Phantom Poodle – What It Really Means To Be This Color

Categorized as Poodle Colors, Poodle Breed Information
Phantom Poodles (1)

Phantom poodles are one of the more unique poodle coat colorations.

While everyone knows what a black poodle or a white poodle is, not many know what a phantom poodle is.

So, what is a phantom poodle?

Phantom poodles have a coat pattern that consists of a primary color, also known as the base color, along with a secondary color that appears in the form of markings in specific areas such as the area above the eyebrow, at the side of the muzzle, throat & chest, parts of the legs, as well as underneath the poodle’s tail.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at these unique dogs, including their history, what they look like and how much they cost.

Phantom Poodle Vital Stats

  • Origin: Germany, France
  • Other Names: Caniche, Barbone, French Poodle, Teddy Poodle, Pudel
  • Coat Color: 
  • Size variations: Standard, Miniature, and Toy
  • Lifespan: 12 to 18 years
  • Coat: Curly, Long
  • Rarity: Rare
  • Exercise: > 40 minutes
  • Personality: Intelligent, Versatile, Eager to Please, Active, Energetic, Confident, Agile, Loyal, Shy, Sharp
  • Traits: Intelligent, Highly Energetic, Non-Aggressive, Decent with other dogs, Good with children, Highly affectionate with family members, Low Shedding (Hypoallergenic), Require Regular Grooming, Less Likely to Drool, Highly Playful, Highly Trainable, Very Vocal, Needs a lot of Mental & Physical Stimulation, Highly Open to Meeting New People

What Are Phantom Poodles?

What Are Phantom Poodles

The term phantom in poodles has more to do with the poodle’s coat pattern rather than the coat color.

Phantom poodles have a coat pattern that consists of two colors (except for tricolor phantom poodles) primary color and a secondary color.

The primary color, also known as the base color, is often spread across the entirety of a poodle’s coat. In contrast, the secondary color appears in the form of markings in specific areas.

All the markings of a phantom poodle should be present in the following areas:

  1. Eyebrows – Spot marks over each eye
  2. Side of the muzzle – Clearly visible markings on each side of the poodle’s muzzle. These markings almost never appear on the bridge of the poodle’s nose.
  3. Throat & Chest – Triangle markings near both shoulders. These two triangular marks often conjoin which forms a whole different shape.
  4. Parts of the legs – Markings are apparent on parts of the legs and extend from the upper arm all the way to the paws. In some phantoms, the markings are connected to the markings near the shoulder whereas in others the markings are separate and do not conjoin.
  5. Tail – Poodles often have docked tails, but the markings should be apparent underneath the tail.

These marking are similar to the markings that can be seen on a Doberman or a Rottweiler.

The separation of the coat’s primary color and the secondary color in the form of the markings should be clearly visible on the coat.

How Soon Are The Phantom Markings Apparent?

Phantom poodle markings

While it is usual for a phantom poodle to be born as a solid-colored poodle and then grow into their phantom markings, it is not uncommon for a phantom poodle to be born with distinctive phantom markings.

For phantoms born with solid-colored coats, their phantom markings start to become apparent around 6 to 9 weeks. However, for some phantoms, it may take a bit longer.

In most phantom poodles, the markings will become obvious before the puppy turns 6 months old.

Markings around the eyebrows and the muzzle are the earliest to become apparent.

If a phantom poodle isn’t showing any markings by 6 weeks, then it is very possible that the markings will be very faint. Genetically, these poodles still carry the phantom genes – they’re just low expression.

Some people have created a new term: “low expression genetic phantoms” for phantom poodles with faint markings.

These poodles are often difficult to tell apart from a poodle with a solid-colored poodle.

Phantom Poodle Colors

As I mentioned before, all phantom poodles (except for tricolor phantom poodles), have a coat combination that is made up of two different colors:

  1. Primary Color – The primary color also known as the base color is the color that is spread across the poodle’s coat.

2. Secondary Color – The secondary color also as the phantom points on a phantom poo can be seen in the forms of markings that are present in specific areas of a phantom poodle’s coat.

Phantom poodle colors
For a black and tan phantom poodle, black is the primary color and covers the most of the coat, whereas, tan is the secondary colors and is can be seen in the form of phantom points.

For each base color on a phantom poodle’s coat, there can be several secondary colors. Because of this phantom poodles have a wide selection of colors which makes them so fascinating.

Genetically, a phantom poodle can be born with any of the following primary or base colors: black, blue, silver, silver beige, café, or brown.

As for the color of the phantom points – they can be red, apricot, cream, white, or tan.

Along with all of these different phantom poodle colors, a phantom poodle can be brindled as well as clear.

When a phantom poodle is brindled, the phantom points look grubby and are termed “dirty phantoms” by some breeders.

Parti Poodles and Phantom Poodles

parti poodles and phantom poodles

While parti poodles and phantom poodles may look alike, they are very different.

A parti poodle has a distinct coat that is at least 50% white with patches of any of the acceptable poodle colors appearing on the poodle’s coat.


A phantom poodle has a coat that consists of a dark base color with markings also known as tan points appearing on specified areas such as above the eyebrow, side of the muzzle, legs, feet, below the tail, throat, chin and on the chest.

To put it in simple terms,

  • A parti poodle has to have white as the base color and cover 50% of the coat.
  • A phantom poodle does not have at least 50% white in their coat.
  • Unlike parti poodles that have patches appearing on random areas of the coat, phantom poodles have markings on their coat that appear on specified areas of the poodle’s coat.
  • Multicolored poodles that have a coat that has less than 50% white are known as abstract poodles.

How Big Do Phantom Poodles Get?

How do big do phantom poodles get

How big a phantom gets is based on two major factors: their size variation (toy, miniature, moyen, or standard) and the gender of the phantom poodle (male or female).

The official poodle standard recognizes three different poodle sizes: toy, miniature, and standard.

However, over time people have created their own unofficial classifications such as Large Poodle (aka Royal or Giant Poodle), Moyen Poodle (aka Medium or Klein Poodle), and Teacup Poodle (aka Micro Poodle).

Here’s a table that shows you a range of height and weight of fully grown phantoms based on their size variation.

Phantom Poodle SizePhantom Poodle Height (in inches)Female Phantom Poodle Weight (in lbs)Male Phantom Poodle Weight (in lbs)
Large Phantom Poodle*25 to 32 in.60 to 100 lbs.60 to 100 lbs.
Standard Phantom Poodle15 to 24 in.40 to 50 lbs.60 to 70 lbs.
Moyen Phantom Poodle*16 to 20 in.20 to 35 lbs.25 to 40 lbs.
Miniature Phantom Poodle10 to 15 in.10 to 15 lbs.10 to 15 lbs.
Toy Phantom Poodle6 to 10 in.6 to 9 lbs.6 to 9 lbs.
Teacup Phantom Poodle*5 to 8 in.4 to 6 lbs.4 to 6 lbs.
How Big Do Fully Grown Phantom Poodles Get?

* There are no official height and weight standards for large, moyen, and teacup poodles. The height and weight range presented in the table above are the ones that are generally accepted in the poodle community.

According to AKC’s Poodle Breed Standard:

  • A standard phantom is over 15 inches tall at the highest point of the shoulders.
    • Standard poodles that are less than 15 inches tall are not allowed to compete under standard poodles and are disqualified.
  • A miniature phantom is over 15 inches tall at the highest point of the shoulders.
    • A miniature poodle that is over 15 inches tall and is 10 inches or under is not allowed to compete under miniature poodles and is disqualified.
  • A toy phantom is 10 or under 10 inches tall at the highest point of the shoulders.
    • A toy poodle that is over 10 inches tall shall not be allowed to compete under toy poodles and will be disqualified.

In general, irrespective of size and color, female poodles are smaller than their male counterparts.

Are Phantom Poodles Purebred

Phantom poodles, like parti poodles, are not considered to be purebred dogs. Phantom poodles do not have a defined purebred standard for phantom markings. Moreover, their coat color is considered a defect and is disqualified from many conformation rings such as the ones organized by the AKC or the CKC.

Here’s why.

The recognition or knowledge of a dog has the most to do with the standard that is set in place, an ideal model that other dogs are compared with to decide how closely the dog resembles the ideal model or the standard.

Poodles, too, like many other breeds, have written documentation or standard of how a poodle should look like.

The standard for poodles was first approved in 1984 and was only reformatted in the year 1990. Even after over 30 years, the standard for poodles has not changed much.

The official standard for poodles not only describes traits like size, proportion, eyes, ears, skull, muzzle, etc, they also go to great lengths when describing the standards for the color of a poodle’s coat.

Here are some direct quotes from the official standards documentation,

The coat is an even and solid color at the skin.

Parti-colored dogs shall be disqualified. The coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but is of two or more colors.

The document does not even mention the existence of phantom poodles, and only mentions parti poodles in a negative manner.

Since phantom poodles are a subset of parti poodles, this disqualification of parti poodles can also be extended toward phantom poodles.

Are Phantom Poodles Rare?

The term phantom has more to do with a poodle’s coat combination rather than single solid coat color.

This makes it difficult to judge if all phantom poodles are rare or not given how many different phantom coat colorations are available to the poodle gene pool.

In general, phantom poodle colors are rarer when compared to other solid poodle colors.

However, even within all the different phantom poo colors – some phantom colors like red, brown, and apricot are rare when compared to other phantom colors like black.

No matter the color of the phantom poo, I always advise my readers to not focus too much on a specific phantom poo color and focus more on the quality of the poodle.

Consider the reputation of the breeder, if they health test their breeding stock or not, and what conditions they keep their dogs in – these are just some of the things I advise my readers to consider when looking for a poodle regardless of what color the coat is.

Breeders who focus too much on producing a poodle of a specific color or color combination often compromise the health of the poodle. So, make sure you do your own research before purchasing a phantom poodle.

Are Phantom Poodles Hypoallergenic?

Are phantom poodles hypoallergenic

Before discussing whether phantom poos are hypoallergenic or not, it is important to understand the definition of a hypoallergenic dog breed.

A hypoallergenic dog breed is a dog breed (or crossbreed) that is purportedly more compatible with allergic people than are other breeds.

Hypoallergenic dog breed. In Wikipedia.

While it is commonly believed that poodles are the number one choice when it comes to a dog breed that is compatible with people who suffer from allergies, it simply isn’t the case.

Let me explain.

According to a study conducted by the researchers at Henry Ford Hospital, there were no findings that could support the claim that households with hypoallergenic dogs had fewer allergens as compared to homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs.

So why is it a widely accepted ‘fact’ that phantom poos are hypoallergenic dogs and they don’t trigger any allergies?

Here are a few theories as to why that may be.

Poodles have hair instead of fur.

The main difference between dogs that have fur and dogs such as toy poodles is the fact that fur is denser, grows quickly, and sheds often.

Whereas a poodle’s hair grows out very slowly, which means they shed far less than dogs with fur.

Unlike breeds that have fur instead of hair, such as Huskies and German Shepherds who are known for shedding a lot – poodles don’t shed nearly as much.

Notice I said don’t shed nearly as much instead of poodles don’t shed at all – this is exactly the part that breeders fail to mention.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies.

In fact, allergies are one of the top six chronic illnesses causing conditions in America.

Breeders see these numbers as an opportunity to make money so they twist the facts to make wild claims such as poodles not shedding at all, or poodles being 100% hypoallergenic dogs that won’t trigger any allergies.

But that’s not how it should be and this needs to change.

While phantom poodles are considered to be hypoallergenic dogs, there are no previous allergy studies that could confirm this claim.

So, if you or someone you live with suffers from an allergy, I highly recommend talking to a qualified medical professional to get their opinions before welcoming your new furry friend to your family. 

Do Phantom Poodles Fade?

Do phantom poodles fade

Some phantom colors in poodles turn to a lighter shade as the puppy ages while other colors pretty much stay the same. How much a phantom poodle will fade depends mostly on what is in the background of the poodle’s coat.

Phantom colors like silver and silver beige fade to the point where they are pretty much indistinguishable from their solid counterparts.

Let’s look at some of the primary or base phantom colorations, when they fade, how much they fade, and what color they fade to:

  1. Black Black phantoms are known to not fade significantly unless they are blue or silver phantoms in disguise (more on this later). Naturally, as black phantoms age, their coat color fades to a lighter shade.
  2. Blue – Blue phantom poos are born with a black colored coat which changes to a blueish-gray color around the 2-year mark. One can, however, make out whether the poodle is a blue phantom or a black phantom as early as 2 months.
  3. Silver – Silver phantom poos, like their blue counterparts, are born with a black-colored coat which changes from light silver to dark gray-colored coat around the 2-year mark. Silver-colored phantoms ‘clear’ from their black colored coat to their final coat color quicker than blue phantoms and one can identify a silver phantom from a black phantom as early as 4 weeks.
  4. Brown – Brown phantom poodles do not fade as much as some of the other colors. They do, however, turn to a lighter shade of brown as they age.

Let’s now talk about phantom points and what to expect from them in terms of fading.

  1. Red – Red phantom points do not fade as bad as other colors like apricot or cream. Red phantom points at birth are much darker which naturally fades to a lighter shade of red as the puppy ages.
  2. Apricot – Apricot phantom points are known to be one of those colors that fade the most significantly. Apricot poodles are born with a much darker peach color which fades to a much lighter color. This faded color can either be a much lighter shade of apricot or if the color is too faded – it can be almost cream-ish in color.
  3. Cream – Like red and apricot, cream phantom points fade significantly, sometimes to an almost white-like color which can be difficult to tell apart.
  4. White – The white coloration is probably the only color that is known to not fade as the poodle ages.

How Much Does a Phantom Poodle Cost?

How much do phantom poodles cost

If you’re in the market for a phantom poodle, you might be wondering how much they cost.

First of all, there are three different sizes of phantom poodles: toy, miniature, and standard.

The average price of phantom poodles as well as the price range for each size are listed below:

  • Phantom toy poodles cost $2360 on average with prices ranging from $1900 to $3600.
  • Phantom miniature poodles cost $2930 on average with prices ranging from $1860 to $3800.
  • Phantom standard poodles cost $2960 on average with prices ranging from $1800 to $3500.

In addition to size, the color combination of their coats is a major factor in determining the price of these poodles.

Here are the prices of some of the phantom poodles based on their color:

Prices of Different Standard Phantom Poodles Based On Their Color

ColorAverage PricePrice Range
Apricot and Cream Standard Phantom Poo$1990$1250 to $2400
Black and Cream Standard Phantom Poo$1800$1800 to $2200
Black and Tan Standard Phantom Poo$1990$1250 to $2100
Black and Silver Standard Phantom Poo$2250$1980 to $2600
Tan and Apricot Standard Phantom Poo$1800$1650 to $2280
Prices of Different Standard Phantom Poodle Colors

Prices of Different Miniature Phantom Poodles Based On Their Color

ColorAverage PricePrice Range
Apricot and Cream Miniature Phantom Poo$1790$1790
Black and Cream Miniature Phantom Poo$3200$2800 to $3280
Black and Tan Miniature Phantom Poo$1200$1200
Prices of Different Miniature Phantom Poodle Colors

Prices of Different Toy Phantom Poodles Based On Their Color

ColorAverage PricePrice Range
Apricot and Cream Toy Phantom Poo$3940$3940
Black and Cream Toy Phantom Poo$2860$2300 to $3600
Prices of Different Toy Phantom Poodle Colors

The color of a phantom poodle depends on the following factors:

  • Gender – Female poodles cost a bit more than males.
  • Color of the poodle – Based on the rarity of the color and the demand.
  • Vaccination Status – Whether the poodle is up-to-date with their vaccines or not.
  • Different States – The price of poodles differs from state to state.
    • For example, the price of a phantom toy poodle is the highest in states like Arkansas and Ohio as compared to states like Nevada and Mississippi in which the prices are the lowest.
  • Registration Status – Whether the puppy has been registered or not, which registry has the puppy been registered to, etc.
  • Pedigree – Whether the puppy belongs to a champion bloodline or not.
  • Microchipping Status – Whether the puppy has been microchipped or not.
  • Veterinarian Approved – Whether the puppy has been checked by a vet or not.
  • Health Certificate – Whether the puppy comes with a health certificate or not.
  • Health Guarantee – Whether the breeder claims a health guarantee or not.
  • Socialization Status – Whether the puppy will;l be socialized or not.
  • House Training Status – Whether the puppy will be house-trained or not.
  • Travel Crate – Whether the puppy comes with a travel crate or not

Frequently Asked Questions

Define Phantom Poodle.

The term phantom in phantom poodles refers to the distinct marking that appears on specific areas of the poodle’s body. These markings appear above each eye, side of the muzzle, chin, throat, chest, and all four legs & feet. The color of a phantom poodle’s coat consists of two colors; a base color and the color of the phantom markings.

What Does Phantom Mean in Poodles?

The term phantom refers to the markings that appear on a phantom poodle’s coat. The markings on a phantom poodle are similar to those that can be seen on a Doberman or a Rottweiler. These markings are also known as tan points.

Are Phantom Poodles Born Black?

Phantom poodles can be born having a black-colored coat, however, the markings of a phantom poodle start becoming apparent around 6 to 9 weeks and may fully develop by the time the puppy reaches the age of 6 months.

Do Phantom Poodles Change Colour?

Phantom poodles can change color, especially colors like silver and silver beige fade to the point that they are difficult to tell apart from their solid counterparts. Additionally, since both blue and silver phantoms can be born with a black-colored coat, a phantom poodle born with a black coat can change their color from black light silver to dark gray-colored in the case of a silver phantom or a blue-ish gray in the case of a blue phantom.

Are Phantom Poodles Recognized by the AKC?

Phantom poodles are recognized by the AKC, however, they are not allowed to enter AKC run conformation rings as this coat coloration is considered a fault and is disqualified. A phantom poodle can, however, participate in AKC run agility or obedience competitions.

Are Phantom Poodles More Expensive?

Phantom poodles can be expensive based on how rare their coat combination is. Some rare phantom colors are red, apricot, silver, and brown. Such phantom colors often seek a higher price than most poodle colors.

What Is a Phantom Parti Poodle?

A phantom parti poodle is a poodle that has at least 50% white on their coat along with phantom markings on specified areas of their body such as the area above the eyes, side of the muzzle, chin, throat, chest, and all four of the legs. A phantom parti poodle is very rare and difficult to consistently breed.

What Is an Abstract Phantom Poodle?

An abstract phantom poodle is a poodle that has a white color on less than 50% of their coat along with phantom markings on specified areas of their body such as the area above the eyes, side of the muzzle, chin, throat, chest, and all four of the legs.

Phantom Poodle Names

Naming your phantom poodle is a challenge. There are so many names to choose from and they all seem equally good or bad. However, the following suggestions should help you narrow it down:

Female Phantom Poodle Names

  • Ada
  • Adelle
  • Astrid
  • Babrie
  • Bambi
  • Cassandra
  • Chanel
  • Chell
  • Claire
  • Clara
  • Cleopatra
  • Coral
  • Disney
  • Dora
  • Duchess
  • Ella
  • Fancy
  • Felicity or Feli for short
  • Fleur (Flower in French)
  • Freya
  • Gigi
  • Izzy
  • Javvy
  • Kasha
  • Kitza (Rhymes with pizza)
  • Kitzu
  • Kyra
  • Lily
  • London
  • Luna (Moon)
  • Macushla (Dear or Sweetheart)
  • Maya
  • Mia
  • Murrey
  • Neema
  • Nixie
  • Pama
  • Paris
  • Pippa
  • Pippi
  • Pipsi Longstockings (phantom markings from elbow to feet)
  • Poppy
  • Rainies
  • Regal
  • Remy
  • Rubi
  • Sandra
  • Sandy
  • Shatzi (Dear or Sweetheart in German)
  • Skye
  • Stella
  • Suki
  • Sukiya
  • Taki
  • Tico (Squirrel’s name in Dora the explorer)
  • Tiki
  • Tulip
  • Violet
  • Wilsonette
  • Zelda

Male Phantom Poodle Names

  • Ajax
  • Alex
  • Apollo
  • Arrow
  • Beamer
  • Bingo
  • Brubeck
  • Buster
  • Caville
  • Chewie
  • Darwin
  • Daville
  • Dominique
  • Echo
  • ET
  • Gatsby
  • Gizmo
  • Gunner
  • Harper
  • Hawking
  • Houdini (phantom markings disappear and reappear like magic)
  • Jagger
  • Larry Hotdogs
  • Levi
  • Loki
  • Magic
  • Markus
  • Mike
  • Pascal
  • Pierre
  • Plato
  • Raffiki
  • Ramon
  • Reno
  • Riki
  • Roland
  • Scooter
  • Sharky
  • Sherlock
  • Snickers
  • Spencer
  • Spot
  • Suds
  • Sunny
  • Tesla
  • Tiko
  • Tram
  • Velcro
  • Yoda

Please leave your suggestions for naming a phantom poodle in the comments section, and I will update this list with your suggestions.

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!


  1. We lost our 14 year ok’d black and silver phantom Sterling when he fell and broke his neck. Inconsolable when my daughter found an exactly colored phantom puppy right in our neighborhood!!! Her name is Jacky after Jackie Kennedy she is the light of my life❤️

  2. Since I brought her home, my mini phantom poodle has always had a black nose, but now it seems as though her nose is turning dark brown, and she is only five months old. Is there anything we can do to keep her nose black?

    1. Hello Amy, thanks for your question.

      It is possible that your dog’s nose is changing color because of a condition called Snow Nose. Treatment for this condition is not available, but the good news is that it is only a cosmetic problem that will have no negative impact on your dog’s health. The condition is generally temporary, and the nose color returns to normal after some time.

  3. add to names:

    Sugar Baby

    We named or black & red Phantom – Lil’Stormy
    (we were delayed getting him because of Hurrican Ida)
    I had originally picked Sugar baby because it looked like spots of
    caramel had fallen all over his black coat, face, and legs.

  4. My 5 mo old Black and Tan toy phantom came named Rocket. I kept the name and it is perfect for this busy boy as he tears through the house.

  5. Hi,we have a blue phantom poodle, miniature, who is 11years. Her name is Ashley Mae Bleu,and she is very precious!

  6. I don’t even know how I ended up right here, but I thought
    this post was once great. I do not understand who you’re however certainly you’re going to a famous
    blogger should you aren’t already. Cheers!

  7. Our two phantom sisters just recently passed away at 12 1/2 years old—-we lost them a few months apart. They have brought our family so much joy. How can we find a list of breeders? We live in Texas.

  8. Our blue and white minipoo baby (we didn’t know he was blue when we got him! What an awesome surprise!) is Mr. Barksley…

  9. My black and silver miniature phantom poodles name is Ca$h. Bought him in the worst part of pandemic after losing the last of our 3 rescue dog’s. Didn’t know he was a phantom poodle until reading about them on the internet. His name of course comes from the most money I have ever spent on a puppy. Love him dearly ❤️❤️

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