Labradors can be diverse in appearance, and we usually come in three different color shades: Chocolate, Yellow and Black. Each of these shades can vary slightly, so each Labrador Retriever can look a little bit different. Some people believe that the color of our fur has an effect on our health and temperament, though there hasn’t been any scientific studies to back this up.
A very common belief shared by some Labrador Retriever enthusiasts is that Yellow Labradors have the best overall quality of health. Also, some people believe that Yellow Labrador Retrievers have the least instances of breed-based health problems, such as hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (which are common health problems encountered by the Labrador Retriever breed). The reasoning behind this, is that some people think that Yellow Labradors do not require significant breeding to be produced. However, this is not the case, and many veterinarians have discouraged dog owners from believing this to be true. Most Labradors are bred specifically for temperament or hunting traits than are bred purely for color alone. Even so, the current breeding lines for Labradors are very pure, and inbreeding is mostly discouraged.
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Some other people believe that Black Labrador make the “best” Labradors. This is because some people still hold onto the historical belief that any other color besides black for a Labrador is an incorrect representation of the breed. This was very common in the Labrador breed’s early development in England, as any other color than black was suspected to be a result of cross-breeding. This misconception continues to this day, though Yellow and Chocolate Labradors have been proven to be actual color variants of purebred Labradors.
Just like humans, us Labradors have specific genetic traits that determine what color our hair is after development. At a genetic level, there are some important factors that influence fur color.
A Black Labrador will have either one or two copies of the dominant gene for black fur color. These gene copies are located at the dominant color locus, or “E” locus. If a Black Labrador with two copies of the dominant black fur gene breeds with another Labrador with two copies of this gene, all of their puppies will also be black.
A Chocolate Labrador Retriever has one copy of the dominant “black fur” gene, though Chocolate Labradors also have two copies of the recessive gene for brown fur coloration at the recessive color locus, also called the “B” locus.
A Yellow Labrador Retriever has two copies of the gene for recessive fur coloration at the “E” (dominant) locus, and also has two copies of the recessive fur gene at the “B” locus.
Most Labrador Retrievers will also have different colored noses depending on their genetic makeup. It’s even possible to have a Labrador Retriever to have a nose that is two or more colors (such as pink and black, or brown and pink).
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