I often get comment that there is such a thing as a “white golden retriever.”
I hate to explain this again, but sometimes, it’s worth repeating.
All golden retrievers are recessive e/e (yellow to red) for their coat color. All of them. No one has found a dog that carries the white masking gene, which is found in bull terriers and boxers. No one.
Even these dogs that appear to be white are not white in terms of genetics.
And there is an easy way to test this: get the dog wet. Usually, one of these dogs gets wet, it will have a yellow tinge to its coat.
These people who are selling “rare white goldens” are con artists or ignorant of the actual genes involved. There is no such breed as a “British white retriever.” It is actually the European show-line golden that is very pale in color.
Again, my next question is why do you want a dog like this?
Is it because of the novelty of color?
Is it because the breeders tell you the dogs are calm and mellow?
Is it because Oprah has a couple?
It might surprise you to know how recently this color variety developed. I’ve looked at paintings and photographs of hundreds of early goldens. None of them are of this color. None. The much peddled myth that the first Guisachan dogs were of this color doesn’t hold much weight when there are actually paintings of the first litter. They were light gold, not cream. And the 1st Baron Tweedmouth bred in setters to darken the color.
I can explain this 100 or 200 or 50,000 times, and I still have explain the genetics of the color. Also, because there is recessive nature to the light color gene, if you breed for light color, you cannot breed dark colored dogs from light colored parents. That’s why in Europe, dark colors very quickly got bred out of the lines.
Again, I’ll it ONE more time (although I’m kidding myself, I’ll say it again) there is no such thing as a white golden retriever. All we are doing in breeding for the light color in some golden retriever and the mahogany in Irish setters is messing around with the intensity of the yellow to red color. It’s the same color genetically, e/e.
Interesting, “white” German shepherds don’t exist either for the same reason. And West Highland white terriers are of the same color. It’s a very diluted e/e coloration. (Although in these breeds, it’s impossible to see the yellow color.) Check out this study on the cream color. And check out this page on “white” color.
Interestingly, all the supposed white e/e’s have close relatives that come in the more traditonal yellow or red colors for the gene. Westies are close relatives of the Cairn terrier, which does come in a goldish yellow color. American “Eskimo” dogs (American version of the white German spitz) and Samoyeds also come from dogs that can come in the reddish or yellow color. (See the coloration of some reindeer herding spitzes or the typical coloration of a Pomeranian. Some Samoyeds are creamy colored–“biscuits.”) I knew a gold-colored purebred German shepherd. These white dogs are actually very diluted yellows.
But they are not white in the same way that bull terriers or white boxers are white.