What is the difference between sables and phantoms?
I often have people ask me about the difference between a dark sable and a phantom. My dark sables look very similar to phantoms, especially as puppies so people are often getting confused. A poodle cannot be both phantom and sable at the same time (despite the fact that uninformed breeders are out there selling "sable phantoms"). Genetically a poodle can only be either sable or phantom.
The easiest way to tell the difference is to look for color elsewhere on the body. Phantoms always have a base color and then the classic doberman markings (color on their legs, face, and under their tail). While sables often have these markings as well (though usually not as distinct) they will also have color elsewhere on their body. (Not solid black or brown but more of a mixed color look.) And, as they grow their eyebrows and face markings will tend to "blend in" with the rest of their color, thus they do not keep the distinct markings as they age whereas the phantoms do.
Above is Gaddafi (left) my phantom boy with Britannia my sable girl. While they look very similar (in markings not color) Gaddafi has eyebrows and distinct markings on his face while Britannia's face is all the same color and she doesn't have distinct eyebrows. Also (hard to see in the pic) Gaddafi's body is black whereas Britannia's is more colorful. She's lighter when she's clipped down but gets darker as she grows out. Both are unique and beautiful in their own way. 🥰
Hopefully that was helpful. Poodle colors are so complicated and unfortunately there are many breeders out there that don't know their colors well and mistakenly mislabel their puppies.
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