A white Labradoodle is a Labrador Retriever and Poodle mix dog, with a white coat. White Labradoodles always inherit their snowy coat purely from their Poodle parent. Besides their color, a white Labradoodle is not distinct from other Labradoodles.
Choosing a White Labradoodle
Have you been thinking about adding a white Labradoodle to your home? Labradoodles are beautiful and popular dogs. There are more than 15 different coat colors possible for a Labradoodle! But you’ve got your heart set on those beautiful white curls. So read on and find out if the white Labradoodle is the dog for you.
What is a White Labradoodle?
The Labradoodle is what’s known as a designer dog. This term refers to when two breeds combine to accentuate the best traits in both breeds. The Labradoodle stemmed from the need for an allergy-friendly guide dog.
Though there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, a coat that’s easier on allergies is possible. Poodles have somewhat hypoallergenic coats, in that they don’t shed or produce much dandruff. Unfortunately, they couldn’t muster up the discipline needed to be an efficient guide dog. Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, make perfect guide dogs. But their fur sheds and holds dander that aggravates allergies. That makes it difficult for anyone who has allergies in their household.
In the 1980s, breeders combined Poodles and Labrador Retrievers to solve this problem. This resulted in the Labradoodle that we know today, and are still popular as guide dogs and therapy dogs.
White Labradoodles are labeled as “chalk” by the Australian Labradoodle Association of America. According to the ALAA, a chalk colored Labradoodle should have “dark brown eyes; black nose, eye rims; and black or self-colored nails.” One concern potential owners may have is that a white coat might signify albinism. But that is unlikely, as albinism is very rare in both pets and people.
White Labradoodle Genetics
Let’s look deeper into the genetics of dogs, and specifically white Labradoodles. All color found on dogs comes from two different pigments. There’s eumelanin, which is black, or pheomelanin, which is red. As dogs grow, cells called melanocytes add these two melanins to their hair. The amount of melanin that gets added will determine a dog’s coat color.
When a dog has a white coat, it’s actually a result of a lack of pigmentation. There is still pigmentation in the nose and they eyes, but none in the fur. Pigmentation in the eyes and nose is what officially qualifies white Labradoodles according to the ALAA. This pigmentation also sets white Labradoodles apart from dogs with albinism. Albinism is the complete lack of pigmentation.
How White Labradoodles Inherit Their Color
White is a recognized color for Poodles, but not Labrador Retrievers. White Poodles get their color (or lack of it) from the S gene. Labradors do not carry the S gene. Although very occasionally they might have small areas of the white trim in their coat. So, white Labradoodles always inherit their color from their Poodle parent.
White Labradoodle Temperament
It can be difficult to pinpoint the personality of a mixed breed dog. You can’t predict whether they’ll be more influenced by the Labrador genes or Poodle genes. Both breeds are known as family-friendly dogs. Labradoodles can be high-energy and friendly. How friendly they are will depend on whether they take after the Poodle or Labrador parent more.
Poodles seem to be a bit more aloof, whereas Labradors are often extremely friendly. And your Labradoodle’s temperament could fall anywhere on this spectrum. You can help temperament with proper socialization, adequate exercise and lots of attention. Labradors are social dogs who don’t do well with long periods of alone time.
To get an idea of the temperament your dog might have, ask your breeder about the parents’ temperament. While this can’t guarantee how your Labradoodle will behave, it can give you an idea of what to expect.
With all that said, there is currently no real evidence that coat color affects a dog’s temperament. So while your dog might be more Labrador or more Poodle-like, their white fur won’t dictate their personality.
White Labradoodle Health
Every breed of dog will have their own health risks. So it’s important to know what may arise with your White Labradoodle. It’s essential for you to talk with your breeder about your dog’s lineage and confirm health testing. Many issues that could arise are genetic. Reputable breeders won’t let those conditions continue if they can help it. Since your Labradoodle has Labrador and Poodle genes, it’s important to know the risks on both sides.
Poodle Health Risks
This is a lack of adrenal hormones. It is a serious disease that can be life-threatening
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Von Willebrand’s disease or vWD is a blood disorder that can cause excessive bleeding. DNA tests are available for this gene, and it takes two faulty genes to pass the disorder along. Good breeders will have their dogs tested to avoid breeding two carriers together.
Sebaceous glands can become inflamed, affecting skin and hair follicle lubrication. This results in itchy skin, scaling, hair loss and even infection. At present, there is no DNA test. But you should talk to your breeder about whether they have seen it in the lineage.
Poodles can suffer from idiopathic epilepsy, which is inherited. While the prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy can be good, it’s not the only possible cause of a seizure. Talk to your breeder about the possibility of idiopathic epilepsy in your dog’s lineage. If your dog has a seizure, get your dog’s diagnostics looked at.
Poodle and Labrador Health Issues
There are several issues that Poodles and Labradors have in common since they’re both large dogs. Here are some of the health concerns that they share.
A common issue with larger dogs, the hip joint may be malformed and so the femur doesn’t align with the socket. Some cases are mild, requiring only proper diet and exercise to maintain. Whereas, other cases are more severe, and may even need surgery to help.
Sometimes with large dogs, their stomachs can grow too large with gas and rotate. This hinders their ability to release the gas. And also restricts blood supply. If this happens, it is life-threatening and an emergency vet visit is necessary. It’s important to know the symptoms, and ways you can try to prevent it.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This is a genetic disease that almost always leads to blindness. Luckily, a DNA test can identify this. Good breeders should be able to provide proof of testing for the parents. It’s said that mixed breed dogs are hardier than purebred dogs, and they may also be more resistant to disease. But one study suggests that it depends on the disease more than the pedigree. So it’s important to stay on top of your dog’s health testing no matter what.
Labrador Health Issues
The only major concern outside what Labradors share with Poodles is their risk of cancer. While Labradors are not the highest at-risk breed for cancer, the issue is still there. But with early detection, it could be manageable.
White Labradoodle Health Issues
The color of your Labradoodle may not influence your dog’s temperament, but it does have a say in their health. As we talked about earlier, it’s a lack of melanin that causes the white coat. Melanocytes also influence the cells of a dog’s inner ear canal. If a dog lacks these melanocytes, it will also lack the proper hearing cells. This will result in a high chance of congenital deafness.
Melanin also influences how a dog’s eyes filter light. This makes your White Labradoodle more susceptible to poor eyesight than other colors. Their white coat also means they likely have sensitive skin. Their time in the sun should be closely monitored.
White Labradoodle Coat and Grooming Requirements
Labradoodle coats are hardly low maintenance. Since there’s such a difference between Labrador and Poodle coats, there are a number of possibilities for your dog’s coat.
People think that Labradoodles are non-shedding dogs, but that’s not the case. Labradors are shedding dogs, so your Labradoodle may leave lots of hair around. Their fur is thick, coarse and double-layered. They have a water-resistant outer layer and an insulating undercoat. They shed regularly, but twice a year their coat “blows out” and they shed heavily.
Poodles also shed, but the hair is usually caught by their coat’s tight curls. They have a single layer coat.
Your dog’s coat will depend on which parent’s genes are dominant. It could have the thick, curly wool-like fur of a Poodle. They may also have loose (or no) curls, with a lot more shedding.
Labradoodle Coat Care
You will need to brush your Labradoodle once or twice weekly. If they shed like Labradors, they’ll need more care during high shedding season. This may even mean daily brushing. They will need regular clipping to keep the coat from matting. A fine-tooth comb, brush, and detangling spray will help you care for them.
White Labradoodle Coat Care
As with most things, white means even more maintenance. White fur may mean your dog has sensitive skin. You don’t want to overwash them and cause dryness and irritation. Choose a gentle shampoo, and keep full baths to a minimum. If your white Labradoodle gets dirty, wait until the dirt is dry and brush it out. You can also use cleaning cloths to remove stains. Pay special attention to areas prone to staining: around the eyes and mouth.
Selecting a Reputable Breeder
Lastly, regardless of coat color or breed, you should always look for a reputable breeder. Good breeders work towards the betterment of the species and the breed. They take important qualities such as health, temperament and more into account.
But you’re likely to come across a lot of backyard breeders in the looking process. These breeders are looking for quick money. So they take advantage of the popularity of designer breeds like Labradoodles. They do this by over-breeding dogs. And they don’t consider the mother’s health or the genetic qualities of the puppies. That means the temperament of a Labradoodle from a backyard breeder can vary wildly.
Properly bred Labradoodles are a little easier to predict.
Is the White Labradoodle Right For You?
A white Labradoodle puppy may not be the most low maintenance dog that you can find. But there is a reason that this breed is so loved. Will you talk with your breeder about possible health concerns? Are willing to work a little harder with their coat? Then a white Labradoodle could be the perfect dog for you!
Do you already have a white Labradoodle at home? Or are you still deciding whether or not to take one home? We’d love to hear in the comments below!
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References and Further Reading
Vredegoor D et al. 2012. Can f1 levels in hair and homes of different dog breeds: Lack of evidence to describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Bellumor T et al. 2013. Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995-2010). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Webb A & Cullen C. 2010. Coat color and pattern-related neurologic and neuro-ophthalmic diseases. The Canadian Veterinary Journal.
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