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Discussion Starter #1
Molly is 16 weeks old and has been with me for about 5 weeks. She was jet, inky black when I got her. The breeder felt she was definitely black, not going to be silver or blue (at the time). Well, she's changing color. She's got some really clear areas that are brown (reddish brown), particularly on her head and shoulders - but spread out throughout her body. When she's outside and the wind catches it, you can see all the brown at her roots. A few days ago, I was petting her and parted her long puppy fur and was shocked to see that she is an entirely different color at the base of her fur. From her body out to about halfway up the hair is an absolutely reddish brown, lightish. The last half of each hair is black. (I think when the groomer comes Monday and takes off that outer black bit of the hair, she's going to be an entirely different color!) Here's 3 pictures to show you what I mean:
First, just overall, you can see all the brown on her now:


Here with her fur parted. This is NOT light hitting the fur making it look different - this is just what it looks like:


A closer view:


Whacha think? Going to stay black? Turn blue? They don't turn brown, right? Thanks!
(PS...Edited to add that way down against her skin, no matter where you part the hair, she's got some white/silver hairs. I assume this is just normal?)
 

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Nope. Black puppies don't turn brown. It is not uncommon for a blue to have a brownish hue to their coat. From what I can see in the photos, it appears that she is going to clear to a blue. However, you say that she has some white/silver hairs in the coat. There is a possibility that she may be a bad black; which is also not uncommon in the states where we breed a lot of color.

My male standard started out with brown around the muzzle that spread to the rest of his coat. Then he started fading out as he reached 2. He is going on 3 now and looks like a bad blue with sprinkled white hairs throughout his coat.
 

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Your top pic is adorable! What a face.

Wow, I'm not sure if a black poodle can turn brown, but look at what my black puppy turned into: ;)

ETA: Spoospirit -- what exactly is a "bad black?" I've been seeing that term a lot lately and have no clear idea what that means. :)

(I don't have any of his baby pictures, but he was black. I'm told he's a "sable.")



Here he is at 10 or so weeks (breeder pic):


Pippin puppy shot by RowanGreene, on Flickr

And here he is today:


Pippin edited by RowanGreene, on Flickr
 

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With that brown in her coat, she is not a black (or at least not what is called a "good" black). A bad black is a black that does not stay a nice solid jet black. A black that grizzles out (has lots of white/silver hairs sprinkled throughout the coat) and/or has brown tones to the coat (not related to the browning of the hair tips from sun exposure). A good black will stay a jet black color till older and fade or gray out due to old age.

In the USA it is not uncommon for blacks to not stay jet black due to the fact that we mix "colored genes" in our breeding. In some countries, you cannot register a black poodle unless it is from complete black lineage. Black cannot be bred to any other color.

Now, that brown in your pup could well be the showing that it is going to be a blue, but she should have a lighter colored muzzle when shaved if indeed she is going to be blue. She is definitely not a silver, a silver would have a definite light muzzle at this age and be fading not getting mixed in silver hairs.

As far as sable goes, a sable does have dark tipped hair with brown underneath, so, could she be sable??? I am not familiar enough with sable myself, but I would think that, again, her shaved face would be showing lighter tones.

What color are her parents? What color are her siblings? This would help in understanding her coloration. What colors are in her pedigree? She could be a "bad" black, a blue that is starting to fade late, a sable that is also a darker sable and fading slower. She is definitely not a brown nor a solid "jet" black.

That is one of the fun things about poodles, sometimes telling a color a pup will mature at is not a hard fast easy thing. If a pup is a slow fading one, or has enough mixed genes with the fading gene, it can sometimes take longer to figure out what actual color you have. Whatever color she ends up being, she is surely a sweet looking, pretty faced girl!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys, for the compliments about her!

Rowan - Pippin is adorable! I love that color - would be neat if that's where she went. :)

Jester's mom: She's getting groomed again Monday, so I'll post a pic of her with her newly shaved faced so you guys can see what you think. Let me answer some of your other questions: Her mother is "black", though more of what I think you'd term (based on your great descrip) a "bad black" as she almost looked sort of salt-and-pepper to me. Molly's father was red/apricot (only saw a pic and am not sure which he is). Her siblings were black and brown. (One brown pretty dark, the other lighter.)

And yup - I love her no matter what color she ends up being, you bet. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay! Molly was groomed Monday and the groomer took off most of the black (just the end half of each hair was black) and she is indeed now a completely different color - she is absolutely brown. Her head, ears, and lower legs are still looking black or very dark brown - though the medium-brown color is under there, too. She didn't shave her face really close unfortunately, so I don't think that's going to help as it really is not very close at all. The groomer is back here in a month - I will ask her to do her face closer at that point. Anyhow, here's some new photos of my no-longer-black pup. :)
Okay - bad picture of her, but shows her coat color nicely. She used to be solid black!


Another angle:


And outside. You can see the color here, and get some small sense of the color of her face - though again, she is NOT shaved very close at all:


And just because I like the picture and it might help color-wise:


So whacha think? Can we tell anything without the face shaved real close? Is it possible that she never WAS black, but was a SUPER dark brown that looked black and now she's fading a bit? Isn't it unusual to have this big a coat change from black to brown - even if she's a "bad black"? Or no?

Thanks!
 

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I know she looks brownish to you, but she is definitely not brown. It is genetically impossible to change from black to brown, and besides, brown dogs have brown pigment (nose, lips, eye rims).

The muddy color you see makes me think she will be blue, based on what I have learned. I know it can be really hard to tell if a young puppy will be black or blue.

You send those pictures to her breeder and see what she thinks.

She is just too darn cute for words by the way!
 

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As paddleaddict said, she is definitely not a brown. It is not possible to change from black to brown. The black gene and the brown gene are two separate genes, all the other colors come from the fading gene on each gene side or a mixture of fading gene and other genes to create merle, parti, etc.

I would say your girl is probably a blue and will blue out over the next couple years. But, she could also be what is referred to as a bad black. Nothing against her in saying this. Either way, she is a total cutie with a lovely face.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well first, thanks everyone! Just a clarification though: I did not mean to say that I thought she did or could have changed from black to brown - I understand that's not possible and does not happen. All I meant was that I wondered if it was *possible* that she never was black to begin with but instead was a super dark brown that looked black to our eyes at the time (had a cat like that some years ago). But I see your point about the pigment. That's definitely black on her. So never mind! ;)

Thanks for the link. Interesting. So at this point, she could be a blue or a "bad black." Time will tell I guess! :) Thank you guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Her mother is black (almost seemed a bit salt-and-pepper - not sure if she wasn't actually a blue?), and her father is red/apricot.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Update with new pics

New development on Molly's ever-changing coat. ;) She's just shy of 5 months old now and she now has a decent size area on the top of her tail that is light gray. Here are 2 pics for you of the very top of her tail - what you see is that actual color, not a camera-flash-blob.




And when you part her fur, she still has those white/silver hairs mixed in down at the skin level. I tried to get a pic - this is the best I could do:


So, no idea what she's doing now.... I'm assuming the gray tail means she is turning blue. It's pretty light though - not a steel-gray at all. It's wild! Edited to add that she looks a bit, overall, like someone handled her when they had flour or powder on their hands. I don't know to explain it better than that - you keep wanting to dust her off.

Just thought you'd like the update! She'll be groomed in about a week - will be interesting to see what else turns up!
 

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I look forward to seeing her groomed. :) Maybe she will be silver if her shaved face is light, but it looks like she will be a salt and pepper eventually, probably like her mother. Please post pics after her groom. My spoo has changed color, too, but not as dramatic as black with brown to silver.

Is blue a light black? I can't quite figure out what is meant by blue. Usually blues have light faces, too. If her is black when shaved she is probably going to eventually be salt and pepper.

She has the best little face!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
:) Thanks. Yeah, I need to have the groomer bring her face down a little closer. I think because she's been getting her used to being groomed, she's not pushing it as far as normal. I dunno - just a guess. But I'll ask her if she can go closer without dealing with clipper burn.

Blue, as I understand it, is a dilute of black and can range from an almost light gray to a dark steely gray. I think most often (??) it's that darker gray.
 

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Hi we have a blue girl and she took almost three years to clear, for the first 18months we thought she was a bad black, her coat was black but tinged with red in the sun. At two you could just see the grey close to the skin and she had patches of white hair on her rear. your girl looks like she's changing much faster but her coat does look very much like our girls did.
 

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Charlie Brown, my toy poodle, was very dark hersey brown, but was more black when I got him. He stayed deep brown black all of his life until he started to lighten and grey around 11 -- when I lost him at 15, he was very definitely brown; Jake was black but the mother was brown and father black. There were 2 brown pups and 2 black; Jake, as you can tell from his pics in my album, stayed a deep color all his life with the exception of his muzzle which grayed.
 
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