The grey Labradoodle coat color can come from the greying gene or the dilute gene. Gray Labradoodle puppies may also be sold as blue or silver Labradoodles.
Puppies with a greying gene will prematurely fade to gray over time – they won’t necessarily be this color from birth.
So, finding a grey Labradoodle puppy can be quite a challenge. Your best bet is to work with breeders that specialize in this shade.
What is a Grey Labradoodle?
A grey Labradoodle is simply a Labrador Poodle mix with a gray coat. The exact shade of gray can vary from one Doodle to the next.
Labradoodles of all colors come from two distinct lines: Australian and American.
The American Labradoodle mixes the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle. But, the Australian line also includes the Cocker Spaniel breed.
There are two ways that a Labradoodle can get a grey coat. They will either inherit a dilute gene from each parent to weaken the black color to grey.
Or, they will inherit the greying gene from their Poodle parent.
Sadly, there are some health conditions that can affect the grey Labradoodle, depending on what causes their coat color.
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from this uncommon shade.
Genetics Behind the Gray Labradoodle Color
Out of the parent dogs that combine to make the Labradoodle, the Poodle is the only dog with a standard, show-accepted grey coat color.
Some Labradors can have silver coats, thanks to the dilute gene, but it’s very uncommon. And highly controversial to many purebred advocates.
The two ways your Labradoodle can get a gray coat are:
- Inheriting the greying gene
- Inheriting two copies of the dilute gene
All dogs have two basic pigments: eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). When other genes interact with eumelanin, this basic black color can fade to grey.
The Greying Gene
The G (greying) gene is relatively rare in the world of canine coat color genetics. In fact, the Poodle is one of just 14 purebred dog breeds confirmed to carry it.
Labrador Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels don’t carry this gene. So, a Labradoodle with the graying gene will have inherited it from their Poodle parent.
Any Poodle – and any Labradoodle – can go grey over time. The dog in question doesn’t have to have a grey coat color to be impacted by the G gene.
But, dogs that go gray from age can look quite different to Doodles with the graying gene.
Labradoodles with the greying gene will often have a darker coat in puppyhood. But, as they grow it will fade to grey or silver.
This means finding a grey puppy is harder, because they may turn grey as they get older, rather than being this color from the offset.
The Dilute Gene
The other way a Labradoodle can get a grey coat is by inheriting the dilute gene from both parents. Two copies of this gene will turn a black coat to gray.
The dilute gene is a recessive gene. So, a Labradoodle puppy who inherits only one copy of the gene will be a carrier, they will not be grey.
A Labradoodle puppy will need to inherit a copy of the dilute gene from each parent dog in order to express it and grow up to have a grey coat.
Other Ways a Labradoodle Gets a Gray Coat
The greying gene and dilute genes are the two main ways for your Labradoodle to get a grey coat. But, other things can cause this coat color.
Three other factors that can potentially cause a grey coat in the Labradoodle breed are:
- And health
Just as people tend to get gray hair as they age, dogs can also go gray with age. This will usually start around their mouth and eyes.
The extent a dog will grey from age will vary. And, of course it won’t happen early in your dog’s life.
So, if you want a grey dog from puppyhood, look for one with the dilute gene.
Stress and anxiety can have a visible impact on your Labradoodle’s coat color.
The more naturally anxious and impulsive your Labradoodle is, the more likely it is you will see premature greying in your dog’s coat.
A number of canine health issues can influence coat color. One of the best known is thyroid dysfunction.
Kidney and liver damage can sometimes cause premature greying. Dietary deficiency and skin conditions may also cause your Labradoodle’s coat to go grey.
It’s also important to be aware of health issues that can come with a gray coat. Dogs with dilute gray coats can suffer from color dilution alopecia, giving them patches of dry skin, thin fur, and poor hair regrowth.
Finding Grey Labradoodle Puppies
Canine genetics is a very young field. What we have learned is still dwarfed by what we have yet to learn.
But researchers have developed some DNA tests that can identify whether a Labradoodle has inherited the dilute gene as a carrier (to pass along) or to express.
So, if your heart is set on a gray Labradoodle, search for a breeder who is knowledgeable about canine coat color genetics.
We can’t know in advance how each parent dog’s genes will influence individual puppies from a litter. But, breeders who specialize in this color will usually carry out genetic testing to identify each puppy’s coat color genome.
This gives you the best possible chance of selecting a Labradoodle puppy who will grow up to have a grey adult coat.
Choose a Reputable Breeder
Even though the gray Labradoodle has a beautiful coat, it’s important that you don’t sacrifice their health for their fur color.
When certain uncommon shades become popular, puppy mills and backyard breeders can jump on the trend to make a quick profit, marketing their puppies as ‘rare’ and ‘unique’.
These sellers are often much less concerned about selling healthy puppies. They won’t health test parent dogs, and will keep them only for breeding, rather than as a loved part of the family.
Puppies from these places can suffer from behavioral issues as well as health problems.
Choosing a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder should always be your top priority. This may mean that you have to wait a little longer for a grey Labradoodle, but the wait will be worth it in the long run.
Grey Labradoodle Rescue
Another way to find a grey Labradoodle is to look in rescue centers.
Labradoodles with the greying gene may not appear gray in puppyhood. But, dogs in rescue centers are usually a little older.
So, it’s unlikely their coat will change much more. If you find a gray Labradoodle up for adoption, it’s likely their coat will stay that shade for the rest of their life.
Rescue dogs are usually cheaper than puppies from reputable breeders. You can work with rescue centers near you to make sure the dog you’re bringing home will suit your lifestyle perfectly.
Do You Have a Grey Labradoodle?
The grey Labradoodle is an uncommon and beautiful coat color. Your canine veterinarian can help you make sure your dog’s coat stays vibrant and healthy throughout life.
Do you have one of these dogs at home, or are you currently searching for one?
References and Resources
- Gestes, T. ‘The 14 Different Australian Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Archview Labradoodles (2021)
- Buzhardt, L. ‘Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs’, VCA Hospitals (2021)
- Chappell, J. ‘Greying: G Series’, Dog Coat Colour Genetics (2020)
- Waitz, K. ‘Labradoodle Types’, Rainmaker Ranch Labradoodles (2021)
- Bellone, R. ‘Dilute (D Locus/Blue)’, UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (2021)
- King, C. (et al), ‘Anxiety and Impulsivity: Factors Associated with Premature Graying in Young Dogs’, Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science (2016)
- Philipp, U. (et al), ‘Polymorphisms within the Canine MLPH Gene are Associated with Dilute Coat Color in Dogs’, BMC Genetics (2005)