Labrador Retrievers are undoubtedly the most identifiable dogs in the country, and they are consistently rated the most popular breed in the United States. Their playful and upbeat dispositions, mixed with their kindness and eagerness to please their owners, make them the ideal family companion. The three different colors of Labrador are commonly linked with certain roles.
The yellow Labrador has become associated with Guide Dogs for the Blind, the black Labrador with gundog work and the chocolate Labrador with pet homes and the show ring. Unfortunately, Labrador do not have any specific patterns, the breed only comes in solid colors.
The American Kennel Club recognizes three colors:
Black Labs have a sleek, lustrous coat that is dark, pure black. They are commonly used for hunting, but they also make excellent non-working pets. Black Labs are the most prevalent of all Labrador color varieties, according to statistics. This is related to the way this breed’s coat color is inherited.
Without delving too further into the science, there are nine potential potential gene pairings for coat color. Four of these gene colors will take you to a black coat, three to a yellow coat, and just two to a chocolate coat. Due to chance, Black Labs make up approximately half of all Labradors.
Yellow Labs can have a wide variety of color, and the two additional Lab colors we’ll talk about later are essentially just the extremes of the Yellow Lab color scale. Yellow Labs typically have a light brown or tan coat that sometimes appear yellowish.
The Chocolate Lab, the rarest of the three Labrador colors, is lovely and endearing with a deep brown, chocolate-colored coat. The shade or intensity of the chocolate coloring can vary significantly, and even Chocolate Labs from the same litter can range from a light brown to what would be best described as a blend of a Chocolate Lab’s coat and a Black Lab’s coat.
Most people are familiar with the three primary colors, but if you want a little rare and originality in your dog’s coat color, there’s a Lab for you:
4. Fox Red
Red Fox Labs have a deep red coat similar to that of a fox. These dogs do not have a separate genetic colors, but rather are at the far end of the Yellow Lab’s color spectrum. Simply described, they have the genetics of a Yellow Lab but have a deeper, reddish coat.
Because their genes are identical to those of their yellow brother, they have no additional health difficulties, and their lifespans and health difficulties are no different from those of a Yellow or Black Lab. Red Labs are less prevalent than Yellow Labs simply because a light brown or yellowish coat is more common than a deeper red coloring.
White Labradors are genetically similar to Yellow Labradors, just as Red Labradors are, but their coat is at the lighter end of the Yellow Lab color spectrum. White Labs typically have very pale brown fur that appears totally white in the daylight. Around the ears and paws, their fur usually has light brown or yellowish tinges.
Unless their white coloration is due to albinism, white Labs have no additional health risks. Albino labs are also known as White Labs, although they have a genetic abnormality that restricts the creation of pigment in their coat. Additional health complications associated with Albino Labs include deafness, blindness, and other eye difficulties.
Silver Labs are beautiful, regal, and stylish. Their light grey coat gleams in the sunlight, and their appearance is as striking as it is endearing. These puppies are comparable to Red Labs in that they share genetics with one of the three major Lab hues. Silver Labs are actually Chocolate Labs, even though they appear to be Blue Labs since their coat is faint or diluted.
Silver Labradors, like their chocolate brothers, inherit some additional health concerns and tend to live shorter lifetimes than Black and Yellow Labradors. They are also predisposed to “color dilution alopecia,” a hereditary condition that can result in uneven fur and skin problems.
Some people have begun to refer to yellow Labradors as fawn Labradors in recent years. If the color of your Lab puppy is slightly darker than the conventional yellow, but not as orange as a Fox Red Labrador, he may be referred to as a Fawn Labrador. However, this is not an official Labrador color, nor is it one that Labrador breeders refer to in the same way that Fox Red is now.
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