Often overshadowed by their Black and Golden cousins, Chocolate Lab puppies have seen their popularity grow in recent years. Unfortunately, they have also developed a rather poor reputation amongst some dog-lovers. Whether it is their supposed lack of intelligence or their intractability, let’s take a look to see if there is any truth to the myths and rumours surrounding our delicious — I mean, delightful friends.
There seems to be a notion floating around that Chocolate Labrador puppies develop more slowly than Golden or Black puppies, and are more difficult to train. This, so detractors say, is because Chocolate Lab puppies are much more easily distracted, and seem to have difficulty focusing on a given task.
But a closer look at this myth reveals it to be the hokum it is.
There are no real general differences between Labradors of different colours — they are all the same breed, after all. But Chocolate Lab puppies have historically been rarer, because the gene determining a Chocolate colour is recessive, resulting in a lower proportion of Chocolate offspring. This may have led to notions of this colour somehow correlating to a lower cognitive functioning.
The rumours of Chocolate Labrador puppies being dim-witted appear to stem from a few other sources as well. A prevalent claim is that Chocolate Labs are often show-bred, meaning they are bred for shows and conformation, whereas Black Labs have been work-bred and trained for field work and hunting. Black Labs, then, develop better problem-solving skills and higher cognitive abilities than their Chocolate brothers.
However, many Chocolate Labs have been very successfully trained for field-work; just as many Black Labs have gone on to become successful show dogs. Under this light, it becomes clear that neither colour indicates a particular penchant for being either a work dog or a show dog, but that it depends upon the individual and his/her manner of training. The untrainability or lack of intelligence of Chocolate Lab puppies thus becomes a stereotype with no truth behind it.
Perhaps stemming from the rumour that they are difficult to train, this myth claims that Chocolate Labs are not as eager to develop a strong relationship with their owners as Black or Golden Labs.
But, again, it is important not to draw correlations between unrelated physical and mental characteristics. Labradors, as a breed, have a cheerful, friendly, and personable disposition, and Chocolates are no exception. Work dogs especially develop a strong dependence on their handler, and most enjoy a healthy, happy relationship, just as with Black and Golden Labs.
So do not be fooled by any rumours you may have read on online forums or heard from frustrated trainers. Chocolate Lab puppies are indeed worthy of their Labrador name!