A Labrador Retriever and Poodle mix, the Labradoodle is a true designer dog. Developed in the 1980s, this crossbreed has become one of the most popular and beloved dog breeds across the globe.
Apart from their adorable looks and friendly temperament, it’s also the Labradoodles’ energetic personality and low shedding coats that make this breed the first choice for many families. Labradoodles come in a variety of colors, some more popular than others. The color of their coat is one of the first things many pet owners consider and is a major factor that decides the cost of a puppy.
White Labradoodles are perhaps the most sought-after and unique types of Labradoodles. If you are interested in getting a white Labradoodle, here’s everything you should know about Labradoodles with a white coat, from genetics to grooming and more.
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The Genetics Of A White Labradoodle
Labradoodle is a hybrid dog, so its characteristics are a cross between the parent breeds — Labrador and Poodle. The characteristics that the Labradoodle inherits are through the dominant genes or a cross between certain characters of the parent breed.
When it comes to the color of the coat, there are two pigments that play a key role — phaeomelanin and eumelanin. Cells called melanocytes are responsible for adding pigment to the dogs’ fur as they grow up.
Eumelanin is responsible for the black color and pheomelanin is responsible for the red color. When these two pigment genes interact with other pigment genes, it changes these basic black and red colors into different shades.
One of these other genes is the S gene, also called the spotting gene or the self gene. The S gene is a dominant gene, so even if the puppy inherits it from one parent, it will still develop a snowy white coat. And since Labradors do not have an S gene, if the Labradoodle puppy is white, that means it inherited the color from its Poodle parent.
A white coat is essentially the result of a lack of melanin or pigment in the Labradoodle. However, white Labradoodles still have pigment in their nose and eyes, which is what distinguishes them from a dog with albinism.
Most of the time a cross between a light-colored Labrador Retriever with a white, cream, or yellow coat and a lighter-colored Poodle with a white, silver, apricot, or gray coat results in a white-colored Labradoodle.
Other Factors That Cause Labradors To Have A White Coat
Albinism is a genetic condition that affects pigment production. A dog with albinism will have absolutely no pigment production and thus no color or white color on their skin and fur. Along with their coats, albino dogs’ snouts and eyes will also be colorless or pink.
Albino Labradoodles will have a pink nose, paws, and lips. Even the skin surrounding the eyes is pink. If you suspect the white coat of your dog is because of the albino gene, you can get your genetically tested.
However, albinism is quite rare. So, if your Labradoodle has a white coat, it is most likely due to the S gene and not albinism.
Alternatively, a dog may appear to be albino because of significant coat color dilution, and some breeds only have parts of their bodies affected by the albino gene such as the Doberman.
There are often instances where a Labradoodle may appear white, but it is not. This happens due to the presence of dilute genes. The dilute gene will dilute a pigment and make the color paler, especially with lighter colors.
So, a yellow, cream, or apricot coat combined with a dilute gene will appear white. One example of a dilute gene is the Champagne Labrador.
Labradoodles with the dilute gene may have beautiful coat colors, but it also makes them more prone to health conditions like alopecia.
Premature Graying Gene
Like the S gene, Labradoodles may also inherit the G or Graying gene. The G gene is dominant, so inheriting it from either of its parent breeds is enough for the expression of the gene.
If the G gene is present in a Labradoodle, the coat’s pigment starts getting lost very early in life. This may result in graying or whitening (in the case of light-colored coats) of the coats. Thus, a light-colored Labradoodle with the G gene may develop a white coat early in life.
Apart from genetics, there are other factors that can determine the coat color of your dog. Here are the two major health concerns that can cause your Labradoodle to have a white coat.
Vitiligo is a skin disease that can affect many dog breeds. It is typically hereditary and affects the pigment in the skin. This disease causes the autoimmune system to malfunction, affecting the melanocytes and causing your dog’s skin to lose color.
The disease starts at an early age, just after puppyhood. The dog starts losing color from the face first, followed by loss of color in other areas of the body. There is a higher risk of a Labradoodle inheriting this disease if the Labrador Retriever parent has a yellow coat.
2. Systemic Stress or Anxiety
While Labradoodles are highly intelligent and social animals, like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to stress and anxiety. Other factors like exercise, dietary intake, and social needs can also influence a dog’s mental condition.
And although stress is unlikely to cause a change in coat color, it can impact the health and shine of the coat. It can make your dog’s coat look less vibrant and sensitize him to various health conditions.
Are White Labradoodles Healthy?
Usually, there is no correlation between the coat color of a dog and its health. However, certain ailments directly affect a dog’s coat and can be indicative of an underlying health condition.
For white Labradoodles, whether their white coat is genetically inherited or is the result of a health condition will determine their overall health. One of the most common genetic health problems of white dogs is albinism, which also includes several complications. Albino dogs thus need extra care and protection.
If your white Labrador has albinism, he will not be able to tolerate the hot rays of the sun and will have to be protected. Albino dogs’ skin is highly prone to sunburn, and dogs with albinism have a high susceptibility to developing skin tumors when exposed to the sun. These tumors can remain benign or develop into cancerous cells.
The absence of pigment in the eyes also makes their eyes more sensitive. Studies have also shown that albino dogs are at a higher risk of developing deafness and other hearing-related health problems. White Labradoodles may also develop partial or complete deafness because of lack of pigmentation, but this is quite rare.
Does A White Labradoodle’s Color Fade?
Labradoodles, and any other dog breed, with a darker shade of coat are known to lose their colors because of genetic or health-related issues. However, Labradoodles with a white coat are generally not affected and the coat will typically have the same color throughout the dog’s life.
With dogs with darker coats, there is always the risk of the puppy developing a lighter shade as it grows up. However, dogs with lighter coats are not susceptible to such changes.
Do White Labradoodles Have A Different Temperament?
The color of a Labradoodle’s coat has no impact on its temperament. The temperament of a Labradoodle will be a reflection of how the puppy is raised, socialized, and treated and not the color of his coat.
Since it is a crossbreed, the characteristics of the parent breeds also play a very important role in the temperament of the dog.
Apart from a few quirks inherited from the parent breeds, Labradoodles are generally affectionate, lovely, and friendly. They usually do not display aggressive tendencies and are friendly and warm to strangers, children, and other dogs.
However, if Labradoodles’ white coat is the result of an underlying health issue, the dog may be withdrawn or anti-social because of the pain it may be going through. It thus becomes very important to choose a good responsible and ethical breeder to get your pet from. Meeting the parent dogs gives you further insight into the temperament that the puppy may develop.
Training A White Labradoodle
Labradoodles are an enthusiastic, playful, and energetic dog breed. They are eager to please their humans and smother them with love and affection. However, it is important to start training Labradoodles from an early age to ensure the development of positive characteristics.
Owning a Labradoodle also involves daily exercising as this breed has high energy levels and requires at least 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. Without regular exercise, your Labradoodle may develop aggressive behavior, which can lead to further behavioral issues.
Exercise and training are a must for any dog, and especially for highly energetic dog breeds like the Labradoodle. Early socialization and positive reinforcement are some of the best ways to train a Labradoodle puppy to ensure good behavior and a balanced temperament.
How Do You Groom A White Labradoodle?
Most Labradoodles need to be groomed every 6-8 weeks. Usually, this is enough to keep the tangles and knots away and preserve the natural shine and gloss of their coats.
However, with a white coat, the grooming requirement changes. The white wavy and curly coat will require regular bathing and brushing, more often than other colored coats. This is also because the white coat is more easily stained and even a small patch of mud will look very unpleasant.
You will need to brush your Labradoodle’s coat daily and bathe your dog weekly. Other than that, hair clipping every 4-6 weeks is also a must. You should also consider taking your dog to a professional groomer every few months.
Grooming your dog regularly will effectively keep hair out of his eyes, give him a healthier coat that’s free from mites and dirt, and will improve his overall health.
Is A White Labradoodle The Right Choice For You?
Owning any dog comes with its set of responsibilities and expenses, and owning a Labradoodle is no different.
Labradoodles need to be regularly groomed and require plenty of exercises, along with a healthy nutritious diet and proper training. White Labradoodles also have certain specific health concerns that you will need to be prepared to handle. If you are someone who stays away from home too often, owning a white Labradoodle may not be a good decision for you.
There are also other considerations you will need to keep in mind when buying a white Labradoodle puppy, such as making sure the breeder is ethical and asking all the relevant questions concerning the pup’s genetic history and health.
Where To Find A White Labradoodle Puppy?
Many breeders provide Labradoodle puppies but not all follow ethical breeding practices. Make sure you avoid puppy mills and backyard breeders at all costs; they are in it only for monetary gains and breed for quantity and not quality.
When buying a white Labradoodle from a breeder, research the breeder properly. Make sure they follow ethical breeding practices, are registered with a Labradoodle organization, and are experienced with the breed.
Some of the Labradoodle organizations to look for are:
- Australian Labradoodle Association of America
- Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association
- Australian Labradoodle Club of America
These organizations make sure the breeders follow ethical breeding practices and that the parent dogs used in the breeding programs are of sound health.
You can ask the breeder for genetic coat testing of the parent dogs to determine the possibility of having a white-colored puppy. And remember that the S gene comes from the Poodle parent. So, there is a higher chance of a white Labradoodle if the Poodle parent had a white coat rather than the Labrador Retriever parent.
However, even with genetic testing, there is still no guarantee of a white Labradoodle. But, you can have your name on the wishlist of breeders so that whenever a white Labradoodle comes along, you will be contacted.
White Labradoodles are rare but an absolute joy to have around. However, like any other dog, owning a white Labradoodle is a big responsibility. If you’re keen on bringing home a white Labradoodle, make sure the beautiful coat color is inherited and not the result of an underlying health condition.
You should also be certain that you can fulfill the dog’s nutritional, exercising, and grooming needs and provide your white Labradoodle with a healthy and happy life.