The American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard lists only three accepted colorations for the Labrador Retriever, and white isn’t one of them.
Hence, it is only worth asking if the white Labrador Retriever exists or if it is just a marketing gimmick.
If you want to know the answer, then you should stick around. This guide covers all the essential information you must know about the white Labrador, including its appearance, genetics, growth, and prices.
What Is a White Labrador?
A white Labrador is not another variant of the Labrador Retriever breed but a coat color variation. Some Labradors have seemingly white colorations because of pale pigmentation and dilution, while others have white coats due to genetic conditions.
There are four Labrador pigmentations that are commonly referred to as white Labradors; pale yellow Labradors, albino Labradors, silver Labradors, and leucistic Labradors.
In general, white Labradors are healthy dogs. Unfortunately, the same could not be said with white Labs that are products of genetic anomalies, such as leucism and albinism.
Due to genetic mutations, albino and leucistic Labs tend to manifest gene-related health issues.
The AKC breed standard, however, does not consider white as an official coat color for the Labrador Retriever breed.
White Labs with hints of yellow or cream are usually categorized as yellow Labradors, while silver Labs are typically registered as chocolate Labradors. Meanwhile, albino and leucistic Labs are disqualified in conformation shows.
What Are the Different Types of White Labradors?
There are four different known types of white Labrador — yellow Labrador, albino Labrador, silver Labrador, and leucistic white Labrador.
These white Labradors are distinguished not only by the extent of their white coloration but also by the process of how they acquire this white pigmentation. Some white Labs are also considered healthier than others.
Here are the four different types of white Labrador Retrievers:
Most of the white Labradors that we see are, in reality, yellow Labs with extremely pale pigmentations. They may have a cream-ish coat color or almost white with hints of yellow in the head and ears.
Except for coat color, a yellow Lab with extremely pale color looks similar to other Labrador variants in terms of body build. They also have a strongly-built body structure.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes any shades of yellow, ranging from fox-red to light cream. This means that a white Labrador with hints of yellow or cream will be registered as a yellow Labrador.
A Labrador Retriever suffering from albinism, a rare genetic disease, will have a white coat color.
Albino Labradors cannot produce pigments in their body. Therefore, their skin, fur, paw pads, noses, and irises appear to be pinkish or white.
Although they might have astonishing appearances, albino Labradors are unfortunately considered unhealthy pooches.
They have higher risks of developing skin-related health problems such as skin cancer and eye abnormalities.
Due to the health problems associated with albino Labs, they are disqualified from conformation shows.
Silver Labradors are basically chocolate Labradors with washed-down colors. Their brown or chocolate pigments are diluted or lightened by the dilution gene, giving them a silver and white color.
Just like with yellow Labs with white coats, silver Labradors share the same physical traits as other standard Labs except for coat color. They have muscular bodies, wide skulls, and broad chests.
Unfortunately, silver Labs are also plagued with controversies as they are known to be prone to certain illnesses such as color dilution alopecia. Many also argue that silver Labs are not purebred.
Leucistic White Labrador
Although leucism and albinism might sound similar, they actually have distinct differences. Leucism is caused by an anomaly in melanin production, while albinism is the complete inability to produce pigment.
Also, Labradors with leucism may have white coats, but their noses and irises will remain pigmented, unlike albino labs.
White Labrador Appearance
The only difference between white Labradors and other Labradors in terms of appearance is color. In general, white Labs appear pretty much identical to other Labrador Retriever variants.
Other white Labradors have patches of cream or yellow in their white coats. But for the case of silver Labs with white fur, they usually have lightened chocolate hair.
Meanwhile, albino Labradors have distinct pink skin, pink noses, pink paw pads, white eyelids, and blue eyes due to their lack of melanin or natural pigments.
The double coat of white Labradors should be short, very dense, and straight. It should give a fairly hard sensation when felt by hand.
As for their physical structure, white Labradors have proportionate body builds. They are short-coupled and well-muscled, perfect for working conditions.
The skulls of white Labs are wide and well-developed but not exaggerated. Their muzzles are neither long and narrow nor short and stubby. Their eyes are set well apart and can come in black, hazel, or brown colors.
The tail is also one of the distinguishing traits of white Labradors. Their medium-length tails should be thick on the base and tapered near the tip. The tails should not have featherings like those of the Golden Retriever.
White Labrador Size and Weight
White Labradors are considered to be medium to large-sized dogs. Male white Labrador Retrievers can grow from 22 ½ to 24 ½ inches tall, which is one inch taller than the height range of female white Labradors.
Meanwhile, their average weights typically fall between 55 and 80 pounds. Male Labradors are significantly heavier than their female counterparts.
White Labs become sexually mature once they turn 12 months old. However, they only reach their adult sizes and stop growing in their 18th month.
Nonetheless, some might still add a few inches to their height until they reach two years old. The weight of an adult white Labrador will greatly depend on its lifestyle and diet.
White Labrador Coat Color Genetics
It is worth knowing that dogs’ coat colors and markings originate from two basic pigments: black (eumelanin) and red (pheomelanin).
Other coat colors, such as yellow, white, and silver, only come out once specific genes in the body modify the two basic pigments.
The color of pale yellow Labs that have seemingly white coats is influenced by the E gene. This is the gene that creates yellow pigmentation.
For a Lab to have a pale yellow coat, it must inherit two recessive e genes from its parents.
Meanwhile, the coat of silver Labs is the product of the D gene, also known as the Dilution gene. This gene dilutes or lightens up the black and brown pigments, resulting in washed-out colors.
The gene that causes dilution is recessive. Therefore, a Labrador must inherit a pair of recessive dilution genes to exhibit a silver coat.
Nonetheless, it is a different story regarding albino Labrador Retrievers. Albinism is a rare genetic disorder characterized by the lack or absence of pigmentations.
In reality, albino Labs are not white because they do not have colors at all.
Do White Labradors Change Color as They Grow?
The color of a white Labrador puppy may change as it grows. However, the color shift will never be so drastic that you’ll see your chocolate Lab puppy turning into a yellow one.
You should expect that the shade of your puppy’s coat can either become lighter or darker as it matures. A white Lab puppy can turn into a light cream or red fox Lab as its outer coat grows.
The same is true for silver Labs. They might have a lighter color when they are born but will eventually exhibit the washed-out chocolate color once they mature.
White Labrador Kennel Club Recognition
As per the Labrador breed standards, Labradors can only come in black, chocolate, and yellow coat color. However, some white Labradors are registered under the yellow and chocolate Labrador categories.
Purebred white Labs with pale yellow hints in their coat are registered as yellow Labradors, while silver Labs are registered as chocolate Labradors.
Unsurprisingly, albino and leucistic Labradors are disqualified in conformation shows because of their unhealthy conditions.
White Labrador Temperament and Personality
Pigmentation does not affect a dog’s behavior. Thus, you can expect a white Labrador Retriever to behave similarly to other Labrador variants.
These colossal companions are loyal, affectionate, and calm. This is why they are considered one of the perfect picks for a family pet. Although they are large dogs, white Labradors are gentle, patient, and calm around children.
A properly trained white Labrador can also get along well with other pets and animals. They are also friendly towards strangers while maintaining a watchful eye.
It is worth taking note, though, that not all white Labradors are fit for guarding duties. Some Labs are too friendly towards other people, making them unfit as guard dogs.
Nonetheless, the innate intelligence of the white Labrador makes it easy to train and manage. They love playing with their owners and are cooperative and eager to please.
White Labradors are highly energetic and active dogs. They need regular stimulation and exercise.
Watch these adorable white Labrador puppies playing outside:
White Labrador Lifespan and Health Issues
White Labradors have long lifespans. They can live for as long as 10 to 12 years with proper care and maintenance.
Unfortunately, these dogs are also prone to common canine health problems, much like other dogs.
If you plan to take home a white Labrador Retriever, you should watch out for these illnesses that your dog might suffer from.
Here are the common health issues of the white Labrador Retriever:
- Color Dilution Alopecia (CPA): This genetic disease is characterized by thinning of hair, flaky skin, and skin irritation. Dogs with diluted colors, such as the silver Labrador Retriever, usually acquire this disease. The symptoms of CPA start to appear at six months of age.
- Hip Dysplasia: This joint-related disease is typical for medium to large breeds. White Labradors with hip dysplasia will show symptoms such as lameness, limping while walking, and severe pain resulting from the deterioration of the joints.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a degenerative disease that affects the cells in the eye called photoreceptors, which are responsible for detecting color and movement. When left unattended, this disease could lead to complete loss of sight.
- Skin Illnesses: Irritation and itchiness of skin are common for Labrador Retrievers. These skin problems may be caused by parasites and ticks. Meanwhile, albino dogs have a higher risk of acquiring skin cancer because of their lack of pigmentation. This is why they should never be left under the sun for a long time.
- Obesity: A study found out that nearly 60% of all Labradors are obese, including white Labs. Overweight white Labs are more prone to acquiring complex health problems such as diabetes, heart issues, joint-related conditions, and chronic kidney disease.
Some of these health problems can be prevented through a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Taking your dog to the vet will also go a long way in ensuring that your dog is healthy and happy.
White Labrador Grooming Needs
White Labrador Retrievers are not that hard to groom. They are relatively low maintenance compared to other large dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and Huskies.
All throughout the year, white Labs shed their coat but only at a minimal and manageable rate. Therefore, you should expect to see white fur on your furniture and floor every once in a while.
They blow out their undercoat heavily twice a year, usually when the season shifts.
These dogs have short, extremely dense, straight fur that is very easy to comb and clean. Brushing their hair with a grooming brush at least three times a week will greatly help manage and minimize the shedding.
The Labrador Retriever Club (LRC) co-chairperson recommends bathing white Labs at least once every four to six weeks.
The coat should be brushed before plunging your white Lab into the water to prevent loose hair from sticking and tangling together. You should only use quality dog shampoo to avoid skin and eye irritation.
The short, weather-resistant, thick hair coat of a white Labrador should never be trimmed or shaved. You might think that you are doing your dog a favor by shaving their hair, but it’s actually more harmful to them.
Nails should be clipped or ground once every three to four weeks. One method of checking whether it’s time for your white Lab’s manicure is by checking if its nails click on the floor whenever it walks.
Ears should be regularly cleaned to avoid infection. You should also look out for fleas and ticks, as they love to stick around the corners of the eyes.
How Much Does a White Labrador Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
White Lab puppies are more expensive than other Labrador variants, mainly because of their rarity. The prices of white Lab puppies from reputable white Lab breeders usually fall between $1,000 and $3,000.
You should expect the price of a white Lab puppy with a champion bloodline to be higher.
Nonetheless, you should be cautious of the breeders who advertise albino Labs as white Lab puppies. These unfortunate puppies have higher risks of acquiring illnesses because of their genetic predisposition.
Aside from the price of the white Lab puppy itself, you should also be mindful of the initial expenses of owning one.
To make it more convenient for you, here is a breakdown of the initial expenses of owning a white Lab puppy:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$80 – $150|
|Bowls||$15 – $40|
|Toys||$30 – $100|
|Beds||$50 – $300|
|Collars and Leashes||$15 – $50|
|Crates and Carriers||$60 – $500|
|Grooming Essentials||$50 – $250|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $500|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$50 – $300|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$40 – $300|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Microchipping||$40 – $60|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Other Essentials||$30 – $80|
|Total Initial Cost||$620 – $3,150|
The initial expenses of owning a white Lab puppy include starter items you should acquire before taking home your puppy.
Notice also that a large chunk of the sum is allotted for recurring expenses such as food, grooming, and medical care.
Places to Find White Labrador Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Since white Labrador Retrievers are hard to come by, finding a white Lab puppy for sale might be difficult.
Listed in this section are some of the reputable breeders and places where you can find a white Lab puppy for sale.
Here are some of the white Labrador breeders in the United States:
- Snowy Pines White Labs – This family-run kennel prides itself as one of the best white Lab breeders in the country. Aside from perfect conformation, they also focus on improving their puppies’ health and temperament. All of their white Lab puppies are AKC registered.
- Kaos White Labradors – This Arizona-based breeder produces top-quality white Lab puppies with excellent conformation and temperament. The breeder strictly adheres to the breed standards set by major kennel clubs.
- Idlewild Superlative Labradors – Idlewild kennel has been breeding white Labradors for over 20 years. Their white Labs have excellent body builds and distinctive white fur. White Labrador puppies from this kennel cost $2,000, including a limited registration and a health guarantee.
Meanwhile, you can also adopt a rescued white Labrador dog from local animal shelters. A rescued Labrador dog can still make a perfect pet with the right owner.
Here are some of the local shelters where you can find a white Labrador dog for adoption:
- Labrador Retriever Rescue (LRR) – The rescue efforts of LRR started in 1993. Since then, they have already rescued hundreds of Labradors, including white Labs across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, and Virginia.
- Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue (GGLRR) – The main goal of this rescue center is to rescue Labradors, whether it is a black Lab, yellow Lab, white Lab, American Lab, or an English Lab. They are also dedicated to educating the community about responsible ownership.
- West Coast Labrador Retriever Rescue (WCLRR) – Located in Southern California, WCLRR mainly operates through volunteer efforts. They have a strict adoption process. They require their applicants to read the bio of the dog they want to adopt to ensure successful adoption.
Although rare, rescue centers occasionally have a white Lab pup in their care. You just need to be patient and eager in searching.
Dog Name Ideas for White Labrador Retrievers
After purchasing a white Labrador puppy, it’s time for the challenging task of naming it.
Naming a pet is one of the most memorable moments of a fur parent. This is why many dog owners put so much time and effort into thinking of a name.
To help you with this task, I listed some of the possible names for white Labrador Retrievers that dog lovers recommend:
Hopefully, you found inspiration from the names listed above. In naming your dog, always remember that whatever you’ll give them will be their identity for their lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are White Labradors Rare?
White Labradors, especially those with completely white coats, are considered to be very rare. They are quite difficult to breed and develop.
Their rarity is one of the primary reasons they are relatively more expensive than the other Labrador variants.
Are White Labs More Expensive?
White Labradors are more expensive than other Labrador variants mainly because of their rarity.
The prices of white Lab puppies continue to increase because of the high volume in demand and scarcity in the supply of available white Lab pups.
Do White Labradors Shed a Lot?
White Labradors are moderate shedders. Although they shed their loose fur throughout the year, they will still blow out their undercoat at least twice annually, especially before the winter and summer seasons.
Do White Labradors Turn Yellow?
The shade of a Labrador puppy’s color can change as they mature. Their coat pigmentation can either lighten up or darken as they grow.
As a white Labrador puppy grows, its white coat color can either turn into a light cream color, yellow color, or stay white depending on its color genetics.
Are White Labradors Purebred?
White Labradors are purebred Labrador dogs. They are either Labrador dogs with pale yellow color, a light cream pigmentation, or a silver coat.
Meanwhile, some purebred white dogs have white fur because of genetic disorders such as albinism and leucism.
White Labrador Retrievers are truly sights to behold. Aside from their astonishing white hair, they are also loyal and affectionate pooches.
Generally, most white Labradors are healthy dogs except for the leucistic and albino Lab. They also require minimal effort for maintenance and grooming.
However, due to their rarity, they are relatively more expensive than the other Labrador variants.
If budget is of no issue for you, then nothing should stop you from taking home a white Labrador as a pet. Are you prepared to purchase and take care of one? Let us know in the comments below.