There are many different types of poodle, and many different colors, but the red poodle is one that is incredibly rare, and that is a part of what makes it so special and stunning. When you are looking at the different poodle genes out there, you need to remember that they have all been lovingly bred. To get the red poodle look takes even more special breeding.
Red poodles are special because they are bred using a rare, faded gene. The pups usually are bred using a dog with an apricot line, and this can be confusing to a lot of people who are new to breeding because red is a darker shade than apricot.
The DNA that creates red poodles is still not fully understood. They do, however, appear to have a rather separate gene sometimes referred to by the name ‘rufus’. The rufus gene will darken a brown or an apricot coat. Interestingly enough, the red/rufus gene does not have any impact on a black poodle. It is a recessive gene that doesn’t work unless it is with a white poodle.
The color red became an official AKC recognized color back in 1980, and now there are many breeders that have come together to make their own specific club for apricot and red poodles. True red poodles have some black points, but these liver points are not considered to be preferable amongst American breeders.
It took many years of selective breeding to make the red poodles that we see today. The first person to come up with the idea of crafting a standard for red poodles was Ilse Konig who is from the Shangri-La Kennel. From their idea, experimental breeding has been done for many years. The first ideas mated miniature apricot females with standard sized reds. This was done at Palamares, and the first litter that came from that process created four amazing red poodle puppies.
Pairing between different sizes of poodle is rare, and it produces dogs that are in a different size category the Klein or Moyan category, which is somewhere between miniature and standard. This size is popular and is recognized by kennel clubs in Europe.
The biggest puppy out of each litter was then carefully bred, and over several generations this gradually increased the size of the puppies. After a few generations of making red poodle puppies, it became possible to breed red standard size poodles with comparative ease.
Red poodles can go through a series of color changes as the dog matures. It is not uncommon for them to be born with bright red fur then to have the hair lighten over a long period of time. Some of them will stay light haired. Others will have their hair darken again as they age. Those with light fur often develop a cinnamon color. You can usually predict that this will happen if the poodle is born with very dark hair and it will then lighten when the dog is just over a year old.
The color change usually occurs as a puppy, but it can occur in adulthood as well. This means that sometimes someone who thinks that they are buying an apricot or a tan poodle may get a surprise later in the poodle’s life if it develops a rarer bright red color.
Fading can happen in adulthood as well. The adult coats are usually stunning, but it can be disappointing if the owner thinks that they are buying a deep red poodle, and then they find that they have purchased one that is more of a cinnamon color instead.
For this reason, buyer education is important. Most breeders will be quite selective about who they sell to, and will want to know that you can take care of it, and that you understand what you are buying. If you are likely to ‘abandon’ the dog, then they may be reluctant to sell.
There are some breeders who will just hand a dog to anyone, and who are more concerned with breeding for appearance than for the comfort and long term wellbeing. It is important that you research your breeder before buying a puppy. Talk to your country’s kennel club to see what they have to say, and ask them to put you in touch with a reputable breeder in your area. Have a full health check performed on the poodle, and make sure that you stay up to date with any immunizations so that you know that the dog will be healthy and is not at risk of any form of infection. There are many poodle mixes that you could purchase, but the poodle is an interesting breed, and the red poodle is one of the most beautiful dogs in the world.