There are different kinds of recognized coat colors among Labradors—namely, Black, Yellow, and Chocolate. The chocolate-colored Labrador is primarily known for being somewhat different from the other two, so we’re sharing 10 fun chocolate Lab facts that every Labrador owner must know.
Let’s get into it!
Chocolate Lab Fact #1: They used to be called Liver Labs.
Before they were called the endearing chocolate Labs, they were referred to as Liver Labs up until the middle of the 20th century. The name is much less appealing than the modern counterpart, so it makes sense that they switched it up. However, regardless of the name, both of these references talk about the coat color very accurately, as a chocolate Lab’s coat is a lush brown color that is akin to velvet.
Choco Lab Fact #2: They have a sad and tragic past.
The history of any Labrador that is not black is quite a tragic one.
Up until the recent century or so, Labradors that weren’t black were often culled at birth or discarded. This atrocity was due to the common perception at the time that the black Labrador was the only acceptable color. Because of this, people historically used only black Labs in hunting and work.
However, the color gained popularity in the latter half of the 1900s, most notably in the 1960s. Today, chocolate Labs are just as loved as their black- and yellow-coated counterparts.
Chocolate Lab Fact #3: They live shorter lives.
According to this study of more than 33,000 Labradors, the median lifespan of all labs is about 12 years, while a chocolate Labrador retriever has around 10.7 years.
Unfortunately, many people believe that it’s the color of their coat that makes chocolate Labs live shorter lives.
However, researchers have already contradicted this, concluding that the reason behind the lower expectancy isn’t really the coat color but is the way they’ve been bred over the years.
Choco Lab Fact #4: They are often bred to be show dogs.
In the same way that many black Labs are bred to be field dogs, chocolate Labs are often bred for shows. Many of them are American chocolate Labs (which, coincidentally, are also known as the “show” types). A huge part of getting this role carved out for them could be because of the bias toward black Labradors in the field lines.
Chocolate Lab Fact #5: They are more likely to get life-threatening illnesses.
Before anything else, this does not have to ring true across all chocolate Labs. Just because you have a chocolate Lab doesn’t mean that they are automatically going to get cancer or some joint disease in Labradors. What this means is that compared to their black and yellow counterparts, chocolate Labs are more prone to get ill. This is actually the reason why they have shorter life spans than the other coat colors.
Choco Lab Fact #6: Chocolate Labradors carry a recessive pigment gene.
In a litter of Labs, all three coat colors could be present. This is because their genes work in a certain way. Chocolate Labradors are dogs with a unique genetic makeup that can only happen if both recessive genes (bb) are carried in a pup.
Chocolate Lab Fact #7: They “should” be the rarest coat color.
Ideally, breeding aside, Labradors should be the rarest color in the wild. As stated previously, this is because the color only happens when the pup has the right recessive genes. Consequently, science dictates that this “should” result in very few numbers of chocolate Labs.
But, because of breeding and the demand for the coat color, this isn’t really the case in real life. In fact, this specific breeding pattern of the chocolate Labrador may be what led to the fact that they are more prone to specific illnesses.
Choco Lab Fact #8: Chocolate Labs are seen as the most energetic color.
This has yet not been technically proven by science, but there is a common conception that chocolate Labradors are more energetic and playful. Remember, though, that this isn’t necessarily true, and attitude chalks up more to individual dogs and not as an entire color.
Chocolate Lab Fact #9: They are often looked at as more easily irritated.
Another common conception about chocolate Labs is that they are quicker to act aggressively and get annoyed. However, the idea of a Labrador’s temperament changing based on coat color is simply untrue. This may only be because chocolate Labs tend to be seen as more energetic and likely need more attention and playtime.
Choco Lab Fact #10: Chocolate Labs have strict requirements to be registered.
Technically, all Labradors have strict requirements to be registered as an official part of the breed. But in the chocolate Labrador’s case, tan patterns and markings are not acceptable. However, white markings on the chest are permitted.
All in All
These are just some interesting facts about the beautiful brown variant of a Labrador Retriever. Never forget that any associations of intelligence or aggression in Labs to coat color are not true at all. Chocolate Labs are just as stunning, kind, and gentle as the yellow and black Labradors. If there are any differences in character or temperament, this is likely due to their lineage and not the color.
Overall, Chocolate Labradors are beautiful, loving pets. These dogs love to have fun, and you will surely enjoy your time with your chocolate Lab.
If you wish to know more facts about Labrador Retrievers, check out our post here.