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Posts Tagged ‘AKC breeds’

What’s In A Lab?

December 29, 2009 3 comments

Daisy - A Yellow Lab with a lighter shade coat color

I recently had another pet sitter ask me where I get the topics for my blogs. Honestly, they just come to me, usually through my every day interactions with animals and people.

For instance, I was at a department store the other day buying some things to give as gifts next year. While at the register, the cashier noticed that I had a lot of items with a dog or cat theme to them. I explained to him that I was a pet sitter, and just like that I had my next blog post! Kind of…really, it was what happened next.

The cashier asked me if I knew of any AKC breeders who had Red Fox Labs. Huh? Red Fox Labs? What the heck? Was this a new way for breeders to create a designer dog and call it something familiar? Was there a new Lab making it’s appearance into the Labrador Retriever world that I didn’t know about?

I had to find out.

It turns out that in addition to the standard yellow, black and brown Labrador Retrievers, there are also these Labrador Retrievers that certain breeders sell as “White or Snow”, “Silver” or “Fox Red” Labs. Who knew? I was floored because I thought I was pretty well educated on dog breeds, but here were these new Labradors Retrievers that I had never heard about. Except, they’re not… New… I mean. Genetically, Labs only come in 3 colors: black, brown and yellow. What some breeders call “White Labs” or “Snow Labs” are really just yellow Labs with a lighter shade of coat. What some breeders call “Silver Labs” are actually brown or chocolate labs with a mismarking in coloring or simply a cross between a Weimaraner and a Lab. And now for the Red Fox Lab… it turns out it’s just a Yellow Lab with “red fox coloring” – as defined by AKC standards.

When I first adopted Daisy, people would always ask me if she was a “White Lab” or a “Snow Lab”. Honestly, I had never given it any thought because I had always thought of her as a yellow Lab who just happened to be white in color. It turns out I was right. She was a yellow Lab… with a lighter shade of coat. And, I was lucky enough to adopt her. Not buy her from a breeder.

But, people who are buying White Labs, Snow Labs, Silver Labs and Red Fox Labs from breeders, usually for exorbitant prices, are actually buying… A LAB. Not a rare breed. Not a new breed. Just a Lab. And, in some cases, a Lab that isn’t even recognized by the AKC, but is considered a mismarked dog.

So why do I tell you all of this? It’s not because I really care what color Labrador Retriever you want. It’s a preference. I prefer my Daisy, and love her white coat color. If you prefer a yellow Lab with a reddish coat color I’m not going to judge you for having a preference for that color.

But, as a consumer, you need to be aware (here’s a great place to start). Know what someone is selling you. If the word “rare” is being used to describe the Labrador Retriever you are interested in buying, walk away. Anyone who would lie to you about this isn’t likely to tell you the truth about the dog or it’s parentage. If they want to charge you an exorbitant amount of money for this “rare Lab”, question it. Chances are they are just looking to make a quick buck and if that’s the case they’re not a reputable breeder. And chances are they could be a puppy mill or backyard breeder – not the type of people you want to buy a dog from anyways.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what color Lab you get. Because what’s in a Lab is A LAB. If you want a special coat color, great, just remember that color doesn’t change the breed or the price. It’s still a Lab.

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