Those unusual mismarks

Labradors, all The Same

Important:  This article *only* refers to purebred Labrador Retrievers  (bred to the Standard, not designer colors that do not exist in the standard ).  So-Called Silver Labradors have many skin conditions and coloration problems.  If you bought a dog advertised as a "Rare" color, you get what you paid for -- rare problems and off colors that are not the same as the mismarks that have always been known to exist in the breed (which are addressed in this article).  ***Any other color or a combination of colors other than black, yellow or chocolate is a disqualifying fault in the Labrador Retriever.  Mismarks may not be shown***.

Here is the Standard for colors as written:

The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. Any other color or a combination of colors is a disqualification. A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable. White hairs from aging or scarring are not to be misinterpreted as brindling. Black-Blacks are all black. A black with brindle markings or a black with tan markings is a disqualification. Yellow-Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog. Chocolate-Chocolates can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate. Chocolate with brindle or tan markings is a disqualification. 

I've had telephone calls. "I saw a litter where the puppies looked like mixed breeds, they were black, with flecks or patches of brown on them or yellow with black spots. Mismarks have been well documented in the breed since the beginning.

Don't be so quick to determine that there was any other breed in the wood pile, although, the buyer MUST be aware that Lab puppies with odd marks absolutely might be mixed-bred puppies (this is where you must use your common sense, and gut feelings regarding the knowledge base of the breeder in question). The whole litter will not be mismarked in a Labrador litter. One or two in the odd litter maybe, but not an entire litter.

Mismarks occur naturally in Labradors. They're not mixed breeds at all. They're 100% Labrador. They're not "rare" they're not "bad", they're just mismarked puppies. They can't be shown, but they make as wonderful a pet as their non-mismarked littermates, and are usually sold for less than their littermates. They're everything that a Labrador is. Often, a Sire and a Dam will never produce a mismark again, even though they carry the genes to do so. It's typically a very unusual event, UNLESS, someone has found a specific line that produces it, and is deliberately producing them -- I have only found one case (and they're producing about three to six litters Per MONTH, and does not permit the buyer to see their facilities, but rather delivers them to a meeting location - can you spell PUPPY MILL?). Don't be fooled. There is nothing wrong with a mismarked puppy, but they are *mismarked*.

My intent is not to get into the genetics of mismarks. This is addressed in an article by Pamela A. Davol better than I could ever do it, and if you are interested in words like "nucleotides, gene locus, homozygous, eterozygous, and allele", that article is for you. If not, and you're just a potential puppy owner, and simply want to know that something is possible without going into the genetics of it all, this page is for you.

Sadly, after reading this article through the years, many owners of questionable litters have written to me, asking me to display their obviously mixed-bred puppies on this page as a demonstration of mismarked puppies. Do not allow the breeder of any questionable litter to send you to this page as "proof" that their puppies are purebred. Although respected breeders might send a buyer here to see that mismarks can, and do happen, they'll not send you here to prove to you that their puppies are not mixed. If you've done your homework, and the breeder in question is respected, responsible, and well-known, that's one thing. If the breeder is a back-yard breeder ("we just bred her once so the kids could see the miracle of birth"), you best assume that you are looking at mixed-bred puppies. If the neighbor dog could get over the fence (and bring a few of his buddies along -- there can be mulitple fathers in one litter), you must be careful. You have every right to ask your breeder to DNA the puppy before you purchase a black and tan or brindled puppy as a purebred. There may be one or two mismarks in a large litter, but if several of the puppies in a litter are "mismarked", the litter should be considered highly suspect.  BUYER BEWARE!!!   

If a litter is not registered, you would be wise to consider the puppies are not purebred. Again... Buyers of such puppies should be VERY careful that someone is not foisting mix-bred puppies on you, and using this article to prove anything!

The pictures on these links were sent to me by breeders..  At one time I had all of the photos on one page, but it became so image intense, I have linked to the different images, below:

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