There isn’t a single dog lover who doesn’t know the Labrador. Family-friendly and energetic gundogs, they are a joy to be around.
The official colors for these dogs are Black, Yellow, and Chocolate, which is why not many people know about the White Labrador.
White Labs are actually Yellow Labs that have really light-colored fur, although some might be albino.
Learn more about this wonderful color variant below.
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What is a White Labrador?
All Labradors are descended from St. John’s water dog, also known as the lesser Newfoundland. In the early days, they were black and used mostly by fishermen.
These talented and hardworking dogs soon became a favorite for hunting and retrieving. It wasn’t until the late 90s did light-colored Labs were desirable at all.
Prior to that, Yellow Labradors were commonly put down at birth, along with their Chocolate littermates. This change in color trend was due to a successful television commercial featuring a light-colored Lab.
Today, Labs are America’s top dog breed. According to the US Today, they broke the record for “longest tenure as top dog” in 2013!
Along with their popularity, you can find Labs in a wide array of hues. Chocolate dogs range from light brown to deep mocha, and Yellow Labs can be snow-white all the way to fox red.
White Labs can be either a very light-colored Yellow Lab, or they might have the albino gene. Albino pups cannot be registered with the AKC.
White Labs, on the other hand, can be registered with kennel clubs under the Yellow Lab category.
What does a White Lab look like?
White Labradors, like any of different coat color, are athletic dogs with a muscular build. According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, their form should be ideal for retrieving.
They are also known for their strong otter tail. Overall, they have very minimal feathering, unlike the Golden Retriever which is heavily feathered.
When it comes to coloring, they should have dark brown eyes and black noses. Solid coats are very much preferred, but a small white spot on the chest is permissible for Black Labrador Retrievers.
Mismarked dogs are disqualified from the show ring, as are any dogs that are overly slender or short.
American White Labs vs English White Labs
The Labrador dog, like many working breeds, is split into two categories. Show dogs are called English Labs, whereas field dogs are called American Labs. You can read more about them here.
White Labs are largely English because White English Labradors are favored in the show ring. They are stockier than American Labradors, which seldom has the signature blocky head.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t American White Labs. They will usually be taller and far more active. Both make excellent companions, but working dogs need a firm and experienced hand.
How big do White Labs get?
Labradors are a medium to large breed, and you can expect your dog to grow up to 22.5 to 24.5 inches (57 to 62 cm) but females generally stop growing at 21.5 to 23.5 inches (54 to 60 cm).
Males can weigh anywhere from 65 to 80 lbs (27 to 36 kg) whereas females are usually 55 to 70 lbs (25 to 32 kg).
There should be no size difference between Labs of different colors. If you’re concerned about your Labs size, or want to learn more about a Lab’s growth, we have a Lab Growth Chart here.
Do White Labs turn yellow?
Puppies can sometimes turn a shade darker or lighter as they lose their baby coat. This change is caused by their guard hairs, the top layer of your Lab’s double coat.
Their undercoat is usually lighter in color and much softer as compared to the wiry and tough outer-coat.
Watch Banjo the White Labrador as he grows up, and keep an eye on how different his adult coat looks as a puppy and as an adult:
The change wouldn’t be drastic, but you might find your White Lab turning a light cream. You might also notice that its ears are darker than the rest of its body.
The same can happen to any other color, even the Fox Red Lab or Silver Labrador.
Silver Labs are also considered Yellow Labs, but they have a genome that dilutes their coat color so it has a ghostly cast, much like the Weimaraner. You can read all about Labrador colors here.
Are White Labs good pets?
Black Labs make better hunters. Chocolates are for the show ring. Yellows are guide dogs. These are all stereotypes and none are true.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Lab coat color has any effect on their temperament or behavior.
That’s to say that White Labs can be great pets, great hunters, and a wonderful show dog. This popular dog breed is beloved for a reason. They are specially bred for their affable nature and willingness to please.
Labrador Retrievers love their families and when properly trained, are an absolute joy to be around.
How to take care of your White Labrador
Aside from the tendency for dirt to show up on a white dog much easier than on darker colored fur, White Labs aren’t more high maintenance than any other Labrador.
They will require a rigorous brush once a week and nails trimmed when they get too long. Bathing frequently is not necessary. If anything, you should stretch as long as you can between baths.
Use wet wipes if you must, or rinse them off with the garden hose. Lathering up with doggie shampoo should be reserved for especially filthy occasions.
Exercising your White Lab
Labradors are an active breed. You’re looking at one hour’s worth of exercise on a daily basis and we’re not talking about a simple walk. You need to engage them in play and really work up a sweat.
Without the proper stimulation, a Lab can become destructive due to all that pent up energy.
Good choices include swimming, hiking, cycling, and hunting. They will also enjoy activities such as hide and seek with the kids or fetch at the dog park.
However, you shouldn’t expect that you’ll be able to pick up your new puppy and exercise him for an hour straight.
Realistically, you should exercise them according to their age. For a 3-month-old puppy, that’s only 15 minutes a day.
What is the best grooming brush for a White Labrador Retriever?
Labradors might have short fur, but their double coats blow out twice a year. When this happens, everything will be covered in a layer of fluff.
They are most definitely not hypoallergenic and will require some assistance when this happens.
You can opt for a deshedding tool that helps remove dead fur from the undercoat, or you can use a slicker brush that essentially does the same thing without blades.
Some dog owners avoid using Furminators as excessive brushing can hurt the coat.
Unless suggested by your vet, you should never ever shave your dog. A dog’s coat is to them what protective clothing is to us. It keeps them warm in the winter and believe it or not, it also keeps them cool in summer.
How much should I feed my White Labrador?
White Labrador or not, dogs need high-quality kibble made with high protein, low fat, and moderate carbs.
You want to feed them according to their age. An active adult Labrador that weighs 70 lbs (31 kg) should be eating 3 ½ cups a day.
White Lab pups will need specially formulated kibble for large breed puppies.
This is to make sure that their bones stay healthy and strong, giving them the best chance of preventing hip dysplasia and other joint disorders.
If you’re a first-time dog owner, or just want some recommendations on what food to give your dog, you can check out our article on the best dog food for Labs.
White Labrador health issues
Labs, in general, are healthy dogs. They do suffer from the same problems that most large breeds face such as obesity and hip dysplasia.
Musculoskeletal disorders and cancer are two things that target Labradors much more than other breeds.
You also want to watch out for ear infections and eye problems. They are susceptible to developing PRA or progressive retinal atrophy.
This will cause blindness and there is no treatment or cure. But there is a health screening available so breeders can exempt affected dogs from being bred.
White Labrador puppies might look fascinating, but are there sinister sides to their coat color? The truth is that some white dogs might face certain health issues due to albinism.
However, Labradors that are unaffected by this genetic mutation will be as healthy as the next Labrador.
White Lab vs Albinism
There are many factors contributing to a dog’s appearance and it lies largely in its genes. Eumelanin produces black and brown, and Pheomelanin makes dogs either yellow or red.
The Silver Lab has a color diluting gene that suppresses its color, whereas albino Labs lack the color expressing genes. Albinos are rare in the dog world, and there are levels to this albinism.
Partial albinos might have some very light pigmentation, often around the stomach area. True albinos will likely exhibit pink skin, including eye rims and noses. They will also have blue eyes.
Pink eyes are almost unheard of in dogs.
Dogs with the albino trait often suffer from light sensitivities and will need special coverings if they need to be out in the afternoon sun.
They are more prone to blindness, deafness, skin cancer, as well as genetic deformities. You will need to spend more effort on caring for them. Also, albino Labs are rather short-lived.
Fortunately, White Labs don’t have that problem and will live the expected 10 – 12 years. To find out what colored Labs live the longest (and shortest), you can check out our Labrador lifespan article.
Another type of White Labrador is called a leucistic White Labrador. These doggos have very low pigment and can easily be mistaken for an albino.
The main difference is that Labradors affected by this gene will have brown eyes instead of blue. Also, some dogs might look piebald, while others are completely white.
Leucism is caused by a recessive gene, which means that both parents have to carry it in order for it to express itself. Partially leucistic Labs might have random patches bleached of all color.
How much are White Lab Puppies?
In an ideal world, all breeders will strive to better the breed’s health and temperament, and color would be secondary. After all, aren’t we taught not to judge a book by its cover?
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and humans naturally gravitate towards pretty things and a White Lab is pretty, indeed.
They have a pretty price tag, too. White Labrador Retriever puppies can fetch up to $4000 from a reputable breeder. You will hardly find White Lab puppies for sale lower than $2000.
White Lab Breeders
While you can easily find a Labrador breeder off Yahoo or the AKC marketplace, you want to be extremely cautious when selecting White Labrador breeders.
There are unscrupulous ones that don’t bother with health screenings or socialization. Dogs that come from unfavorable backgrounds often have behavioral and health problems.
Furthermore, breeders that focus on solely one color often do it for profitable gains.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to selecting a breeder is that if you’re not happy with them, you won’t be happy with the puppy, so choose wisely!
Here are a few that we’ve found:
- Snowy Pines White Labs (Ozark, MO)
- Loyal Labradors White English Puppies (Mora, MN)
- Idle Wild Labradors (Shelbyville, TN)
Adopting a White Labrador
One good thing about adopting an adult dog is that what you see is what you get. Also, they are a lot cheaper!
White Labradors are rare to find at a shelter. They are a popular option because they are appealing, and who can resist? If you’ve got your heart set on adopting, here are a couple of shelters you can try:
- Heart of Texas Lab Rescue (Austin, TX)
- Texas Sporting Breed Rescue (Denton, TX)
- Lucky Lab Rescue (TX/MW/NE)
Who should get a White Lab dog?
Labradors are for dog lovers looking for a best friend that will also get along with any family pets they might have. They aren’t the best guard dogs, although they’ve been known to bark at the occasional stranger.
Since White Lab puppies have a small potential for turning darker, if you’re dead set on a White Lab, you should adopt instead of buying to mitigate that risk.