Can Purebred Labs Have Spots? The Truth and The Scams

If you have come across multiple labradors, or are generally interested in them, you might notice how some labs tend to have white spots on their chests, feet, or tails; so are they normal? And what are they? I’m here to tell you!

So, Can purebred labs have spots? Purebred labradors can have white spots or other color variations that are perfectly normal. These are known as mismarks, and they can be found in some dogs of all purebred Labrador color types and are not considered an indication that it isn’t purebred.

Do spots on a Labrador indicate that it isn’t purebred, and are white on a purebred Labrador regarded acceptable by the breed standards? Here’s all you need to know, so keep reading.

Can Purebred Labs Have Spots? 

lab puppy to show how can purebred labs have spots on them

Spots on Labradors can suggest that the dog is a mixed breed, although they are not confirmation that the dog is not purebred. Spots have always been present in Labradors and have been from the breed’s inception.

White markings on the paws, chest, and muzzle were common among Labrador forebears. The earliest Labradors bred in England inherited these markings.

These patches are referred to as “Mismarks” which are color abnormalities in the fur that appear on a regular basis in the three primary Labrador color varieties – Black, Chocolate, and Yellow.

White spots can also be caused by the “S” gene, which is responsible for Color-generating pigment cells (especially melanin) to stop forming, resulting in strands that are gray or white in color.

What are those white marks on your labrador? 

These patches are referred to as “Mismarks” which are color abnormalities in the fur that appear on a regular basis in the three primary Labrador color varieties – Black, Chocolate, and Yellow.

Spots come in three colors: white, tan, and black.

The white marks, also known as bolo spots, are usually found on the Lab’s chest and rear of its feet, just above the pads.

Mismarks or spots are a common occurrence in Labradors. They have nothing to do with mixed breeds. They’re all Labrador Retrievers. They aren’t uncommon, nor are they defective. They are not allowed to compete, but they make great pets.

They are usually rather tiny. on the other hand, huge patches that cover the entire torso, back, or tail are not bolo spots.

Something similar also happens with goldens, and you can learn about white spots on purebred golden retrievers here.

What are the accepted colors of Labrador Retrievers? 

According to the breed standards and disqualification standards in competition, The American Kennel Club (AKC) states as follows:

Black, yellow, and chocolate are the coat colors of Labrador Retrievers. Any other hue or color combination will disqualify the lab.

It is OK, although not desired, to have a tiny white spot on the torso. Bridling should not be confused with white hairs caused by age or scarring. 

A lab with a black coat with brindle markings or black with tan markings results in disqualification. 

Yellow labrador coats can be fox-red to light cream in color, with variations in coloring on the dog’s ears, back, and underbelly. 

Chocolate labs come in a range of shades from light to dark. Labs with a Chocolate coat that have tan or brindle marks are disqualified.

If you are wondering which color you should get, you’re in luck. I’ve made a guide to help you choose the right labrador color for you here. It will take you through how each color is different and how you can choose the right one for you and your family.

What are the common mismarks in Labradors? 

Mismarks or spots are a common occurrence in Labradors. They have nothing to do with mixed breeds. They’re all Labrador Retrievers. They aren’t uncommon, nor are they defective. They are not allowed to compete, but they make great pets.

Mismarks or spots are often found in the following color patterns:

Yellow labs with black spots

In the Standard, there are no specified permissible levels of black on a yellow puppy.

Yellow Lab with White Spots

On a light yellow or creme lab, white spots are frequently so delicate that they go unnoticed.

A mismark would be a spot anywhere but the chest.

“Bolo Marks” are a common occurrence. They may be located on the pads immediately above the pad behind the front legs. These patches are known as “Mismarks” which are color anomalies in the fur that appear on the skin.

Black and white

A tiny white patch on the breast is allowed, according to the Standard.

Most people believe that these puppies have a lot of white on their chests; a few of them may be show-worthy, and the white streak may go away.

White on the paws or face of a puppy is called a mismark.

Tan and black 

A black Labrador with tan spots on the ears, nose, and above the eyes, similar to a Rottweiler, is said to have this trait.

White hairs (Salt and Pepper):

This is a condition labradors develop when they are puppies; they are exceedingly unusual, and they shed these marks out on their first shed as adults.

They get it while they’re healing from being sick or stressed as newborns, and by the time they’re over a year old, they’ve all developed regular coats. 

The dispersed white hairs on chocolate and black dogs, and possibly invisible on yellows, usually begin on the head and spread out from there, including the legs and underparts.


Bridling, also known as “splashing,” is a distinctive color pattern that appears as speckled or tri-color patches of orange or tan streaks that mimic tiger stripes. Bridling can be seen on the muzzle, chest, thighs, and paws of Labradors with this coat pattern. This brindle pattern may cover the entire coat of the dog in some circumstances.

Mosaic effects – Chimera 

This pattern appears when the lab’s whole limbs or big areas are of different colors. The result of a cell division mishap. It is impossible to categorize them as Chimeras without DNA from two separate regions of the dog, although it is highly likely.


If no one can agree whether it’s a splashing puppy or a mosaic, and there’s no DNA to indicate it’s a Chimera, the lab is classified as a generic mismark.

By the way, you can get a really simple DNA test from Amazon to check your dog’s DNA. The Embark Dog DNA test is easily the best one around right now, and you can check it on Amazon here or by clicking on the image below:

Can purebred black labs have white spots?

Purebred black labs have white spots; The presence of white spots or other color variations in a Black Lab is quite natural. These are known as mismarks, and they can be found in certain dogs of all purebred Labrador color varieties.

White markings are also possible in purebred black Labs. Mismarked Labradors are Labrador retrievers with white markings on their coats. However, because this marking was present in early Labrador forebears, it is conceivable to see it in current purebred Labs.

White markings on the chest, foot, and tail of Labradors are common. This isn’t to say that your Lab isn’t purebred. It may, however, prohibit your puppy from being registered as a show dog.

AKC permits a Lab to have a “small white spot” on his chest. However, they claim that even this isn’t “desirable.” This lab, on the other hand, does not fall under the ‘mismarked’ category.

If you simply want a show dog, a black Lab with white chest markings may not be the best choice. White marks on a working Lab or family pet, on the other hand, are quite acceptable.

You can learn why dogs get white spots here (for reasons other than aging).

Do full-blooded labs have white spots? 

Yes, Fullblooded labs have white spots; a Purebred Lab with a white chest is a distinct possibility but can have white spots or as known “mismarkings”. Spots can also occur in other colors like tan, black, and in patterns like brindling or chimera.

A full-blooded lab is another term for a pure breed: a labrador bred from parents of the same breed.

A little white speck has no significance. White patches on the chest and/or toes are common in purebred labs. Unless you plan to exhibit your dog in conformation, it’s not a huge problem.

Many labs, even show-bred dogs, have white spots, and their pedigree is flawless. Colors and patterns are a result of your dog’s genetics and are decided by the “S” gene.

The S locus, which includes the white spotting genes, is where white spots and markings are most often observed.

Some areas of the body are unable to produce pigment due to the white spotting genes.

Why do black labradors have white on them? 

Black Labradors may have white markings as a result of the white spotting genes (S locus) that prevent some parts of the body from generating pigment, having bolospots or white flecks, or an indication of the aging of the labrador.

A Labrador’s color is determined by only two factors. The appearance of these two genes in the DNA, dubbed “B” and “E,” determines whether a Labrador has a Black, Chocolate, or Yellow coat.

White markings on black Labs are a consequence of your dog’s genetics, much like everything else about colors and patterns, and are determined by the “S” gene

To begin, your Lab’s black color is determined by the B locus, which contains two B genes in your puppy.

Your puppy will have a black coat if he or she gets one or both dominant B genes. Inheriting two recessive ‘b’ genes, on the other hand, will result in a chocolate coat!

White spots and marks are most commonly seen at the S locus, which contains the white spotting genes.

The white spotting genes prevent some parts of the body from generating pigment.

In black Labs, there are several different sorts of white markings. A white spot or patch (typically on their chest), a white mark on the base of the paw (a bolo spot), and white flecks are the three most common.

On a black Lab, white fur might also indicate that your dog is getting older.

There are no color-related health problems in black Labradors with white markings. However, they are susceptible to the same issues as any other Lab.

Before you go take a decision, check out whether purebred labs can have curly hair here, or check out how purebred lab tails should look like here.

Related Questions 

Why do black labs have big white chests?

This is due to an excess of white genes in its black fur, chest, cheeks, and feet, which inhibit pigmentation. The Lab’s ancestors have a lot of these marks. A black Lab with a white chest wasn’t uncommon while the breed was being standardized.

Why does my black lab puppy have white hair? 

Black puppies may have white hairs while they’re recovering from being ill or stressed as puppies. This condition of “salt and pepper coat” is quite rare, and they shed these markings out on their first shed as adults.

Why does my black lab puppy have grey hair? 

Your black lab puppy may have grey hairs as a result of going prematurely grey; this condition happens when Color-producing pigment cells (particularly, melanin) stop producing, causing the strands to emerge in a lighter hue, such as gray or white.

Why is my chocolate lab getting white hairs? 

Your chocolate lab is getting white hair due to the normal aging process; In chocolate Labradors, or any other breed, white hair from aging is perfectly natural and should not be considered a disadvantage. Your chocolate Lab’s face may become white with age, but it only indicates he’s getting older.

Helpful Resources 

Piebald/White Spotting (S Locus)

Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs By Lynn Buzhardt, DVM

Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton, Eve Adamson (which you can also check on Amazon here)

The Complete Labrador Handbook: The Essential Guide for New & Prospective Labrador Retriever Owners

Labrador Retriever AKC standards

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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