Labrador Retrievers (also known as “Labs” or “Lab”) have excellent hunting skills because of their sturdy build and height, which measures to be 21.5 to 24.5 inches when they are standing.
They have smooth and sleek coats as well that can be easily put up to shedding. Plus, many are fascinated by their cute and thick tail that happily wags almost all the time.
Labs are hardworking dogs; that’s why they are hired and trained to be rescue or assistant dogs, as their favorite exercises are swimming and canine-related sports.
Training them during their puppy stage (7 weeks) will help them attain certain obedience, agility, strength, and socialization skills. Labs are genetically intelligent dogs; thus, it won’t be a problem teaching them basic dog skills while they are young. It will also serve as an investment because their loyalty will always be at your service.
Moreover, labrador retrievers consist of different colors that have different personalities. Their six major colors are black, yellow, white, chocolate, fox red, and silver.
1. Black Labrador Retrievers
A Black labrador is the most popular coat among all variations. Their pure shiny black coating allows them to move swiftly and secretly in the field, making them a good hunting companion.
Historically, black labs were purposely bred for hunting, and they used to euthanize other labradors. Fortunately, they are all in the past, and the strong hunting instincts of black labs are now being used and trained for security, search, and rescue jobs as a service dogs.
Black labradors have dominant/strong genes because out of nine gene combinations in a labrador; four become entirely black coats. Their dark, pure shiny black fur coats are what makes them so handsome and appealing to all dog lovers.
However, not all black labrador retrievers are pure black. Some are mixed with white spots on their fur caused by a gene interruption from their ancestor, the St. John’s water dogs, which had several white spots on their black coats. Nevertheless, all black labrador retrievers are attractive in their smooth and sleek fur.
Black labs are very reliable and focused as service dogs. The Dog Training Agencies normally pick their kind because of their intelligence, loyalty, and strong hunting skills.
Aside from that, black labs are wonderful pets, too, because of their warm and comforting personality. Out of all breeds, black labs are the most affectionate and caring; and they love to show it to their owners.
This is why most people admire black labradors; even though they look so strong and sturdy physically, they still have a soft and kind personality that captivates our hearts.
Another good news about black labradors is that they are healthy dogs who live within the average lifespan of a labrador retriever (10-12 years). Nonetheless, they are still prone to bacterial or viral infections, so an owner needs to watch them, make sure that they eat healthily, and receive the guidance and affection they need.
2. Yellow Labrador Retrievers
Yellow labrador retrievers are not the famous type of labrador. However, the media have promoted their popularity by using a yellow lab to play the role of Marley in the “Marley and Me” movie. Due to this exposure, many labrador lovers have adored the unique color of yellow labs.
The color of yellow labradors exists on a spectrum. Their color ranges from light brown to a lemon-like yellow. In this spectrum, a fawn labrador (yellowish-brown) color is included as well.
This is a darker shade of yellow but not as dark as a red labrador. A cream-colored labrador is also considered to be part of yellow labrador retrievers. Yellow labs have the widest variety of color spectrum among all six labrador colors.
Yellow labs are one of the crowd’s favorites because of their friendly and outgoing attitude. They are recognized as therapy dogs for they love to show warm and comforting affection as well.
Aside from that, yellow labs are highly trainable and equipped to work as service or search and rescue dogs as they are considered hardworking like black labradors. However, the lightness of their fur and extroverted attitude does not make them qualified for hunting.
The yellow labrador retrievers are part of the healthy breeds as well. They live longer than other breed coats, and their health issues only occur in their old age.
These health issues normally include dysplasia, blindness, or deafness. The weakening of their body is only a worry when they get old, but it is necessary to maintain their good health while still young.
3. Chocolate Labrador Retrievers
Chocolate Labrador Retrievers are the rarest one among the three major colors (black, yellow, and chocolate). They are considered an “underdog” because of their lack of focus and are hardly trainable based on research.
That’s why they are the only type of labrador that is not qualified to be trained for service or search and rescue dogs. Nevertheless, many still love them and are used as “show dogs” because of their playful and energetic characteristics.
They are described as having a deep/dark brown color based on what they called Chocolate Labradors. Most people adore this chocolate-like coating of their fur as they are shiny and attractive.
Nonetheless, the color of chocolate labs varies in terms of intensity. Their color widely ranges from light brown to a combination of brown and black lab coats.
As said before, chocolate labs are known for their energetic vibes. Their cuteness is derived from their uncontrollably cheerful and goofy personality. At times, they may be naughty, but they are just as caring and affectionate as any other labrador retriever.
The only downside of chocolate labradors is that they are more prone to health issues and have shorter lifespans than other color types of labrador retrievers.
Among their health concerns are skin irritation (hot spots), ear inflammation, and sight defection. Based on research, their average lifetime is about a year and a half shorter than other labradors.
4. White Labrador Retrievers
White Labrador Retrievers are described as physically attractive due to their color’s clean and royal-like whiteness. They are known to be genetically associated with yellow labradors, just like red fox labs.
Thus, an extremely light shade of yellow can be seen on their fur, and they tend to have the light brown or yellow shade of ears and paws. But the whiteness of their fur overpowers the yellowish shade under sunlight, which also gives the majestic aura of white labs.
As white labradors are genetically identical to yellow labs, their coat is on the maximum light shade of the yellow lab color spectrum.
The color shade of white labradors is described as the “palest version” of brown and yellow shade. The fur around their ears and paws are normally white in the majority, but some parts have darker shades of light brown.
White Labrador Retrievers are known to be “Kind Dogs.” They are the most friendly among all lab colors and love to meet anyone, even strangers! Plus, they enjoy pleasing people with their charming personalities.
Additionally, white labs are trusting and gullible hence, and it makes them poor security guard dogs. But owners love to cuddle and pamper them because of their innocent, delightful attitude.
Just like chocolate labradors, white labs are prone to health problems too. Their white coloration may develop into albinism which is common for their kind. This genetic mutation limits the coat’s color production and results in bad health conditions such as blindness, deafness, or, worse early death.
5. Fox Red Labrador Retrievers
Fox Red Labrador Retrievers (aka Ruby Lab or Red Lab) have this bright golden red fur coat identical to the color shade of a fox.
This type of color is rare, and some researchers still don’t recognize them as purebred red labrador retrievers. Some assume that red fox labs are mixed with golden retrievers – which is not true because the only similarity is the shade of color.
Like white labradors, red labs are part of the color spectrum of yellow labs. While the white labs are in the lighter part of the yellow spectrum, the red labs are on the other end. Their shade is somewhere in the spectrum’s deep hue of yellow/brown, creating a rusty red coat.
Therefore, red fox labs are just darker coats of yellow labs perceived in the reddish version. The distinctiveness and vibrates of their rugged brownish red shade are what captures the heart of most dog lovers.
Red labrador retrievers have a sociable personality as well. They can be easily trained to help other people, and they are natural when it comes to being playful. Just like chocolate labrador retrievers, red labs are active and outgoing! They are also considered gentle and lovable, which is a good characteristic for a family dog.
In terms of health, red fox labradors are in good shapes, like yellow and black labs. They are not prone to any sickness or diseases, and their lifespans are in the normal timeline. For owners with red fox labs, just provide the proper care a normal dog needs to keep them healthy and prolong their happy life.
6. Silver Labrador Retrievers
The Silver Labrador Retrievers are the rarest among all the six recognized labrador coatings. Frequently, people mistake silver labs as being mixed with the Weimaraner breed. However, the silver labs are purebred and one of the six recognized labrador coat colors based on researchers.
The color of silver labs ranges from light gray to silver-blue color. When they are exposed to sunlight, the silver shade is more vibrant and distinct. According to researchers, silver labs are in the same color spectrum as the chocolate labs.
Silver Labradors are just like chocolate labradors but in diluted genes. Instead of being chocolate in color, their genes can potentially override all the other colors subtly and result in a stunning silver coating. Thus, silver labradors have recessive genotypes, which sets them apart from other labrador coatings.
Silver Labrador Retrievers are fun and jolly pets too! They are sociable, energetic, and adorable, yet soft and loyal at the same time. They are wonderful family pets and can bond with each family member.
Training them for household activities is plausible as well because of their energetic personality. They love to run, swim, walk and play with their owners; thus, life is never too boring by having them around.
The unique color of silver labradors makes them vulnerable in terms of health. They are prone to skin diseases and tend to develop skin itch or patchy fur due to the dilution of their genes, creating alopecia.
Importance of Coat Color of Labrador Retrievers
According to breeders and owners, each coat color is linked to the behavior and personality of labrador retrievers. Although this statement is not scientifically proven, the breeders have recorded the variety in the behavior of all the color coatings of labrador retrievers. It has been observed that:
- The calmest, most focused, and skillful are the Black Labrador Retrievers.
- Yellow, Silver, and White Labrador Retrievers are friendly and gentle to people and children. They love to be part of a family.
- The Fox Red and Chocolate Labrador Retrievers are known as the playful and most active kind of labrador.
All types of labrador retrievers are loving and very affectionate. Thus, choosing the right one should be based on your personality. If you are sporty or athletic, a black lab is a perfect match for you because they can join you in training and exercises.
A chocolate lab or a red fox lab will be a great companion if you are outgoing, playful, and competitive! And if you have a big family or starting a new one, the best choice is either a white lab, a yellow lab, or a silver lab. These labradors are soft and kind to everyone they meet, and they can easily create a bond with people.
Labrador Retrievers Care and Maintenance
All labrador retrievers are physically fit, strong, and healthy. They all have the same standard or ways of care and maintenance unless your lab is suffering from a health issue (he/she will need more attention). Here is some important information that you need to know in nourishing and petting a Labrador Retriever:
1. Diet and Nutrition – it is vital to feed your labs with high-quality manufactured food or a home-cooked meal that does not contain poisonous ingredients. You must study what is the appropriate food for a dog and what food can harm them. Moreover, watch out for the dog’s weight and consumption to avoid obesity. And don’t forget to quench them with clean and fresh water!
2. Appearance/Grooming – properly scheduled baths, trimming nails, and brushing their teeth is important to keep labrador retrievers neat and protected from fleas or ticks. There is no problem with shedding their double water-repellent coating because they occasionally shed on their own.
3. Training and Exercise – training a lab puppy from 7 weeks to 4 months is essential so they would grow up with skills and a sociable personality. At an early age, enrolling them to puppy training classes would help in enhancing their obedience, socialization, and agility.