Dudley Lab – The Pink Nose Labrador

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dudley lab

We all know that yellow Labradors come in a fabulous range of shades. But did you know that a Lab’s nose comes in a range of colors too?

In this article we are going to look at the Dudley Labrador. What makes him special, and what it means to be a pink nosed Lab.

From dark black to brown, red or pale pink, let’s take a look at what your Labrador’s nose says about him.

What Is A Dudley Lab?

In general black and yellow Labradors will have black noses, and chocolate Labradors will have brown noses. But this is not always the case.

A Dudley Lab is a Labrador whose nose, eye rims and feet lack any pigment. They look pink in color from the day he’s born, right up until old age.

dudley labrador

However there is some disagreement over whether this is where the Dudley Labradors end.

Because some people believe that any Labradors with reduced nose pigmentation are also Dudley Labradors.

There are broadly speaking three types of nose that a yellow Lab can have. Black, brown or pink.

Labradors are always referred to as Dudley if they have a pink nose, but some people refer to those with brown noses as Dudleys as well.

To understand where these come from and the differences between them, we need to look at their genetics.

Labrador Pigmentation Genetics

All puppies are born with bright pink noses, which usually become darker in color over the first few weeks of their lives.

A few yellow Labradors noses will remain the same pink color, some other noses will darken but only to a light brown shade, others will become completely black.

dudley Labrador
Yellow Labrador noses come in a variety of shades, from pink, to brown, to black.

These different shades are produced as a result of the density and type of melanin carried in the dog’s cells.

The melanin in the nose cells will depend upon the genes that your puppy has inherited from his parents.

‘Bee’ genes control whether a dog is black (B) or chocolate (b) in color. Yellow coloration is controlled by ‘Eee’ genes.

The ’Eee’ genes have the potential when combined as ‘ee’ to act as a switch to override any of ‘Bee’ colors.

Yellow Labradors will have one of three possible gene combinations in order to be yellow. These will be:

  • eeBB
  • eeBb
  • eebb

Any combination including ‘ee’ will result in a yellow coat.

But the ‘Bee’ colors are still contributing factors in determining the shade of the Labrador’s nose, as this is influenced by melanin, which is in turn influenced by the ‘Bee’ gene.

A yellow Labrador with the genes eeBB or eeBb will have a black nose and eye rims, because ‘B’ puts a greater density of melanin into each cell. Resulting in a darker color being shown on the skin.

Beautiful Jack, the pale nosed Dudley Lab. Photo kindly provided by his loving owner, Rachel York.
Beautiful Jack, the pale nosed Dudley Lab. Photo kindly provided by his loving owner, Rachel York.

A Labrador with eebb will have a brown or paler nose. The tone of this nose will depend upon the shading of colors in their parents genetic backgrounds.

Labrador genetics are complicated, and you can find out a lot more about Labrador color inheritance in our extensive article here.

Black Labrador Nose Turning Pink

A Dudley Labrador will have a pink nose throughout his life. But many Labrador noses turn pink when they advance in years.

This process is known as depigmentation and is quite common and not usually a cause for concern.

When the yellow Lab is younger he will have a black nose and dark rims around his eyes. But as he ages and his coat begins to turn a little white in places, he may also lose pigment in his nose.

The pigment in your Lab’s nose is produced by an enzyme called tyrosinase, which makes melanin. Tyrosinase becomes less effective as your dog grows old.

Dark Labrador noses fade to pink as they age.
Dark Labrador noses fade to pink as they age.

However, you may find that the fading of his nose is less noticeable in the warmer weather as the pigment producing enzyme works better in the heat. This phenomenon is known as ‘snow nose’.

Pink Nose Problems In Labradors

It is worth noting that on occasions a Labrador’s nose will turn pink due to a medical problem.

If your Lab cuts her nose, the resulting scar might be pink and not black or brown. This will normally return to it’s original color in time and is not a cause for concern.

However, if your dog’s nose also looks inflamed, sore or crusty then it’s a good idea to pop down to your local veterinarian as this could be caused by a bacterial infection, allergy or skin disorder.

Can You Predict Nasal Pigmentation When Breeding?

It is possible to have adult dogs DNA tested, to find out whether they carry the right genes to produce Dudley puppies.

Some show Labrador breeders will have this test carried out as a lack of pigmentation in yellow Labs is marked as a fault in the show ring.

Should I Buy A Dudley Labrador Puppy?

Dudley Labradors are no different to their dark nosed Labrador friends.

However, if you are going to buy a Dudley Lab puppy then you will need to be aware of a couple of things.

The first is that they have anecdotally been suggested to suffer from sunburn on their noses in hot weather. This is not a big deal if you live in a mild climate, and you can discuss with your veterinarian how to help your dog to reduce the chances of burning on those occasionally hot summer days.

The second is only relevant if you want to show your dog. The show ring penalises yellow Labradors for their pale noses, eye rims and feet. So if you want a yellow Lab to be a star of the dog show, then a Dudley is best avoided.

However, if you are looking for a loving family pet or working dog then a Dudley Labrador can make just as much of a wonderful companion and hard working friend as any other Labrador Retriever.

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Lucy is a writer and blogger, who regularly provides posts for The Labrador Site. She has a BSc in Psychology and lives with her husband, daughter and numerous pets in Surrey.

18 COMMENTS

  1. My last 2 yellow labs had Winter nose. Now I understand why. Thank you for the information! I knew it wasn’t Dudley nose. Both had black noses as pups, but over time, turned a bit lighter at times. Good info!

  2. Our Dora will be 2 years old in 2 months. She had a black nose as a pup but now has a pink nose. All last summer she had awful skin problems around the eyes. The fur became non-existent, due to scratching which we had trouble controlling, and the skin around the eyes was red and raw. Vet visits became a regular thing and medicines, creams and anti-biotics didn’t help. She wore a lamp shade thing round her head, at home, for the whole summer. It’s now winter, December, and she’s fine. Seems it’s all sorted by itself. I’m wondering if she’ll have the same problem next summer? Could she be allergic to the sun? Does Dog Sun Cream exist?

  3. I am from eastern nc and got my got my double dipped eared, pink nosed and even pink toe nail, what I call green eyed pony lab. He is blonde and looks like those pictures. The hunters down here didn’t want him and he has papers longer than me. How did I get him. My best friend has his sister. Looks like all labs I had in my life. Brown nose etc. His mother was from abercombrie kennels . Was he a mutant. Nobody down wanted I just paid nothing. Hell!! They paid a ton some hunter didn’t want him. Didn’t know he might be special until visited friend who told me about this. He is 1 year 3 moths 87 lbs blonde but with dark sports behind his shoulders. Excuse person above me. Baxter has dug up three moles,been on the beach and I have never thought about sunscreen.

  4. My boy is a labrador crossed with a golden retriever. He has a very black nose. His skin when younger was dark. He is now 3 years and 3 months old and his skin is starting to turn pink…will his nose do the same as he gets older..

  5. Our Dudley Lily had green eyes as a little pup and now has hazel eyes. Most of her offspring have pink noses; some light paw pads, but all have their yellow lab daddy Otto”s dark rimmed dark eyes.
    Lily is a total clown and never misses out on fun with the young ones.
    We discovered she was a Dudley when we Googled her green eyes as a puppy.

    • Our 2 yr. old Jackson had green eyes and a pink nose, his eye color has also changed to hazel. He is our joy; always doing funny things and making us laugh. He’s the most loving dog we’ve ever had
      .

  6. My Keeva is half lab / half golden retriever. She is 2 and energetically more like a lab (The leaner small boned type..aka lots of energy!) She is 2 years old now so not old obviously. She had a black nose as a puppy ( I have pictures to prove it…and man are they cute!) but but the time she was one it turned pink or possibly light brown? Her eyes are dark rimmed as is her nose I guess but the main body is pretty pink looking. If you are curious her hashtag on instagram is #keevathebeeva and you can see what I mean, and don’t worry she is very photogenic. This kind of colouration or loss of pigmentation wasn’t mentioned or would that be what brown may show up as? Sorry I love genetics…and lab coat colours are pretty cool and the nose combination got me all intrigued!

  7. I have a dudley then aswell pinky brown nose n pinky brown eye rims people would ask me why her eyes were that colour ,,,we still love her loads

  8. I have a beautiful, big 60-pound, six-month-old male chocolate lab. He has a very dark brown coat and his nose matches the color of his coat. However, he has pink eye rims. I wonder if this qualifies him as Dudley. The pink eye rims add to his unique look.

  9. Our yellow labrador was born with a black nose which turned pink before she was a year old. She has dark brown eyes and dark brown pads on her feet so I guess she isn’t a Dudley labrador. She has a short, smooth coat with only a slight ridge of coarse, wavy hair down her back so I presume there isn’t much retriever in her genes. Having read the article above, I wonder where she fits in?

  10. I am not sure if my old lad is a Dudley, he has always had a brownish pink nose but has dark eye rims and lips, He is 13 now but no colour changes, I have always used sunblock on his nose but it seems less sensitive now than in his youth.

    • Our adopted lab has a very light pink nose, light color around eyes and yellow/hazel eyes. She looks all lab but I wonder if this is normal for a Dudley?

  11. I absolutely love my pink nosed yellow lab !
    I didn’t know or notice the “nose” color or pay attention to the differences. She has just a beautiful attitude and kindness and was easily trained!
    Then one day chasing lizards she scraped her pink nose and it wouldn’t heal. Vet said DLE. I had to look it up. (!) Tetracycline was the best medication used for her condition, but at the time costly and back ordered due to some kind of recall!!?? I gave up on THAT. Vet gave us some antibiotic topical that helped for a while but once gone the area would crack again and bleed.
    As my country vet didn’t seem too concerned, I proceeded to find holistic remedies to aid in her healing. One being SUNBLOCK. I use baby sunblock and neosporin and allow her minimal sun exposure. She loves sunbathing!
    After many months/years of trial and error, her nose will never be all pink again, it’s spotted with black and light scarring but the cut has closed no more bleeding. No more suffering, but I think her nose skin is thin and fragile; so I don’t allow her to dig for gophers (as much…after all ..she needs that pleasure of the chase sometimes!)
    I don’t know if others have had this experience DLE is NOT usual in labs (of course).
    I would encourage furfamilies with “pink noses” to use sunblock just in case, check with your veterinarian.

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