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Does the akc accept parti poodles?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the foremost authority on purebred dog breeds in the United States. As the AKC states, their mission is “to advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs.” One popular purebred dog is the Poodle, which comes in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Poodles also come in a variety of solid coat colors like black, white, brown, silver, gray, cream, apricot, red, cafe-au-lait, silver beige, and blue. However, Poodles can also have a coat pattern called “parti” which refers to large patches of color on a white coat. So do parti Poodles meet the AKC’s breed standards for purebred Poodles? Let’s take a closer look.

What are Parti Poodles?

A “parti” Poodle refers to a Poodle that has a white coat with large patches of another solid color like black, brown, red, apricot, gray, silver, etc. The term “parti” means “partially” and refers to Poodles that are partially one color and partially white. Some key things to know about parti Poodles:

  • The parti coat pattern is caused by a modifying gene that causes areas of color and areas of white in the coat.
  • Parti Poodles are not a separate breed, they are purebred Poodles with a unique coat color/pattern.
  • To be considered a true parti, a Poodle should have at least 50% white coat with large patches of color, not just ticking or small spots of color.
  • Parti Poodles can be found in Standard, Miniature, and Toy sizes.
  • In other breeds like Spaniels, parti refers to white dogs with colored spots, but in Poodles parti means colored dogs with white spots.

The parti coat pattern is not new in Poodles, there are records of parti Poodles appearing in litters dating back to the 1800s. However, the parti coat was not considered fashionable for many years so breeding programs selected against it, making it very rare. Today, responsible breeding programs are working to reestablish parti Poodles to add back genetic diversity lost during the period parti coats were suppressed.

AKC Breed Standards for Poodles

As the leading authority on purebred dogs in the US, the AKC has established official breed standards that define the ideal characteristics, temperament, appearance and gait of each breed. AKC judges use these breed standards to evaluate dogs at dog shows. The AKC breed standard for Poodles states the following about Poodle coats:

“Color: The coat is an even and solid color at the skin. In blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au-laits, apricots and creams the coat may show varying shades of the same color. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. While clear colors are definitely preferred, such natural variation in the shading of the coat is not to be considered a fault. Brown and cafe-au-lait Poodles have liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, gray, silver, cream and white Poodles have black noses, eye-rims and lips, black or self colored toenails and very dark eyes. In the apricots while the foregoing coloring is preferred, liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, and amber eyes are permitted but are not desirable. Major fault: color of nose, lips and eye-rims incomplete, or of wrong color for color of dog.
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.”

This breed standard makes it clear that for Poodles, the AKC prefers solid coat colors and considers multi-colored or parti coats to be a disqualifying fault that would exclude Poodles with that trait from conformation showing and breeding programs.

Why Doesn’t the AKC Accept Parti Poodles?

There are a few reasons why parti Poodles do not meet the AKC Poodle breed standard:

  • Tradition – Solid colors have traditionally been the preferred look for Poodles among breeders and exhibitors. The parti pattern goes against this tradition of solid colored Poodles in the show ring.
  • Breed purity – Multi-colored coats were associated with cross-breeding with other breeds so the AKC standard emphasized solid colors to reinforce Poodle purity.
  • Distinct look – A solid coat in a variety of colors creates a distinctive, identifiable look for the Poodle breed. Parti coats are less uniform.
  • Rarity – Parti coats were extremely rare when breed standards were formed due to selective breeding against them. A rare trait was considered undesirable.

However, it’s important to note that parti Poodles are still purebred Poodles with AKC registrable pedigrees. The parti coat disqualification only prevents them from entering AKC conformation shows, not from being registered as a purebred Poodle with the AKC.

Are Parti Poodles Recognized by Other Kennel Clubs?

While parti Poodles cannot compete in AKC conformation shows, they are accepted by some other major kennel clubs around the world. Here are a few examples:

  • The Kennel Club (UK) – Parti colors and patterns are allowed. Judges should penalize markings that suggest cross-breeding with other breeds.
  • Canadian Kennel Club – Parti and abstract Poodles can be shown but are considered less desirable than solid colors.
  • United Kennel Club (USA) – Parti colors are acceptable and not penalized in showing.
  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (Worldwide) – Parti Poodles may participate in showing and breeding.

So parti Poodles have more opportunities to compete in the show ring outside of the AKC system, especially in Canada and Europe where the parti pattern is more widely accepted in Poodles.

Parti Poodle Controversies

There are some controversies surrounding parti Poodles and their acceptance by major kennel clubs:

  • Some argue that allowing partis goes against long-standing breed traditions about proper Poodle coat colors.
  • Others argue that banning partis reduces genetic diversity and promotes excessive inbreeding within color varieties.
  • Some think parti coats make Poodles look like mixed breed dogs.
  • Breeders hoping to show their dogs internationally may avoid breeding partis since they don’t conform to AKC standards.
  • Parti poodle puppies often cost more than solids due to rarity, which raises ethical concerns about over-pricing.

Overall there are passionate views on both sides – those who think partis should be accepted as equal to solid colors, and those who think parti coats go against the essence of the Poodle breed. The debate continues as breed standards and attitudes slowly evolve over time.

Do AKC Registered Poodles Ever Have Parti Puppies?

Yes, it’s possible for an AKC registered litter of Standard, Miniature or Toy Poodles to produce a surprize parti puppy on rare occasions. Here’s why:

  • The parti gene can be carried recessively and hidden for generations before two carriers produce parti pups.
  • Occasional parti pups born to AKC lines are often not eligible for AKC registration.
  • If both parents have AKC Grand Champion bloodlines, all pups can be AKC registered regardless of color per AKC rules.
  • Some breeders nefariously register parti pups as “abstract” to get AKC papers.

Reputable AKC breeders usually avoid breeding partis so their litters conform to the breed standard. But parti carriers can still produce surprise parti pups, especially from champion bloodlines. These AKC registered parti Poodles cannot be shown but can be bred or adopted out as pets.

What Colors are Allowed for AKC Poodle Shows?

The AKC Poodle breed standard lists these acceptable solid coat colors for the show ring:

  • Black
  • White
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Silver
  • Blue
  • Cream
  • Apricot
  • Red
  • Cafe-au-lait
  • Silver beige

Any multi-colored pattern like parti, phantom, brindle, sable or abstract are disqualified. Tuxedo, Irish spotted, or excess ticking patterns may be penalized but not disqualified. Judges favor clear, uniform solid colors with full pigment and no fading.

What is an Abstract Poodle?

“Abstract” is a term sometimes used to register parti Poodle puppies with the AKC by disguising their true coloring. An abstract Poodle may be:

  • A true parti misregistered as “abstract.”
  • A brindle or phantom misregistered as “abstract.”
  • A solid color with minor ticking misregistered as “abstract.”

This table summarizes the key differences between parti, abstract and solid AKC recognized Poodle coat colors:

Coat Type Description AKC Standard
Parti 50% or more white coat with large patches of color Disqualified from conformation events
Abstract Solid color with minor ticking or white spots. May be used to disguise parti or other non-standard colors. Acceptable in conformation if appears solid overall.
Solid Single uniform coat color with no large white patches or markings Preferred and recognized for conformation

So in summary, pure solid colors are ideal for AKC showing while parti Poodles are disqualified. “Abstract” labeling may sometimes be used to attempt getting non-solid colored puppies registered.

What Health Issues Impact Parti Poodles?

In general, parti Poodles have the same health conditions and life expectancy as solid color Poodles. Some key health issues to be aware of include:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – Inherited degenerative eye disease leading to blindness.
  • Hip dysplasia – Malformation of the hip joint causing arthritis and lameness.
  • Sebaceous adenitis – Skin disease causing hair loss and lesions.
  • Addison’s disease – Adrenal gland dysfunction causing electrolyte imbalances.
  • Epilepsy – Recurrent seizures of unknown cause.

Reputable breeders health screen breeding dogs and puppy buyers to reduce risk of inherited disorders. Overall, parti Poodles have typical health, lifespan, intelligence and temperament compared to solids when responsibly bred.

Are Parti Poodle Temperaments Different?

The parti coat gene does not affect temperament in Poodles. Well-bred parti Poodles should have the same intelligent, active and affectionate temperament that is described in the Poodle breed standard. Some key traits of the Poodle temperament include:

  • Intelligent – Eager to learn and respond well to training.
  • Active – Require regular exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Outgoing – Social and enjoy being around people.
  • Adaptable – Can adjust to different living situations.
  • Playful – Like to play games and learn tricks.

These traits are the result of selective breeding for function, not coat color. Parti and solid Poodles from lines bred for proper temperament should behave very similarly. As with any breed, early socialization and training is important.

Are Parti Poodles Less Expensive?

In the past, parti Poodle puppies were often less expensive than solids. But today demand has risen for the rare parti colors, driving prices up. On average, parti Poodle puppies tend to cost $500-$2000+ more than solid colors from the same breeder. Some pricing factors include:

  • Rarity – Partis remain uncommon compared to solids.
  • Demand – Parti colors are considered unique and desirable by some.
  • Use of champions – Partis from champion bloodlines warrant higher pricing.
  • Conformation prospects – Solid pups with show potential often cost more.
  • Breeder reputation – Pups from top breeders tend to be pricier.

While color alone does not determine price, on average parti Poodle pups sell for significantly more than solid littermates due to market demand. But beware breeders exploiting parti pricing – health testing and responsible breeding practices should still be top priorities.

Are Parti Poodles Less Desirable?

Opinions vary greatly on this question. Here are some perspectives to consider:

  • To AKC traditionalists, parti coats are less desirable because they go against breed standards.
  • For owners simply seeking a pet, parti coats have no impact on companionship.
  • Parti poodles offer more unique colors and patterns for those wanting a less ordinary look.
  • Among breeders, partis may be less in demand if buyers want to show or breed to AKC standards.
  • Outside the AKC system, parti poodles can compete and breed so are not inherently less desirable.

Overall desirability of parti poodles is subjective based on each owner’s needs and preferences. They make equally great pets but do not currently conform to AKC show standards.


Parti poodles offer stunning coat colors and patterns. But the AKC conformation standards still prefer solid colored Poodles and penalize multi-colored Parti coats. Yet parti Poodles are still purebred Poodles that can be AKC registered and make wonderful companions. Attitudes and breed standards evolve slowly over time, so parti colors may gain wider acceptance in the future. For now, parti Poodles fall outside the AKC’s preferred look for Poodles but remain sought-after by many pet owners.