White Labradors vs Albino Labs

white lab

White Labradors have their pale coat either as a result of selective breeding for paler and paler yellow Labs, or because they have inherited two copies of the gene for albinism. Albino Labs have red eyes, no pigment in their coat and the potential for some uncomfortable health problems. Fortunately, this trait is practically unheard of in purebred Labs, and your white Labrador puppy is much more likely to just be a yellow Lab in a bit of a disguise! You are more likely to find white English Labs than white American Labs, as lighter yellow dogs are more popular in the show ring and darker almost red Labs are preferred in the working dog world.


Where Do White Labs Come From?

Yellow Labradors have always come in a range of shades. This range has been deliberately broadened in recent years through selective breeding of more muted tones.

But despite this, there are only three recognised colors of Labradors – black, chocolate and yellow. Yellow Labs can now be commonly seen ranging from darkest rich fox red, through shades of golden, pale yellow, cream and even white. White Labs and fox red Labs are both classified as yellow Labs. Even though the hues look very different, they are just variations of the same base color.

Changes in Trends

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.

white lab

The White English Labrador

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 differ 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.

The 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 Labs 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.

Albino Lab Health

Albino Labs can suffer from sensitive skin. This is an issue that leaves them particularly vulnerable to sun and heat damage. Not only can an albino Lab be easily sunburnt, the sun can also damage his eyes. This vulnerability can make these dogs prone to tumors and skin cancer. Many Albino dogs are born blind, or suffer from eye deformities.

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.

white labrador puppy
A white Lab puppy will often have yellow ears.

Finding a White Labrador Puppy

White Lab 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. Some pups can look far more orange and others will be at the paler end. Puppy coats will also change color as they grow. So white Lab puppies may appear more or less pale when they mature. It’s therefore very important not to hang all of your hopes on getting a pure white pup.

Even if you love white Labradors, 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 Labrador Retriever Breeders

If white Lab puppies appeal 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.

Think of the Type of Labrador

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. Here is some more information on how to find a good breeder, for any color of Labrador.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

White Lab Puppies’ 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.

white lab

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


  1. We had a beautiful White English Lab named Emma who died last summer of cancer. She was only 5 years old and it was a horrible shock to our family. Emma was amazing! She loved to ride with me every morning, never met a stranger, always wanted to be near me. She was a beloved family dog and my best friend! My husband got her for me for my birthday, best gift ever. We also have a 4 year old rescue dog who has had a huge adjustment without her. They played and snuggled together, very close. We will probably choose another lab just like her when we’re ready. We let ourselves look a little these days. Highly recommend the White English Lab, you’ll fall in love!

  2. We just brought home a pale cream girl from the same breeder our 4 year old dark red girl is from. I have loved the white/cream color for years and when our breeder had this last litter of eight, and one was pale, they held her for us. 😍
    Both our American Lab girls are amazing pups.

  3. We have a 5 month old female lab from a good breeder. She has a ‘pink’ nose, and yellow/green eyes.
    The breeder called her accent color champagne. This pink started around her eyes, st the tip of ears and tail and a faint line down her back.
    Her father is a white English lab and mother is a white American lab. She has a half sister with the same father and a white English mother. Her half sister has black nose, black eyes and black accent color around eyes.
    After reading this article I am confused..is she really a yellow lab? I would like to understand this much better.

  4. We have a gorgeous, playful, well- behaved and much loved 18 month old “white lab”. He was the best puppy, potty trained very easily/ quickly and in general is a fairly well behaved / trained doggo. However… he does seem to have a “character defect”, as he will growl at and if we get too close, bite us when he is either going into or coming out of a sleep state. We have had several trainers tell us that they think this is a result of “over breeding” to achieve the beautiful white coloring. Has anyone else had any issues like this with a white lab?

  5. I have a 8 month Snow White English lab with black skin, nose and eyes. I’ve had several labs in my lifetime and this one is hard headed and repeats bad behavior. Beats me with her paws to get me out of bed… she loves to swim in pool and her water bowl but hates baths.

  6. We have a 6 month old white lab. He name is Mayzie. She is a very loving dog and easy to train. She is built like a tank vs our other yellow lab who is truly yellow. We purchased her from a breeder who had a little of 9 puppies with only two females one white and one red. She loves to play, we feel bad for her as she does have a hard time keeping up to her American yellow lab friend who can out run her no problem and with her short legs deep snow seem to be hard for her but she is keeps pushing and makes it back to play with her friend. We have had a few yellows but this our first white which we purchased by chance. She is truly an awesome dog. She is being trained for hunting and I can’t see the issue as she is not afraid of nothing except other big dogs and our small shitzu terrier who is the boss of the house. The only thing I don’t understand is why every other dog finds the need to want to nip her. She stays clear from other dogs and they come to her. Once she feels save with them she goes to them and they bit or attack her. I am not sure why this is happening. Any explanation.

  7. We have a white Labrador with light gold ears and very light yellow highlights on his back. He has lovely dark brown eyes and some pink on his nose. Mother is an Austrian import very lightly coloured and father black. Gorgeous temperament in the English style. From very strong retrieving stock. Father is an Australian champion. He is 9 months.

  8. Hello Everyone, We are a couple based in London and are trying very hard to find a yellow or white Labrador puppy.My husband and I are very keen to welcome a Labrador puppy into our family and life.We are an affectionate, close-knit and loving family and we want to provide our puppy with a safe, comfortable and happy environment We had a Labrador dog earlier; we miss his presence a lot. Could you please advise where can we find labradors in UK.We have tried Champdogs, but the list goes reserve as soon as we apply. if you have any available puppies available or could recommend anyone, It would be most helpful.regards, Molly

  9. We just got a yellow lab mix puppy and he’s almost completely white! He looks like a little snowman with his black eyes and nose 😀

  10. We had a white English Lab for a
    over 10 years he was a rescue and 1 when we adopted. BEST dog ever, he had epilepsy and took daily medicine but lived a long happy healthy great dog life.

  11. I have a 1 in a half year old English White lab she is very hyper stubborn and super friendly but she is changing colors on her backside and parts of her tail to a champagne color blotches or large. Dots but the rest of her is white her name was snow angel and now we call her Angel I rescued her of the streets extremely sick when she was 3 months old been training her I’m now seeing results she a hard headed rascals but loads of fun does not like water so I take her to vets office for baths and teeth brushing and maintenance 2 times a month

  12. I have a 3 month old (white) lab. She has a few streaks of yellow at the top of her ears and on her tail. She is starting to nip a lot more and is scared of everything and everyone. We have started to go on daily walks in our court and she definitely pulls or refuses to move. She loves loves loves to eat!

  13. I have a year old white lab with a black nose and eyes. She weighs about 55 pounds with stocky neck and head. She has the english tail and doesn’t seem to like our swimming pool. Very smart but also very stubborn. Her name is Lumi which means snow in Finish

  14. I have a 7 month old English White Lab (I’ve heard them called “English Cream”). And yes, he was a biter and a jumper. Thank God for redirection! He was persistent but he has learned his bite inhibition well! He knows not to put his teeth on me. After a course of knee-to-the-chest (painless but confusing), he knows not to jump, but – he’s a puppy!! He’s super easy to train (except for loose-leash walking, which we’re working on) and is besties with every dog and human he meets. And mischievous? He’s a horrible tease. He played a game of keep-away with my glasses, which he snatched right off my face! $800 later, all’s well…
    Riley is pure white, with a faint yellow stripe down his back, tips of ears, tip of tail and the backs of his hind legs. He has black skin so he looks really strange soaking wet, which he is – daily. He loves water and will seek out ways to get wet. In summary, I just love Riley James! He’s everything I ever wanted in a dog. We’re besties forever!❤

    • Hi Vicki, we just adopted a lab puppy ( now 15 months old) and your description of Riley in color sounds exactly like our Jackson. I was wondering how you trained Riley not to puppy bite on you. You mentioned redirection. Just curious exactly how you did it. It’s his only vice. We adore him! And how is Rile doing now?

  15. We have the sweetest, daftest white lab, whom we got as a companion for our visually impaired son. We named him Dexter (right hand), and though he loves to be loved by all of us, he especially loves Tony, his companion or “cuddle-buddy”. We thought of training him as a proper companion dog, but he was a pretty boisterous puppy and sadly at that time we didn’t have all the hours we needed to do it properly. However, one Friday night last year, I took Dexter with me to pick up Tony from his youth group at our church. While waiting for Tony to come downstairs, Dex was busy charming all the young teenage girls who were already downstairs, waiting for their parents. Eventually Tony came down and he sat down on the bottom step to fuss Dexter. Just then a girl came out of the room upstairs and started running down on the same side Tony was sitting. Immediately Dex growled and ran around Tony placing himself between Tony and the girl and barking loudly. In that moment, I could see that, trained properly or not, Dex was indeed Tony’s right hand

  16. I have a white Lab pup who have blue eyes. shes 1 month and 16 days old. Is it really possible for it be sickly? 😭 please give me an advice. My first time to have a lab pup.

    • Labradors pretty healthy dogs. I grew up this breed. Keep them fed, and give them water and they will do fine. Right now, your puppy still has baby teeth. It will start growing adult teeth by the time they’r 4 months old. So watch out for shoes, socks, etc. By the time a dog is 6 to 8 months old, they are fully grown. Keep them on puppy food until they are 1 yrs. old. Also Purina / Petigree are the best of dog foods to get for dog that has nutrition. Whole grain food. A dog 99% wolf. So remember, they eat meat! Do what vet says what is best. Usually, when a dog has stomach issues, lamb is the food that is suggest. Labs are spontaneous dogs. They love to play, run, take walks,and if you are lucky, take a bath. This breed is from New Foundland, Canada by the Labrador River, the Avalon Penninsyla. They were used to catch fish, hunt for wildlife. The Labrador’s nickname is the “Gundog” I hope this helped you. I am a Certified Professional 5 star Dog Boarder, Linda Marshal

  17. I have a very sweet white lab. Her name is Pearl and she is the best! She is a Dudley, and her nose is pink in the colder months, but retreats to a darker brown to black in the spring/summer. We own her father, Indy, an 8 year old English, block-headed black lab. He is very mellow and a complete cuddle-bug! Sadly, he has a love for food, and will automatically sneak food off the table or counter when you aren’t looking. Thank goodness Pearl didn’t receive this trait. Anyway, Pearl’s mother lived on a farm and was a crazy dog. She was somewhat feisty and we believe she had hunted animals on the farm. We have seen this trait in Pearl, for she gets cocky and riled up during walks. When we pass other dogs, her fur goes up (a time that my dad calls ‘cockatiel’) and she growls. She has bit other dogs in the past, and her posture during walks is that of the ‘alpha female’. She is very dominant during this time and we have sent her to training in the past. Sadly, nothing has worked quite yet. Do you have any solutions? Can we break her from the traits? And if the solution is training, how much? If I can any answers to my questions that would be great! Thanks!

  18. We gave our (white) Lab puppy a fat stick to chew when we wanted to play or pet him. Now, as an adult he goes to get his “stick” before he comes to be lovey with us. He knows he’s NOT to bite us. If your pup does bite, yell “OUCH”. They’ll figure out quickly that they are hurting you.

  19. Labs are the best dig you will ever own. That puppy biting is just playfulness. A Lab stays a puppy for a long time. At least 2 years. They will chew your house down if you don’t kennel them every time you leave the house. They are alot of work when they are puppies, but worth the effort. They are the puppy from hell, but the dog from heaven?

  20. I have a yellow Labrador puppy of 12 weeks. I love her but she does bite, I expect this is typically what puppies do but I need to get this mastered before she is much older. I always thought
    Labrador puppies were gentle puppies. Perhaps I am expecting too much from her. She plays with our other puppy which is a Rottie of the same age. They play together but get a bit spiteful at
    times Had a lot of dogs but none quite like the Labrador. I think I will have to be very strict
    With her and knock the biting bit out of her before she is much older. I have also two other dogd
    A 9 year rotti and a 5 year Labrador/rotti both are good dogs.

  21. We had a wonderful white lab who fit every characteristc you mentioned, looking, playful and slow for some training. He had great instincts when around handicapped. In 30 days a new furry white comes home. Love the information, it’s been a while…

  22. I have a off white Labrador of 5 months , his ears colors are now changing into light yellow color….. Would be that albino..

  23. I have rescued a white lab sort of a little yellow to fur with sky blue eyes and pink nose and pink mouth. Is this dog at risk for cancer?And how rare is she 51/2 months old.

    • I have a yellow lab with pink nose and mouth. He had blue eyes when he was a puppy, but then his eye color changed to a mix of yellow and brown. pink nose and mouth indicates your dog is also a dudley lab which i believe is not a problem. My dog is 2 years old now and he is doing perfectly fine.

  24. I have a fox red lab and I know you can get black, brown, yellow lab and the white is classed as yellow I think and on the Internet there are grey labs. I guess if the dog is a true lab you have to have papers and be recognised by the kennel club.

  25. I have a 3 month old white labrador with a little yellow/ cream color on her back and ears.. she is a dudley.. no pigment in nose and eye lids.. her ears arent as floppy as lab puppies look in pictures. I was wondering if her ears with grow with her and become more floppy.. ?