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Choose a White Lab that Looks Healthy
If the dog looks healthy, well fed, full of energy, and happy, it was probably raised properly. Don't take a dog that seems tired, weak, or sick home, as its problems may worsen. Meet both the dog and the breeder before you buy the dog.
Look at the Dog's Health Records
A qualified breeder will have health records for any of the dogs they sell. Make sure your dog is vaccinated (if it should be at that age) and doesn't have any known health problems. You should also ask to see the dog's parent's health records.
The Best White Labradors are Very Social Dogs
While English Labradors should love being around you, your family, other people, and other dogs. They should love exercise, playing games, and having fun. They should even get along with cats and other animals.
Male vs. Female Labs
While male labs are somewhat more aggressive than female labs, Labrador Retrievers are not an aggressive breed. You can usually get a male lab without worrying about aggressive behavior.
Can You Adopt a White English Lab?
Adopting a dog is a great way to get a dog for free or for only an adoption fee. However, you won't usually get to pick the color, age, or other characteristics of your dog. You likely won't find a perfect white English lab available for adoption at a shelter.
The best way to avoid getting a dog you don't like is to ask for a trial period. An animal shelter will let you take a dog home and see if you like the dog. See if the dog can get along with everyone in your family and any other pets you have.
Types of White Labradors
Most white Labradors are yellow Labradors that are very light, so light that they appear white. Some yellow Labradors are much lighter or darker than others. There is a spectrum of color, from white to reddish.
Since most yellow Labradors have a color in the middle of the spectrum, it is hard to find white or red labs. This makes these breeds more expensive to buy than yellow labs. Breeders can make more money if they breed relatively rare colors of Labradors.
Some White Labradors are Albinos
While most white Labradors are exceptionally light-colored yellow labs, not all are. Albinism also produces white Labradors.
Albinism is a condition that gives people and animals no color pigmentation. A person with albinism completely lacks color pigment in their skin and hair. Dogs with albinism are rare (about one in 20,000) but some people selling white Labradors may be selling dogs with the condition.
You can tell if a white Labrador is an albino by looking at its nose and eyes. Albino dogs have red (or sometimes blue) eyes and a red nose as well as a very light coat.
Albino Dogs Have Health Problems
Unfortunately, albino dogs may be born blind or may end up with eye damage later on. Their eyes are too sensitive to the sun. A perfect white Labrador is a yellow Retriever with a very light color, not an albino.
Some White Labradors are Leucistic Dogs
Leucistic Labradors have a condition that prevents cells that produce pigment from moving to the right part of the skin. This gives the dog very little pigment in its skin or hair. Unlike albino dogs, leucistic dogs have normal-colored eyes.
Leucistic dogs have fewer health problems than albino dogs do. Their eyes are not as vulnerable. However, the sun can still hurt a leucistic dog easily. A leucistic white lab isn't a perfect white lab.
What Are Silver Labradors?
Silver Labradors are not the same as or close to white Labradors. A silver lab is a chocolate-colored lab with an unusually light coat. A silver Labrador can never be considered a white Labrador.
English Labs vs. American Labs
English labs aren't really English, and American labs aren't really American. Many breeders sell English labs in America or American labs in England.
An English lab is a show dog that has all of the right characteristics for a dog of its breed. It looks just right and behaves the right way. An American lab was bred to be a working dog and not a show dog.
Someone who wants to use their Labrador for hunting, like the breed was traditionally used, may be better off with an American lab. However, there is not a huge difference between the two dogs. English labs can be working dogs, doing search and rescue, plus many other things Labradors do.
How Are English Labs and American Labs Different?
Both types of labs make perfectly good pets and perfectly good working dogs. However, the two dogs are physically different and behave differently.
The two dogs are not the same size. American labs are heavier (70 to 100 pounds) to be more useful as working dogs, English labs are bred for appearance and are lighter (60 to 85 pounds).
English labs often appear heavier even though they are actually lighter. An English lab's barrel chest makes it look bigger and heavier than it is. An English lab also has a wider neck and a fuller face.
English Labs Are Less Energetic
Both English labs and American labs are energetic dogs. They need physical activity or they won't be happy or behave well.
However, English labs aren't quite as energetic as American labs. It won't take as much time to keep your dog active if you have an English lab.
A Perfect White Lab Should Stay White
Sometimes, a person who buys a white Labrador is disappointed when the dog turns yellow after only a few months. A dog's fur color does not always stay the same as it was as a puppy. Just as blonde hair on a human can darken after childhood, a white lab puppy can turn yellow.
For this reason, you might not get a lab until it is already a few months old. A lab changes color early, otherwise, it usually keeps its white color for life. You can also talk to the breeder about whether it will keep its white color.
Are Purebred Dogs Unhealthy?
Purebred dogs are more likely to have health problems than crossbred dogs. This is because the gene pool is too small, which can pass on genetic defects. Breeders can get around this by selectively breeding their purebred dogs for health.
Dogs of an unusual color may also have health problems. This is because a breeder might select only for color and ignore the dog's health and behavior. You can still find a healthy white lab if you talk to a responsible breeder with a good reputation.
White Labs and Life Expectancy
Labradors of some colors do not live as long as others. For example, chocolate Labradors do not live as long as labs of other colors. They only live for about 10 years.
White Labradors live as long as any other labs, or about 12 years. Albino labs do not live nearly as long. As long as you get your Labrador from a responsible breeder, your dog will probably live a reasonably long time.
Are White Labs Pure Labradors?
Yes, white labs are pure Labrador Retrievers, not crossbreeds. There is some debate about whether silver Labradors are pure labs.
Are White Labs Rare?
Yes, white Labradors, including light-colored yellow labs and not just albinos, are somewhat rare. However, they are not so rare that they cost a fortune. A white lab only costs a few hundred dollars more than a lab of a common color.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson