired with the right partner. If every Poodleís correct color pattern were listed on its registration, it would be an asset in determining which dogs to use for a parti-color breeding program. When I consulted with geneticist, Dr. John Armstrong of the Poodle Diversity Program, http://www.magna.ca/~kaitlin/poodle/pdlcolor.html he stated that the brindle, phantoms and tuxedos were varied, weaker patterns of the parti genes. However, they would be an important part of the history and breeding package.

From my personal experience in breeding for the parti-color in Standard Poodles, nothing appears to be consistent in attaining these colors. I have bred two solids and gotten a 50/50 litter of partiís, yet I have bred two known parti-genes carriers and ended up with only one tuxedo pup out of a litter of nine other solid colored puppies. Each parent should have carried the genes stronger than was suggested by the end result. This, of course, is mainly due to the fact that we do not currently know the strengths of the genes. At this time, in parti-colored Standard Poodles, it is always a surprise what we get from a litter.

I also breed red Standard Poodles, and in 1997 I bred a red female to a white male whom I thought carried red genes. What I got was a litter of all but one parti-colored red and white pups. I was surprised since the AKC registration from each of the parents listed all solid colors - although not all Poodles registered with AKC are registered with their true colors. In addition, most Poodle breeders do not mention that they have had a parti-colored pup in a litter. These puppies are often culled at birth. At the very least, parti-colored pups are placed in pet homes and never registered. However, if a parti-colored pup shows up in a litter, that means that its littermates could be carriers of the parti genes even though they are solid colored. In a later breeding, an owner may not understand why the parti-color has shown up. On his website, Dr. Armstrong explains how this happens. He says that parti genes can remain hidden for many, many generations before the perfect match comes along and brings the parti pattern forth in a breeding.

Up until the 1960ís, some famous kennels in England bred parti-colored Standard Poodles. Among these were Ann Cambray Coppage, Vulcan Kennels, Jane Lane, Nunsoe Kennels, and Shirley Walne, Champagne Kennels. In an article written for "Our Poodle," the August 1977 edition,  Miss Coppage wrote, "The character of the particolours was always unique; somehow they had an extra dimension -- just that bit more clever, amusing or intelligent than their solid-colour littermates."

I have also found this to be true of my parti-colored Poodles. In addition, while degrees of devotion are hard to quantify, my Partis seem devoted in a more personal way than are my solid colored Poodles. While being friendly and outgoing towards other people, the Partis watch me the whole time to check my reaction. Star, Genesis, Chatty and Gossip, are friendly to other people but the moment Iím out of their sight, the other person is forgotten and they instantly seek my presence.

As more information becomes available about the parti-colored Poodle, we will update this page.

Sandi K. Savedra...334-488-6614