Chocolate Lab – Your Guide To The Chocolate Labrador Retriever

The Chocolate Labrador is one of the world’s favorite dogs! today we will help you find healthy chocolate labrador puppies from good breeders. We’ll also look at how to care for your dog and raise it to be a well-behaved, happy family pet. and let him know what to expect in terms of his breed traits. focusing on intelligence, sociability, behavior, health, and life expectancy.

You’ll find out where Chocolate Labradors come from and we’ll give you some great tips on adopting or buying your own Chocolate Labrador Retriever. We’ll look at temperament and personality, and explore the myths and facts about chocolate lab puppies of different shades and colors. Let’s go on a journey of discovery, from finding a chocolate lab puppy to caring for an elderly brown lab! click the links here to jump down the page, or scroll to find out all about the chocolate lab:

Reading: Chocolate labrador dogs

  • where did chocolate labs originate?
  • chocolate lab coat color
  • english chocolate labs
  • American Chocolate Labs
  • Chocolate Lab Size
  • Typical Chocolate Lab Temperament
  • Are Chocolate Labs Stupid?
  • silver lab vs chocolate lab
  • chocolate lab rescue
  • find chocolate lab puppies
  • chocolate lab training
  • old chocolate labs

chocolate lab data

the chocolate labrador is a friendly, trusting and loving dog. and one that has wide appeal as a pet. but a recent study has cast doubt on whether this pretty color is as healthy as its yellow and black lab cousins. While it’s true that this study suggested that chocolate labs might have a shorter shelf life and be more prone to health problems, the situation isn’t as clear-cut as you might imagine. And there’s a lot more to the chocolate lab than just skin deep.

Throughout the history of the breed, one or two Chocolate Labradors (sometimes referred to as Liver Labradors) have occasionally appeared in litters of puppies. Way back in the last century, puppies with this then undesirable color were sometimes even simply euthanized at birth. Black Labradors were adored, and black was the only color considered respectable for a Labrador. But thankfully these days those attitudes are definitely behind us, and the chocolate lab has gone from strength to strength.

meet rachael, my beautiful brown lab

all labradors are beautiful, of course, but brown labs will always hold a special place in my heart. in fact, I am unashamedly biased! You see, I’m lucky to share my life with Rachael. a three-year-old female chocolate retriever from a mix of American and English lab lines.

Rachael is my beautiful brown lab puppy

this is rachael as a puppy. This page is a celebration of what is for me, one of the most beautiful dogs in the world. rachael has been a huge source of inspiration for this website so this is a little tribute to her and a thank you for all she has taught me. we’ll hear more about rachael later. but first of all, let’s take a little trip back in time.

where do chocolate labs come from?

Labrador Retrievers were recognized by the UK Kennel Club in 1903 and by the AKC in 1917. But they had been around for a few years before that. The Labrador retriever was developed primarily by a couple of English aristocrats in the 19th century, from dogs they had imported from North America.

Although our first Labrador Retrievers were predominantly black, some of these original dogs carried the genetic information required to produce chocolate puppies. as well as some also carried the information required to produce yellow pups. Unfortunately, a hundred years or more ago, it was common to “eliminate” puppies that were not of a desirable color.

Black was the “in” color for Labs, so this meant that primarily black dogs survived to adulthood and primarily black dogs were bred. If primarily black dogs were bred, you may be wondering how a brown puppy was born. To understand that, we need to take a look at the genes that code for coat color in the Labrador retriever.

How is the chocolate color inherited in Labradors?

The instructions that tell your dog what it should look like and what color it should be are packaged in the genes. and genes come in pairs. this is true for the gene that determines whether or not the Labrador will be brown (this gene is called b) or black (b). each Labrador has two genes for a black coat (bb) or two genes for a brown coat (bb) or one of each (bb).

Black color in Labradors is dominant. That means if a Labrador has one gene for brown and one gene for black, the dog will be black. this is because the black gene in him turns off the brown. the brown gene is just hiding inside him doing nothing in particular, while the black gene takes control of his fur.

Labrador Chocolate Color - These chocolate labs are having great fun on the beach

what about chocolate labs?

The poor old brown gene only gets to be in charge if it’s combined with another brown gene, like this one, >(bb). so for a chocolate labrador puppy to be born, he needs to have those two chocolate genes, one is not enough. however, a black Labrador can sneakily carry a brown (bb) gene and pass it on to his offspring. this is how the color brown can remain hidden generation after generation of black labradors.

chocolate lab coat changing color

It is possible that as your chocolate labrador grows, his color may not be the same. Shedding Chocolate Labs may appear paler as the undercoat shows more when deep in the shed. in old age, their fur may also fade, especially around the face. this is not caused by anything genetic or concerning, and is totally normal.

why didn’t chocolate labradors love each other?

So, if there have always been brown genes in our Labrador population, there have always been occasional brown puppies. all that was required to produce some chocolate labrador retriever puppies was for someone to mate a black and brown (bb) dog with another black and brown dog. And voila, some of this litter of puppies are brown!

And of course, in the days before DNA testing, there was no way to know for sure if a black dog was pregnant with a brown one, until she had had a few brown puppies. by then it was too late!

These brown labrador puppies were not bred and no doubt some were quietly “disposed of” without a second thought. we really don’t know why the chocolate dogs were so disgusting. seems strange to us now, in a world where chocolate is such a popular color in dogs. but in the early 1900s only black would do.

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when did chocolate labs become popular?

In the 1920s and 1930s, some brown or liver Labs, as they were then called, would show up at the shooting range. but for a few more years the brown was not widely accepted by Labrador enthusiasts. It wasn’t until the 1960s that brown Labradors began to gain popularity. the demand for these beautiful dogs came from common owners and they preferred the word “chocolate” to describe their new companions.

Adorable chocolate lab out in the sunshine

Chocolate Labs are loving dogs, full of warmth and enthusiasm

That preference continues today, and we still often name our brown Labs after favorite snack bars and chocolate flavored drinks! You can however still register chocolate Labradors as ‘liver’ in color.

English chocolate lab

English Labs are those that were bred for shows. The first English Champion Chocolate Labrador Retriever was Cookridge Tango in 1964. The 1960s were a turning point in the popularity of the Chocolate Labrador, but interest grew slowly at first.

Gradually, the public began to demand more Chocolate Labrador puppies, and gradually, breeders began to produce them. Over the next several decades, Chocolate Labs became increasingly popular both in the show ring and as pets. in the shooting community, where Labradors were expected to do a good job, the preference for black continued. This continued in the late 1900s and to this day, particularly in the UK.

american chocolate lab

American Chocolate Labradors were bred to work and are also known as field Labradors. the chocolate lab is now more established in the work community, but they are harder to find. Rumor has it that this is because brown Labs are a bit stupid. but it’s true? or is the statement that “chocolate labs are stupid” a libelous lie. You may also have noticed that Chocolate Labs are rarely seen as guide dogs. Let’s take a closer look at some of those Labrador traits and find out where they come from.

This brown Labrador loves fetching his bumperChocolate Lab Characteristics

just like you and me, every dog ​​is a product of its environment. as well as the genes he is born with. We have seen that many Chocolate Labradors come from show Labrador lines, and these bloodlines tend to have certain characteristics in common. characteristics that are passed from parents to puppies.

how big are the chocolate labs?

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the size of the chocolate lab varies quite a bit. show (English) Labradors are often more heavily built and somewhat slower and physically less agile than their field-bred counterparts. Some English Brown Labradors can weigh 80 or 90 pounds without getting fat or overweight. while American Chocolate Labs tend to be lighter.

my rachael, for example, weighs less than 60 pounds. most males of your build will weigh five or ten pounds more. English Chocolate Labs are also more likely to have a thick Labrador head and thick Otter tail. and although some feel that the thickness of the skull has been pushed too far in the show lines, there is no denying the beauty of a classic Labrador’s head.

A Brown Labrador is more likely to come from these bloodline types and therefore is more likely to share these general characteristics. but there is more it is not only the shape of the body that is inherited.

Chocolate lab with her teddy bear. Chocolate Labradors often love to carry soft toys around

chocolate lab temperament

American Labradors may have a more intense retrieval drive or drive to chase and retrieve things than their show-bred cousins. they also tend to be not only physically faster and more athletic in build, but also more “responsive” and receptive to training.

US labs are eager to please

Field-bred Labs tend to be quite dependent on their trainer’s approval. in short, they are desperate to please. For many generations, this docile quality has been incorporated into our work laboratories along with their retrieval and hunting prowess. this has given the working dogs quite a different temperament than our show stock.

chocolate lab intelligence

In show dogs, you may notice a more robust temperament. An English Chocolate Labrador is usually less concerned with the little ups and downs of life. it’s all a bit funny. nothing is taken too seriously. Many English Chocolate Lab owners report that their dogs are especially playful. And I have certainly found that to be the case with Rachael. He loves stuffed toys and spends hours playing with his flat squirrel!

The more serious nature of the American Chocolate Labrador does not necessarily mean that farm-raised Labradors are more intelligent. however, they can be less distractible, more focused, and therefore easier to train. this can certainly give the impression of a dog that is quite intelligent. these dogs are also more likely to be black.

Two old chocolate labrador retrievers

american vs english chocolate lab

The important thing to remember is that these “trainability” differences, if you want to call them that, are minimal. English Labradors are still highly intelligent and highly trainable dogs. the differences between the field and the show can give you the edge in the competition. however, they will not make any difference to your basic obedience training or your pet’s behavior.

They are also becoming increasingly irrelevant as we switch to more modern training methods that are much better at motivating dogs to participate in the training process. Now let’s find out why working retrievers aren’t usually brown.

any color as long as it’s black!

We mentioned earlier that the color black has long been a favorite of the working retriever community. Experienced hunting dog enthusiasts are less likely to purchase a pup from non-working lines, and when they do, they are more likely to choose a black dog. Unsurprisingly, this means that most of the labs’ lines of work are predominantly black.

Black is also a great color for a hunting partner. a yellow dog really stands out in the field, even in low light, so even when yellow dogs became more common, they weren’t as popular with hunters. brown dogs are better camouflaged, but became more numerous much later and were first accepted by the pet and show communities.

are chocolate labs stupid?

As far as I know, no study has ever been done on the different intellectual abilities of the Labrador retriever of different colors. everything you hear is based on personal anecdotes, often passed on in jest. at least to start! I’ve found that my own mixed-line female Chocolate Labrador is much more “playful” and interested in other dogs than my general bred Labradors.

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He has a very intense recovery boost, but is naturally less keen to share the result with anyone. she is also easily distracted which is why it has taken me a little longer to train than my line of work labs. I have heard others report the same observations. but it is very unlikely that there is a clear difference in intelligence between dogs of the same breed that happen to be a different color.

being chocolate doesn’t make a dog stupid

Even if there was a difference in learning ability between dogs of different colors, it doesn’t mean that one caused the other. the answer lies in the behavior and temperament of dogs of different bloodlines.

types of chocolate laboratories

The difference in trainability is, in short, a feature of the difference between the field-bred dog and the show-bred dog. it is not a characteristic of the color of the dog. It is a coincidence that many chocolate Labradors are of the English type and many black Labradors are of the American type. Due to this coincidence, the characteristics of the show-bred Labrador tend to be attributed to our brown friends. while the characteristics of the field-bred lab tend to be attributed to our black dogs.

so you can see how the myth began. The fact is that chocolate Labradors from working lines are just as easy to train as black Labradors from working lines. but you’re less likely to come across a chocolate lab from the lines of work right now. but rest assured that your chocolate friend is not stupid. With modern training methods, you can easily teach him to be a well-behaved, obedient dog.

labrador chocolate shades

Unlike our yellow Labs, which come in a wide range of shades, the chocolate color is fairly uniform when they are puppies. most chocolate labs are quite similar in color. however, the color of your adult boy’s or girl’s chocolate labrador retriever’s coat will vary depending on whether the coat is new after a molt or about to shed. As the old hair dies, it begins to lose some of its color, and the dead hair is much paler than the shiny new layer that will soon appear.

and while some chocolate labs are darker than others, even when molting stage is taken into account, the variations between individuals are quite small, with one highly contentious exception. the silver labrador.

An adorable pile of chocolate Lab puppies - great article for anyone dreaming of a brown puppy

silver labradors are chocolate labradors

Silver Labradors have a gene that dilutes the chocolate color and turns it into a pale silver hue. some people find this very attractive, while others consider it an abomination. there is no doubt that a hundred years ago there was no coat thinning gene in our Labrador Retrievers. we know for sure that this gene has appeared recently. what we don’t know for sure is how it got there.

The strongest theory is that the gene came about through crossbreeding a Labrador retriever with a dog that carries the diluted coat color gene. a breed like the weimaraner for example. the other explanation is that the gene that caused the silver coating was some kind of ‘accident’ or genetic mutation. this seems rather less likely. kennel clubs are currently willing to register silver Labradors, despite the dispute over their ancestry, but they can only be registered as ‘chocolate’. not like silver itself.

a bright future for the chocolate lab

Throughout history, there have been several famous black Labradors, and we tend to associate Yellow Labradors with the important role of working as assistance dogs. Bill Clinton’s Chocolate Labrador friend was famous simply for being the President’s dog, but it’s harder to find examples of Chocolate Labradors who have distinguished themselves.

This is not because chocolate Labradors lack the qualities or abilities of black and yellow dogs, but simply because the popularity of the color is a relatively recent phenomenon. As we speak, there are plenty of chocolate labs serving in the military, working as service dogs and on the shooting range. his story is just beginning, and as time goes on, we’ll hear more of his exploits.

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Maybe you have a story to tell about your own chocolate friend, or maybe you are starting your journey to find a chocolate lab to share your life with. if that’s the case, read on. we have some tips for looking in the right places.

chocolate retriever surfing

how to find a chocolate lab

There are two main ways of bringing a chocolate Labrador retriever into your life. And many people will tell you that the very best way, is to rescue a dog from a shelter or dog’s home. The other way, is to buy a chocolate Lab puppy and raise him yourself. I can’t tell you which is right for your own family, though I will say that it is not as clear cut an issue as some will tell you. If you want to go the puppy route, then you’ll find my book Choosing The Perfect Puppy a helpful guide. There are pros and cons to both rescuing an older dog and raising your own puppy, I go into these in some detail in The Labrador Handbook. It may well depend on what stage of life your family is at and on how experienced you are with dogs in general, and with Labradors in particular. You can buy both books from Amazon by following links above. If you do, The Labrador Site will receive a small commission which is greatly appreciated and won’t affect the cost to you! If rescuing appeals to you, and you are ready for the challenges and the many benefits of giving a dog a new lease of life, there are plenty of rescue societies that specialise in Labradors.

rescuing a chocolate lab

The first step is to contact your local Labrador rescue. most rescues do not relocate dogs outside of their own “catchment area.” rescuing can be a wonderful and fulfilling way to bring a beautiful brown retriever into your life, so consider it carefully. Much more information can be found here: Is a Rescue Labrador Right for You and Here Is the Right Dog for You: Puppy or Rescue?

if now is not the right time to rescue an older dog. Or if you’re buying a Labrador for a special purpose, as a hunting companion, for example, you might be better off with a new pup. let’s see how it works

buy a chocolate labrador puppy

Chocolate Labrador puppies are ready to go to their permanent homes at around eight weeks of age. If someone wants to sell you a puppy much younger than that, alarm bells should go off. You also need to make sure you buy your puppy from the right place.

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This means choosing the right breeder. and avoid puppy mills and pet stores. If you want a pup for hunting, you should go to a breeder who specializes in free range dogs. If you want to get involved in the show world, you should go to a breeder who breeds Labradors for shows. It is possible to train a show dog for work, although it is unlikely to go far in high-level field competition. It is not normally possible to succeed in the show ring with a country-bred dog. keep this in mind.

chocolate lab facts about your beautiful brown puppy

chocolate labrador puppy health

Labrador retrievers of all colors suffer from inherited disorders. Please make sure your puppy is from health tested parents; it can all end in tears if you skip this important step. His parents must have good hip scores, good elbow scores, clear eye tests, and also be clear pra. If your puppy’s parents are in good health, you increase your chances of having a healthy puppy. but does choosing a chocolate labrador puppy get you off on the wrong foot in terms of health from the start?

Are chocolate labs unhealthy?

In 2018, a study made headlines and caused panic among many chocolate lab owners. their research suggested that there is a link between laboratory color and not only health, but also lifespan. More than 33,000 laboratories were studied, of which 23.8% were chocolate. giving a good sample size.

Chocolate labs in the study were more likely to have dermatitis, consistent with some colloquial findings from silver lab owners with skin problems. Ear problems are also more common, and this is something that Rachael has even suffered from in the past. gastrointestinal problems were also more common with chocolate labs.

Chocolate Labs live on average only 10.7 years, while Yellow and Black Labs live 12.1 years. At least according to this study. Interestingly, they were less likely to have degenerative joint disease or dental problems.

avoid health problems in chocolate laboratories

Health testing is important to any puppy buyer. it reduces the chances of your puppy getting sick. but it is also important to look at the inbreeding coefficient. Chocolate Labs get their color from a recessive gene. This means that in order to ensure you have a litter of chocolate puppies, you need to breed two chocolate parents. this limits your options more than the average breeder who is not interested in the color of their puppies. reducing gene pools will always increase health problems.

Finding a puppy with a very low inbreeding coefficient will help you avoid some of these problems. in addition to health tests, of course. It would also be wise to avoid a Chocolate Labrador puppy with a parent with a history of ear or skin problems.

You can learn more about Labrador health issues in this article: Labrador Disease Screening. and there is a lot of information on how to find a good breeder here: Labrador Breeders – How To Find A Good One

train and exercise your chocolate labrador

My advice for training and exercising your Chocolate Labrador is to find out what kind of lines your dog is from and adjust your expectations accordingly. then follow a good positive reinforcement training program. be sure to exercise your mind as well as his body. even if you never intend to take it hunting, you still need a job to do, retrieve to complete, find toys, cross streams, etc.

training him is not only necessary, it will be a lot of fun. if your dog is from the show lines, he also needs training and a lot of exercise, but he may also need a lot of play. toys and games, and other dogs to interact with.

training my chocolate lab

even at age seven, rachael still loves to play with other dogs and people. she is very enthusiastic about meeting people (and dogs) and is prone to being too friendly. While we don’t want an aggressive or unfriendly working dog, this added friendliness makes the Chocolate Labrador more prone to being distracted by humans and other dogs.

hence, I have had to spend a little more time “trying out” basic obedience than with one of my yellow or black American Labradors. and I have to make a special effort to ensure that she is not allowed to interact with visitors until she is sitting quietly. On the plus side, I’ve had to spend less time socializing Rachael than with a field-bred Lab. while she takes it all in stride.

too nice!

Pay particular attention to testing your English Chocolate Labrador’s obedience in the presence of people and other dogs. She may find that she is intensely friendly and quite absent-minded, so this aspect of her upbringing is important.

Above all, treat your Chocolate Labrador as an individual. he is much more than just a product of his upbringing and environment. he is a unique character, there will never be another like him

taking care of an old chocolate labrador

As the years go by, we leave behind a set of challenges and they are replaced by new ones. vision problems, joint stiffness, and decreased hearing. however, these older years can still be happy and fun-filled for many dogs, especially if you keep your dog lean.

If your chocolate friend is quite heavily built like many chocolates, you should be very careful to watch his weight as he ages. more body weight means more stress and strain on the joints, this can aggravate problems like arthritis in older dogs. Personally, I think older chocolate labs are particularly beautiful, with their graying snouts and kind eyes. Of course, you’ll want to make your old friend as comfortable as possible.

what’s so special about the chocolate lab?

I have been writing about Labradors for many years and I have no doubt that they are all wonderful dogs. but the labrador chocolate is special. It’s hard to explain why to those who don’t share their lives with one of these beautiful dogs, but if you do have one, you’ll know exactly what I mean!

I’d love to hear about your very own chocolate lab, so leave your story in the comments box below. tell us what’s so special about your chocolate lab and why you think chocolate labs are the best.

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learn more about chocolate labrador retrievers!

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