Have you noticed white patches of fur on your black Labs? Well, no worry about those because having white mismarks on black Labradors are surprisingly common. This can happen to purebred Labrador Retrievers and, at the same time, doesn’t necessarily mean that your fur baby is a mixed breed.
It doesn’t also mean that your dog is suffering from any color-based health complications, although the white patches of fur on your Lab may also be an indication that your dog is getting older.
Read through the article as we dig deeper into what these white mismarks really are and why black Labs have them.
Why Do Black Labs Have White on Them?
The most common types of white patches of fur in black Labs are a white spot or patch often found on their chest, a white spot or patch on the base of their paws, also known as bolo spot, and white flecks.
If your Labs has any common types of white patches mentioned above, you don’t have to worry about it because all things related to your dog’s colors and patterns are the result of their genes. This goes the same for your black Lab who has white mismarks.
Let’s focus on the genes of your black Lab. The black color of your Lab is decided at the B locus, wherein your puppy will have a pair of B genes. If your Lab inherits either one or both dominant B genes from their parents, then they will most probably have a black coat.
On the other hand, inheriting two recessive B genes will give your Lab a chocolate-colored coat. Therefore, having a black Lab makes your dog have at least one dominant B gene that they inherited. But why do they have the white markings?
What’s With the White Markings?
If the black-colored coat of your Labs is decided by the B locus, the white mismarks or patches of fur usually happen at the S locus, also known as the home of the white spotting genes. The said gene stops certain areas in the body from producing any pigment.
Minimal amounts of white on the chest, toes, or tail of your dog is known as residual white, and this is the type of white that’s very likely for your black Lab to have. Moreover, it is also possible that this residual white color is hereditary. So, for example, if two black Labs with white mismarks breed, it is most likely that their puppies would display this trait.
Sign of Aging
However, as discussed earlier, these white mismarks can also signify aging for your black Labs. As black Labs get older, their fur turns into a greyish or white color. Like how humans get grey hair, Labs’ fur around their faces, or any other places on their bodies would change in color as they get older.
Can Purebred Black Labs Have White Mismarks?
Labrador Retrievers come in different colors; common are black, yellow, or chocolate. Because of the standard colors that we are very used to seeing, it is really quite a shock if we see or bring home a black Lab pup with white markings on them.
Many owners would be so worried and curious if they have just got tricked by a breeder trying to sell a purebred Lab when in reality, they are mixed breed puppies. But then again, this may not always be the case as it is possible for a purebred black Lab, even pedigree Labs, to have those white mismarks.
The best way to also assure yourself if you have a purebred Lab is to invest in a DNA test.
Let’s also check the history of Labrador Retrievers to be more enlightened with these possibilities; Labrador Retrievers goes a long way back to the 1800s. The modern Labrador Retriever’s breed’s canine ancestors live on the island of Newfoundland in Canada, where they worked with fishers to retrieve their catches.
St John’s Water Dog is the most well-known ancestor of the modern Labrador Retrievers. Although this breed’s extinct, you can still see some of their photographs circulating the internet to have you guided on your Lab’s history.
Once you see pictures of them, you’ll notice that these dogs have plenty of white and black furs. Common white mismarks on a St John’s Waterdog can be seen on the toes, face, and chest.
So considering the history of these Labs, it is possible to have black Labs with white markings have colors that are similar to their ancient St John’s Waterdog ancestors.
Is it Healthy for Black Labs to Have White Markings?
The very small white patches of mismarks on your black Lab’s fur don’t have any particular connection with health issues or complications. However, studies have discovered that there is a connection between large areas of white coats and deafness.
On Your Lab’s Health:
Although your black Lab’s white mismarks don’t necessarily mean that he or she has a health issue, your dog is still prone to the same health issues as any other Labrador Retriever.
Like any other dog breed, the Labrador is still prone to certain health problems that you’ll need to learn about. Some of these are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, obesity, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), exercise-induced collapse, diabetes, cancer, ear infections, and skin problems.
Some of these health issues can be tested for, so no need to worry. As pet owners, it is your responsibility to be mindful and alert of your Labs to manage their problems, if there will be any, immediately. Also, ensure to trust reputable breeders that can show evidence of health testing the dogs they breed from.
What White Mismarks Can Black Labs Have?
Various types of white mismarks are possible to be seen on your black Labs. Some Labs may have a simple splodge of white on any part of their body. This type of white mismark is very common to be seen on their chest. Others may have white on their feet, their entire paws, or a white coloring that extends up to their legs. Some Black Labs may also be seen to have a white ring around their tails.
The small white spot usually seen on the bottom of your Lab’s foot is also known as a “bolo mark.” The name came from the very first dual champion Labrador Retriever named Banchory Bolo. Banchory Bolo had a white spot on the bottom of his paw, and many believe that Labs who have the same marking as him are his descendants.
Do Yellow and Chocolate Labs Get White Mismarks?
White mismarks can happen on Labs of any color; black, yellow, or chocolate Labs can have the white markings, and no one is an exception. It just so happens that the white mismarks are more noticeable on black Labs, but if you look closely at yellow or chocolate colored Labs, you may find those white patches on their fur as well.