How do I check if a Labrador is purebred?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Purebred Labrador has always been my dream pet. So, when I moved out for college, I did some research and found the perfect match for me.

You may be wondering, ‘how do I check if a Labrador is purebred?’. It seems like a daunting task, only which an expert could help with but, it is quite easy. To check if a Labrador is purebred, you need to get its DNA test, pedigree papers, and visual assessment.

Let’s take a detailed look into the essentials of a purebred Labrador!

Visual Assessment for a Purebred Labrador.

Visual assessment is one of the most common ways to check if a Labrador is purebred or not. It requires you to compare the appearance of the dog with the typical breed standard. According to reports by experts, some of the standard appearances of a Labrador requires it to be the following:

  • Medium in size
  • Strong and Athletic built
  • Dense and Short double coat
  • Broad back skull
  • otter-like tail
  • Kind and Friendly eyes
  • Height: 22 1/2  to 24 1/2 inches for a male, and 21 1/2 to 23 1/2 inches for a female
  • Weight: 65 to 80 pounds for a male, and 55 to 70 pounds for a female
  • Clean cut head
  • Slightly pronounced brow
  • Lips fall in a curve towards the throat
  • Medium-sized muzzle
  • Nose: Brown on chocolate-colored Labs, and black on yellow, and black colored dogs

Problems with the Visual Assessment technique:

Visual assessment is a convenient way to see if your Labrador is purebred or a muggleborn, but there are two major problems with this technique.

A. Purebred Labradors do not always look like it

B. Crossbred Labradors look like purebreds

Crossbreeding is a complicated practice. You never know how the product is going to come out. Take the Kardashian kids, for example, from where do they look like their mothers? No one could have guessed that they had White/ Armenian moms. Similar to us, human beings sometimes crossbred dogs look more like purebred and vice versa.

The current standards of a purebred Labrador are very clear on what a purebred Lab is supposed to look like; however, that is not always the case. Sometimes, purebred Labradors can be mismarked. A ‘mismark’ can be defined as a mark that is forbidden by the typical breed standards. A white patch on the chest is one of the most common mismarks in purebred Labradors. Moreover, a Lab could rock tan patches like a rottweiler, and still be a purebred. These mismarks are mere genetic accidents.

How do I check if a Labrador is purebred? (Video)


Pedigree papers for your purebred Labrador.

pedigree paper shows the family tree of your dog. It shows the bloodline of your dog and goes back to at least four or more generations along with their registered names and titles (if any). The titles are the honors that a dog has won during their lifetime. The pedigree paper will show you both the parents of your dog, which will confirm if your Labrador is purebred or not.

If you do not receive the pedigree papers, then you must take the registration document from the breeder. Then with the help of that document, you can request the pedigree papers from the KC after you get the ownership transferred to you from the breeder. If you have got your hands on the correct pedigree papers, then the chances are that you have a purebred. There is always a chance of fault since there are dishonest people in every field of life. Sometimes, breeders add false information to sell the dog at a higher price.

DNA Identification.

DNA identification tests are available for Labradors now. Various laboratories can help you with it. Moreover, you can also buy a Labrador DNA test kit from to check if your dog is a purebred or not.

Indications of a Purebred Labrador.

Here are some of the indications that separate a pureblood from a muggleborn.

  • Coat: A purebred Labrador has a dense coat that provides its ground cover, and protects it from water and harsh weather conditions. Under the straight and short top layer, there is a soft undercoat which prevents moisture with the help of its natural body oils. If the dog has a woolly, or sparse, or silky and soft coat, then it is rejected from being a purebred.
  • Colors: Purebred Labradors are only found in three colors, such as black, chocolate, and yellow. A dog is rejected from being a purebred Labrador if it consists of any other colors or combination of colors. Yellow Labradors range from a slight red to a light cream shade. Chocolate also ranges from light to dark, and black is mostly deep and shiny.
  • Hunter Instinct: A purebred Labrador has a natural instinct to run and retrieve. They can swim in lakes, fetch, and locate their target with ease.
  • Physical Standards: If the Labrador fails to comply with the physical standards as mentioned earlier in this article, then they are excluded from the purebred club. Mismarks are acceptable but, to be classified as a purebred Labrador, the dog has to fulfill the height, weight, and general structure of the breed standards.

The Controversy of Dilute Labradors.

Dilute Labradors can be purebred as well but, they are rejected because their coat is not black, yellow, or chocolate. Dilute Labradors are found in silver, champagne, and charcoal colors. The color of the coat is determined by the gene of the parent that the dog has inherited.

Just like us human beings, the Lab receives two genes, one from each parent. These genes are either dominant or recessive. Moreover, if the dog inherits two recessive genes, then chances are that the color of its coat is going to come out a bit off even if it is a purebred. Black will come out as a charcoal or a bit dusty, yellow comes out like champagne, and chocolate can come out as a taupe or silver. 

Summarizing the Discussion.

To sum it all up, you can’t check if a Labrador is purebred or not based on visual assessment only as there are chances of it being mismarked. In addition to this, you will also need a DNA identification test, and pedigree papers to check their lineage. If you can’t get your hands on the pedigree papers, then at least make sure that you receive the registration documents.

Additionally, before you purchase the Labrador, ensure that you receive all the correct paperwork. Accept no excuses. There is a high chance that if you have all the necessary documents, then you can accurately ascertain if a Labrador is purebred or not. Moreover, if you are purchasing the dog from a breeder, then you can meet the parents of the pup and see for yourself if they are purebred Labradors.

In another case, if you have already welcomed the Labrador into your life, then you can always go for DNA identification, or use the registration documents to get your hands on the pedigree papers.

Other Related Questions!

Here are some FAQs regarding this topic.

  1. Where do I find a purebred Labrador? You can check in with animal shelters or check for breeders online.
  2. Should I settle for a mismarked purebred Labrador? A purebred is a purebred no matter what. However, if you want a traditional Labrador even in looks, then you should avoid getting a mismarked Lab and let someone else have it who can accept those genetic accidents. Be true to yourself. 
  3. Do purebred chocolate Labradors die young? The life expectancy of chocolate purebred Labrador is less as compared to the black or yellow ones. This issue is because they are more prone to catching illnesses. A chocolate purebred Labrador is a result of two purebred chocolate Labs, which causes the narrowing down of the genetic pool. According to research by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), a narrow gene pool increases the risk of genetic diseases like ear infections, extremely painful hot spots, etc. which leads to eventual death.
  4. What is the average life expectancy of a purebred Labrador? The average lifespan of an average purebred Labrador is 12 years and 1 month. However, chocolate purebred Labradors tend to die 1.3 years (1 year and 3 months) earlier.
  5. Are purebred Labradors Hypo-Allergenic? No, Labradors are a great breed for people who suffer from allergies.
  6. Do purebred Labradors need a lot of grooming? In general, purebred Labradors do not require a lot of grooming. However, during their shedding season, you must keep brushing their coat to avoid dog fur everywhere. Their shedding season is during spring and fall, so I would recommend that you brush them regularly for a week during these seasons.

To conclude, I would suggest that if you already have the Labrador, then stop worrying about the breed, unless you merely got it for dog shows. Then, it being a mismatch would result in disqualification. Otherwise, love that animal. Why does it even matter if it has been crossbred or not? The pup will give you unconditional love without being a racist. Love. That’s what matters in the end.


Leave a Comment