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White spot on Labrador chest
by Jack Vanderwyk
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White spot on chocolate Labrador.
This is my foundation bitch Naomi.
She had 3 litters and 22 puppies all together. 
Only one of them, Harry Potter of Joe Batt's Arm, 
had a white spot on his chest.
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A small white spot, stripe or patch on the chest, like here in my boy Dublin Star of Joe Batt's Arm (left), is very common and does not lessen the quality of a Labrador, nor indicate it is not pure bred. A small white spot is NOT considered a mismark. (In most yellow Labradors the white spot is hardly visible, or not visible at all.) However, if white spots are very large, then this is not typical and could indicate the dog may be mixed with another breed. 
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Nell - A St. John's Dog circa 1856.
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St. John's Dog with white spot
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Labradors and Newfoundlands both trace their ancestry back to the now extinct breed known as a St. Johns Dog which usually had white markings on their feet, muzzle, and chests. Dogs with white markings are basically a genetic "throwback" to these ancestor's coloring. It often also means that they are closer to these ancestors. 
An example: two of my foundation bitches came from a farm. Their mothers were companion dogs, only used for breeding when a next generation was needed. These farmers had always done it that way. Because of this much larger time span than in "commercial" or active breeding, my two bitches were generations closer to their "sources" (Donalbain Suede and Wetherlam Nutcracker) than their compeers from active breeders. The white spot was bred out in one generation, while I was able to build on my chocolate bloodlines.
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This white spot is surely a mismark. 
Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is not a pure bred Labrador. 
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Labs with very large white markings may just be very poorly bred purebred labs produced by backyard breeders or puppymillers who's only reason for breeding a dog is that it has "papers." If the markings are large, it could also be that the dog is not purebred, as the St. John's Dog markings seem to be more likely to show up strongly in lab mixes.
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An example of the very common white seen on fox red Labradors. 
This can vary from a spot smaller that the ones pictured up to a blaze.
If you want a fox red Labrador, you must be willing to accept it.
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The chances of white spots, (chest etc.) are much greater within the fox red shade than normal. This is due to several reasons: 
White is very common within the yellow variation of the color. Because the white blends in with the normal yellow shade, it is not seen or noticed therefore ignored. With a red, because it is so dark, the white tends to stand out. In black Labradors, because the gene pool is so large, the tendency to throw white has been largely bred out. To throw white, it takes both parents so in either a black X black litter or black X yellow litter; white spots are not extremely common even though it does happen. In fox reds where the gene pool is so small, one can expect white spots in about half the puppies of the litter. 
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Sources: 
- Ashland Labradors 
- Little River Labs
- Wing-N-Wave Labradors
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Further reading:
THE GENETICS OF BRINDLE AND TAN POINT LABRADOR RETRIEVERS
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