The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They were recognized as a breed in the early 20th century but were probably around much before that. At first, only Black Labradors were accepted and bred. Over time, the public gradually became accustomed to the different colors of Labs as well. Although there are only three officially recognized colors for Labs–Black, Yellow, and chocolate–their colors actually range from fox-red to silver. However, these aren’t as common because the breeding standards for pure Labradors are quite strict. Because they are one of the most popular breeds, it makes sense that there are a lot of myths and rumors surrounding Labrador coats and whether or not they affect the dog’s personality.
In this article, we will debunk and look into certain ideas and conceptions on Labrador coat colors. We will be discussing what is true and what is a fallacy. Is there really a “best” color Labrador Retriever? The quick answer is no.
Although it is a common conception that different lab colors have different temperaments, there are actually no researches or studies that prove it. Most of these misconceptions stem from history, tradition, and association. Here are a couple of examples that discuss how these misconceptions arise and how they are debunked.
1. The Black Lab is the best hunting/gun dog out of the Labradors.
The Black Labrador is highly favored in the hunting community and is often bred to be a hunting or a gun dog. However, apart from the fact that a black coat makes it easier to camouflage itself, the Black Lab is favored because of traditional and historical reasons. It can even be argued that the foxier lab colors are better at camouflaging themselves due to their reddish-brown coat color that would blend better with the surroundings. The first Labradors that were bred were all black. Other colors were not yet widely accepted and it is often theorized that they were culled at birth in the early years. Because Labradors were originally bred to be hunting dogs, it makes sense that the most common hunting Labrador Retriever is the Black Lab.
2. The Yellow Lab is the friendliest of the Labradors
The Yellow Labrador, although called yellow, actually is a coat color that ranges from the palest champagne color to a reddish-brown tinge. However, not all of these colors are “officially” recognized. One common thought associated with Yellow Labs is that they are friendly and accommodating. In reality, Yellow Labs ARE accommodating and friendly but so are the other colors of the Labrador Retriever. One of the possible reasons the Yellow Lab is closely associated with friendliness is that its coat is often associated with that of a Golden Retriever which is known for its mild temperament.
3. The Chocolate Lab is the least energetic of the Labradors.
Chocolate Labs, theoretically, should be the rarest color of Labradors because their color comes from recessive genes. However, since breeders can, in their own little ways, control the color outcome of the litter, Chocolate Labs are not as rare as they would be in the wild. The Chocolate Lab is often bred for and is well-known for being show dogs. This gives off the impression that they are less energetic than the other colors of Labrador. But that isn’t really the case. The Chocolate Lab can, of course, be less energetic but that has little to do with coat color and more to do with bloodline and activity levels.
So, what do we know?
Well, we know that each dog has a different personality and certain unique traits. However, these are not attributed specifically to the color of their coat. Instead, we should take a look at the dog’s breeding, lineage, and bloodline. These factors are more telling of a Labrador’s temperament and possible activity levels better than color in itself. If you are interested in determining the temperament of the dog and what activities may suit a Labrador pup in the future, consult the breeder for the temperament of the parents. This will likely tell you more about the temperament of the Labrador than its coat color.
But, as a caveat to the previous statements, it has been found in a study that Chocolate Labs actually live shorter lives due to them being susceptible to certain life-threatening illnesses. This, however, is not the direct result of the color of the Lab’s coat but rather, through how the Chocolate Lab was bred throughout the years. The breeding of Chocolate Labs in recent decades may have introduced some genetic consequences for them.
In conclusion, there really is no best color of a Labrador Retriever because the best color of the coat is 100% up to personal preference. If you want your Lab to become a hunting or gun dog, then you may prefer to get a Black Labrador over the other colors. On the other hand, if you want your Lab to be a show dog, then the Chocolate Lab might be the right fit for you for purely aesthetic reasons. There are even special or rare colors of Labradors such as silver that now exist in the breeding world. You may want to choose a silver labrador for strictly superficial reasons. Overall, the Labrador Retriever is still one of the friendliest and playful dog breeds out there. The color of their coat matters little in how they act and behave. Choose a Lab that you can have the most fun with and you can take care of best. Consider your lifestyle and how a Labrador, no matter what color, will fit into your life.