Labrador Retriever - Coat Colors

Labrador Retriever - Coat Colors

Author WDF Staff


The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in many countries and has been for many years now. The Lab has established itself in that position with their loving and playful character and their love for the family lifestyle. They love being around their family and being involved in all family activities. They are extremely versatile and can be trained well. That is the reason these dogs are most commonly used as therapy, police, military, or customs dogs. They are exceptionally good at being drug or explosive detection dogs.

They have been featured in many movies and TV shows and we are pretty sure you might have heard about some of them. Labradors were featured in big Hollywood movies such as “Marley and me”, “Independence day” and “Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog”. Even Superman had a dog sidekick called Krypto and he appeared by Superman’s side in comics, TV shows, movies, and even video games. These dogs have also a big part in famous TV shows “Lost” and “Family Guy”. Labradors have been featured in pop culture so many times that we couldn’t possibly count them all.

Playing such a big role in modern pop culture certainly helped this breed and helped push them on the top of the list of most popular dogs in the world.

This dog breed is in high demand for the past 30 years and with such popularity, there is plenty of room for unregistered breeders to try and make a profit. We firmly believe that if you are buying a dog it should be solely from a registered and responsible breeders since they are the ones we can thank for keeping the pureblooded breeds alive and healthy.

Most of the Labrador’s history is widely known and there isn’t much we don’t know about them. They are originally from Labrador and Newfoundland region in Canada and their main preoccupation was helping the local fishermen.

If you are buying a Labrador Retriever you should research everything there is to know about this breed and here you can start with the colors that are in this breed’s standard.

lab on fence

Original Labrador colors

This breed standard mentions three “basic” colors that are allowed for these dogs. They are black, yellow and brown. These colors may have variations and can be described as different colors but they usually fall under one of these three categories so let’s check them out.

Black Lab

Black is the most dominant color in these dogs’ genes. Original Labradors were mostly black dogs. They are described as being “solid” black. The only thing that is allowed is small white spots on the dog’s chest. In this breeds beginning, only the color black was allowed and since Labradors can produce different colors in the same litter, dogs of different colors were often killed or discarded. Thankfully, this tradition was stopped by the time this breed was registered in major cynology associations.


Chocolate Labrador is the second most dominant color and it can come in many different shades and variations. It is a “rich” color and a very popular one. Chocolate colored Labs can range from very light to dark chocolate. Most of the major cynology associations disqualify dogs that have signs of brindle or tan in their coat.


Liver-colored dogs are often mistaken as uniquely colored dogs, but liver-colored dogs are considered as being a shade of chocolate-colored that is permissible by the standard. It is a shade of brown that is allowed by nearly all standards in all countries.


Yellow is the third official Labrador color and it can also come in many shades and variations. In the standard, it is described as ranging from light cream to red fox. The color yellow comes from a recessive gene that occurs only if both parents have recessive genes. If both parents are yellow, they can only produce yellow puppies.

Red fox

As we already mentioned, the red fox is a shade of yellow and is treated as such in the standards. It can be produced if the red fox puppy has at least one ancestor carrying that gene.


Golden is not one of the shades of yellow Labs and Golden Labrador is the name that is given to mixed dogs. Their parents are a Golden and a Labrador Retriever.


There has been a lot of discussions recently about silver Labs. Standard Labradors have been officially recognized in 1903 and by The Kennel Club in 1917 and since the beginning of this breed, no breeder has ever reported getting a silver-coated puppy in their litters.

The first mention about silver Labs happened in the 1950s in a gun magazine. These dogs were advertised as being pureblooded Labs that happened to be born silver-colored. It is still a worldwide debate and silver Labs are still not recognized as pureblooded. They are allowed to be registered but The Kennel Club, for example, registers them as Non-recognized.

It is believed that the silver-colored dogs were crossbred with the only dog breed known to have the gene for silver color- the Weimaraner.

White Labs

White Labradors are not white - they are a pale version of yellow Labs. There is a possibility that Labs can be white but only if there is albinism involved. Albino dogs are fortunately quite rare and you can recognize them by their white coat, pale skin, and red eyes. Very light blue eyes can also be an albino trait, but as we already mentioned, albino dogs are rare.

Now you are familiar with all the official Lab colors and colors that are allowed by their standard. If you are interested in buying a puppy of this very popular breed, make sure you find a reputable and respectable breeder that takes proper care of their dogs' character and health.

World Dog Finder team

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