In this article we are going to take a look at the white Labrador. Answering all of your white Lab questions and giving you the best white Labrador information.
Find out whether the white Labrador is an albino Labrador, where white Labradors come from and how to find the right dog for your family.
Is A White Lab Actually An Albino Labrador?
Albinism is an interesting trait that is found throughout the animal kingdom. It is caused by a gene which switches off coloring.
Albino animals will have white hair or fur, and pale skin. They may also have red eyes, although very pale blue eyes can also be seen in some albinos when some pigmentation remains.
True albinism in dogs is rare, and it is not a desirable trait as unfortunately it comes with health problems. These include risk of cancer and visual defects.
Fortunately, a white Lab is almost always not actually an albino Lab.
It is actually just a very pale version of a yellow Labrador. White Labrador Retrievers will have pigmented noses and dark eyes, as well as distinctive white fur.
Their fur will almost always contain touches of cream or yellow, especially around the ears.
Where Do White Labradors Come From?
Yellow Labradors have always come in a range of shades, and this range has been deliberately broaden in recent years through selective breeding.
There are only three recognised colors of Labradors – black, chocolate and yellow.
White Labs and Fox Red Labs are both classified as yellow Labs, as although the hues look very different they are just variations of the same base color.
Yellow Labs can now be commonly seen ranging from darkest rich fox red, through shades of golden, pale yellow, cream and even white.
What is considered desirable or fashionable changes from one decade to the next. And certainly differs between the show and working communities of Labrador breeders.
In the 1950’s and 60’s a rich dark yellow was popular, but since then Labradors have swung back and forth a fair amount.
Currently working or American Labradors prefer the darker shades of yellow, and English Labradors are often much paler.
The White English Lab
White English Labs are increasingly popular show bred lines. In the USA this type of Labrador is known as the English white Lab.
English Labs different from American or Working bred Labs quite dramatically in terms of their shape and personalities.
In general your white English Labrador will be fun loving, a little silly and very sociable with people and other dogs. He might take a little longer to mature than his working bred cousins and may have less of a hyped up drive to retrieve or run around all day.
A white English Lab will also often have a broader chest and head, as well as slightly shorter legs.
Finding A White Labrador Puppy
White Labrador puppies will come from parents who have the genes for yellow coat color, and who have been selectively bred to have the palest version of this color.
In a litter of puppies the shades of color can range just as dramatically as they do in adulthood, with some pups looking far more orange and others at the paler end.
Puppies coats will also change color as they grow, so a white puppy may appear more or less pale when he matures. It’s therefore very important not to hang all of your hopes on getting a pure white pup.
Even if you love white Labs, remember that the most important thing about a puppy is their personality and their health.
As with any puppy search, the way to find a white Lab puppy is to look for a litter of Labradors bred in a way that is appropriate for the breed.
White Lab Breeders
If a white Labrador appeals to you, then make sure that the breeder has not focused on color to the detriment of health or temperament.
Color should always be a secondary consideration when breeding a litter or choosing your puppy.
First make sure that all of the other boxes are ticked, and that you are happy with your breeder.
Make sure both parents are fully health tested. For Labradors this will mean low hip and elbow scores, and clear eye tests as a minimum.
Ensure that the parents’ temperaments match what you are looking for in a puppy.
If you want a pup to show in the ring, then go to an established show breeder who will be able to help you select the best pup for your purpose.
If you are looking for a family pet, make sure both parents are treasured members of the family too.
When buying any Labrador puppy, making sure the breeder is a good breeder is key.
White Labrador Puppy Care
Once he arrives home, caring for your white Labrador puppy will be exactly the same as caring for any other color of Lab.
It’s normal to have a few trials when a puppy arrives in your home. The main ones which Labrador owners deal with are regarding potty training and biting.
You can find lots of information on dealing with both of these common issues in our extensive Puppies Section.
Bringing a new puppy home is a big decision. If you have any doubts about whether you are ready for a Labrador check out this article to help make the right choice.
More information on Labradors
If you’d like all of our best Labrador information together in one place, then get your copy of The Labrador Handbook today.
The Labrador Handbook will help you to decide which type of Labrador is the right dog for you, and take you through keeping him healthy and happy for the duration of his lifetime with you.
The Labrador Handbook is available worldwide.
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