Phantom Poodle guide (Before you buy)

Confused about Poodle colors? Phantom Poodle? What!! You’re not alone. A Phantom Poodle is a real Poodle, with a distinctive and eye-catching color pattern. 

The Phantom Poodle consists of a solid base color (typically black or brown) with light-colored patches of another color (such as tan, apricot, or cream) above each eye, the sides of the muzzle, throat, chest, legs, underbelly, and below the tail. 

Overall, the phantom Poodle is bound to leave a lasting impression on whoever he meets. So, join us as we dive into the world of the phantom Poodle as we discover what makes this coloration so special.

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Coat Appearance

Phantom Poodles have a specific coat pattern.

To know if a Poodle is a phantom it should have a darker base color with bits of lighter markings on specific areas. These markings are known as phantom or tan points and can be found above the eyes (eyebrows), sides of the muzzle, chin, throat, chest, legs, underbelly, and under the tail.

The darker base color is usually black but can also be brown, blue, or silver. The phantom points can be red/tan, apricot, cream, or chalk white (almost white). 

Color Variations 

Here are some of the possible color combinations;

  • Black Phantom Poodle (Black with tan, cream, chalk white, or apricot points)
  • Blue Phantom Poodle- (Blue-gray with tan, cream, chalk white, or apricot points)
  • Silver Phantom Poodle- (Silvery with tan, cream, chalk white, or apricot points). Silver Poodles tend to fade over time due to the progressive greying gene hence the markings may become almost indistinguishable as the base color gets lighter.
  • Brown/chocolate phantom Poodle- (Chocolate with tan, cream, chalk white, or apricot points)
  • Merle Phantom Poodle- (Merle with tan, cream, chalk white, or apricot points)
  • Red Phantom Poodle- Has red or tan points
  • Apricot phantom Poodle- Has apricot points 
  • Cream Phantom Poodle- Has cream points
  • Brindle Phantom Poodle- Has brindle points
  • Tricolor Phantom Poodle (Parti phantom)- This is a parti Poodle with phantom markings often showing on the face and eyebrows. The dog can have black, blue, silver, or brown base color with phantom points plus varying degrees of white markings.

Parti Vs Phantom Poodle

Phantom Poodles are often confused with Parti Poodles due to their bi-colored coats, but they differ in that the Phantom Poodle has markings in specific areas, while Parti Poodles have white making up at least 50% of their coat with random markings of a secondary color.

Phantom Poodle genetics

The Phantom Poodle pattern is determined by the interaction between several genes; these are a combination of the A (agouti) locus, the E (extension) locus, and the K (dominant black) locus. The dog should be E or Em at the E-locus, kyky at the K-locus, and AtAt, or Ata at the A locus for the phantom pattern to show. 

A few points to note: 

  • A locus is a specific gene location on a DNA strand (chromosome). Different variants of the same gene at a certain locus are known as alleles.
  • The A or Agouti locus controls the distribution of black and red color pigments and markings
  • If the dog has Em at the extension locus it will have a mask that will block the phantom points on the face from showing.
  • A Poodle that is KbrKbr or Kbrky will have brindled phantom points. 

Phantom Poodle Sizes 

Like all Poodles, Phantom Poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.

Standard Phantoms typically weigh between 45 and 70 pounds and stand 15 inches or taller at the shoulder. Miniature Phantoms usually weigh between 15 and 30 pounds and stand 11 to 15 inches at the shoulder. Toy Phantoms are the smallest size and usually weigh between 4 and 6 pounds and stand 10 inches or less at the shoulder.

Care & Grooming

  • Activity level: Phantom Poodles are highly energetic and playful dogs. They require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy, and healthy and to keep the dog out of trouble. Ideal for active families, they have a high energy level.
  • Coat care: Grooming is a crucial aspect of Phantom Poodle care, with a curly, non-shedding coat needing regular attention to prevent matting. Brushing and trimming/bathing every 1-2 months by you or a professional is necessary.
  • Living conditions: Phantom Poodles are adaptable dogs that can do well in a variety of living conditions, from city apartments to large rural homes. However, they may be best suited to homes with moderate climates and plenty of outdoor space for running and playing. The size of the Phantom Poodle may impact its suitability as a pet for some families, so it is important to consider the size and needs of the dog before bringing it into your home.

Finding a Phantom Poodle

If you are looking for a Phantom Poodle, here are some steps to take: 

  1. Consult with local breeders who specialize in Poodles to see if they have any Phantom Poodles available or have information about upcoming litters.
  2. Search for breeders on the websites of breed-specific organizations such as the Poodle Club of America and the American Kennel Club. Use their online directories for breeders list for contact details to various breeders.
  3. Search websites such as Craigslist, AKC Marketplace, Facebook Marketplace, and Petfinder for individuals who may have Phantom Poodles for sale.
  4. Use word of mouth to Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and veterinarians who are familiar with the breed. Attend dog shows and events that feature Poodles to meet breeders and ask about available Phantom Poodle puppies.
  5. Contact local animal shelters and Poodle rescue organizations such as Poodle Club of America Rescue Foundation, Inc, Adopt-a-Pet, ASPCA, and Poodle Rescue to see if they have some Phantom Poodles available for adoption.  Search for local rescues through a search engine using keywords such as “animal shelter near me” or “poodle rescue [your city/state].”

When selecting a puppy, choose a responsible breeder by researching their past customers’ reviews and confirming they breed healthy and well-socialized puppies. Verify the breeder performs proper health tests on the parents to minimize the chance of health issues developing later on. A reputable breeder may have a long waitlist and charge more.


Phantom Poodles can be quite expensive. The average price for a puppy is around $2500 but you can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $5000 from a responsible breeder. Whatever price you pay for a puppy will depend on the breeder, the size of the Poodle, the location, and the pedigree.

Known Phantom Poodle breeders: 

Recognition & Showing 

The recognition of phantom Poodles by Kennel Clubs varies. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes multicolored Poodles, but they are disqualified from conformation shows. However, they can participate in AKC events such as agility and obedience.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes phantom Poodles in all three sizes (toy, mini and standard). If you are in the UK, you can show your Phantom Poodle via UKC.


Do phantom poodles shed?

Just like any other Poodle variation, the Phantom Poodle only sheds a few strands of hair at a time. This is because all Poodles regardless of coat color have low-shedding curly coats. 

Is a phantom poodle rare?

Compared to other solid-colored Poodles, phantoms are not as common but can hardly be considered rare. As such, be wary of anyone using “rare” as a selling point. 

Do Phantom Poodles change color?

Black or chocolate Phantom Poodles can change color over time. This is due to the presence of the greying gene which causes progressive fading as the dog ages. Black phantoms fade into a silvery-gray color while a chocolate phantom fades into a pale brown color.

What is a ghost phantom Poodle?

A ghost Phantom Poodle is genetically phantom but only shows slight phantom markings. This happens when the base and secondary colors are almost indistinguishable. For instance, a chocolate Poodle with tan markings would be considered to have ghost phantom markings. 

Are phantom Poodles purebred?

The phantom Poodle is a purebred dog and is not different from any other Poodle with exception of the coat color. They come in all Poodle sizes and share the same temperament. All, regardless of the markings or color are known to be highly intelligent, loyal, outgoing, and energetic, and make great family dogs.

In Conclusion

Phantom Poodles are known for their distinctive color patterns and make great family pets because of their intelligence, loyalty, and playful nature. They are also hypoallergenic, making them a good option for people with allergies.

However, it’s important to remember that they require regular grooming and playtime to maintain their physical and mental health. Be prepared for the added time and expense of caring for a high-maintenance breed. But if you’re up for the challenge, a Phantom Poodle can be a wonderful addition to your family.

Do you find Phantom Poodles intriguing? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

There you go, WOOF!