The White English Lab has very pale yellow fur, an affectionate, friendly temperament, and a stockier body than the American variety of Labradors. Although they are visually white, this Labrador Retriever variety is technically yellow, and if they are Kennel Club registered that will be the color on their certification. Today we’ll check out the best way to find a white English Lab puppy, and look at how to groom, bathe and care for this pale pup.
- What is a white English Lab?
- White English Lab appearance
- Are white English Labradors friendly?
- White English Lab Health and Care
- Finding white English Lab puppies
The Labrador Retriever is one of the world’s most popular breeds! These dogs are friendly, affectionate, and great for families and individuals alike. There are two main strains of the Labrador breed – the American type and the English type. These are also known as the field and show types. In today’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at exactly what you can expect from white English Labs!
What is a White English Lab?
The Labrador Retriever breed originates in Newfoundland, Canada, but was standardized across the pond in the UK. Originally, the Labrador worked as a retrieving dog on hunts. But, its purpose developed over time to include other working roles, like guide dogs and therapy dogs, and many became popular family companions.
As the Labrador developed, individual strains began to emerge. These two strains were the English and American types, also known as the show and field types. English, or show, types were bred to conform to the breed standard. But working ability was more important than appearance for American/field types.
Regardless of variety, Labradors come in three accepted colors: black, chocolate, and yellow. But, yellow Labs can range from the lightest cream to the deepest red. White is not an officially accepted color, but it is possible for English type Labs to have yellow fur so pale that it looks white.
Are White English Labs Purebred?
White English Labradors can be purebred. Purebred yellow Labs come in a huge range of shades. The exact color of a yellow Lab will depend on the intensity of their pigmentation, usually controlled at the Intensity (I) locus.
Light cream yellow Labs are accepted for show by both the Kennel Club and the AKC. But, white English Labs may be too pale to qualify. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a white Lab is not purebred, though! DNA tests and pedigree papers are the best way to confirm your dog’s heritage.
But, it is still possible to find a mixed breed dog that looks like a white English Lab. And, since this breed is so popular, some disreputable breeders may try to mis-sell their mixed puppies as purebred Labradors. So, be vigilant in your search for a reputable breeder. Ask plenty of questions, view paperwork in person, and meet both parent dogs where possible!
What Do White English Labs Look Like?
English Labs are bred to conform to the ideal breed standard. They are generally stocky, muscular dogs. These Labradors will have broad skulls, with medium length jaws that come to a defined stop. Their nose will be black and wide, with open nostrils. Their eyes will be medium in size, in colors brown or hazel.
English Labradors have well proportioned ears that hang flat against their heads. In all, their appearance will be strong and broad, but toned. Despite their stockier stature compared to the American type Lab, excess weight and obesity is not encouraged. Another distinct feature of the English Lab is their otter tail.
These Labradors have short, dense coats made up of two layers. Their undercoat is soft and weather resistant to keep them warm and healthy in their original retrieving roles. White English Labs will have a yellow coat so pale that it appears white. Their coloring could be uniform all over, or it could be slightly more pigmented in certain areas, such as their ears.
Are White English Labs Friendly?
English and American Labradors are distinguished by their temperament just as much as their appearance. Both types are friendly, energetic, and people-oriented dogs. But, English Labs tend to have slightly lower energy levels than field type Labs. The English variety are very people-oriented. They will need plenty of exercise, but will be happy to relax at home with you afterwards.
As intelligent dogs, they will need mental stimulation as well as regular exercise. They are eager to please and will respond well to positive-reward training. This Labrador strain is often very food motivated.
English Labradors are often recommended as family dogs, particularly for first time owners. They are known to get along well with children and other pets, especially when they are properly socialized from the time they come home with you.
White English Lab Health and Care
White English Labs are prone to the same health issues as any other Labrador. Health testing is possible for many of these problems, so breeders can avoid breeding from dogs with common issues. But, the risk of other issues can be reduced with good daily care, including keeping your white English Lab at a healthy weight. Here are some of the most common problems that white English Labs can experience:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Exercise induced collapse
- Muscular dystrophy
- Centronuclear myopathy
On average, Labradors live to 12 years old. The same is true of white English Labs. However, this is only an average. Some may end up living a little longer, particularly if they come from a reputable breeder and receive good daily care.
Finding White English Lab Puppies
The Labrador Retriever is a popular breed, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find breeders. However, not all breeders will be the same quality. So, it’s important to find the best breeder you can. Some breeders will specialize in certain coat colors, including the white Labrador. But, others may specialize in the breed type, like English or American Labs.
The best breeders will prioritise health and good temperament above all else. Their dogs will be given the best possible care, and will be socialized to a family environment from the time they’re born. Reputable breeders will be happy to answer any questions you have, and will provide evidence of health testing. They will also be willing to take puppies back if things unfortunately don’t work out.
Since the best breeders will prioritise the best health and care for their dogs, they won’t have litters constantly available. This can mean you’ll have to sign up to a waiting list. Alternatively, you can search in local rescue centers, to see if any of those have white English Labs up for adoption!
Are White English Labs Right for You?
White English Labs are affectionate, friendly, and people-oriented dogs. They have relatively high energy needs and are usually high shedders. So, they won’t suit every home. But, the English strain of this breed will make a wonderful companion for an active household, even ones with kids and other pets.
Have you got a white English Labrador Retriever at home? Does your white English Lab have any darker cream patches on their coat? Or is their coloring completely uniform?
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References and Resources
- Brancalion, L. (et al), ‘Canine Coat Pigmentation Genetics: A Review’, Animal Genetics (2021)
- ‘Retriever (Labrador)’, The Kennel Club (2022)
- ‘Official Standard for the Labrador Retriever’, American Kennel Club (1994)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Lofgren, S. (et al), ‘Management and Personality in Labrador Retriever Dogs’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2014)
- Clements, D. (et al), ‘Dogslife: A Web-Based Longitudinal Study of Labrador Retriever Health in the UK’, BMC Veterinary Research (2013)
- Keijser, S. (et al), ‘Quantification of the Health-Status of the Dutch Labrador Retriever Population’, Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2019)
- Adams, V. (et al), ‘Methods and Mortality Results of a Health Survey of Purebred Dogs in the UK’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)
- Farrell, L. (et al), ‘The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combatting Inherited Disease’, Canine Medicine and Genetics (2015)
- Raffan, E. (et al), ‘A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs’, Cell Metabolism (2016)
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