Chocolate Lab Puppies — As Sweet as They Sound?

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.

Chocolate Lab puppies for sale The Dunces of the Class

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.

Chocolate Lab puppies for sale 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.

Chocolate Lab puppies for saleChocolate Labrador puppies are not people-pleasers

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!

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Standards for Black Lab Puppies

Throughout the history of the Labrador breed, black Lab puppies have generally been the most desired by handlers and owners. This is largely because they were considered the most effective working dog due to so many generations having been selectively bred for their ‘working genes’. Even though this is not proven to be true, black Labrador puppies are still the most heavily favoured among hunting circles, and have some of the most rigorous and strict standards set for them by the UK Kennel Club.

Black Lab puppies for saleBlack Lab Breed Standards

According to the Kennel Club, black Labs must be ‘wholly black.’ The coat is expected to be smooth and shiny, as well as clipped quite short. If the colour of the coat appears to be diluted, or if there are even spots or markings of a different colour, it will result in that dog’s disqualification from being shown in the ring.

It is uncommon to see a combination of colours in the the coat of black Lab puppies, but should they appear, owners are encouraged to spay or neuter their dog. This aids in the prevention of the breed standard being diluted by mixed colours and undesirable genes.

Black Lab puppies for saleThe Predominance of Black Lab Puppies

Perhaps one of the reasons black Labrador puppies have been prized over other colours is simply because they are the most common. Observing this, it would then be easy to conclude that yellow (golden) or chocolate Labs are somehow defective or abnormal. This, however, is not the case. Neither yellow or chocolate coloured coats indicate mutations or abnormalities. There is, in fact, little physical difference between the varying colours of the breed, despite myths claiming the contrary.

The colour of an individual’s coat is determined by genes. The gene corresponding to a black coat is dominant to the gene corresponding to a brown or chocolate coat. Therefore, even if an individual has both a black and brown gene, his coat will be black. The matter becomes more complicated with yellow Labs, which have genes that, under certain conditions, can override the dominant black gene. However, black Labrador puppies still remain the most common colour of the breed.

Black Lab puppies for saleThough it is still most common to see black Lab puppies for sale, gone are the days when breeders would simply cull yellow and chocolate offspring. Black Lab puppies however, still enjoy an immense popularity and continue to have predominance in the hunting and working fields.

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Golden Lab Puppies – The Stars of the Labrador Family

Now one of the most popular breeds among dog-lovers, Golden Lab puppies are prized for their cheerful disposition, their athleticism, and, of course, their cuteness. However, the Golden colour has not always been the most favoured for Labrador puppies.

Golden Labrador puppies for saleThe First Golden Lab Puppies

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, black was the heavily favoured colour for this game-hunting breed. A fair, light colour was even considered a kind of defect. So much so, in fact, that Golden Labrador puppies were often culled at birth. In the early stages of their history it was hard to find Labrador owners who specifically bred this colour!

By the 1920’s, Golden Labs were slowly beginning to grow in popularity. They had begun to diverge from the physical appearance of their black counterparts, to the point that the UK Kennel Club set a different standard for Golden Labs than Black Labs. However, it was soon after decided that all colours should adhere to the same standards, and all colours of the breed today resemble each other in virtually every standard.

Golden Labrador puppies for saleA Star Is Born!

In the early 70’s, Kleenex began running advertisements featuring a Golden Lab puppy, which proved to be immensely popular. It wasn’t long before people began clamouring for a puppy of their own to frolic in their bathroom and tear apart their toilet paper.

The breed saw a large shift in colour popularity around this time. Suddenly, Golden Labrador puppies were in higher demand, and breeders began concentrating on Golden Labs as much as Black and Chocolate Labs.

Shade to Black

‘Golden’ might be a bit of a misleading term, since there are so many shades grouped under this category. In fact, Golden Labs can range from a very pale, creamy colour to a vibrant orange-red, similar to a fox.

Golden Labrador puppies for sale

It is generally difficult to anticipate what colour a Lab puppy might be, especially without knowing the parents’ genotype (the genetic make-up that determines colour and shade). However, because Golden Labs possess a certain gene which overrides the Black and Chocolate gene-colour, if two Golden Labs are mated, they will automatically pass this gene down to their offspring and produce Golden Labrador puppies.

Dog-lovers’ appreciation of Golden Labs have fluctuated wildly in the past. From often being abandoned at birth to being celebrated in cuddly commercials, this breed has been on a roller coaster ride for the past century. Now, it looks as though they have won a permanent place in our hearts, and are here to stay. So the next time life has you down look to Golden Lab puppies for inspiration (and a few awwww’s).

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History Of The Labrador Retriever

Humble Beginnings

The details of the Labrador’s history are still much disputed by dog historians, although the key points of the breed’s history are well documented.

He first came to the attention of European fisherman working on the west coast of Canada in the Newfoundland and St John’s areas. These fisherman used local dogs who were fantastic workers – bringing in heavy nets, retrieving fish that had fallen overboard and even fetching wood to smoke the fish once they were on land.

In return, the fisherman fed the dogs fish scraps. Some authorities claim the dogs were only fed in the winter and that they were left to hunt for themselves in the summer.

Arriving In Britain 

English fisherman brought some of the dogs back with them, and the story is they swam ashore from the boats that landed in Poole Harbour in Dorset. They caught the attention of the second Earl of Malmesbury at the beginning of the 19th century. The Earl recognised their retrieving talents, and bought four to his estate at Hurn Court, Dorset.

The dogs’ water retrieving skills were of particular interest to the Earl, since Hurn estate had many wildfowl, and a dog was needed to retrieve birds quickly that were shot and fell into the water.

Other landed gentry became interested in these new retrievers, and so the breed grew.

The Labrador became particularly popular in aristocracy, and offspring of outstanding dogs were given as gifts to other estates.

Rise in popularity

The Labrador was to become the supreme retriever – all due to his wonderful nose a – he works on ground scent instead of airborne scent like the Flat Coated Retriever. This was better suited to what was required of the breed, thus making him the favoured dog.

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Labrador Breed Standard

What Does This Mean?

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breeds/watch for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

General Appearance

Strongly built, short-coupled, very active; broad in skull; broad and deep through chest and ribs; broad and strong over loins and hindquarters.

Characteristics

Good-tempered, very agile (which precludes excessive body weight or excessive substance). Excellent nose, soft mouth; keen love of water. Adaptable, devoted companion.

Temperament

Intelligent, keen and biddable, with a strong will to please. Kindly nature, with no trace of aggression or undue shyness.

Head and Skull

Skull broad with defined stop; clean-cut without fleshy cheeks. Jaws of medium length, powerful not snipy. Nose wide, nostrils well developed.

Eyes

Medium size, expressing intelligence and good temper; brown or hazel.

Ears

Not large or heavy, hanging close to head and set rather far back.

Mouth

Jaws and teeth strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Neck

Clean, strong, powerful, set into well placed shoulders.

Forequarters

Shoulders long and sloping. Forelegs well boned and straight from elbow to ground when viewed from either front or side.

Body

Chest of good width and depth, with well sprung barrel ribs – this effect not to be produced by carrying excessive weight. Level topline. Loins wide, short-coupled and strong.

Hindquarters

Well developed, not sloping to tail; well turned stifle. Hocks well let down, cowhocks highly undesirable.

Feet

Round, compact; well arched toes and well developed pads.

Tail

Distinctive feature, very thick towards base, gradually tapering towards tip, medium length, free from feathering, but clothed thickly all round with short, thick, dense coat, thus giving ‘rounded’ appearance described as ‘Otter’ tail. May be carried gaily but should not curl over back.

Gait/Movement

Free, covering adequate ground; straight and true in front and rear.

Coat

Distinctive feature, short dense without wave or feathering, giving fairly hard feel to the touch; weather-resistant undercoat.

Colour

Wholly black, yellow or liver/chocolate. Yellows range from light cream to red fox. Small white spot on chest permissible.

Size

Ideal height at withers: dogs: 56-57 cms (22-221/2 ins); bitches: 55-56 cms (211/2-22 ins).

Faults

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Note

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

– See more at: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/standard

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