Although "phantom poodle" may sound like a funny and whimsical name, it does not indicate anything more than colour markings on a dog. Phantom poodles are the same as other standard poodles, with the only difference being that they are bicolored. The dogs essentially share the same size, temperament and health characteristics as any other poodles.
Bicolored phantom poodles are marked similarly to Doberman Pinschers, with patterns that are very close. Like a Doberman Pinscher, a phantom poodle has distinct, lighter-coloured spots below its tail, on its throat, over both of its eyes (brow area), flanking its muzzle, on its lower legs and around its chest. If a poodle is of the phantom variety, the markings are present from birth and do not gradually occur as a result of the ageing process. Certain phantom poodles have more prominent markings, while others are less noticeable.
A variety of phantom poodle types exist. Black phantom poodles feature apricot and black, red and black, cream and black or silver and black markings. Chocolate-brown phantoms can be apricot and brown. Silver phantoms are a mix of cream and silver. Finally, red phantom poodles combine red and apricot. Some phantom poodles also have sable markings.
The poodle breed is exceptionally common in Germany. Until the winter of 2005, the German Poodle Club banned phantom poodles from mating with other types of poodles. The regulations, however, resulted in inbred puppies with physical defects, including an extended lower jaw or insufficient teeth. To handle the problematic situation, the German Poodle Club modified its regulations, permitting phantom poodles to breed with black and apricot poodles.
Phantom poodles are often compared to parti poodles, which are multicoloured poodles that have white foundations and darker patches. Although both types of poodles are multicoloured, they are not the same. Phantom poodles are only classified as so if they possess markings in the accepted spots, including the throat and lower chest.