Yellow Lab – Your Guide To The Yellow Labrador Retriever

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Yellow Lab

The yellow Lab is perhaps best known for its role as a guide dog for the blind.

But the iconic Labrador Retriever is also one of the world’s favorite pets.

Perhaps more than any other color, the yellow Lab has become associated with companionship and families. And also with the show ring.

English Yellow Labs

Many of the world’s most famous and successful “show” Labs have been yellow. These dogs are often referred to as English Labs.

Yellow Lab - the yellow Labrador Retriever

English Lab is simply the American name for the chunkier type of Lab favored in the show ring. Those Labs bred especially for hunting, on the hand, are called American.

You can find out more about the difference between these two strains of Labrador in our article on English Labs

Where Do Yellow Labs Come From?

Your yellow Lab’s ancestors were taken to Newfoundland in the 18th century by the amazingly tough people who traveled from England and settled there.

These early dogs were hunting and fishing companions that split into two different breeds—the large Newfoundland dog, and the St. John’s dog, or ancestor of our Labs.

Later, the St. John’s dogs were bought back to England where they were bred to create the breed we have today.

You probably know that the early Labs were usually black. This is partly because the genetic information that creates yellow Labs has to be present in both of a Labrador puppy’s parents for the puppy to grow yellow fur.

But there were other, more sinister reasons.

Early Yellow Labrador Breeders

To begin with, yellow Labs were not liked and many yellow puppies born were probably culled by their breeders.

This meant that for a long time, the yellow color was rare.

The earliest known photo of a Yellow lab is of Ben of Hyde, the first recognised Yellow Labrador Retriever.

You can find out more about the origins of the Yellow Lab in our article on the history of the Labrador.

You can also find out all about how Labrador coat color is inherited in this in-depth guide to coat color inheritance in the Labrador Retriever.

You’ll find charts that show you what color puppies you can expect when Labradors of different colors are mated together.

Labrador Retriever Colors – Many Shades of Yellow

You’ll probably have noticed that yellow Labs come in a wide variety of shades. These range from a creamy white, through pale buttermilk yellow, to gold and even the most intense fox red.

For many years, the paler dogs were the most sought after, with light yellow Labrador puppies idealised and popularised through the famous Andrex toilet roll advertisement.
yellow lab

Yellow Lab Temperament

So we all agree that yellow Labs are cute. But what are they really like? You’ll be happy to hear that it’s mostly good news.

Of course, just like with humans, Labs form their temperaments from a mix of genetic and environmental factors.

It is wise then to pay keen attention to choosing a breeder. After bringing your Lab home, you also have a role to play. Bond with your dog. If they have caring families and well-treated, yellow Labs are more likely to be kind and gentle in return.

Yellow Labs are also one of the easiest breeds to train. No wonder they serve as search and rescue, guide dogs, hunting buddies, and many more. Truly a jack of all trades.

We have an entire article about Labrador temperaments if you’d like to learn more about them.

Golden Labradors

Deeper yellow puppies are often referred to as “golden labradors.” However, most Labrador breeders don’t like the use of the word golden—the official term is plain old yellow.

So, no matter what shade of yellow/gold/red your Labrador is, it is still “officially” a yellow labrador.

They’re so popular, the fox red Labs have their very own page here, as does the white Lab.

Despite all the variety, all these colors are registered with your Kennel Club under the one heading—yellow Lab.

Do Yellow Labs Shed?

Labradors are well known for their rather excessive shedding tendencies. Yellow Labs shed just like their chocolate or black cousins, although it does tend to show up less on my carpets as the hairs are pale instead of dark.

They do however require just as much grooming and coat attention to keep their shedding under control.

If you’re tired of finding fur from your yellow Lab everywhere, you can try a de-shedding tool. The furminator is one of our favorites. This video shows how it can be used.

You can also read more about our other favorite de-shedding tools here: Our favorite de-shedding tools.

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Famous Yellow Labs

One of the happy memories of my childhood was of reading The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. That book planted a desire in me for a yellow Lab like Luath.

There is no shortage of yellow Lab heroes in literature and on the screen.

No one could forget Marley in the film Marley and Me. And here in the UK, possibly the most famous dog of all time is Endal, the highly decorated yellow Lab service dog who died in 2009.

My own yellow Lab today is a fox-red girl.

She’s going grey now and is quite different in appearance from the Luath of my childhood dreams. But her wonderful yellow lab temperament still shines through. And like all yellow Lab owners, I wouldn’t part with her for the world.

Yellow Lab Rescue

What better way to find the yellow Lab of your dreams than to rescue a beautiful yellow Lab from a shelter or Labrador Rescue Society.

Rescuing an adult Lab gives a dog a second chance at love and family life. It also gives you a chance to have a dog of your own without going through the challenges of puppy raising.
Yellow Lab

We have an extensive list of Labrador Rescue societies for you to browse.

If you’ve set your heart on a yellow Lab puppy, you’ll find plenty of help with finding your new friend right here on this website

Searching for Yellow Lab Puppies

Finding a reputable Labrador breeder is an important first step when you’re looking for a litter of yellow Lab puppies.

Again, it’s so important to find a good breeder because Labs of any color can be susceptible to a range of inherited diseases.

The good news is that many of these diseases can be avoided by picking puppies whose parents have been health tested clear of each disease.

The bad news is that not all Labrador breeders of the purebred yellow Labrador Retriever use these tests. The tests are quite expensive and some breeders are ignorant about their value, while others simply don’t care.

So, before you begin your search for the yellow Lab puppy of your dreams, do check out our important information on finding a good breeder.

Female Yellow Lab or Yellow Lab Dog?

If you need some help deciding whether to choose a female yellow Lab or a boy puppy, we can help

You’ll find an article on the pros and cons of male and female puppies here on our sister site.

Yellow Labrador Health

It’s never fun when our furry family member is ill. Still, it’s impossible to prevent illness, both for humans and our pets. Our best bet then is to find a breed with as few major health issues as possible.

The yellow Lab is an excellent choice in this case.

There are, however, at least three main health issues you should be aware of. Yellow Labs are especially prone to the following:

  • Ear troubles: Thanks to those cute floppy ears, ear infections abound with yellow Labs.
  • Joint issues: Despite being pretty strong dogs, yellow Labs are genetically predisposed to joint problems including hip dysplasia.
  • Obesity: Because of their (excessively) healthy appetite, yellow Labs (and Labs generally) can become overweight.

Does this mean you shouldn’t get a yellow Lab? Absolutely not. Their issues are few compared to other dog breeds. Besides, knowing of the issues helps dog owners to stay alert to any changes in their Lab’s health.

Do make sure you have read up on Labrador health problems before buying a puppy. Choose a breeder that health tests the parents and ask for proof of these checks. This is particularly important to improve the odds of your pup having good hips.

If you want to find out more, you can also take a look at our guide to Labrador lifespan.

Pictures of Yellow Labs

We never get tired of looking at pictures of yellow labs.

They come in so many beautiful shades—there is a color to suit everyone

One of our most popular articles is a celebration of these beautiful dogs, full of yellow Lab photos in all the different varieties available.

Yellow Labrador Names

If you are still undecided as to what to name your new yellow Lab puppy, we’ve got you covered!

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

Our Labrador names page is packed with suggestions for wonderful puppy names for yellow, red, and golden dogs.

You should be able to find what you need.

Yellow Lab—a Perfect Companion

In many ways, the yellow Lab is simply the perfect companion for any active family with the time and space to enjoy this wonderful breed.

If you are not sure whether you’re ready to bring a yellow Lab into your life, do check out our helpful guides:

Yellow Lab - a guide to one of the world's most popular family dogs

 

References:

  • Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. McGreevy, P. D. et al., Labrador retrievers under primary veterinary care in the UK: demography, mortality, and disorders (2018).
  • Applied Animal Behavior Science. Lofgren S.E. et al., Management and personality in Labrador Retriever dogs (2014).
  • Applied Animal Behavioral Science. Mehrkam, L. R., Wynne, C. D. L., Behavioral differences among breeds of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Current status of the science (2014).
  • Bellwether Magazine. West, N.,Ensuring Healthy Guide Dogs for The Seeing Eye (2005).
  • Anthrozoös. Wells, D. L., The facilitation of social interactions by domestic dogs (2004).

30 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I have a yellow 7 month old female yellow lab. She is my 4th lab in my lifetime, and possibly my last due to my age. My husband and I have raised 4 sons, so I had to have a girl this time. I had two boy labs, and two girls. I love both, but am partial to the female now. Her name is Abigail, and we call her Abby. I love her so much. Had to put my 13 year old girl to sleep this past summer – Annabelle. She was amazing. These dogs are so intelligent, affectionate and just perfect. I can’t imagine a life without my dog. We don’t even care about traveling far. I bring her everywhere. Hope everyone is enjoying their beautiful labs.

  2. I’m looking to purchase a English yellow lab. Probably a female. We’ve had labs for 51 years. Need some show dog breeders to email me

  3. LOVE ALL DOGS BUT PARTIAL TO LABS. HOWEVER, WE HAD A MIX WE RESCUED AND SHE WAS THE SAME PERSONALITY AS OUR LAB. THEY ARE THE BEST DOGS. WE ARE A LAB FAMILY. BETWEEN OUR SON AND DAUGHTER THEY HAVE 5 LABS. SUCH FUN AND SO LOVEABLE.

    I HAVE ONE COMPLAINT ABOUT ALL FEMALE dogs. The term they use when referring to the female. I hope one day someone will be able to change it. It sounds, so hard, cruel and nasty when referring to these beautiful creatures. 🙂

  4. Daisy would be a good name for a yellow lab or sunny. Our local rescue has one but cant get my husband on board. We had a chocolate and black siblings I love the Breed.

  5. I am waiting for a senior retriever. I believe senior or adults doggie deserve gentle love.

  6. I have put a few posts over the last couple of years. We have a yellow Labrador cross Golden Retriever. His name is Monty. He is 5 years old. We bought him after a home invasion.. we were at home at the time. I was somewhat reluctant to get a dog because of the break-in. He is the first dog I have ever had in my life which is getting the pointy end my life travels. I had never understood what the fuss was all about with having a dog. Now I do. This beautiful animal has dug a hole in my heart and he has buried himself there forever. I must go back and say he is not a guard dog and I will never ever let him get in harms way. He is a fantastic watchdog with a huge woof…which is enough. I am so grateful to have him. He receives a disproportionate amount of attention. He sleeps on our bed at night. We will not leave him alone for longer than 12 hours. We will not go away for holidays unless he can be included. Over the top…yes.. do we care being over the top…no. The labrador breed is sensational and we are so lucky as human beings to have these wonderful animals as life companions. Thank you Pippa for having a very special forum and site we as Labrador owners can share our love of the these special creatures. Bless

  7. Hello. Hoping someone can assist with my lab. He will be 19 months on 28th July. He barks excessively at night. There are no other dogs barking at the time & sometimes it sounds like he’s grumbling.
    I don’t really want to have him sleep indoors & also don’t wish for him to be neutered.
    Any advice please?

  8. My yellow lab all of a sudden has a pink spot on the ‘eyeliner’ around her eye. is this common and should i be concerned? she’s 2 1/2

  9. Hi there, I have 3 months old yellow Male Lab named “Bruno” ; he is too naughty and always chews some or other thing, despite have lot of toys for him.
    The problem we face is evening after dinner, he goes violent to the extent tries biting us don’t know why…Any suggestion…???

    • Too much energy. My guy did the same thing as a pup. I would think based on what you stated that he is just roughhousing when biting. Most dogs have a “playing” bite as compared to actually trying to bite. There is a huge difference. You need to find ways for him to get rid of the excess energy, walks and going to a dog park to run are what I did and it really helped. Plus, the social aspect of being around other dogs is a good thing. Hope this helps.

  10. I have a 4 and a half year old yellow lab and we enjoy every minute with him. He loves hiking and food very good family dog and well behaved couldn’t as for a better dog. His name is Jersey and he’s a male..

  11. My 6 months and 3 weeks old female yellow lab is 22 inches tall and 55 lbs. will she get any taller? I’m sure she will gain more weight once she starts filling out. When do lab puppies usually start to fill out?

    • Do you mean morally, legally or are they physically capable? If the latter then yes, most Labrador bitches are capable of giving birth to several litters of puppies. If you are thinking of breeding from your bitch, you might want to read this article Kennel Club regulations vary depending on where you are located. Pippa

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