Are Pink Poodles Real? Can they be Born that Color?

Love them or loathe them, they are instantly recognizable. Their image has been used in everything from movies to photoshoots to clothing and interior design. Synonymous with glamour and even a hefty dollop of kitsch, why has the Pink Poodle become such an iconic image?

Poodles have one of the most varied color palettes out of all breeds but even with such variation, there are no natural means of breeding a Poodle who has genuinely pink fur. The Pink Poodle is most often a white or light apricot Poodle who has been subject to a dye job to achieve its striking color.

Read on to understand what exactly goes on to create their perfectly coifed pink appearance.

What Colors of Poodle Naturally Occur?

Perhaps the penchant for dying Poodles’ pink came from the fact that it is one of the few colors that cannot be achieved by breeding. Even without pink, there is a wide selection of Poodle coloring to choose from. Firstly, there are the different types of solid color:

  • Black – The most common color of Poodle
  • Blue – May appear black at birth but as the Poodle ages a faded black with a blue tint is seen
  • Silver –Appears black at birth also but examination of the root of the fur will see silver coloring
  • Gray – Born a charcoal shade they tend to lighten to ashy gray as they age
  • Apricot – The result of a recessive color gene, these are one of the rarest Poodle colors
  • Cream – Lighter than apricot these dogs can even turn white as the age
  • White – Solid white although some may have a hint of faint apricot or beige
  • Brown/Chocolate – Varying all the way from light brown to a rich deep chocolatey color
  • Red – Ranging from light coral tones through to darker russet, mahogany shades
  • Silver Beige – Always brown at birth but silvering at the root, turning a light brown as they age
  • Café Au Lait – A light tan like silver beige however they are born this color and do not fade

There is then a whole world of mixed coloring variations which are characterized by the distribution of the colored markings. Some of these make for truly striking dogs without ever reaching for the dye bottle.

Why Do People Dye their Poodles’ Pink?

The exact whys and wherefores of how the first Pink Poodle came to be are a bit of a mystery. It is thought to have stemmed from the Poodles’ career as a circus dog from the early 19th century onwards. The Poodle delighted audiences with a variety of clever and often funny tricks. It is thought that circus owners experimented with coloring their light-colored Poodles in order to add to the spectacle and draw attention.

As Poodles gained popularity as companion dogs of the wealthy there was a rise in creative grooming cuts and styles which could be achieved owing to their abundant tight curly coat. Perpetuated as an elegant and sophisticated breed, the addition of turning them pink was not just a fashion statement but advertised the wealth of their owners that they could indulge in such frivolity.

The Pink Poodle is still seen today, in fact, some groomers actively develop specialisms in colorwork. Owners continue to look for ways to make their pet stand out from the crowd and many report their dogs to enjoy the attention that a brightly colored coat brings them. There is, however, growing resistance to what is sometimes seen as excessive grooming procedures from a dog welfare point of view.

How Safe is the Dye?

While the methods of turning a Poodle pink back in the early 19th century may have been a bit questionable nowadays groomers can choose from specially developed and non-toxic canine hair dying products.

Any responsible groomer will advise against dying the coat of a dog who has sensitive skin as even the non-toxic formulas can irritate a sensitive pooch. As an extra precaution, they should also undertake a 24-hour patch test before proceeding to apply the dye to larger areas or a full coat.

It is always advisable that colorwork is undertaken by a skilled groomer however some people will still opt to use at-home methods which include a variety of canine spray hair colorants or chalks.

Some people opt to utilize food coloring. With all at-home methods, it is a big responsibility to ensure the colorant is kept away from sensitive areas such as eyes, noses, mouths, and ear openings. In addition, while the methods are non-toxic it is never ideal that your dog licks the color before it dries or is washed off.

It goes without saying that human hair dye should never be used on a dog as even semi-permanent varieties contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs and likely to cause significant skin burns and coat damage.

Can you Dye a Black Poodle Pink?

Not every Poodle can be transformed into a pink prince or princess. A Poodle with a solid white coat is the ideal canvas to achieve an even, bright pink shade. Color can be applied to other lighter colors such as apricot or white with some markings however the intensity and evenness of color will be impacted.

The darker the Poodle’s original coat the less effective coloring will be with it being impossible to change the color of a standard black Poodle. A black or dark Poodle will just need to settle for a pink collar or bow, which in fact stands out beautifully against their dark fur.

Is it Right to Dye a Dogs’ Hair?

It can be argued that as changing a dog’s coat color has no actual benefit to the dog that it is unfair to put them through additional grooming procedures to achieve this. This however could call into question a lot of other much more common practices such as putting decorative collars on your pup or training them to pose for a cute picture. Again, neither of these actions directly benefit the dog but many would see it as part and package of wanting to show off your furry best friend and have them look their best.

Many who do choose to dye their dog’s fur ensure they do so safely and comment on the joy it brings to others to see such an unusual pet. In fact, many owners report that their pets thrive on the additional attention and interaction that a dose of doggy dye can bring them.

One of the biggest concerns for most animal lovers is that creating or perpetuating coloring dogs’ fur for fashion, even when done safely, could inadvertently lead to others opting to achieve the same look at home without correctly researching the materials they intend to use. There is also the concern that unscrupulous groomers may offer services that they do not fully understand which could lead to injury to the dog through the use of non-safe dyes.

In most parts of the world, it is ultimately down to individual owner choice, however, it is worth remembering that in some USA states the act of dying your pet’s fur is actually illegal and is punishable by fines.

It is always worth checking the law in your local area and seeking advice from a vet or reputable groomer before turning your Poodle into a walking pink cloud.

Thank you to Zazu for giving us permission to use the image in our pink cover shot. Instagram @helperdognala