Do Labradoodle Puppies Change Color? A Complete Guide

When you go to visit the litter that you are to choose your Labradoodle from, color may be one of the things you focus on the most. However, is this a wise move? What if the puppy changes color as they grow? When they shed their puppy coat, how similar will their adult one be? Do you need to be prepared for a change to their initial look? In this article, we’ll explore this much asked question.

Many Labradoodles change color from puppyhood and some even later in life. When they shed their puppy fur and grow their adult coat it can quite often be darker or lighter in appearance. Genetics can also be a factor if your Labradoodle has the dilute gene.

First, let’s first take a look into the different colors Labradoodles come in and how each one might change over time. We’ll then look into the reasons for the change, so you’re armed with the information you need when going to visit those cute pups.

Labradoodle Colors: How Many are There?

Like their Goldendoodle cousin, the Labradoodle comes in a variety of colors. This is due to the many combinations that a Labrador and a Poodle can produce when bred together. There will be a Labradoodle color to suit every future owner as the options are plentiful. However, regardless of the color of your Labradoodle, they all make loyal and lovable companions.

The most popular colors are black, cream and gold. Golden is inclusive of apricot and caramel. Labradoodles of these colors will mostly have a black pigment to their nose with the exception of the cream color who may also have a reddish pigmented nose.

Most litters of Labradoodles will include a black coated puppy. The cream Labradoodle is darker than its white classified counterparts. They can come in many shades including some with hints of red (not to be mistaken for a true red Labradoodle which is rare). The golden Labradoodle is darker in shade than the cream. All three of these color classifications should have a consistent color across the whole of their coat.

Colors that are less common but not considered rare are chalk white, chocolate, blue/brown, parchment and parti. Parti describes a Labradoodle who is primarily (at least 50%) white with patches of any other color. Their nose pigment will be similar to their secondary color. Chalk white is slightly darker than a natural white with a rose or black pigmented nose. The blue / brown Labradoodle will appear to have a silver tone to their fur when caught in the light and a black pigmented nose. A blue / brown Labradoodle with blue eyes is considered rare.

Then you have the rarer colors or patterns of Labradoodle. The rarest color of all is red. They must have a black pigmented nose to be classified as a true red Labradoodle. Rarer patterns are abstract, where the coat is a mix of colors (white being less than 50%) and phantom. Phantom is a design of two colors, one base color and the classic phantom design in the secondary color. The secondary color will appear as markings on the eyebrows, under the chin, the sides of the muzzle and on the chest. Whilst a phantom Labradoodle is quite rare, the most common mix of colors is black and gold.

How will These Colors Change as my Labradoodle Grows?

We will delve into the genetics in a little more depth further along in the article but it’s worth noting at this point that genes from further back the lineage could also cause an unexpected change in coat color.

From around 6 months old, your Labradoodle puppy will start to shed their puppy coat and grow their adult one. Here is what can happen to all those different colors as this transition takes place:


True black Labradoodles should hold their color. However, there are a couple of factors that come into play which could impact this. One is genetics and the other is that a silver or blue Labradoodle is likely to be born black.

The silver coloring develops over the first couple of years and can vary significantly in tone from a darker colored charcoal to a lighter pewter shade.

The blue hue should be apparent from birth as their skin will be blue, but this will be subtle and the true-blue coat, like the silver, will develop over the first few years.

The black Labradoodle can also acquire splatterings of white hairs giving them a “salt and pepper” look.

Golden and Apricot

The apricot Labradoodle coat can both lighten and darken from how it appears at birth, but it should retain the apricot shade. The Labradoodle who is golden in color has a tendency to fade with age.

Cream and Chalk White

Whilst there are differing shades which all classify as cream, this coat color tends to stay the same as your Labradoodle grows. Chalk white Labradoodles typically also hold their color.

Chocolate and Parchment

Chocolate Labradoodles are sometimes so dark at birth they can be mistaken for black if you don’t look closely enough. Many do fade over time and to a variety of diverse shades.

Parchment is a chocolate Labradoodle. Usually a milkier chocolate color at birth, their coat will fade as they grow.

Some chocolate Labradoodles will even develop a lavender colored coat over their first few years. This smoky hue can often appear to be pink or lilac in its appearance.


Unfortunately, this rare and beautifully colored coat does have a tendency to fade over time to lighter shades.

Parti, Abstract and Phantom

As will the solid block color coats we have already discussed, the patterned fur on your Labradoodle can also change over time and as they grow. However, this should only relate to a change in shade as their markings, especially for a phantom, should be distinguishable at birth.

Stanley at 9 weeks old
Stanley (left) as an adult. You can see how his coat has lightened

Other Factors in Color Change

Some coats, especially if they are to be considered a true color, must be the same shade throughout. Red and true apricot are two examples of this. Quite often though, the root of the hair is lighter than the tip. This can result in a dramatic difference to how your Labradoodle’s coat looks after they have been clipped.

Labradoodles love nothing more than being outside. If you live in a sunny climate then sun bleaching is also a common factor in the lightening of the fur.

Do Genetics Play a Part? Introducing the Dilute Gene

Simply, yes, they can. Coat colors, like our hair color is determined by genetics. However, it’s not just the one gene that’s at play, there are several of them involved. Genes occur in pairs and are dominant or recessive.

Dogs (and we) inherit one gene from each parent and would need to inherit two recessive genes or one dominant gene in order for a trait to manifest.

The Dilute Gene, or Melanophilin (MPH) to give it its scientific name is recessive so a Labradoodle would have to inherit from both parents. This means that your dog has every possibility of having a coat that fades even though both its parents don’t.

Unless the breeder has had the parents genetically tested then there will be no guarantees that your puppy won’t carry or be affected by the dilute gene.

Grey Labradoodle

Related Questions

Do Labradoodles Eyes Change Color?

Your Labradoodle puppy will be born with their eyes closed and they won’t open them until they are about 2 weeks old. When they do, their eyes are most likely to be a foggy blue in color.

As your puppy grows their eyes will get darker based on the concentration of melanin in their eyes. This process will begin relatively early at around three weeks. The most common eye color for dogs is brown and by around 3 or 4 months their color will have fully transitioned.

Sometimes dogs have blue eyes and whilst you will then not see a full transformation, the pigment or brightness may change.

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