Yellow Labrador Retrievers

You might have seen the ads, “Rare white Labrador puppies” or “Rare fox red” or “cinnamon” or “honeybacked” or “Golden Labs”. These are not rare, these are just normal varying shades of yellow.  These ads are preying on an unsuspecting public.  Don’t fall for it.

Golden Labs: Actually a Golden Lab is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador Retriever.  The proper term is Yellow.  Doesn’t matter what shade of yellow, its yellow.  Again, don’t fall for anyone calling them Golden Labs and its recommended you don’t use the term either when describing a Labrador.

From the AKC Standard in regards to the yellow coloring: “Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog.”

Pale Yellow

This is a very light yellow.  Some would call this white, which is incorrect.  Its still a yellow, just a very pale color.


Light Cream

This is a light cream yellow.  Though the body is light, the ears, the face, the hocks and the tip of the tail have shading.

Medium yellow

This is more of a medium yellow.  Not as light as the one above, but not extremely dark. 

Dark Yellow

This is a dark yellow.  Not a fox red, but definitely darker than the average yellow.  Nothing rare about this color either.
This dark yellow pup will probably continue to darken up as it grows.  You can see the “skirts” of the pup are lighter than the rest of his and he has shading throughout his body.


Fox Red

fox red

This is a fox red Labrador.  Though you don’t see a lot of them around, they are hardly rare. 
If they are fox red, they will be red from birth.

Plus they will stay that red color as they mature.


One of the fun things about yellow Labradors is the different variations of the yellow coat.

As stated in the standard, there are but three (3) colors of Labrador Retrievers. However, the chinchilla factor can be present in some yellows.

Picture a chinchilla. Their shading involves a white hairshaft with a colored tip. The chinchilla effect can vary from barely noticeable to just the very tip of the hair shaft having color.




Here is a darker yellow Lab showing a dramatic chinchilla effect. This dog has a mixture of tip varieties in the coat.

This is not common, but it’s not rare either. Beware of anyone trying to sell you a rare chinchilla Labrador, just as you would any other “rare” color.



In General
This dog was a result of breeding a dark yellow to a fox red.  Doing so does not guarantee you will get fox red puppies.  The pups were all varying shades of dark yellow, but none were actually a fox red.
This pup is a repeat of the dog above’s breeding and you can see the dark coat.  He is still not a fox red, but a dark yellow.  Note the shading on his shoulders and rear “skirts”.


This dark yellow is showing classic “angel wings” (white shading) over the shoulders.  Most yellows have this so it is not rare. If you look at the fox red puppy, he also is showing “angel wings”.


This picture shows you the difference in yellow shades.  The dog on the left is a light cream.  The dog on the right is a dark yellow.  (they are related, but not mother-son)


This photo shows the contrast between the yellow shades.



Some yellows get darker as they age so that light puppy might turn into a darker adult. The following pictures are of the same dog.

The first one was taken when the dog was 3 weeks old.  The second at 2½ years.


This is the dog at 5½ years.


Two yellow Labs will always produce yellow puppies, but there is no guarantee as to what shade.

One of this girl’s parents is fox red.  You’d never know it to look at her since she’s a beautiful light creme.


Remember too, there are various shades and shading in all these various shades and shading.  Its endless.

All of these shades are correct as per the standard.  Any of these dogs would be correct for color either in the show ring or as beloved pets.  However, color or a shade of that color should be secondary to temperament/health when selecting a dog.

When contacting Labrador breeders it would be best to use these terms rather than Golden, Cinnamon, Honeybacked, Lemon, White, etc.  This way you will sound more knowledgeable and the breeder will understand exactly what you mean. Also, it will keep the breeder from heaving a sigh and launching into an explanation of what the proper terms are.  *grin*

Run, don’t walk away, from anyone who advertises yellows as white, champage, polar bear, cinnamon or any other color but yellow.