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White Labrador Retriever Dog Breed: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Brooke Bundy

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever dog with puppies

White Labrador Retriever Dog Breed: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Labradors are the most popular dog in America and have been for around 30 years. This breed’s loving, fun personalities have endeared them to many, and they’re well-known for the three colors they typically come in; yellow, black, and chocolate. You may not have been aware of this, but they also come in white.

Breed Overview

Height:

21 – 25 inches

Weight:

55 – 80 pounds

Lifespan:

10 – 12 years

Colors:

black, yellow, chocolate

Suitable for:

Families looking for a loyal dog that is eager to please and energetic

Temperament:

Calm, affectionate, energetic, intelligent, loyal

Here’s what you need to know about the white Labrador.

Labrador Retriever Characteristics

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
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Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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The Earliest Records of White Labrador Retrievers in History

Labradors have been around since the breed began being developed in Newfoundland in the 16th century. However, white Labs have only existed as outliers for most of this breed’s history. It wasn’t until the last few decades that people began breeding with the specific intent of creating lines of white Labs. Although the coat is beautiful, it can be difficult to achieve by accident, so it took many years of selective breeding to establish lines of white Labs.

English Golden Retriever
Image By: Rob Wee, Pixabay

How White Labrador Retrievers Gained Popularity

Although some breeds and colors achieve popularity because they make an appearance in media of some sort, this isn’t the case for the white Lab. These dogs aren’t overly popular at this point in time, and they aren’t particularly numerous either. There are only a few breeders who are breeding for this color, and even fewer of them are responsible breeders who practice good breeding practices with health-tested dogs.

Formal Recognition of White Labrador Retrievers

White Labs are purebred dogs that are formally recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, they fall under the “yellow” category for registration and showing purposes. They are considered to be a pale yellow coloration, not a true white. In most cases, white Labs have yellow or cream coloration around the face and ears.

They should have pigment in their eyes and noses, though, much like yellow Labs do. While the white color falls under the yellow color umbrella, it is entirely different from albinism. Albino dogs lack pigment, even in the eyes and nose, and they are not accepted under the breed standard of Labradors.

golden retriever hunting duck
Image By: Andre Sudholt, Pixabay

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Top 5 Unique Facts About the White Labrador Retriever

1. They’re just a variation of yellow Labs.

White labs are essentially dilute yellow Labs. In fact, many of them will take on yellow or cream coloration, especially after spending a lot of time in the sun.


2. White is more common in English Labs than in American Labs

Although they are the same breed, English Labs are typically considered to be more show worthy, while American Labs are prized as working dogs. English Labs tend to be stockier but lighter than their taller, heavier American counterparts.


3. White coloration in Labs comes from a recessive gene

Both parents of a white Lab must have the genes that allow for white coloration to occur.

white labrador retriever
Image By: viktori__photo, Shutterstock

4. Their coat is the same type as other Lab colors

Although their colors differ, white Labs still have the short double coat that other Labs have. This means they tend to be big shedders, with some anecdotal evidence that white Labs may shed a little more than other colors do.


5. White puppies may not stay white

Often, puppies are lighter at birth than they will be once they start growing. It’s not uncommon for puppies to be born white but to darken over time, eventually turning into true yellow Labs.

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Do White Labrador Retrievers Make a Good Pet?

Labradors as a whole are a fantastic dog breed, which is easily proven by how popular this breed has remained for decades. These are intelligent and personable dogs known for their love of people and gentle nature. They tend to be good with children, and many people prize Labs for hunting and retrieving purposes. They’re athletic dogs that can excel at a variety of canine sports, including obedience, agility, and dock diving. White Labs are just as athletic and healthy as their yellow, black, and chocolate counterparts.

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Conclusion

White Labs are an accepted part of the Labrador breed, although they are considered to be a dilute yellow. Even still, they are highly prized, even within the show world. They retain the desirable traits of other Labrador colors, like excellent temperament, intelligence, and trainability, but there are no known medical conditions associated with the white color. This means that your white Lab should be just as healthy as the other acceptable colors within the breed. They are athletic dogs that sport a beautiful double coat, making them appropriate for a variety of activities in a variety of environments.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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