Blue Labradoodle dogs don’t actually have blue coats. The term “blue” is typically used to describe a slate gray coat color in the world of canine genetics.
But, this slate gray color can be hard to come across! Puppies must either inherit dilute genes from both parents, or a graying gene from the Poodle over a black coat.
Since some black Labradoodle puppies fade to blue as they grow up, it may be easier to find a blue adult Labradoodle.
Blue Labradoodle Quick Links
- What is a blue Labradoodle?
- How do blue Labradoodles get their coat color?
- Blue Labradoodle temperament
- Are blue Labradoodles healthy?
- Finding a blue Labradoodle puppy
What is a Blue Labradoodle?
A blue Labradoodle is a cross between a purebred Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle with a slate gray colored coat.
Aside from their fur color, they will be the same as any other Labradoodle. They are energetic, friendly dogs that are quite large when fully grown.
The blue Labradoodle coat color is not always mentioned in the official dog breed associations.
This is because blue Labradoodle puppies are often born with a black coat. So, blue doodles are usually lumped in with black ones.
The term “blue” is used purely to describe the range of shades within the black coat color spectrum.
How do Blue Labradoodles Get Their Coat Color?
A black Labradoodle puppy can grow up to be a blue Labradoodle adult in either of two ways: by inheriting a single copy of the dominant G progressive graying gene or by inheriting two copies of the recessive D (d) dilute gene.
All dogs get their coat colors from only two pigments: black and red.
The black pigment, which is called eumelanin, can show up in a wide variety of ways depending on what other genes are present in the puppy’s genome.
For example, a black Labradoodle puppy may grow up to look black, blue, gray, silver or brown (typically called liver or Isabella) in adulthood.
The other pigment, phaeomelanin, produces the red/yellow color spectrum. This pigment isn’t involved in the blue Labradoodle coat color.
Instead, blue happens when black coats lighten to blue over time, or when the black pigment is diluted to blue.
The Progressive Graying Gene
Unlike the classic black, chocolate and yellow Labrador coat colors, standard Poodles can grow up to have an amazing 11 different solid coat colors and 17 bi-color patterns.
One of those 11 different coat colors is blue. In the world of Poodle coat colors, blue can range from slate gray to silver-blue.
In most cases, a Poodle will only have a real blue coloration on the outermost portion of each hair, the hair tip. The inner portion of each hair – the part nearest to the Poodle’s skin – is usually a mix of several different colors that change continuously as the dog ages.
In most cases, it will take several years before a Poodle’s true adult coat color fully clears, or shows up, in its final color form.
This is part of the reason why many blue Poodles that have a very dark blue coat are often registered as black Poodles. It can take two years or more before a black Poodle coat clears to blue.
Black Fades to Blue
The G gene, also known as the graying or progressive graying gene, causes a Poodle’s coat color to fade continuously over time.
Not every Poodle has the G gene. But, the G gene is a dominant mutation, so only one parent dog needs to contribute the gene for a puppy to inherit it.
When a puppy inherits the G gene, the coat will begin to fade after the dog’s adult coat has grown in. The fading will continue throughout life.
In early adulthood, each hair in the coat is black. In middle age, the coat may begin transitioning, or lightening, to brown at the base but still remain black at the tip.
As the years pass, the base of the hairs will lighten to gray and the tip of the hairs will lighten to blue.
Inheriting the Dilute Gene
What if the Labradoodle puppy doesn’t inherit the G gene? Can that puppy still grow up to be blue? The answer is yes – if that puppy inherits the recessive D (d) gene from both parents.
The D stands for ‘dilute’.
Black Labradoodles with a dilute gene from both parents will have a coat that looks more like a steely gray, or a blue.
Because this gene is recessive, a Labradoodle puppy must inherit it from both parents. If it only receives one copy of the gene, its coat will be black.
Blue Labradoodle Temperament
Blue Labradoodles may look quite different to other Labradoodles, but they will have the same general temperament.
Some may be more like the Poodle or more like the Labrador parent. This will depend on what traits they inherit. So, make sure you’re happy with any result.
As a whole, a blue Labradoodle will be friendly, energetic, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. This breed is eager to please and loves spending lots of time with you.
Blue Labradoodle Health
In general, blue Labradoodles are just as healthy as any other color version of this breed. However, if your Labradoodle gets their coat from the dilute gene, they may be prone to additional health problems.
This includes color dilution alopecia. This is a hereditary issue that can lead to symptoms like:
- Hair loss
- Poor hair regrowth
- Dull coats
- Poor fur quality.
Labradoodles with dilute coats will have a blue coat from a young age, rather than fading from black to blue. So, you won’t need to be concerned about this if your doodle’s coat is blue from the fading gene.
Blue Labradoodle owners should learn about the other health issues that can affect this breed, too.
Finding a Blue Labradoodle Puppy
Achieving the blue Labradoodle coat can happen accidentally, but for most it’s a case of careful breeding for selected genes.
Breeders will often try to breed Poodles with coats that have faded to blue, or Labradors and Poodles with dilute genes.
The most important thing here is to ensure breeders don’t disregard hereditary health issues when searching for this rare shade. Only ever choose reputable breeders that will prioritise the long-term health of puppies.
As Labradoodles get more popular, the price of blue pups might increase, but it will depend on your location and the demand.
Never buy a blue Labradoodle puppy from a puppy mill or a pet store. Reputable breeders are your best bet for healthy dogs.
Do You Have A Blue Labradoodle?
If you’ve managed to find a blue Labradoodle, or are just searching for one, let us know your story in the comments!
Is this your favorite shade on this increasingly-popular breed?
References and Resources
- Armstrong, J. ‘Color Genes in the Poodle’, Dogenes (1999)
- Gardiner, J. ‘Coat Color Inheritance in the Labrador Retriever’, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (2019)
- Lewis, L. ‘Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Australian Labradoodle Association of America (2021)
- Coopshaw, K. ‘Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association (2020)
- Gestes, T. ‘The 14 Different Australian Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Archview Labradoodles (2021)
- Buzhardt, L. ‘Genetic Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs’, VCA Animal Hospital (2021)
- Hoon Kim, J. (et al), ‘Color-Dilution Alopecia in Dogs’, Journal of Veterinary Science (2005)