The American Kennel Club recognizes “White Labrador Puppies” as yellow Labrador Retrievers because they are yellow labs that have been bred to be as white as they can be. Most White labs have a little cream color on the tips of their ears, and some have cream down their backs and on the tips of their tails. Be careful though because there are a lot of people who advertise their lab puppies as “white” when in reality, they are light yellow in appearance. Rocky River Retrievers has been careful to select only the whitest puppies for our breeding program. When we advertise “White Labs”, we really mean it. Our labs are strikingly white and have very little if any cream even on the tips of their ears.
We have also worked hard to screen common defects and health problems out of our lines. This means we have done extensive genetic testing, and health clearances on our breeding dogs. For instance, many breeders will still breed a dog that is a carrier of the EIC gene to another without the gene because the puppies won’t get EIC. We have completely eliminated all dogs that are even carriers from our program. Our goal is to improve the breed.
We often get asked if we have “English” or “American” labs and the answer we give is that we sell labs that conform to the breed standard. We consider our Labs “English” because of amount of show lines they come from. However, they also have great hunting progeny and are very athletic. Some English Labs can be so over done that they have very little if any athletic ability and almost no retrieving drive. On the other hand some American labs can be so overdone that they no longer look like labs but gray hounds and they are so hyper that they can’t be around children. We strive for the middle ground which is the breed standard. This way our Labs have blocky heads, can retrieve and hunt, and still have the wonderful lab temperament that makes them safe for kids and other dogs. We think you will love the look of our white labs.
Where did “White” Labrador’s come from?As stated above, “white” labs are registered as yellow labs with the AKC. This is because strictly speaking they are actually yellow labs. However most of the yellow has been bred out of them over generations through artificial selection. The primary ancestor of today’s Labrador retriever was the St. John’s water dog that emerged from ad-hoc breeding in Newfoundland. It was a shorter flat coat dog with white paws, white in it’s chest and around it’s muzzle. The great thing about this dog is that it was good for retrieving fishing nets in icy waters. Over time however other traits were selectivally bred for such as a more robust chest to give the dog more strength, a more otter like tail to use as a rutter in the water and for looks the white spots and paws were mostly bred out of the new Labrador Retriever. Some Labradors are still born with a white patch on their chest and some white in their paws and muzzle.
As the dog got more popular chocolate and yellow looking pups were born but most of them were culled at first until they gained greater acceptance in the breed. The first yellow pups were darker and more red like today’s fox red labs. But over time lighter and lighter colors were selected for until we have today’s white lab.
In each color of the Labrador retriever there is a spectrum of color. Black labs can be a lighter black to dark black. Chocolates can be light brown to dark brown. But Yellow labs have the most noticeable spectrum of color. They vary from a dark red (fox red) color all the way to white. Also there is a dilute gene that can affect each color as well. If Black Labs have the dilute gene, they have a charcoal color. If Chocolate labs have the dilute gene it can give them a silver color. And if yellow labs get the dilute gene it can give them a slight Champagne looking color that is less noticeable. These three are called Charcoal, Silver, and Champagne respectively. Our labs do not have the dilute gene. The dilute gene is very controversial in breeding circles because some do not believe its a true Labrador trait and therefore is the result of breeding another breed into the line such as a Weimaraner. We are neutral on the subject because the AKC allows these dogs to be registered. However our white labs don’t carry the dilute gene.
The short answer is yes. White labradors by in large are healthy just like the other colors of the breed. There are a few genetic disorders that run in all the colors of labrador. The principle ones are EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse), CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy), and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and Hip Dysplasia. There are other health problems that can occur in labs but these are the most prevalent. We screen each of our breeding dogs for these diseases before breeding. The first three listed above are genetic disorders (EIC, CNM, and PRA) None of our dogs even carry the genes for these diseases. As for hip displaysia it happens from a combination of genetics and lifestyle. We have our breeding pairs hips tested by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) to make sure they have healthy hips and they have the best chance of passing on healthy hips to their children. However, we also council with our new puppy owners to be careful to not let their puppy over eat, and to make sure they get enough exercise as those can be factors in causing hip problems in any Labrador retriever.
No. Color has nothing to do with the temperament of a Labrador retriever. That comes from which main family group of labs they come from English or American. The American Labrador has been bred to be one of the most versatile hunting dogs on the planet. American Labs tend to have more energy, more athleticism, and more endurance than English labs. American Labs compete for titles such as Junior Hunter, Senior Hunter, Master Hunter and Field Champions. They also compete for agility. True English Labs on the other hand are not very athletic at all. They are more of a family pet or a lap dog. Much of their retrieving drive has been bred out of them. They are very gentle and calm. They get tired easy and tend to get overweight of not kept on a strict diet. They have a more blocky head and chest and are shorter than American Labs. They compete for Show titles because of their good looks and calm attributes. You can find white Labradors that are fully on the English side and white labs that are on the american side. Our labs are a mixture of both. We strive for a strong dual purpose dog that can hunt, hike and retriever, but also is calm with children and other dogs. We like the blocky look of the English lab but also the athleticism of the American lab. In truth the breed standard for Labrador retrievers is right in between the two families and that is what we strive for.
That’s simple. Just contact us to see what we have available and what litters we have up and coming. We screen each of our prospective family owners to make sure they understand the great responsibility of caring for a new puppy. Also we like to make sure they go to homes that have both the resources and the time to care for them properly. Be ready to answer questions about the size of your yard, how active your lifestyle is, and if you have ever had a puppy before. We are with our owners all the way and love to get updates and pictures of the puppies we have placed. We hope to hear from you soon.