Written by Wesley Muchimwe | 19th March 2019


Looking for a Labrador: Which colour to choose?

The UK’s love affair with Labradors is alive and well, nowhere more so than here at Michael Graham. The best choice of colour has always been a controversial subject, and Country Life magazine recently re-ignited the debate by asking whether fox red is the new black in the world of Labs.

Which colour labrador

So does the colour of the coat affect the temperament of the dog? And if you’re going to choose between black, yellow (never say golden to a Lab owner), chocolate, and fox-red, is there anything in particular to bear in mind?

As a breed, Labradors are all friendly, confident and loving dogs with yellow, black and chocolate the three colours officially recognised by the UK Kennel Club. In the beginning all Labradors were black but today a Labrador litter can be full of surprises. For example, two chocolate parents can produce a combination of chocolate and yellow puppies, while two black dogs can potentially create a rainbow of black, chocolate and yellow pups. Although yellow parents will only produce yellow puppies, the shade of yellow can vary enormously. Fox red is actually a dark shade of yellow, not a new colour in its own right. The most unusual of all the Labrador colours is silver, and silver Labs are officially registered as chocolate by the Kennel Club; they have a gene which dilutes the chocolate colour and makes it a pale, silvery shade.

Most of us instinctively have our favourite Labrador colour, but will your dog’s temperament be affected by the colour of their coat? The short answer to that question is no. Chocolate Labradors have always battled against the reputation of being naughtier and less trainable than their yellow and black cousins but that is simply not true. Early training is everything and dog training classes are much better and more popular than they used to be. Genetics also have a part to play regarding behaviour. Working Labs are traditionally black and well-trained, so pups from that stock have a strong chance of also being naturally biddable. On the other hand, yellow Labs are best known for being Service Dogs, particularly as Guide Dogs for the Blind, so are clearly capable of reaching the pinnacle of good behavior given the right training.  

A feature on Labs wouldn’t be complete without reference to the fact that irrespective of colour, the majority of them are ingenious scavengers and will eat pretty much anything. Every Lab owner has an anecdote of their greedy dog who jumped onto the worktop and ate the children’s birthday cake/opened the oven and ate the Sunday joint or discovered the hiding place for the Easter Eggs and cost them hundreds of pounds at the vet (chocolate can be deadly to dogs). On the plus side, their love of food makes them very responsive to reward based training.

So choice of coat colour really comes down to personal preference. Think of it as like choosing between red and green paint for your front door. The door will be exactly the same, you’ll just be looking at a different colour.

Which colour Lab would you choose? Find us on social media and send us your thoughts and even better your Labrador pictures, we’d love to see them. For Michael Graham town and country houses to buy or to rent, head to the property pages on our website, where you’ll also find the three homes below.

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