History of the Parti Poodles & Parti Poodle Information
There were two main ways some breeders and show dog people worked to eliminate the parti poodle: 1.) By killing them (also known as culling when it refers to dogs or animals) 2.) By purposely not registering them. So when a solid poodle would produce/birth parti poodle puppies (as they often did since they themselves came from a parti), the breeder would only register that poodle as having solid-colored puppies, this went on for generations and generations. This unethical practice actually taints the true pedigree of many poodles born between the late 1800s and late 1900s/early 2000s.
Parti is also thought to comes from the French word partager which means, "divide" "split" which would in turn refer to the poodle's coat color being split up or "divided" into two different colors or being "of two colors". Partager was then shortened or conjugated into "Parti".
Other names used to describe parti poodles in different countries: Parti-coloured, particoloured, harlekin, harlequin, bi-color, bicolour. ("harlequin poodles", in the countries that use the term, usually only refers to black and white or brown and white poodles).
See the Parti Poodle Color Guide, here.
Parti Poodles in Art and History.
One of the earliest paintings/depictions of a poodle is an oil painting painted on a plank of oak dated 1496. The painting is the Auckland Museum and shows the virgin mother and child with saints and a few poodle miniature parti poodles in the continental clip.
Two artist in particular that are known to have painted animals, including dogs were John Wootton and George Stubbs.
John Wootton (1682-1764) was an English painter whose interest included battle scenes, sporting subjects, landscapes, and dogs. John Wootton was known as one of the pioneers in painting sporting subjects. His paintings were highly sought after by royalty. It is thought that George Stubbs went on to follow in the footsteps of John Wootton. He painted Duke Thomas Osborne's poodle (which was parti colored) in the early 17th century. Read more about him and see his painting, here.
George Stubbs (born in 1724) was a famous painter, whose paintings are most major art galleries all around the world. Stubbs studied anatomy, in addition to being a painter and is credited with being one of the first British animal painter to depict animals as they really appeared. His anatomy studies greatly complimented the accuracy of his works, which added to his credibility as a realistic painter. He is most famous for his horse paintings, and one of them "Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a Trainer, a Stable-Lad, and a Jockey (1765)" sold for $36 million in 2011. Stubbs painted horses, dogs, and many exotic animals-- lions, giraffes, monkeys, rhinoceroses, and tigers. He was often commissioned to paint rich aristocrats as they went hunting with their packs of dogs, as well as many other real "scenes" of them and/or their animals. George Stubbs painted the poodle above, which is "parti colored", in one of the traditional poodle cuts.
There are many photos of poodles throughout history, and it is quite notable that poodles are most often painted and drawn as having two colors. "Ancient Poodles", as some may call it, were often written about as "water spaniels" and "pudels" b/c they were "puddle dogs" meaning "water dogs". Though poodles are the premier show dogs in modern times, they were originally water and sporting dogs-- hence their famous cuts. The poofy ankles, wrist, and chest aren't just random designs, they assisted in poodles being able to swim more efficiently and effectively. (Poodles also have webbed feet, which is a trait fo water dogs).
As alluded to above their name "poodle" is derived from the german word "pudel" (which translates to puddle). Many think they are French dogs, but poodles or pudels are actually of German heritage.
"Sancho". This picture was painted for Princess Charlotte of Wales, she was an admire of Sancho the poodle who belonged to her friend Marquis of Worcester. 1778.
Parti poodles have been adorned and loved by royalty.
*See more poodles in art here
The long standing proven history of the parti poodle is likely what makes it the stand-out of the poodle family. Those who believe the color of a poodle affects it personality say that parti poodles are the smartest, most intellectual, and usually the healthiest of any other color poodle. (poodles in general are very smart)
Canine Horizons is an excellent example of the almost superior-like intelligence that parti poodles embody (her poodles are true actors, starring in several movies and doing a slew of tricks and stunts as young as 4 or 5 months). Parti poodles are natural born showman, and will usually show show-dog like qualities within their first year.
Fortunately today nearly all Kennel Clubs, except the AKC, allow parti-poodles to show in conformation. But it is of no big surprise that the USA's main club would be slower to accepting the truth and being fair with its rules (given its history with even equal human rights). Hopefully within the next couple years this "animal-racism" of sorts will not be around. The greatest ancestor of all poodles is the parti poodle, this is fact whether some want to admit it or not. The earliest renderings, found to date of a poodle type dog is a carving with no color, but all the earliest photos, paintings, and drawings done on paper clearly show that the poodle being of two colors. 1561, Toy Poodle, parti-colored.
The UKC (United Kennel Club), founded in the 1800s, notably have parti poodles compete in both conformation and agility.
Parti Poodle Myths.
Parti colored poodles have certainly been mixed up in many lies. The internet is full of perpetuations of the lies, one of the most common ones is that parti poodles are common for "backyard breeders" and puppymills and have poor traits and are not bred to standard. This is a lie. Some may say backyard breeders and puppymills do it b/c its exotic, or b/c other breeders didn't want to, etc... lies lies lies.
Parti poodles are not advertised as often as other colors, yes they are there, but there are MANY more whites, blacks, reds, apricots, creams, etc. Why? Because backyard breeders and puppymillers are going to breed what they think can sell the easiest-- it's business 101. So therefore it is much more likely to find a very poorely bred white, black, silver, red, apricot, etc than a parti. (Red is one of the more popular, and therefore more expensive colors these days, so you will find many puppymillers and backyard breeders breeding reds and apricots because of their newer popularity and seemingly "new" entrance into the poodle world.)
There are poodles not bred to standard in every color... there are good breeders and bad breeders for every type of animal.
With all that said if you want a poodle, or any dog for that matter, that is of great health and quality, with a good pedigree then you have to do your research and go to a breeder of your own choosing. Every breed of dog and animal is at risk of being sloppily bred... as for poodles, poor breeding is more common in solids than partis because solids are still more popular.
Common Myth: Just mixing two different color poodles will not give you parti (which is what some people will lead you to believe), you will most likely get pups born the solid color of the mom and dad (but of course you have to check the poodles history to know for sure what colors it will likely breed).
Parti Poodle -vs- Parti-factored Poodle.
There is a lot of confusion between what actually constitutes a parti poodle. A Parti poodle directly refers to the coloring of the coat or the coat pattern. A parti-factored poodle is a poodle that has the coveted "parti" gene and therefore the ability to produce parti poodles. Parti-factored poodles can be either solid or parti colored. In fact, being that the parti poodle is the oldest known coloring of a poodle all poodles "technically" have the ability to create a parti poodle-- since all poodles have an ancestor on some part of the family tree that was parti-colored. For example, everyone in your family has brown eyes, but your great great great great grandmother had blue eyes. You will most likely have brown eyes, but there is a possibility that you could have blue eyes-- this happens in humans all the time.
Why Do Some Dog Registries Not Allow Parti Poodles to be shown in Conformation?
This is perhaps the million dollar question and many have guessed and speculated.
The short answer: The original 1900s standards for the poodle breed was written by someone who owned and had a strong preference for solid colored poodles. Their preference was most likely because of the newer popularity and trendiness of a solid-colored poodle at the time.
The long answer: In earlier history both the Russian and the German standards for poodles included partis (black and white -or- brown and white), while the new French standard specified solid colors (white, black, brown.) (*although, the original French poodle was also parti colored)
In the 1930's the Poodle Club of America had to decide whether to go with the German or French standard at the time. (The poodle is a German dog, but the French made it fashionable). The German / Old English / Original French type poodle had been dominate in the United States at the time, hence the first American Dog Book having a Parti colored poodle pictured for "The Poodle". The differences between the German and French standards at the time were also in the coats and clips. Ultimately the decision was made to go with the current (in that day and age) Anglo-French standard, and so there was a large rush of dogs imported from England who would have a better chance to compete under this new standard. The decision was strictly political and based upon the particular aesthetics of those in charge and in the majority at the time. If a vote of one or two were different on that particular day perhaps the world would be filled with more partis than solid.
Parti Poodle Photos.
*See more poodles in art here
MORE INFO to come....