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Parti Poodles – A Curious and Unique Color Type



Parti Poodle is a head turner and a conversation starter primarily due to its unique hair coloration. But what makes a parti poodle different from the rest of the poodle colors?

A poodle will only be considered a parti poodle if and only if the base or the primary color is white. The primary color needs to constitute at least 50% of the coat coloration, whereas the remaining portion can be any of the acceptable poodle colors such as red, black, blue, brown, etc.

Now you’re probably wondering about a few things.

Are there any special requirements owners need to keep in mind?

What makes a parti poodle any different from any other colored poodle? 

Is a parti different from a multicolor poodle?

What is the difference between a phantom poodle and a parti poodle?

All these questions answered and much more in this article.

What is a Parti Poodle?

Parti poodles are poodles that have white as the primary color and have irregular patches of other acceptable solid colors such as black, red, silver, beige, cream, apricot, etc.

The poodle breed shows a variety of different colors but the parti coloration is truly unique.

Although they still remain relatively rare compared to their solid colored cousins, parti colored poodles are one of the most popular choices among modern dog owners for several reasons: they are considered exotic and attractive, and they make great companions due to their playful nature.

On a healthy parti, the white base and the secondary color have clear lines as boundaries rather than a secondary color just fading into white.

Patches on a parti are irregular and may fall at any part of the dog’s body. These patches are completely random and unique.

Parti Poodle Guide - PoodleGo

Parti Poodle Guide – PoodleGo

They are similar to the fingerprints on humans as no two fingerprints are the same.

So the question is, does your poodle meet the criterion for being a parti poodle or not? You be the judge!

To qualify as a parti, two standards should be met:

  • White should be the primary color.
  • More than half of the dog’s coat should be white, followed by a secondary color in the form of irregular and random patches.

Parti Poodle History

You’d be amazed at how little people know about the origin of parti poodles. While there are many theories, we’ll get to those in a minute. First, let me address this massive misconception that partis were developed by some sort of breeding experiment.

Many people believe that partis must have come from the marriage of other poodle types, but this isn’t the case. Partis have actually been documented throughout history and within many countries around the world. The image below is one of the paintings dating back to the 16th century that depicts what appear to be parti-colored dogs.

Where did parti poodles come from - parti poodle history

Where did parti poodles come from – parti poodle history

The lesser-known fact about the poodle breed is that they were originally multicolored and over time they were bred to remove the multicolor out of them.

Throughout the time period of the 1400s up to the 1800s, a parti poodle was thought of whenever describing, imagining, or painting a poodle.

Sadly enough by the mid-1900s, the horrifying act of killing parti poodles started as people began liking the standard poodle more.

Eliminating the Parti Poodle breed become some sort of trend back in that time. If it weren’t for some kennels who kept breeding partis, this color of poodles probably would have gone extinct as the people were working diligently to eliminate them.

There were mainly two ways people back in the 1900s tried to eliminate the parti poodles:

  1. By Killing Them – People just started killing parti poodles as it became a weird trend of sorts to like the standard-solid colored poodle.
  2. By Not Registering Them – Upon a parti’s birth people would just not register their poodles unless they were standards. Many people also used to kill parti poodle puppies upon birth as it was not desirable to the masses.

Both of these practices harmed the pedigree of parti poodles at large. These practices are still in play due to the ignorance of some breeders and only awareness can now stop such practices.

Parti Poodles Popularity Trends Over Time

Parti Poodles Popularity Trends Over Time

It can be clearly seen that this unique poodle color has dropped significantly in popularity and hasn’t been trending since July 2004. Without proper awareness about this breed, the numbers will continue to go down.

Parti Poodles are the most popular in the United States, followed by other countries such as Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

How To Breed A Parti Poodle – Parti Poodle Color Genetics

What color is my parti poodle going to be?

What patterns will my parti poodle have?

These are just some of the questions that get asked on a daily basis by breeders all over the world.

The parti poodle’s color genetics is a super-interesting matter, mainly because it is just so darn complicated. Just to be totally honest with you, there isn’t really much of a way to go about guessing what your parti’s puppies could look like.

But with some research into color genetics, one can make an educated guess based on knowledge of inheritance and the numerous factor critical to color development in parti dogs. So here we go – let’s look at the color genetics in partis!

The random patches appear due to the MITF gen in parti-poodles. MITF genes are genes that provide instructions for making a protein called melanocyte inducing transcription factors.

Parti Poodle color genetics are not as simple as white and colored. Due to the additional colors found in the poodle coat which include black, chocolate, and gray, there are many variations that can occur during each dog’s growth. These variables make breeding for parti poodle puppies very difficult to predict anything specific aside from obvious physical characteristics.

Partis can only be registered at AKC, CKC, and UKC if it’s purebred.

They are not accepted in the AKC conformation ring which is the reason for lower prices of parti poodle puppies as compared to standard poodle puppies.

What the AKC conformation ring does is it sets a breed standard and compares how closely they match up to a standard of that particular breed.

The reason given for not including parti poodles was because the closer a dog’s appearance is to its breed’s standards the better the quality of that dog to produce puppies and since the

Since 2004 parti poodles became eligible to be shown in the UKC (United Kennel Club) Confirmation Ring which is the second-largest Kennel Club In the United States.

How To Find What Genes My Dog Has?

If you adore your furry friend and want to know what genes your dog has then why not try using a VetGen kit? The VetGen dog DNA tests have been proven to be a waste of money and may not even work. So are there any alternatives that actually work?

Glad you asked!

A much better and reliable alternative to VetGen is the Dog DNA Test kit available on Amazon, out of the hundreds of the toolkits available on the site, we recommend Embark Dog DNA Test Kit.

Using Embark’s ancestry report, you can see the breakdown of breeds your dog has in its DNA from over 350 different dog breeds. From this knowledge, you can start to learn how much of a particular breed has been passed on in your dog. This might be something like, “Oh wow, he has a lot of husky in him!” These findings are particularly useful as a resource for those who are looking to adopt a puppy that shares similar characteristics to their existing dog.

The best thing about this is everything is included in the price which means you will not have to pay for the swab to be sent back to their labs.

Parti Poodle Colors

Parti poodles are a great choice for people who love uniqueness. They can be of any color combination and have different patterns such as black & white, brown & white are quite common whereas parti colors such as blue & white and red & white almost rare.

These doggos can also look very exotic while others look like they have been dipped in paint. It depends on the color of the parent as to which parti-color will their puppies inherit. Check out the following list of parti poodle colors.

Different Parti Poodle Colors - Black, Brown, Blue and Apricot

Different Parti Poodle Colors – Black, Brown, Blue and Apricot

Different Parti Poodle Colors - Cream, Red and Grey

Different Parti Poodle Colors – Cream, Red and Grey

Let’s Talk Mismark Poodles

Unlike partis, mismark poodles have less than 50% white and the other remaining percentage can be any acceptable other solid poodle colors.

This kind of coloration in poodles is also referred to as abstract among breeders and AKC show people.

The white markings are often observed around the chest area, paws, tail end or tip, chin, nose, or neck.

What are mismark poodles

What are mismark poodles

The terms Mismark or Abstract when attached with a poodle is enough to raise eyebrows, the name is unjust in our opinion and should be changed to something more apt for this beautiful and charismatic color.

I believe their “mismark” status, became apparent due to the fact that they don’t have uniform coloration.’

Just like the Parti Poodles, Abstract Poodles are also not accepted inside the AKC Ring. However, it can be registered under the UKC.

The UKC identifies mismarks as a color but deems it as acceptable but not preferable.

If one had to take the differentiation a step further they can always shave their poodles. (Not recommended, please don’t shave your poodle all the way)

Partis, when shaved down to the skin, will have 2 different colors on their skin whereas if you shave down a Mismark or an Abstract, the dog will only have the main color of their coat as their skin color.

What is a Multi-Colored Poodle?

A poodle that posses more than one solid color is known as a Multicolored Poodle.

Parti Poodles are Multi-Colored Poodles.

What are multicolor poodles

What are multicolor poodles

These dogs just like partis and mismarks are not accepted in the AKC Ring however they are allowed in the UKC Ring.

Multicolor Poodles are not defective. As mentioned above, poodles originally had more than one color but over time they were bred to have a single color to look more appealing.

Parti Poodle With Spots – Parti Poodle Ticking 

Parti poodles – particularly black and white – have spots of different colors referred to as ticking. When a poodle comes from a line of other poodles that are ticking, you likely have a poodle that will develop ticking of its own.

If your dog isn’t from a ticked-line and it has the typical solid color, your dog was born with a recessive ticking gene that is carried by many different breeds of dogs and will most likely become obvious when your dog gets older.

It is also related to when in the dog’s life he was bred; early years will have far less ticking than when bred as an adult.

What Is Poodle Ticking

What Is Poodle Ticking

This is fairly common in poodles, while the common perception among breeders is that ticking is some sort of defect, we personally think they look absolutely beautiful and give the dog a unique coat.

Many breeders also consider it a good practice not to breed Parti Poodles and Poodles with ticking as it may produce somewhat of an odd pattern or color.

Poodles with ticking are not accepted in the AKC Conformation Ring. However, the UKC deems ticking as “acceptable but not preferred”.

The reason it is acceptable is because of the fact that the first successful parti poodles in the United Kennel Club (UKC) confirmation Ring had ticking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What does parti poodle mean?

A. The word parti refers to the particular coloration of the breed and poodle means ‘splash of water’ which refers to the breed being a water-dog.

Q. Do parti poodles fade?

A. Yes, some parti poodles do show the sign of fading. Parti Poodles fading mainly depends on two factors:1. The DNA the dog carries.2. The color of its coat.

Q. Where does the parti poodle come from?

A. Poodles were originally multicolored and were bred to be a single solid color for their appeal. Original Poodles were partis which can be seen in painting that date back all the way up to the 1400s. You can learn more about the Parti Poodle History here.

Are parti poodles hypoallergenic?

A. Yes, parti poodles are hypoallergenic as they have a non-shedding coat which means that it will shed less any other dog breed. Hypoallergenic is a term that refers to the unlikeliness of a dog to have an allergic reaction.

Can you show a parti poodle?

A. Parti Poodles are not allowed to enter the AKC, CKC or the AKBC confirmation show. The UKC allows the breed to be entered in the show but deems them as ‘not preferable’.

How big does a parti poodle get?

A. Parti poodles can get as big as over 15 inches at the shoulder but most of them are in the range of 22 – 27 inches that is about 1.83 – 2.25 feet. They come in all sizes from a toy poodle to a standard-sized poodle. The thing that defines a parti is their coat color and not their size.

Are Parti Poodles purebred?

A. Not Necessarily. They can be purebred and when they are they can be registered at AKC, UKC, and CKC. For some ignorant reason, partis are not preferred but they still show in the litters of a standard poodle from time to time. One thing that is for sure is that when a parti is bred properly it is sure to turn heads.

How much does a parti poodle cost?

A. Parti Poodles can cost around $600 to $2000 without factoring in the deposit to reserve your parti and the shipping cost. The shipping cost usually upwards of $400 which includes an airline approved kennel and required health certificate. Trained parti poodles cost a bit more than untrained partis.


Partis are not a new breed. They were here long before any standard was set, and almost before anyone who isn’t really an old poodle lover or breeder noticed.

They have been around for many generations and this transition into the mainstream has been an easy one because they are just really wonderful dogs.

They have a rich history that is full of hardship and controversy.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading my post. This was my first time writing a blog post and I’m happy with how it turned out.

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you think parti poodles are awesome. Personally, I’m a fan of poodles and their uniqueness.

And that’s it! You’ve reached the end of the post, comment down your thoughts below, your feedback is always welcome!

About the Author Nancy Williams

My name is Nancy Williams and I am a writer, activist, and gardening enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. I started PoodleGo to help poodle owners find the right information on a variety of topics. I want to help reduce your learning curve in dog ownership by providing useful facts and tips that you can use immediately.

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  1. lol! The main picture on the page is my baby Tilly! If you want more pictures of her, let me know! She is now 10 months old and is a total cutie!

  2. I saw a parti yesterday. Didn’t know they even existed. This dog was stunning! Didn’t get a chance to talk to the owner, but wish I had.

  3. Honestly, parti poodles are the best. My husband and I have experience with different poodle colors and the parti poodle is hands down the easiest to train and control. Can’t believe people used to kill them because of their coat coloration.

  4. I have an 8 week standard parti puppy he was born black and white but after a couple weeks his black was replaced with chocolate brown which is shorter and courser than his white is this common?

    1. Hey Cindy!

      This is pretty normal for your parti poodle, and you have nothing to worry about, they usually clear their initial coat color by the time they are two years old.

      What color did he finally change to? Do let me know!

  5. Thank you for this background. We acquired a beautiful red parti pup 3 weeks ago – now 3 months old – not choosing him for his color but for his disposition. I honestly didn’t care about color, but we love his coloration and he is indeed turning heads even at his young age. He’s almost solid white except for ears and face – where there are also “freckles” or ticking. 3 or 4 random patches on his body just as you describe. Now that we’ve been introduced to this coloration I must say I actually prefer it to most of the solids. And his personality can’t be beat. Even my now-tired vet and good friend who loves standards had never seen or heard of this coloration. Although he is AKC registered as are his dam and sire, we only want him for a family pet so don’t care about showing.. We have, however, begun obedience training!!!!!

    1. Dear Judy, Thank you for sharing, I am glad to hear that you chose such a gorgeous color. I am delighted to hear that you have begun his obedience training. Best wishes for his future!

  6. Most Toy Poodles live long, happy, healthy lives thanks to the efforts of dedicated, responsible breeding which is exactly what we do here at homebred poodles.
    Poodles of any size are very active dogs who require good exercise every day to suit their high energy level. Poodles are eager for all kinds of activity, and they enjoy keeping busy. Swimming is a great exercise for them, and most Poodles love to get in the water. Bred as hunting dogs, their impulse is to retrieve, so tossing toys, sticks, or balls for them will exercise both their mind and body. They also thrive on going for jogs or long walks with their human.

  7. Love the article! It was educational for me, as I am a new Parti Poodle mom to an 8-week old pup. After deciding on the breed, I chose him for his special markings. He has 3 black spots and his head is all black, like a helmet. After reviewing some parti pics online, I noticed many with black heads. Is the black head a signature trait or coincidence?

    1. Thanks Cour, I’m glad the article was helpful! Yes, the “black heads” are some sort of a recognizable trait. Although markings are random, there are certain spots such as the head, the chest, the tail, etc. where the markings are more likely to appear.

  8. Thank you for this informative article.

    We have two parti standards. Our boy, black and white tuxedo markings, 26” and 62 lb. our girl dog black and white ‘cow’ style markings with mostly black head like her ‘brother’, 24” and 52 lb. Both have ticking.

    I’m astounded that the parti color is so often not allowed, lol. We have nothing but compliments on them in public. Many people want to know what exotic breed they are and where we got them. We’ve had people yell compliments out of car windows!! Ah, well. No accounting for taste, I guess!

  9. I recently bought a standard parti poodle girl. I like the parti coloring much better than the typical colors. I find them much more interesting and beautiful! I was wondering if my pup had ticking or Merle. Didn’t know poodles had ticking.
    My pup is a doll and a charmer with everyone, right before she goes full shark and nips them😂
    Great article, thanks for the info

  10. Getting my first Parti …now know it will be an Abstract (black with white paws and tail tip) after reading your blog, in 6 weeks – can’t wait!! A little brother for our current chocolate solid boy of 7 years💕🐩🐩

  11. Greetings! My family has owned poodles of all different sizes and colors my whole life (mostly black or white). I’ve always wanted a parti poodle and just got a female standard black and white puppy. She’s gorgeous, with the characteristic black head, ticking on the front legs, two spots on her back, a black tail with a white tip, and one of her back legs is black and the other white. She’s absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to see how she develops. As with many trends in breeding, some colors are more in fashion than others (unfortunately). Let’s hope the parti poodles are on the upward swing now and will eventually get let into the ring with the others. I also have never seen a parti poodle in a shelter. I looked and looked before purchasing this one from a breeder. I also looked at many poodle rescue organizations and could not find one near where I live. It would be great if when someone sees a poodle in a shelter, to please notify one of the poodle rescue organizations. They exist for purposefully placing these beautiful and smart creatures into loving homes. Best wishes to you all. @GreenbellyStudios

  12. Hi Nancy can you confirm for me if a litter has only one parti parent will they be all called parti factored ?
    Cheers and Thankyou Diana 🙋‍♀️Australia

  13. Hi, can I send you a picture of some pups which we are considering adopting? A friend stated they might be Parti-poodles and I’d love to know more. Please let me know how I can send a photo to you. thanks in advance.

  14. I have a Parti poodle with ticking, she is so beautiful, lovely nature. But people think that she is part poodle, like Dalmatian and poodle. So I always have to explain that she is a Parti poodle. Thanks for this info now I will have more to tell them. Yes she gets a lot of attention where ever we go.

  15. Thank you for your very extensive article on parti poodles! We have a black and white boy, and he is the smartest and best dog we’ve ever had. Your article answered a lot of questions for us.

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