Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever, also Labrador

is a type of retriever gun-dog.

The Labrador is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United Kingdom.


A favourite disability assistance breed in many countries, Labradors are frequently trained to aid the blind, those who have autism to act as a therapy dog and perform screening and detection work for law enforcement and other official agencies.

They are prized as sporting and hunting dogs.

The dogs are admirably trained as retrievers in fowling, and are otherwise useful…..The smooth or short haired dog is preferred because in frosty weather the long haired kind become encumbered with ice on coming out of the water.”


The foundational breed of what is now the Labrador Retriever was known as the St. John’s water dog.

When the dogs were later brought to England, they were named after the geographic area known as “the Labrador” (they were known as Labrador Retrievers because they “retrieved” in the Labrador Sea) or simply Labrador to distinguish them from the larger Newfoundland breed, even though the breed was from the more southern peninsula.

The progenitors of the Labrador retriever were actually from Newfoundland; exceptionally, the breed known as the NewFoundland was created near the same time in Labrador.

The two breeds’ names and origins were mixed once moved into England and the Americas.

The dog from Labrador became the large, long furred dog we see and know today, and the dog from Newfoundland became the Labrador.

Yellow (and similar shades)

In the early years of the breed through to the mid-20th century, Labradors of a shade we would now call “yellow” were in fact a dark, almost butterscotch, colour (visible in early yellow Labrador photographs).

The shade was known as “Golden” until required to be changed by the UK Kennel Club, on the grounds that “Gold” was not actually a colour.


Over the 20th century a preference for far lighter shades of yellow through to cream prevailed, until today most yellow Labradors are of this shade. Also fawn has been a common colour in the yellow lab variety.

Chocolate Labradors

Jack Vanderwyk traces the origins of all chocolate Labradors listed on the LabradorNet database (some 34,000 Labrador dogs of all shades) to eight original bloodlines. However, the shade was not seen as a distinct colour until the 20th century; before then according to Vanderwyk, such dogs can be traced but were not registered.


A degree of cross breeding with Flat Coat or Chesapeake Retrievers was also documented in the early 20th century, prior to recognition.

Chocolate Labradors were also well established in the early 20th century at the kennels of the Earl of Faversham, and Lady Ward of Chiton.


 The three primary colour varieties of the Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colours: black (a solid black colour), yellow (considered from cream to fox-red), and chocolate (medium to dark brown).


Some dogs are sold as silver pure-bred Labradors, but purity of those bloodlines is currently disputed by breed experts including breed clubs and breed councils.

Some major kennel clubs around the world allow silver Labradors to be registered, but not as silver.

The Kennel Club (England) requires that they be registered as “Non-recognised.

Occasionally, Labradors will exhibit small amounts of white fur on their chest, paws, or tail, and rarely a purebred Lab will exhibit brindling stripes or tan points similar to a Rottweiler.

These markings are a disqualification for show dogs but do not have any bearing on the dog’s temperament or ability to be a good working or pet dog.


Puppies of all colours can potentially occur in the same litter.

Colour is determined primarily by three genes.

The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat’s eumelanin pigment granules, if that pigment is allowed: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a chocolate coat.


The second (E) locus determines whether the eumelanin is produced at all.

A dog with the recessive e allele will produce only phaeomelanin pigment and will be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus.

The genes known about previously have had their number increased by the introduction of the K locus, where the dominant “black” allele KB is now known to reside.

Black or chocolate Labradors therefore must have the KB allele.

Yellow Labradors are determined at the E locus, so the K locus is irrelevant in determining their colour.

Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat’s colouration, which in yellow Labradors varies from white to light gold to a fox red. Chocolate and black Labradors’ noses will match the coat colour.

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