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Hi guys,
Have two questions regarding the brown (some call it chocolate?) colour. Do they always fade, and is there any knowing in what they’ll fade to? Is it always the silver beige that they fade to? If anyone has photos or personal stories I would really appreciate it.
also, here in the U.K. some breeders have mentioned they think the brown ones have a hyper active temperament. Some have told me the calmer / less stubborn temperaments would be the original colours with a wide gene pool ie black and white. Is this true? Is that the case elsewhere as well?
Thank you as always for your thoughtful perspectives.
 

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Poodles are brown, Labrador Retrievers are chocolate.
Brown fade just like every other poodle color except white.
Temperament is not color related.
Fading that you refer to for silver beiges is called clearing.
No not all brown poodles clear to silver beige.
Silver beiges clear early like silver poodles.
Cafe au lait, or coffee with cream is the other spectrum of brown in poodles, cafes clear later than silver beiges, cafes finish clearing between 3 to 5 years much like their counter part in the black spectrum which is blue.
Silver beige poodles are recognizable around six weeks like silver poodles.

I have had both a silver beige and a Cafe au lait
 

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Brown is a dilute form of black. With black you have black (0 copies of fade gene), blue (1 copy of fade gene), and silver (2 copies of fade gene). With brown it parallels and you have brown (0 copies of fade gene), cafe au lait (1 copy of fade gene), and silver beige (2 copies of fade gene). So whether they will fade and what they will fade to is dependent on how many copies of the fade gene they have. As puppies, the ones with either 0 copies or 1 copy will appear very very similar. Sometimes you can tell the blue/cafe ones have a slightly paler cast to them but usually it takes a while to be sure. The fading can occur quite late but seems to show up most between 1 and 2 years but will continue to clear as they age. With the silver and silver-beige pups, the color change is apparent when they are still puppies. Though they are born black or brown, the faces will be pale if they are shaved.

Predicting whether a puppy will fade is dependent on the parents. A brown and cafe parent should yield a 50% chance of cafe and 50% chance of non-fading brown. But two cafes will give 25% brown, 50% cafe, and 25% silver-beige. If you want a non-fading brown dog, look for a litter from two brown parents that are both 3+ years of age. That way you can be certain they do not have the fading gene.

There is another case of what may be termed a "bad black" or "bad brown" (many don't like the terms but they remain commonly used) which is when a dog grows profuse white or silver hairs among the black or brown hairs. This creates a slightly faded appearance but is not a true faded dog. It's just a black or brown dog with pale guard hairs. All black and brown poodles seem to get some of these pale hairs but the degree will vary from dog to dog. For my black dog they started to show around 1 year of age but he still appears quite solidly black at 2. I believe by the time he is 5 or 6 he will probably have a more noticeable amount. Some people call this fading but it's a misnomer as it's not the same as the fading gene.
 
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