Do you have your eye on a Labrador puppy but want to be sure it’s purebred? Are you worried about the growing prevalence of designer dogs? Or, maybe you’re just curious about how to identify a pure Labrador puppy. Whatever your reasons, there are several ways to determine if the pup you’re eyeing is a purebred Labrador.
The dog’s lineage is a major consideration for households considering getting a Lab. People who want to buy a Labrador often ask, “How can I tell if it’s a purebred?” Given the stringent requirements of breed standards, this is a reasonable worry. As a dog parent, you want to be as well-informed as possible about your new family member.
If you’re looking to buy a Lab from a breeder who claims to sell only purebreds, you should know the signs indicating whether the dog you’re looking at is actually a Lab.
In this article, we’ll discuss the characteristics of a purebred Labrador, how to identify one and what paperwork should accompany any Lab you’re considering. With this information, you can be confident that the Labrador puppy is purebred.
The most obvious way to identify a purebred Lab is by looking at its physical characteristics. The American Kennel Club establishes those standards.
The following criteria can be used to determine if your Lab’s appearance is up to par:
When it comes to purebred Labrador retrievers, the AKC has a very tight definition of the only three acceptable colors: black, chocolate, and yellow.
A black Labrador must be completely black, while a chocolate Lab should be anywhere from light brown to dark chocolate brown.
A wider range of colors is allowed for yellow labs, from very pale cream to fox red. Thus they are less likely to be disqualified.
Do purebred Labrador retrievers have white markings? Small white spots on the coat are still permitted. Unfortunately, a fully grown Labrador with brindles, color markings, or color panels is ineligible.
The AKC breed standard for Labrador retrievers also specifies that your pup should be between 21.5 and 24.4 inches tall for male Labrador retrievers and 21.5 to 23 inches tall for females. Male Labs should weigh between 65 and 80 pounds, with female Labs weighing slightly less at 55 to 70 pounds.
✅ Tail Structure
The AKC breed standard states that a Lab’s tail should be thick and wide at the base, tapering to an oval or cone shape at the tip. It should reach at least the hock joint but no longer than halfway down the dog’s shin.
✅ Head Shape
Purebred Labradors have an oval-shaped head with a smooth, broad forehead that should be free of wrinkles. Their muzzle should be long, wide, and deep with a slightly set-back nose. The top of the muzzle should be straight or gently arched.
✅ Nose Color
Pure Labrador babies have pink noses. However, this color does not last into adulthood. The noses of yellow and black Labradors are typically black, whereas those of chocolate Labradors are often brown. Dudley Labradors are the only dogs in the breed to keep their pink noses into old age.
Labradors should have a double coat that’s short, dense, and straight. It has an oily outer layer to protect the pup from water and cold temperatures and a soft, wooly undercoat that helps to trap body heat.
🐕 Black Labrador Retriever
There are nine possible gene combinations in a labrador, but only four result in completely black coats, indicating that the genes responsible for this trait are dominant. Their dark, pure lustrous black fur coats make them so gorgeous and appealing to all dog lovers.
However, not all Labrador retrievers belong to the black variety. Some of the mutts had white patches on their black fur because of a gene disruption that occurred when they were descended from the St. John’s water dogs.
🐕 Yellow Labrador
Yellow labs can be seen in a range of shades. Like a lemon, they can be anywhere from a tan to a bright yellow. Included in this range is a yellowish-brown color called fawn Labrador.
This is a deeper yellow but not as dark as a red Labrador. It is common to find cream-colored labs among yellow labrador retrievers. With six distinct labrador colors to choose from, yellow Lab offers the most color variation.
🐕 Chocolate Labrador
They are regarded as having a deep/dark brown color based on what they named Chocolate Labradors. Most people enjoy this chocolate-like covering on their fur as they are lustrous and appealing.
Nonetheless, there is a wide range of shades of chocolate in labradors. Their hue ranges from light brown to a blend of brown and black lab coats.
🐕 White Lab
Since white labradors are genetically indistinguishable from yellow labs, their coats are the palest possible shade of yellow.
According to experts, white labs are the “palest variant” of the brown and yellow tint. Although their ear and paw fur are typically white, certain animals may have lighter brown fur in other areas.
🐕 Red Labrador/Fox Red Lab
Red labradors, like white labradors, are part of the yellow labrador dog color spectrum. Red labs are at the dark end of the yellow spectrum, opposite the white labs. Their color is a rusty red in the spectrum’s dark yellow/brown range.
In light of this, red fox labs are just yellow labs with darker coats that are mistaken for the reddish kind.
🐕 Silver Labrador Retriever
Silver labs can be any shade from a very pale gray to a dazzling silver blue. In direct sunshine, the silver tone pops out more clearly. Scientists have found that silver labs and chocolate labs share a color spectrum.
You can think of a silver Lab as a chocolate Lab with diminished DNA. They may have been born chocolate, but their DNA can subtly overcome all the other colors, producing an incredible silver covering instead. Therefore, silver labradors are distinct from other labrador coats because they have recessive genetics.
Labradors possess certain natural instincts that set them apart from all other breeds. These include retrieving and water-based activities, a strong desire to please their owners, and an affinity for training. They are also known to be very loyal, friendly dogs who enjoy being around humans and other animals.
A pedigree paper is a document that lists the names and addresses of the puppy’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. This information can be important for people interested in purchasing a Labrador retriever puppy, as it can help them make an informed decision about which puppy to choose.
You can also use the pedigree paper to track the health and temperament of the Labrador breed and identify any potential genetic defects present in the puppy. Therefore, if you are considering purchasing a Labrador puppy, it is important to ask for a copy of the pedigree papers.
Finally, since even pedigree certifications are not foolproof, DNA testing is the last resort for determining a purebred Labrador retriever. A DNA test can be done with a simple cheek swab or blood sample and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
The most common type of DNA test used for puppies is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. This test amplifies the DNA so that it can be easily analyzed. You can usually obtain the results of a PCR test within one to two days.
Another type of DNA test, called an allele-specific PCR (ASPCR) test, can identify mutations in the Lab puppy’s DNA that may indicate a health problem. However, this type of test is less commonly used than the PCR test.
A DNA test can provide valuable information about a labrador puppy. Still, it is important to remember that the results of a DNA test are only one piece of information that should be considered when making decisions about the puppy’s care and welfare.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that this test can be expensive, so it is usually unnecessary unless you have a specific reason for wanting to confirm your puppy’s breed.
Buying a Purebred Labrador Puppy
Ensure the puppy you acquire is a purebred Labrador and that its papers are in order. It is important to verify that the breeder registered the litter before selling the puppy to new owners.
Make sure you meet the mother and that you like her appearance. Request photographic evidence of the father and a certificate verifying the father’s sperm and egg contributions if meeting the father is not an option. Do not buy a puppy from the breeder if it has markings that you find offensive.
True black Labradors sometimes sport white patches. A chocolate Labrador that is 100% purebred may have brindle markings. Getting a purebred mismatched puppy is great, except you can’t enter them in dog shows.
Finally, make sure to ask the reputable breeder if they have performed any health checks on the puppies. This is an important step in ensuring that the puppy you are buying is healthy and free of any genetic defects.
Purebred Dilute Labradors
In recent years, breeders have developed a dog breed of Labrador called the Purebred Dilute Labrador. These dogs are born with two copies of a gene that causes them to have a diluted coat color. The result is puppies with grey, silver, or light blue coats instead of the traditional black, yellow, or chocolate colors.
Dilute Labradors may also have a lighter eye color than traditional Labradors. While these dogs are still considered purebred, they cannot be registered with the American Kennel Club due to their unique genetics.
How To Find A Reputable Breeder
Regardless of what type of Labrador puppy you decide to get, you must find a reputable breeder. Here are some tips to help you find a good breeder:
✅ Start at a Shelter or Rescue Group
Not only will you probably find a great dog, but you’ll also feel good about helping a dog who doesn’t have a home find one. While the dog may have done nothing wrong, most dogs end up in shelters owing to issues with their owners, such as financial constraints, lack of time, changes in the family dynamic (such as a new baby, divorce, relocation, or marriage), or allergies.
✅ Do Your Research
Search the internet for reviews and recommendations from other dog owners. Visit websites specializing in Labrador Retrievers, such as the American Kennel Club. Read up on breeders who have good reputations and ask for references from owners whose dogs you admire.
✅ Make Sure The Breeder is Reputable
A reputable breeder will not hesitate to answer any questions you have. Ask about their breeding practices, how their puppies are socialized and raised, and whether or not the puppy is registered with an organization such as the AKC. Make sure that the breeder provides you with proof of health checks and that all puppies are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
✅ Get a Referral
Once you have narrowed down your search to a few reputable breeders, ask them for references. Reach out to previous customers and find out what their experience was like. Ask if they would recommend the breeder and if they were pleased with the puppy’s health and behavior.
Finally, remember that a purebred Labrador is one of many types of dogs worth owning. Mixed breeds can be just as wonderful and loving as purebreds and may even be healthier. Take your time when selecting a puppy, and make sure that you find one that is right for you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does mixed breed Labradors have the same characteristics as purebred Labradors?
A: Mixed breeds may not have all the same characteristics as a purebred Labrador, but they can still be just as loving and loyal. Mixed breeds are also often healthier than purebred Labradors due to the lack of inbreeding.
Q: What is the best type of Labrador to get?
A: The best type of Labrador depends on your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a pet. If you want a show-quality Labrador, then a purebred would be best. However, if you just want a loving and loyal companion, then a mixed breed might be the right choice for you.
Q: Are dilute Labradors registered with the AKC?
A: No, dilute Labradors are not currently eligible for registration with the American Kennel Club. This is because they have unique genetics that does not match the breed standard. However, they are still considered purebred dogs and can be registered with other organizations.
Q: How can I find a reputable breeder?
A: Start by searching the internet for reviews and recommendations from other dog owners. Visit websites specializing in Labrador Retrievers, such as the American Kennel Club. Once you have narrowed down your search to a few reputable breeders, ask them for references and reach out to previous customers. Make sure the breeder provides you with proof of health checks and that all puppies are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Q: How do I know if a Labrador puppy is purebred?
A: The best way to ensure that a Labrador puppy is purebred is to purchase it from a reputable breeder. Ask for proof of registration, health checks, and breed history. If the breeder cannot provide these documents, then it is best to look elsewhere. Additionally, it would help if you look for physical traits typical of Labradors, such as a broad head and short muzzle.
Q: Is it possible to train a Labrador puppy?
A: Absolutely! Labradors are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them excellent candidates for training. Start by teaching basic commands like sit, stay, and come. Then move on to more complex behaviors, such as walking on a leash and responding to hand signals. With patience and consistency, you can have a well-trained Labrador in no time!
Selecting a purebred Labrador puppy is a big decision. Make sure to do your research and select a reputable breeder who can provide you with all the necessary paperwork and proof of health checks. You should also remember that purebreds are not the only type of dog worth owning – mixed breeds can also be just as loving and loyal. Finally, once you have a puppy in your home, be sure to provide them with the proper training, socialization, and care that all puppies need to grow up healthy and happy.