The yellow Labrador Retriever is one of the most sought-after purebred companion dogs in the United States. Although its coat color may seem typical in the canine world, there is more fascinating genetics behind it.
Adored by many families, the yellow Lab is one of the most outgoing dogs you can own. In fact, some people think that they are calmer and sweeter than the other types of Labs. But is there any valid proof to verify this claim?
This guide will walk you through the history, qualities, and other pertinent details about the yellow Labrador Retriever. Additionally, we will unravel the pattern of inheritance involved in the coat colors of the yellow Labs.
What Is a Yellow Lab?
The yellow Labrador Retriever, also known as the yellow Lab, is one of the three standard variants of the Labrador Retriever. Yellow Labs are purebred dogs with thick double coats that come in various shades of yellow. Generally, yellow Labs have the same temperament as the black and chocolate Labs.
The Labrador Retrievers are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as purebred dogs.
The said organization recognizes the yellow Lab as one of three standard variants of the Labrador Retriever. The other two are the black and chocolate Labs.
This means that yellow Labrador Retrievers may engage in the events and competitions organized by the American Kennel Club.
In addition, cream, white, gold, and fox red Labs are also categorized as yellow Labrador Retrievers. In the succeeding sections, I will give a more detailed description of the physical features and temperaments of this pooch.
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Are Yellow Labs Rare?
For a very long time, the yellow Lab used to be the rarest of all the three main types of Labrador Retriever. However, today, it is among the most common and sought-after variants.
In fact, there are several breeders across the United States that offer yellow Labrador Retrievers. This means that, generally, yellow Labs are not considered as rare as it once was.
However, there will always be an exception to the rule. A variant of the yellow Lab called the Dudley Labrador is relatively rarer than other yellow Labs. Dudley Labs are characterized by unpigmented eye rims, noses, and feet.
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Yellow Lab Origin and History: Where Do Yellow Labradors Come From?
The first yellow Lab in history, named Ben of Hyde, was born in 1899 at the kennels of Major C.J. Radclyffe.
Ben of Hyde’s coat color was initially described as “butterscotch” or dark golden instead of yellow. Thus, in today’s standard, Ben of Hyde might have a closer resemblance to fox red Labs than to the paler yellow Labs.
When the Labrador Retriever breed was recognized as a breed by the British Kennel Club in 1903 and the American Kennel Club in 1917, “gold” was not yet acknowledged as a dog color. Hence, it was changed to yellow.
Following the Second World War, yellow Labs with lighter shades outnumbered the original butterscotch or golden Labs. Today, yellow Labs with paler hues are more common than the butterscotch and fox red Labs.
Yellow Lab Appearance: What Does a Yellow Labrador Look Like?
The size of the yellow Labrador Retriever varies from medium to large. Its exact height and weight may also vary depending on the sex of the Lab. The male yellow Labs are generally larger than the female yellow Labs.
Specifically, the male yellow Labs stand anywhere between 22.5 and 24.5 inches. On the other hand, the female yellow Labs may acquire a height ranging around 21.5 to 23.5 inches.
In terms of weight, the male yellow Lab weighs around 65 to 80 pounds. Meanwhile, female yellow Labs usually weigh anywhere between 55 and 70 pounds.
The yellow Labs have a broad head, floppy ears, and a nose that is typically black-colored. A variant of the yellow Lab called the Dudley Lab has a pinkish nose, eye rims, and footpads due to the lack of pigments in these parts.
The yellow Labs may acquire several shades of yellow coat colors. These include white, cream, buttermilk, gold, and even fox red.
All of these shades are primarily produced through the influence of the dilution gene in yellow Labs.
Due to the similarities in coat color, yellow Labs are often misidentified as Golden Retrievers. However, keep in mind that Golden Retrievers have thicker and longer coats than the yellow Labs.
Yellow Labs have short double coats. The outer layer of their special double coats is inherently oily. This makes their coat naturally waterproof similar to the St. John’s Water Dog.
To catch a glimpse of an adorable Yellow Lab in action, check out the video below:
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Yellow Lab Color Genetics: What Makes a Labrador Yellow?
The gene that controls the production of yellow coat color in the Labrador Retrievers is known as the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene. Specifically, the recessive form of this gene produces the yellow coat color.
As a recessive trait, the yellow coat color in Labrador Retrievers follows an all-or-nothing inheritance pattern. Hence, the yellow Lab would only exist if the offspring has exactly two copies of the recessive form of the MC1R gene.
If the Labrador Retriever does not have two copies of the recessive form of the MC1R gene, it won’t become yellow-coated. Instead, it would acquire either black or brown coat colors.
Note that the MC1R gene does not directly produce the black and brown coat colors. These coat colors are produced through the tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TYRP1) gene. That said, these two genes have an interesting relationship.
The two copies of the recessive form of the MC1R gene masks the effect of the TYRP1 gene. Hence, a Lab that carries the required gene for black or brown coat would still be yellow if it also carries two recessive forms of the MC1R gene.
Another gene that influences the coat color of yellow Labs is the melanophilin (MLPH) gene, also known as the dilution gene in dogs.
Yellow Labs with the recessive form of this gene have a paler or “dilute” yellow coat color. Meanwhile, the dominant form of the MLPH gene results in a deeper yellow coat color.
Therefore, paler yellow Labs, like white and cream, carry two recessive copies of the MLPH gene. On the other hand, darker yellow Labs, like gold and fox red, carry at least one dominant copy of the MLPH gene.
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Do Yellow Lab Puppies Change Color as They Grow?
The coat color of the yellow Lab puppies does not drastically change as they age. Essentially, the gene that is inherited by the yellow Lab would stay the same all throughout its lifespan.
Therefore, a yellow Lab puppy would still be yellow even if it gets older. However, the shade of its yellow coat may lighten or darken due to several factors.
For example, melanin production in Labrador Retrievers increases during their early adulthood. As a result, adult yellow Labs tend to have a coat with darker shades of yellow.
However, senior Labs tend to have lighter shades of yellow coat as melanin production dwindles during their late adulthood. Other factors like nutrition, hygiene, and environment could also affect the shades of their yellow coats.
Yellow Lab Temperament: Do Yellow Labradors Make Good Family Dogs?
The yellow Labrador Retriever is considered by many pet lovers as a good family dog. This can be ascribed to their extremely affectionate, kind, and amiable personality. However, these traits are universal to all Lab variants.
Generally, the yellow Labs are outgoing and very open to strangers. They are also suitable for households with young children and other pets. As sporting dogs, the yellow Labs are extremely eager to please, intelligent, and adaptable.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, then the yellow Lab might not be the right dog for you. The yellow Labs are very active, energetic, and playful dogs. They constantly need a lot of activities to stay happy and healthy.
Because they were originally bred to be gentle and sociable, the yellow Labs are not very vocal and vigilant. Hence, they are not suitable as guards or watchdogs.
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Yellow Lab Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Yellow Labradors Healthy Dogs?
The yellow Lab has a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years. However, a healthy yellow Lab could live longer than this. Genetics, activity, diet, and veterinary healthcare can all have an impact on the life expectancy of the yellow Labs.
Generally, the yellow Labs are healthy dogs. In fact, according to the study published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, the yellow and black Labrador Retrievers could live 10% longer than the chocolate Labs.
Here are the most common health issues in yellow Labrador Retrievers:
- Elbow/Hip Dysplasia: All types and colors of Labrador Retrievers are prone to elbow or hip dysplasia. This hereditary condition is characterized by the deformity of the elbow or hip joint. Unfortunately, large dogs, like the yellow Labrador Retrievers, are predominantly affected by this condition.
- Luxating Patella: This disorder can affect the yellow Lab’s rear legs on either side. Luxating patella is characterized by the dislocations of the dog’s kneecaps. Unfortunately, this condition is hereditary. If left untreated, your yellow Lab may eventually develop arthritis and other orthopedic issues.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD): The osteochondritis dissecans is a developmental, inflammatory disease that primarily affects large dogs, including the yellow Lab. It is characterized by the separation of the cartilage in the shoulder, elbow, hip, or knee from the underlying bone.
- Bloat: This gastrointestinal condition can be deadly if left untreated. Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach is filled with gas and twists. As a result, the stomach canal becomes obstructed, causing discomfort to the affected dog. In order to treat bloat, you’ll need the help of a veterinarian.
If your yellow Lab exhibits any symptoms of these health problems, you should bring your dog to the nearest veterinarian facility for proper treatment and advice.
You may also consider getting pet insurance for your yellow Lab to minimize the veterinary expenses when your dog gets injured or becomes sick. To guide you, check out our article on the 5 best pet insurance companies of 2023.
How Much Does a Yellow Lab Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
The price of a yellow Lab puppy from a reputable breeder may cost anywhere between $400 and $1,500.
Aside from the selling price, the initial expenses of owning a yellow Lab puppy should also be considered. The initial cost covers all of your puppy’s essential supplies for the first few months.
The table below shows the breakdown of the initial expenses of having a yellow Labrador Retriever:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$80 – $120|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10 – $35|
|Bed||$40 – $200|
|Crate||$50 – $500|
|Leashes and Collars||$15 – $50|
|Toys||$30 – $50|
|Grooming Essentials||$40 – $180|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$50 – $200|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $300|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$75 – $200|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Microchip||$40 – $60|
|Miscellaneous Supplies||$15 – $30|
|Total Initial Cost||$605 – $2,445|
As indicated in the table above, the entire initial expenses of owning a yellow Lab puppy may range between $605 and $2,445.
Keep in mind that this is exclusive to the price of the puppy. These initial costs may still lessen depending on the status of your pup prior to taking them home.
For instance, some yellow Lab breeders offer puppies that already have initial vaccine shots and are already microchipped.
In addition, some supplies on the list are not considered recurring expenses. Some of them are enough throughout the lifespan of your yellow Labrador Retriever, so you won’t have to buy them again.
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Places to Find Yellow Lab Puppies for Sale and Adoption
The yellow Labrador Retriever is one of the most sought-after purebred dogs. Hence, finding places and websites which offer yellow Lab puppies for sale and adoption is relatively easy.
However, to guarantee that you will only get a healthy yellow Lab puppy, you must consider the eligibility and reputation of the breeder where you will purchase your yellow Labrador Retriever.
To assist you, I listed some reputable yellow Lab breeders and kennels below:
- Marble Mountain Kennels – Located in California, this family-owned kennel has been breeding Labrador Retrievers for 25 years already. They offer all standard Lab variants with well-balanced and personable dispositions. Some of the Labs that came from them are now certified therapy dogs.
- Hidden Pond Labradors – This licensed New York-based kennel has breeders who hold degrees in animal science and agricultural engineering. Their yellow Lab puppies are microchipped and are already inoculated with the initial vaccine shots. In addition, their pups come with a one-year health warranty and a veterinarian health certificate.
- Danikk Labradors – The Danikk Labradors is a Lab breeder located in Minnesota. They’ve been breeding physically and mentally sound Labrador Retrievers since 1971. They offer all standard Lab variants, which are home-raised and well-socialized with other dogs, cats, and kids. The breeding dogs from Danikk Labradors are certified free of heritable orthopedic and eye diseases.
In addition to these kennels, you may also read our guide on the 10 best Labrador breeders.
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To further guide you through your online search for reputable yellow Lab breeders, check out our article on how to safely buy a puppy online.
Alternatively, you may adopt a yellow Labrador Retriever from one of the following websites listed below:
- Adopt-a-Pet – This non-profit pet adoption website, which was founded in 2000, provides comprehensive linkages to more than 12,000 pet shelters across the United States and Canada. They encourage pet adoption, spaying, and neutering. Their website has a database of adoptable animals, including the yellow Labrador Retriever.
- PetSmart Charities – Located in Arizona, this organization has a vast connection to several dog shelters and rescues across the United States. You may narrow down your search for an adoptable yellow Labrador Retriever by zip code, breed, color, size, age, and sex on their website.
- Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida (LRROF) – Established in 2000, this non-profit organization from Florida is dedicated to rescuing all types of Labrador Retrievers. As a foster-based rescue, the LRROF does not have a physical shelter location. Additionally, this organization provides foster and veterinary care, spaying, neutering, and microchips for their adoptable Labs.
Aside from these websites, you may also read our article on the 10 best Labrador Retriever rescues for adoption. It will certainly give you more options for some rescue shelters that may offer yellow Lab puppies.
You may also read our guide to dog adoption, which will walk you through everything you need to know about the process.
Meanwhile, if you want more dog adoption tips, check out our guide on 13 ways to find free puppies in your area for adoption.
RELATED: 10 Best Labrador Retriever Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!
Dog Name Ideas for Yellow Lab Puppies
When it comes to dog ownership, one of the things that many pet parents carefully think of is their dog’s name. Many pet owners choose names that seem fun and endearing to hear.
If you’re looking for some name ideas for your yellow Lab puppy, check out the list below:
As you can see, the suggested names above are associated with yellow, gold, orange, and red colors. You may also use any of the popular male and female dog names listed by the American Kennel Club for your yellow Lab puppy.
Keep in mind that giving your yellow Lab puppy a name that is similar to that of your relatives or close acquaintances is not recommended. It will surely confuse your dog.
Amid this, there is really no standard rule for naming your dog. Any name will do, as long as your yellow Lab puppy will be accustomed to it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Rarest Lab Color?
Today, chocolate or liver is considered the rarest color of the Labrador Retriever. This rarity can be ascribed to the fewer possible combinations of the MC1R and TYRP1 genes that would lead to chocolate coat color.
Specifically, there are nine possible combinations of MC1R and TYRP1 genes. Four of these combinations result in a black coat, three result in a yellow coat, and only two possible combinations can lead to a chocolate coat.
What Are Yellow Labs Known For?
As a descendant of the St. John Dog, the yellow Labrador Retrievers are well-known for their apparent obsession with water. In addition, they are considered great runners since they were first bred for retrieving ducks.
As companion dogs, they are well-known for their extremely amiable, energetic, and laid-back personalities.
Do Yellow Labs Shed a Lot?
Just like any other Labrador Retrievers, the yellow Labs are year-round heavy shedders. This shedding happens more excessively every spring and winter. Regular coat brushing could remove the loose hair from your Lab’s coat.
You can also give fish oil to your yellow Labrador Retriever as it helps in reducing the excessive shedding in dogs. Generally, fish oil could improve the skin and coat health of yellow Labs.
Are Yellow Labs Calmer Than Black Labs?
Many pet parents believe that yellow Labs are calmer than black Labs. However, the anecdotal records for this claim are not backed up by any scientific evidence.
Coat color does not affect the behavior and personality of a Labrador Retriever. Instead, they are mainly determined by the Lab’s upbringing. Regardless of their coat color, Labradors are inherently sweet and calm dogs.
Are Yellow Labs Smarter?
The Labrador Retrievers are among the smartest dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. Their inherent intelligence is purely based on genetics rather than their coat colors.
Therefore, a yellow Labrador Retriever is equally as smart as the chocolate and black Labs. There is no scientific evidence to prove the claim that the yellow Labs are smarter than the other Lab variants.
Final Thoughts: Is a Yellow Lab the Right Dog for You?
The yellow Lab is one of the most popular types of Labrador Retrievers today. Its yellow coat is a recessive trait that comes in a variety of shades, and according to science, it can live 10% longer than the chocolate Labs.
Just like any Labrador Retrievers, the yellow Labs are extremely affectionate, energetic, playful, amiable, and gentle. They are suitable for active families and are safe for young children and other dogs.
They are also one of the most intelligent, trainable, and adaptable dog breeds. Do all of these qualities sound appealing to you? If so, then the yellow Labrador Retriever is the right breed for you!
Are you looking forward to getting a yellow Lab? Let me know what you think in the comments!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.