Blonde Labrador

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blonde labrador

A blonde Labrador will have a beautiful light yellow coat, and the friendly temperament Labs are known for! Is this Labrador coloring right for you?

Blonde is one of the many ways that Labrador Retriever breeders can describe their yellow Lab puppies. Labs traditionally come in three colors – yellow, black, and chocolate. But, pigmentation levels and uniformity of these colors can vary from one Lab to the next! Yellow Labs can vary from a coat so pale that it is almost white, to a deep fox red. But, today we’re going to take a look at where blonde falls on this spectrum.

What is a Blonde Labrador?

The Labrador Retriever is a friendly, affectionate, and people-oriented breed. Throughout its history, the Labrador has worked alongside humans. Its earliest ancestors worked as retrieving dogs for fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada. But, the breed soon caught the eye of nobles from Britain, who took the dogs back home with them and worked hard to standardise the breed.

Since then, Labs have only grown in popularity. As well as working to retrieve game, they have also made popular police dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, guide dogs – every role you can imagine!

A blonde Labrador is not a specific variety of Lab. But, some breeders and breed-enthusiasts might use the term blonde to describe yellow Labradors. Particularly in an effort to separate different shades of yellow in a litter.

Can Labradors Be Blonde?

Blonde is not an officially recognised Labrador Retriever shade. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve stumbled across a disreputable breeder if you see a Lab puppy described as blonde.

Yellow Labradors come in a huge range of colors. And, pigmentation can vary even on an individual yellow Lab. So, in an attempt to distinguish some of these shades, breeders and breed enthusiasts may use terms like blonde. Blonde is most often used to describe lighter shades of yellow. But, blonde Labradors will fall under the broader, official category of yellow.

Traditional Labrador Colors

The Labrador Retriever breed comes in three recognized colors. These are black, chocolate/liver, and yellow. All of these colors are solid, not patterned. The only exception is small white marks, such as a white patch on the chest. But, these markings are not preferred in show dogs. And, certain mismarks will disqualify a Labrador from show.

Of course, if you don’t care about meeting the strict show standards, any mismarks won’t matter as much to you. Neither will some of the ‘unofficial’ Labrador colors, such as dilute shades. Many of these are highly controversial in Labrador circles. But, the genetics and history behind them are interesting. Scroll to the end of this guide for more information on these shades, but for now, back to blonde Labradors.

Yellow Labrador Shades

Yellow Labradors won’t all be uniform in their coloring. For instance, some yellow Labs might have relatively pale bodies, but dark, reddish ears. There are plenty of shades of yellow that Labradors can display.

At the lightest extreme, yellow Labradors can be so pale that they look white. But, they will have a creamy tint to their fur. This lightest shade is not to be confused with a dilute champagne Labrador. A very light yellow is accepted in the breed standard, but dilute coloring is not. Dilute Labradors like the champagne Lab are quite controversial, and get their lower pigment levels from the recessive dilute gene.

At the other end of the spectrum, yellow Labradors can be a deep fox red. Of course, a fox red Lab won’t actually be red, but will be a very warm toned, rich yellow, often with an orangey tint. And between these most extreme shades, yellow Labradors can be almost any variation on the color that you can imagine. Blonde is simply a term that some breeders may use to describe one such shade of yellow – usually on the lighter end.

blonde labrador

Yellow Labrador Genetics

So what genetics are at play behind all of that blonde Labrador fur? You might already know that all canine coat colors are controlled by two pigments: eumelanin (black) and pheomelanin (red).

The genes that control yellow coloring are found at the E locus. A Labrador needs to receive two recessive (ee) genes to have yellow fur. Having these two recessive genes will allow the yellow coloring to ‘mask’ black or brown coloring in your Lab’s fur.

If your Labrador puppy only has one recessive gene, or none, their coloring will be decided at the B locus. This is where the genes for black and brown coloring are at play.

Are Blonde Labradors Friendly?

Labradors are well known for their temperament. Labs, no matter what color, are known to be friendly, affectionate, and very people-oriented. In fact, yellow Labs are a popular choice for guide dogs and therapy dogs, because their temperament is perfect, and their yellow coat is often associated with positive traits like friendliness.

Labradors need to be socialized before 12 weeks old, just like any other dog breed. Doing so will help to improve your dog’s confident in new situations, and will encourage the best possible temperament. A well socialized Labrador will know no stranger – they’re everyone’s best friend!

Yellow or blonde Labradors will most often get along well with other pets and with young children. They’re as energetic and clever as any other shade. So, they take to training well, but need the opportunity to exercise every single day. Ideally, they need more than just a slow walk – they need a chance to run around! Mental stimulation is equally important to avoid problems related to boredom, such as digging, barking, and chewing.

Are Blonde Labradors Healthy?

Chocolate Labs are known to experience a higher level of certain health issues. But, studies haven’t revealed the same links in yellow Labs. Of course, a yellow Labrador is still prone to certain issues. So, take a look at health problems that are common in the Labrador breed as a whole for more information. Here are a few of the most common problems to get you started:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Exercise induced collapse
  • Muscular dystrophy

Labradors live to around 12 years old on average. You can encourage a long and healthy life by taking your blonde Lab for regular checks at the veterinarian, and choosing a reputable breeder when looking for a puppy.

Finding a Blonde Labrador Retriever Puppy

Labradors are a very popular breed, so there are plenty of breeders across the world! But, not all breeders will be the same quality. So, it’s really important that you do plenty of research. Puppies from reputable breeders are more likely to be friendly and to experience fewer health problems. This is because such breeders will only breed from the healthiest dog, and will be able to provide evidence of health testing. They will also socialize a puppy to a family environment early on.

Some breeders will specialize in certain shades of yellow, like fox red or cream. Blonde is quite a vague term, and can mean different things to different breeders. So, if you have a certain shade in mind, don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to breeders about your preference!

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

Puppy mills, pet stores and backyard breeders usually do not complete health tests and related practices. Puppies from these places often experience more health issues and behavioral problems related to bad care at a young age. If you suspect that you’re speaking to one of these disreputable breeders, it’s best to leave and look elsewhere.

Blonde Labrador – A Summary

Yellow or blonde Labrador Retrievers are popular picks for a family dog and working roles alike. Yellow fur can vary, but there’s a shade for everyone available! Do you have a yellow Lab at home? We would love to hear about them in the comments!

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References and Resources

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website

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