Labrador Retriever Colors: Rarest to Most Common

Pointing Labrador Retriever.
© RelentlessImages/

Written by Katelynn Sobus

Updated: October 19, 2023

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We’ve all seen a black or yellow Labrador Retriever, but what about other coat colors? You might not have seen a silver or red Labrador wandering the streets before–and albino labs are incredibly rare.

Silver labradors most likely get their color from their Weimaraner ancestry.

White, red, and silver are the rarest Labrador coat colors. Meanwhile, chocolate, yellow, and black labs are more common. While white and red technically fall under “yellow” by the AKC’s definition, they are quite different colors and not as frequently seen.

In this article, we’ll discuss the six Labrador coat colors from rarest to most common.

1. White

Happy dog waiting to be fed

White Labradors may be very light yellow, such as the one pictured above, or albino, which causes health problems.

©Jaromir Chalabala/

The rarest Labrador Retriever color is a pure white or albino Lab. They have light eyes, red-brown noses, and red skin around their eyes and nose.

Unfortunately, albinism can also cause deafness and health problems such as light sensitivity. Their eyes and skin are more sensitive to light, which can cause blindness, sunburn, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Not all white labs are albino, however. Those with pigment in their fur or skin are actually just what the AKC would consider a light yellow lab! They’re rarer than the more pigmented yellow you see commonly, but less rare than albino Labradors.

2. Red

golden labrador retriever

The American Kennel Club registers red Labradors as a dark “yellow.”

©Denis Moskvinov/

Red Labradors are a deep orange-brown. They’re also known as fox-red labs.

They can have light or dark noses, and commonly have a white spot on their stomachs. The AKC registers red labs as yellow labs, as they’re seen as a darker variation.

3. Silver

Silver Labrador in a field with pink flowers

Silver Labradors

are a silvery, grayish-brown color.

©Johanna Mehrke Fotografie/

Silver labs are a color variation of the Chocolate Lab. The silver Labradors are known as “dilute chocolates.”

These pups can have light or dark noses.

4. Chocolate

Field Trial Labrador

Chocolate-colored Labrador Retrievers are very popular and have deep brown coats.

©REN Photography/

Chocolate Labrador Retrievers are the least common of the three AKC accepted coat colors, but they’re still frequently bred and sought after.

The color “chocolate” is a dark brown. Their noses typically match their skin tones and they have light to dark brown eyes.

5. Yellow

Best dog products on prime day

Yellow Labradors can range from light cream to fox red according to the AKC breed standard.


Yellow Labradors are the second most common. According to the AKC breed standard, yellow labs range widely in color “from fox-red to light cream.”

However, the most common is a balanced color that is a light to medium cream. Red and white labs are much rarer.

6. Black

dog staring longingly at cornfield

Black Labradors are the least likely to get adopted, but make great companions!


The most common coat color for Labrador Retrievers is black. Unfortunately, these dogs are also the least likely to get adopted.

For some reason, people are less likely to adopt black dogs. They tend to stay at shelters longer than other dogs.

Personally, I adored my own black Labrador (who unfortunately passed last year) and would absolutely adopt another one day! Please don’t overlook these pups just because they’re common.

A Note About Breeding for Labrador Retriever Color

It’s important to remember that coat color isn’t the most important thing to look for in a dog, and that doing so can be detrimental.

Breeders who focus on breeding rare Labrador colors rather than the health and temperament of the dogs are incredibly unethical. They’re breeding solely for profit, often to the dogs’ detriment, and this isn’t something you want to support!

Instead, look for signs of a reputable breeder such as genetic health screening, a wait list, and a contract that states you’ll return the dog to the breeder if you ever need to rehome them.

Look into the breeder themselves, your dog’s ancestry, and the environment the dogs are kept in closely. Walk away from breeders who aren’t transparent or knowledgable.

Another great way to adopt a Labrador is to visit a shelter or reputable rescue organization! This is how I adopted my Labrador mix, and most people we met couldn’t even tell you he wasn’t a purebred. There were at least ten other dogs at that small shelter who looked just like him and needed homes.

No matter how you choose to adopt, please do so responsibly and remember that a dog is a lifelong commitment, not an accessory!

More Fun Labrador Retriever Facts

  • Labradors were bred to hunt waterfowl. They love the water, especially playing fetch in a lake or pool! Labs have webbed feet and insulated coats that help them when swimming.
  • They have thick double coats that shed pretty heavily, especially in the spring and autumn.
  • These pups have a lot of energy, so don’t be surprised if they get into mischief! They don’t need frequent baths, but will need to be washed if they become stinky or get themselves dirty outside.
  • A Labrador Retriever’s coat color doesn’t have an effect on their personality. Though there are some common myths, the data doesn’t support them as factual.

I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring these rare Labrador coat colors with me and learning more about this awesome breed! Which lab color is your favorite?

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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