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White Labrador Retriever: Info, Pictures, Traits & Facts

Lindsey Lawson

By Lindsey Lawson

white labrador retriever

Introduction

Undoubtedly one of the most popular dogs in American history, the intelligent and lovable Labrador Retriever has a long history of being top-notch hunting companions as well as beloved family dogs. You’ve probably heard of the different coat varieties including black, yellow, and chocolate, but you may also be familiar with the popularity of White Labradors.  We’re here to give the scoop on all you need to know about these beauties.

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The Earliest Records of the White Labrador Retriever in History

Despite mentions of different coat variations like the White Labrador and the Silver Labrador, there are only three recognized coat colors for the Labrador Retriever which are black, yellow, and chocolate. So, do White Labradors exist? Absolutely, but they are a pale coat variation of the Yellow Labradors or even a much rarer specimen of the albino genetic mutation.

Yellow Labradors

The first Yellow Labrador Retriever in history was a dog named Ben of Hyde born in 1899, 4 years before the breed’s Kennel Club recognition in the United Kingdom. He was not white, he was the traditional Yellow Labrador but after many years of selective breeding, would eventually lead to the varying coat colors ranging from pale white to fox red.

Albino Labradors

Albinism is a genetic mutation found throughout the animal kingdom and is even observed in humans. It is a disorder that results in little to no production of melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes. Albinism in dogs is exceptionally rare, so you are much more likely to come across a White Labrador that is truly a Yellow Labrador than a true albino. Albino dogs are at a higher risk of health issues and have extra care requirements because their body cannot protect itself from ultraviolet rays.

How White Labrador Retrievers Gained Popularity

Labrador retriever posing for filming
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

As a breed, Labrador Retrievers have been one of the most popular dogs in America for decades. Throughout the years you may notice that certain coat colors are more desirable or more popular than others, which is common in society.

Labs can be broken down into two groups, show lines, and working lines. The English Labrador is the show-type dog, while the American Labrador is more of a working breed. The English Labrador tends to be thicker with blockier heads while American Labradors are leaner and more athletic with a narrower head. You can find the white version of the Yellow Labrador in both American and English varieties.

The White Labrador has grown in popularity over the last few years due to their distinct, pure white appearance that makes them stand out from the typical breed colors. Though they are simply the most light-colored version of the Yellow Lab, breeders are putting more and more focus on selective breeding for white labs to keep up with demand.

Formal Recognition of the White Labrador Retriever

Though very popular for several decades in Europe, the Labrador Retriever was not officially recognized by the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club until 1903. The American Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever in the year 1917. There is a lot of variety within the breed and the United Kingdom and the United States each have their specific standards.

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Top 10 Unique Facts About White Labrador Retrievers

1. They Are America’s Most Popular Dog Breed

guy baby talking a labrador
Image Credit: SG SHOT, Shutterstock

The Labrador Retriever kept the top spot as America’s most popular dog breed from 1991 to 2020. They dropped to second place in 2021, having been beaten by another popular all-American dog, the Golden Retriever.


2. They Originated in Newfoundland, Canada

This beautiful retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada where they were used as fishing dogs. They were imported into the United Kingdom where they were even further developed as a breed. The Labrador Retriever quickly became one of the most commonly owned dogs in the western world.


3. Silver Labs Exist, Too

labrador retriever standing on green meadow
Image Credit: fsHH, Pixabay

Just like the white Labradors, silver Labs exist in a very similar way. Rather than being a coat variation of the yellow Lab, the silver Lab is a coat variation of the chocolate Lab. They also have grown in popularity in recent years, causing breeders to put focus on the silver coloration, too.


4. They Are Separated into American and English Categories

We mentioned this a bit earlier in the article and though Labradors are all the same breed, they are split into the English and American categories to describe their varying breed standards that exist between the two regions.


5. They Have Webbed Toes

young hungry white labrador retriever dog puppy smells and eats a fish head_manushot_shutterstock
Image credit: Manushot, Shutterstock

Labradors love the water, and it’s a good thing because they are built for it. Labrador Retrievers come complete with webbed toes to help them swim through the water with ease. They aren’t the only breed with webbed feet, though. Some others include the Portuguese Water Dog, the Poodle, German Short-Haired and Wired-Hard Pointers, the American Water Spaniel, and the Dachshund.


6. They Are Bred to be Hunters

Labs got their start by retrieving ducks for hunters but were eventually bred as all-[purpose game hunters with a primary focus on waterfowl since they could be much more challenging for hunters to retrieve.


7. They Require Lots of Training

White labrador
Photo credit: MOHANN, Pixabay

These dogs are intelligent working dogs that have a lot of energy. While they are one of the most popular family dogs out there, anyone interested in bringing home a lab needs to be prepared for their energy requirements and training needs. You will want to get started with training young so that you have a more well-rounded and well-behaved dog.


8. Color Does Not Determine Personality

Some myths are going around that a Labrador’s personality is dependent on coat color but that’s just not true. Certain coat colors do not have specific personality traits though breeders will selectively breed for certain traits in their genetic lines.


9. They Make Great Service Dogs

American Labrador
Image Credit: American Labrador

In addition to being an excellent sporting dog and family pet, the Labrador retriever is also a top choice for service dog work. You will see a lot of labs act as guide dogs for the blind, as they are very intelligent, loyal, and eager to please. They aren’t limited to guide dog work either, they also make great scent dogs and medical alert dogs.


10. The Oldest Recorded Lab Lived to be 29 Years of Age

The oldest Labrador on record lived to be a whopping 29 years of age. Bella, of Derbyshire, England was adopted at the age of 3 in 1982 and passed away in 2008.

Do White Labrador Retrievers Make Good Pets?

The White Labrador, just like any other Labrador has the potential to make an excellent pet in the right environment. Labs are a very family-friendly breed, though they can grow to be large and have quite a bit of energy, so it’s best to keep watch around small children, though with proper training they can do just fine.

It’s important to start their training at a young age, as they are working dogs by nature and will have daily exercise requirements that will need to be met. They are very intelligent, loyal, and sweet-tempered. They love their families, are generally very receptive to new people, and get along well with other animals.

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Conclusion

The White Labrador is the lightest coat variation of the Yellow Labrador, which can vary in color from pure white to cream to varying shades of yellow, and even as dark as orangish-red. Though they may not be a recognized color on their own, White Labradors are a popular coat color, just like the Silver Labrador which is a variation of the Chocolate Lab, and some breeders selectively breed their dogs to keep the pale white coat coloration going. Like all Labs, these beautiful dogs are lovable, athletic, and can make great family pets.

 

Featured Image Credit: viktori__photo, Shutterstock

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