Purebred Labs White Markings: A Complete Guide

Wondering, Why Do Black or Pure Labradors Have White Marks On Them? Getting your hands on a purebred Labrador can be a struggle in many regions. The American Kennel Club Labradors’ three coat colors include Black, Chocolate, and Yellow. Due to that, a lot of individuals are under the misconception that a purebred Labrador must have a flawless single-colour coat. But is that the only truth you need to know? Well, if you are a Labrador Retriever lover, there’s so much more for you to learn.

Can A Purebred Lab Have Spots?

It is perfectly normal for a Purebred Labrador to have a White Marking on them. White or even other color variations over a single-color coat is standard and are not an indication of the Labrador being a cross-breed or mixed breed. 

White Markings on a Labrador’s body are known as ‘Mismarks’. It is usually a result of genetic variations like ‘White Spotting’, and both pure-breed and cross-breeds Labrador Retrievers can have such markings. Genetic mutation like this can also result in white circles and rings, along with several other appearance alterations.

Can Purebred Labs Have White Markings

Why Does My Black Lab Have White Spots?

A Black Labrador Retriever may have White spots or markings due to white spotting genes or S Locus genes. It is a region of Labrador’s DNA that determines whether the dog will have a largely white coat or some white spots on another color coat. These genes, at times, prevent Lab’s body from producing pigment throughout. This, as a result, grants them white flecks, white spots, or bolo spots. 

Insights on Labrador’s Coat Color

The presence of Genes B and E determines whether a Labrador’s coat will turn out Black, Chocolate, or Yellow. The first gene affects the color of the dark pigment, which is also known as ‘eumelanin’. In contrast, the second gene affects whether the same pigment, ‘eumelanin,’ is present in the fur or not.

Labradors who have at least one dominant allele of eumelanin pigment genetics result in black pigmentation (B_). Whereas if the Labradors have a dominant allele of expression gene (E_), they will likely have a Yellow Coat. 

Similarly, when the Labrador has white spotting genes at S Locus, it will prevent some parts of his body from developing pigmentation. Again, this is in no way a health problem, but the Labrador, despite any coat color, will have some discolouration. It may include white flecks, bolo spots (white marks on the base of the paw), or a typical white patch on the chest. 

Along with genetics, White Marks and other mixed marks on a Labrador’s body can appear due to several environmental causes as well. 

What Is A Mismarked Lab?

A Mismarked Labrador means the dog has any variation of color other than the standard breed coat color. However, Mismarked Labradors aren’t cross-breed since Labs are known to have mismarkings for several generations. 

The most common reason why a labrador is mismarked is due to long-term genetic mutation. If a mismarked Labrador or Labrador couple has a litter, their generations can have mismarkings. These markings can be in the form of circles, rings, lining, or any other shape possible. 

Mismarked Labradors are rare, but breeders often sell them for a lower price. It is because most individuals ask for an even color Labrador since people have many color misconceptions about this dog breed’s purity. However, Mismarked Labs are as active, lovable, and physically fit as a regular Labrador. 

The Most Common Mismarks on Labrador Retriever

  1. Black on Yellow (Which means a Yellow Labrador will have one or more Black spots on its body).
  2. Tan on Black (Which means a Black Labrador will have tan marking).
  3. Chocolate and Tan (Similarly to the above, it is when a Chocolate Labrador has lighter tan markings in the coat).
  4. Chimera or Mosiac (It causes black, yellow, or chocolate patches all over Labrador’s body. This is a rare abnormality that appears during cell division when early-stage embryos fuse or fertilized eggs form four parent cells). For determining whether your dog has Chimera or Mosiac, the only way is a DNA test.
  5. Brindle (Which means a Labrador with a chocolate color base along with strips or splotches of either black or dark brown color. 

How Can I Tell If My Labrador Is Purebred?

In case of uncertainties, determining whether a Labrador is purebred or not becomes crucial. There are several common and critical ways of finding out a Purebred Labrador from a herd of Crossbreed Labradors.

According to the American Kennel Club, only three colors, including Black (007), Chocolate (071), and Yellow (273), are officially accepted as standard Labrador Colors. All these three colors may come in different sub-shade variations as well. Along with that, White marking and patches are acceptable as well.

Dilute colors, and mismarks too are recognized by AKC. In addition, a Labrador’s average weight should be between 55 and 80 pounds, and height should be between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall. Having said that, here are the three ways you can determine whether your Labrador is purebred or not.

Take a Visual Assessment

If it is a purebred Labrador, it should look like one. For performing a Visual Assessment, consider the following benchmarks:

  • The American Kennel Club is strict about black, Chocolate, and yellow Labradors and therefore checks that.
  • A Labrador with a double-layered, short, but slightly dense coat is considered purebred. No Labradors have Silky and woolly over or undercoats.
  • A Labrador’s coat is waterproof, which also makes them great swimmers.
  • Labradors do not have curly tails but thick ones that taper toward the end. A Lab’s tail is also known as ‘Otters Tail’, and it has dense fur.
  • Labradors’ nose is pinkish for a few weeks after birth, but they eventually turn brown or black. However, some Labradors may have a pink nose for life due to Hypopigmentation.
  • Labradors have expressive eyes¸naturally floppy ears¸a strong build, a trademark broad head, and a well-balanced conformation. They neither have excess fat nor excessively defined muscles. 

If the above features are all under the checklist, you are examining a Purebreed Labrador.

Take the Labrador for a DNA Test

A Visual Assessment at times can’t be enough, and that’s where a DNA test determines the facts more clearly. For performing a DNA test, 

  • Either purchase a dog genetics test kit or swab to wipe up a good sample of the puppy’s saliva and perform the test according to the given instructions on the kit.
  • Or, reserve the saliva samples and send them to a reputed Lab for testing. The result will likely come before 6 weeks. 

DNAs are usually 95% accurate, and they show a certain percentage of your dog is a purebred. If the Labrador percentage is high, he is likely a purebred. 

Get the Pedigree Papers 

Pedigree Papers are documents that a breeder provides with every dog you purchase. While most individuals do not know about Pedigree Papers, they often fail to collect them while dealing. 

Pedigree Papers is a dog’s lineage where his/her genetic details are stated in stark terms. One can also check an AKC-certified Labrador’s pedigree papers online and trace up to four generations of their dog.

Can Purebred Labs Be Multicolored?

Yes, Purebred Labradors can be multicolored, but it is rarely a possible sight. You may observe purebred Labradors with white, tan, or pale color patches due to genetic mutation or pigmentation. But it is extremely less likely (yet possible) for Labradors to have multiple colors on their body. 

Wrapping up…

Labradors with White marks and patches are common, and such conditions aren’t related to the dog’s health. Even Labradors with multiple purebred ancestors can have marks on their bodies, and that’s completely normal. Even AKC accepts and considers them, but if you are keeping the dog for shows, White markings or other patches can prove a problem for you. Despite that, we must always appreciate such dogs for their unique yet beautiful appearance. 

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