Chocolate Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dogs in the world. Whether they go by chocolate, brown or liver owning one of these dogs has only become more popular in modern times and one of these beautiful dogs might just catch your eye.
Sadly these dogs have not always been popular. When the Labrador Retriever was originally bred in the United Kingdom in the 19th century black was the only acceptable color. All others, including Brown Labs as they were known, then were culled. Black is the dominant gene and a Chocolate Lab can only be born if both of their genes are chocolate. Since black is the dominant gene this allowed Labs to carry other genes and occasionally one of those recessive genes would become dominant and lead to a puppy of another color like chocolate.
As time went on the practice of culling puppies with undesirable colors, fortunately, died off and by the early 20th century some Chocolate Labs began to make an appearance with shooting enthusiasts at the range but they were still considered undesirable. It wasn’t until the 1960s that chocolate (and all of the positive connotations that come with that) was applied to the color of the coat but once that was done the popularity of this color of Lab grew.
The demand came from ordinary people looking for both a show dog and a pet. Like other Labs they made great working dogs though few are found employed as hunting dogs even to this day. Black Labs still rule that domain.
Chocolate Labs have become popular as assistance dogs or working with the police or military to sniff out drugs or explosives. As their popularity is rising as a pet or working dog they will only become more prevalent. Perhaps the most famous Chocolate Lab was US President Bill Clinton’s dog Buddy, so if a Chocolate Lab is good enough for the most powerful person on the planet it is most certainly good enough for you.
There is also a myth that Chocolate Labs are not as smart as other colors which is just that, a myth. It probably stems from most hunters use of only a Black Lab and the refusal to employ any other color. These dogs are no different than any other Lab with only the color of their coat being different. British Chocolate Labs are very easy going while American Chocolate Labs have a more intense desire to retrieve or chase things but both are highly trainable and highly intelligent though Chocolate Labs seem to be more easily distracted.
Unlike Yellow Labradors there is very little difference in the color of the coat of a Chocolate Lab from dog to dog with one exception, the Silver Labrador. With a Silver Labrador a gene dilutes the color of the hair and no one is really sure how this came about. It is also a recent development and may have come from cross-breeding or genetic mutation. Silver Labs are registered as Chocolate Labs by both the Kennel Clubs of the UK and USA but are controversial with many Lab enthusiasts who see them as not of a pure bloodline.