The Chocolate Labrador Retriever

chocolate labradorsChocolate Labrador facts, features, and fun! This is a complete, in-depth guide to the world’s favourite brown dog. From the origins of the chocolate Lab, to how to find a puppy, it’s all here.

Throughout the history of the breed, a chocolate Labrador or two (sometimes referred to as liver Labradors) has appeared occasionally in litters of Labrador puppies

Way back in the last century,  puppies with this then undesirable colour were sometimes simply culled at birth. Black was the only colour considered respectable for a Labrador!

How things have changed!  Chocolate Labradors are now hugely popular and with good reason.

There is a ton of information here, so do use the green menu to skip to the bits that interest you!

Discover Chocolate Labs!

From finding a puppy to caring for your elderly chocolate Lab, we’re going on a journey of discovery!

You’ll find out where chocolate Labs came from.

We’ll look at temperament and intelligence, and explore many of the myths and facts that surround these wonderful companion dogs.

I’ll also give you some great tips for adopting or buying your very own chocolate Labrador Retriever!

Meet Rachael

All labradors are beautiful, of course, but chocolate labradors will always hold a special place in my heart. In fact I am unashamedly biased!

You see, I am lucky enough to share my life with Rachael, a three year old chocolate lab from a mixture of show and working lines.

rachael chocolate labrador puppy

This is Rachael as a puppy

This page is a celebration of what is for me, one of the most beautiful dogs in the world.

Rachael has been a huge source of inspiration for this website, so this is a little tribute to Rachael and a thank you for all she has taught me.

We’ll hear some more about Rachael later.  But first of all, we’re going to take a little trip back in time.


Where do chocolate labs come from?

Labrador Retrievers were recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1903 and by the AKC in 1917.  But they had been around for some years before that.

chocolate-labrador-poolThe Labrador breed was developed mainly by a couple of English aristocrats in the 1800s, from dogs they had imported from North America.  You can read more about this chunk of history here: The history of the Labrador Retriever

Although our early Labrador Retrievers were predominantly black, some of these original dogs carried the genetic information required to produce chocolate puppies.  Just as some also carried the information required to produce yellow puppies.

0001-121490288Sadly, a hundred or more years ago,  it was commonplace to ‘cull’ puppies that were not a desirable colour.

Black was the ‘in’ color for labs, so this meant that mainly black dogs survived to adulthood and mainly black dogs were bred from.

If mainly black dogs were bred from, you may wonder how any chocolate lab pups were ever born!

To understand that, we need to take a peep at the genes that carry the code for coat colour in the Labrador retriever.

How is the chocolate color inherited in labradors

You probably know that the instructions that tell your dog what to look like generally, and what color to be specifically, come packed in genes, and that genes come in pairs.

chocolate-labrador-geneThis is true for the gene that determines whether or not the Labrador will be brown (this gene is called b) or black (B).  Every Labrador has either two genes for a black coat (BB) or two genes for a brown coat (bb) or one of each (Bb)

The color black in Labradors is dominant.  That means that if a Labrador has one gene for the color brown, and one gene for the color black, the dog will be black.

This is because his black gene switches off, the brown one.  The brown gene just sits hidden inside him doing nothing in particular, while the black gene takes control of his coat.

What about chocolates?

The poor old brown gene only gets to be in charge if it is paired with another brown gene – like this ->(bb).

So for a chocolate lab puppy to be born, he needs to have those two chocolate genes, one is not enough.

However, a black labrador can sneakily carry a brown gene (Bb) and pass it along to his children.  This is how the color brown can and did remain hidden in generation after generation of black labradors.

Why were chocolate labs not wanted?

So if there were always brown genes in our Labrador population, there have always been occasional brown puppies.

silly chocolate labradorAll that was required to produce some chocolate Labrador puppies was for someone to mate a black dog carrying brown (Bb) with another black dog carrying brown.

And hey presto, half of this litter of puppies are brown!

And of course in the days long before DNA tests, and in a time when no-one would ever have bred from a brown dog, there was no way of knowing for sure that a black dog was carrying brown, until he had made some brown puppies.

By which time it was too late!  These brown puppies were not bred from and no doubt some were quietly ‘disposed of’ without a second thought.

We don’t really know why the chocolate dogs were so disliked.  It seems bizarre to us now, in a world where chocolate is such a popular color in dogs.  But in the early 1900s only black would do.

By the way, if you are curious to know how we get yellow pups, click on this link: Coat color inheritance in Labrador Retrievers  you’ll also find some more fun facts there about chocolate Labradors, including how two chocolate labs can sometime have yellow puppies, and some great coat color charts to make things easier to understand.

When did chocolate labs become popular?

By the 1920s and 30s a few brown or liver labradors as they were then called were making an appearance on the shooting field but for some years more, brown was not widely acceptable to Labrador enthusiasts.

It wasn’t until  the 1960s  that brown Labradors, began to really grow in popularity. The demand for these beautiful dogs came from ordinary home owners and they much preferred the word ‘chocolate’ to describe their new companions.

chocolate labrador popularityThat preference continues today, and we still often name our chocolate dogs after favourite snack bars and chocolate flavoured drinks! You can still register chocolate Labradors as ‘liver’ in color by the way. And I actually prefer the old fashioned term.  But that’s another story.

If you are interested in delving deeper into the fascinating archives of Labrador Retriever gene pools and history, you may enjoy a visit to Jack Vanderwyck’s site

English or show chocolate Labradors  

Show or bench bred Labradors are often known in the USA as English labs.  The first chocolate English Show Champion Labrador Retriever was Cookridge Tango in 1964.

The 1960s was a turning point in the popularity of the chocolate lab, but interest grew slowly at first.

Gradually, the public began to demand more chocolate puppies, and gradually breeders began to produce them.

Over the next few decades, Chocolate Labradors became increasingly popular both in the show ring and as pets.

In the shooting community, where Labradors were expected to do a job of work,  the preference for black continued throughout the late 1900s, and into the present day, particularly in the UK. We’ll be looking a bit more at that later on.

American or working chocolate labs

Working or ‘field bred’ Labradors have become known in the USA as American labs.

A demand for chocolate Labradors as shooting companions is only just beginning to emerge in the UK, but in the USA,  the chocolate lab has now become more established in the working community.

working-chocolate-labradorsHere in England, it is still quite hard to find a chocolate labrador from good working lines, and we have yet to see chocolates doing well in field trials in any great numbers.

There is a rumour going around, especially in the UK working dog community, that this is because chocolate Labradors are a bit stupid!  But is it true?

Is there any factual basis at all in the stories that chocolate Labradors are somewhat challenged in the ‘upstairs’ department?  Is the beauty on your hearth rug all beauty and no brains?

Or is the ‘chocolate labs are stupid’ claim, a scurrilous lie.  Let’s have a closer look at some of those Labrador characteristics, and find out where they come from

Inherited Labrador characteristics

Just like you and me, every dog is a product of both his environment, and the genes he is born with.

We have seen that many chocolate Labradors come from show Labrador lines, and these bloodlines tend to have certain characteristics in common. Characteristics that are passed along from parent to puppy

Show Labradors (English) are often more heavily built, and somewhat slower and physically less agile than their field bred counterparts.

They are also more likely to have a chunky Labrador head and thick otter tail.  And while some feel that the chunkiness of the skull has been taken too far in show lines, there is no denying the beauty of a classic Labrador head.

A chocolate labrador is more likely to be from these show types of bloodline and are therefore more likely to share these general characteristics.  But there is more.

It isn’t just body shape that is inherited

Labrador temperament and cleverness!

Field bred Labradors (also known as American labs) may have a more intense retrieve drive, or urge to chase and retrieve things than their show bred cousins.

They also tend to be not only physically faster and racily built, but more ‘sensitive’ and responsive to training.

Working strain Labs are keen to please

Field bred labs tend to be quite ‘dependent’ on their handler’s approval. In short, they are desperate to please.

Over many generations this ‘biddable’ quality has been bred into our working labs alongside their retrieving and hunting prowess, to give a dog with a rather different temperament from our show stock.

Easy going show Labs

In show dogs you may see a more robust temperament. A show bred lab is often less concerned over the little ups and downs of life. Its all a bit of fun. Nothing is taken too seriously.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that field bred labs are more clever, but they may less distractible, more focused and therefore easier to train.  This can certainly give the impression of a dog that is pretty smart.

These dogs may also be more likely to be black.

The differences are small

The important thing to remember is that these differences in ‘trainability’ if you like to call them that, are minimal.  Show / English Labs are still highly intelligent, highly trainable dogs.

The differences between field and show might give you the edge in competition, but they are not going to make any difference to your basic obedience training, or your pet’s behaviour.

They are also becoming increasingly irrelevant as we switch to more modern methods of training which are much better at motivating dogs to engage in the training process.

Now let’s find out why working retrievers are often black.

Any color as long as its black!

We mentioned earlier that the color black has long been favoured by the working retriever community.  Check out that link for a fascinating trip back in time to look at Labrador origins.

Experienced, working gundog enthusiasts are less likely to buy a puppy that is not from working lines, and when they do, they are more likely to chose a black dog.  Unsurprisingly this means that most working lines of Labs are predominantly black. Particularly in the UK where the ‘chocolates are stupid’ rumours originate.

In the UK, if you visit a driven pheasant shoot or a grouse moor, you’ll see black Labs vastly outnumbering their yellow cousins. Brown dogs are few and far between.  This is starting to change, but only just.

Part of the reason for this is simply that the early Labs were black and people don’t like change.

Black is also a great color for a hunting companion. A yellow dog really stands out in the countryside, even in poor light, so even when yellow dogs became more common, they were not so popular with the hunter.  Brown dogs are better camouflaged but became more numerous much later and were embraced first by the pet and show communities.

Nice but Dim? Are chocolate labradors stupid?

So is there any truth in the rumours?  Are chocolate Labradors stupid?  Hopefully we can put this one to bed.

Firstly I should say that to my knowledge, no study has ever been carried out on the differing intellectual abilities of Labrador of different colors.  Everything you hear is based on personal anecdotal stories, often passed along in fun. At least to begin with!

I have found my own chocolate Lab from mixed lines to be a lot more ‘playful’ and interested in other dogs, than my working bred labradors generally are.

She has very intense retrieve drive, but is less naturally keen to share the outcome with anyone.

She is also easily distracted and because of this she has taken me a little longer to train than my working line Labs.  I’ve heard others report the same observations.

But it is most unlikely that there is any distinct difference in intelligence between dogs of the same breed that happen to be a different color.

Being chocolate does not make a dog stupid

Let’s be practical here. Even if there were a difference in learning ability between different colored dogs, it’s important to remember that an association, or correlation, between two things does not mean that one caused the other.

The answer lies in the behaviour and temperament of dogs from different bloodlines.  The difference in trainability is in short a feature of the difference between the field bred dog and the show bred dog rather than a feature of the color of the dog.

It is a coincidence that many chocolate Labradors are show bred or English in type, and many black Labs are field bred or American in type.  Because of this coincidence the characteristics of the show bred Lab tend to be attributed to our brown friends. While the characteristics of the field bred Lab tend to be attributed to our black dogs.

So you can see how the myth got started..

The fact is, that chocolate Labs from working lines are just as easy to train as black Labs from working lines.  But you are less likely to meet a chocolate lab from working lines at the moment – in the UK at least. The division is becoming more blurred in the USA where chocolates have been competing successfully in Field Trials for some time.

You can read more about the division in type between the working lab and the show lab in this article: Which type of Labrador makes the best pet – work or show?

But rest assured, your chocolate friend is not stupid, and with modern training methods you can easily teach him to be a well behaved and obedient dog.

50 shades of chocolate?

Not really!  Unlike our yellow Labradors – which come in a wide range of shades, the color chocolate is pretty consistent in puppyhood, and most chocolate Labs are quite similar in color.

The color of your adult chocolate boy or girl’s coat will however vary depending on whether the coat is newly grown after a moult, or is about to shed. You can read more about shedding here: Shedding Labradors

As the old hair dies it starts to lose some of its colour, and the dead hair is much paler than the glossy new coat that will soon appear.

And though some chocolate labs are darker than others, even when taking the stage of moult into account, variations between individuals are fairly small, with one very contentious exception.  The Silver Labrador.

Where did silver Labradors come from?

Silver Labradors have a gene which dilutes the color chocolate and makes it a pale, silvery shade.  Some people find this very attractive, while others regard it as an abomination.

There is no doubt that a hundred years ago, there was no coat dilution gene in our Labrador Retrievers.  We know for sure that this gene has appeared quite recently.   What we don’t know for sure, is how it got there.

The strongest theory is that the gene arrived through cross breeding a Labrador with a dog that carries the dilute coat color gene.  A breed such as the Weimaraner for example.

The other explanation is that the gene causing the silver coat was some kind of genetic ‘accident’ or mutation.  This seems rather less likely. But you can read up on the whole silver controversy in more detail here: All about Silver Labradors.

The Kennel Clubs of UK and USA are currently willing to register silver labs, despite the dispute over their ancestry, but they can only be registered as ‘chocolate’.  Not as silver itself.

A bright future for chocolate Labradors

Throughout history, there have been a number of famous black labradors, and we tend to associate yellow Labs with the all important role of working as assistance dogs.
chocolate labrador surfingBill Clinton’s chocolate Labrador Buddy was famous simply for being the president’s dog, but it is harder to find examples of chocolate Labradors who have distinguished themselves.

This is not because they lack the qualities or abilities of black and yellow dogs, but simply because the popularity of the color is a relatively recent phenomenon.

There are as we speak, plenty of chocolate labradors serving in the military, working as assistance dogs and in the shooting field.  Their story  has only just begun, and as time goes on, we’ll be hearing more of their exploits.

Maybe you have a story to tell about your own chocolate friend, or maybe you are just starting out on your journey to finding a chocolate lab to share your life.  If that’s the case, read on.  We have some tips for searching in the right places

Finding your chocolate lab

There are two main ways of bringing a chocolate labrador retriever into your life.   And many people will tell you that the very best way, is to rescue a dog from a shelter or dog’s home.

The other way, is to buy a puppy and raise him yourself.

I can’t tell you which is right for your own family, though I will say that it is not as clearcut an issue as some will tell you.

There are pros and cons to both rescuing an older dog and raising your own puppy, I go into these in some detail in my new book “The Labrador Handbook”.

It may well depend on what stage of life your family is at and on how experienced you are with dogs in general, and with labradors in particular.

If rescuing appeals to you, and you are ready for the challenges and the many benefits of giving a dog a new lease of life, there are plenty of rescue societies that specialise in Labradors.

Rescuing a chocolate labrador

The first step is to make contact with your local Labrador Rescue. Most rescues don’t rheum dogs outside their own ‘catchment area’.

You can find details on Rescues in the UK and the USA on this page: Labrador Rescue Societies

Many people expect to be able to go along to a shelter and chose a dog.  But it doesn’t work quite like that.

The first thing that happens, is that the rescue society will want to check out you, and your family, to make sure your home and lifestyle is suitable for one of their dogs.  This means that they will probably want to visit you at home. Once you are accepted, you’ll be able to meet your future dog.

Many rescue dogs live with ‘foster parents’ rather than in a large kennel compound, so you’ll be able to see your new friend in a real life family situation.

Rescuing  can be a wonderful and fulfilling way of bringing a chocolate Labrador into your life, so do consider it thoroughly.  You can find lots more information here: Is a rescue Labrador right for you  and here The right dog for you- Puppy or Rescue?

If now is not the right time for you to rescue an older dog.  Or if you are getting a Labrador for a special purpose – as a hunting companion for example – you may be better off with a new puppy.  Let’s see how that works

Buying a chocolate lab puppy

Chocolate Labrador puppies are ready to go to their permanent homes at around eight weeks old.

If someone wants to sell you a puppy much younger than that, alarm bells should be ringing.  You also need to make sure you buy your puppy from the right place.

buying-a-chocolate-labrador-puppyThis means choosing the right breeder.  And avoiding puppy mills and pet stores.  If you want a puppy for hunting, you need to go to a breeder that specialises in field-bred dogs.

If you want to get involved in the world of showing, you need to go to a breeder that breeds labradors for the show ring.

It is possible to train a show dog for work, though he or she is unlikely to get far in high level field competitions, but it is not normally possible to succeed in the show ring with a field bred dog.  Bear this in mind.

In the UK, only a few kennels are breeding chocolate Labradors for gundog work.  Look for names like Styleside and Grangemead in the pedigree if you want a dog with retrieve drive and trainability.

A healthy puppy

Labradors of all colors suffer from inherited disorders.

Please, please make sure your puppy is from health tested parents – it may all end in tears if you omit this important step

You can find out more about health issues in Labradors in this article: Health screening for Labrador Diseases

And there is lots of information on finding a good breeder here: Labrador breeders – how to find a good one

Training and exercising your chocolate labrador

My advice for training and exercising your chocolate Labrador is to figure out what type of lines your dog is from and adjust your expectations accordingly.  Then to follow a good positive reinforcement training programme.

If your chocolate friend is field-bred, treat him like any other field-bred lab.  Make sure you exercise his mind as well as his body. Even if you never intend to take him hunting, he still needs a job to do, retrieves to complete, toys to find, streams to cross and so on.

Training him isn’t just necessary, it will be a whole lot of fun.

If your dog is from show lines, he too needs training and plenty of exercise, but he may also need plenty of play. Toys and games, and other dogs to interact with.

Training Rachael

Even at three years old, Rachael still loves to play with other dogs and with people.

Rachael is hugely enthusiastic about meeting people (and dogs) and prone to be over-friendly.

Whilst we certainly don’t want an aggressive or unfriendly working gundog,  this extra-friendliness makes the dog more prone to distraction by humans and other dogs.

I have therefore had to spend a bit more time ‘proofing’ basic obedience than I would with one of my yellow or black working bred labs.   And I have to make a special effort to ensure that she is not allowed to interact with visitors until she is sitting calmly.

On the plus side,  I have had to spend less time socialising Rachael than I would with a field bred lab.  As she takes everything in her stride.

Pay extra attention to proofing your show bred dog’s obedience in the presence of people and other dogs – you may find he is intensely friendly and rather distractible so this aspect of his education is important

You will find lots of training information and advice in our training section here: Labrador training articles

Above all, treat your chocolate labrador like an individual.  He is far more than just a product of his breeding and environment.  He is a unique character, there will never be another quite like him

Caring for an elderly chocolate lab

As the years pass by,  we leave behind one set of challenges, puddles, chewed up shoes, and boisterus behaviour, but they are replaced by new ones.

Failing eyesight, stiff joints, and declining hearing.

However, these senior years can still be happy and fun filled for many dogs, especially if you keep your dog slim.

If your chocolate friend is quite heavily built as many chocolates are, you need to be extra careful to  keep an eye on his weight as he ages.  More body weight means more stress and strain on joints, this can aggravate problems like arthritis in older dogs

I personally think that elderly chocolate labradors are particularly beautiful, with their greying muzzles and kind eyes.

Of course, you will want to make your old friend as comfortable as you can, and we have plenty tips and advice for those that share their lives with older dogs in this article: caring for the older labrador

What is so special about chocolate

I have been writing about Labradors for many years now, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are all wonderful dogs.  But the chocolate labrador is special.

It is hard to explain why to those who don’t share their lives with one of these beautiful dogs, but if have one, you’ll know exactly what I mean!

I’d love to hear about your own chocolate labrador, so do drop your story in the comments box below, or post his or her photo up on our Facebook page or in the forum.  Tell us what is so special about your chocolate labrador and why you think chocolate labs are the best.

Further information

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

Don’t forget, you can comment below, or on our Facebook page, or in our forum.



  1. good morning
    I have enjoyed reading your page, I have just purchased my 7th Labrador but 2nd chocolate lab don’t be alarmed by the amount I have had as I used to walk puppies for the guide dog association which is what got me in to Labradors.
    I lost my beloved chocolate Labrador Tia 2 years ago and although I have a rescue lurcher had longed for a chocolate lab, her name is violet and she is adorable and the information on your page will definitely help me bringing her up in a good and calm environment, I am reading a lot as Tia was 11 when she passed so I have to learn about puppy care again. I have had 4 yellows one of which I kept until he passed at 12 years old, 1 black, and a chocolate, and now another chocolate.

  2. Interesting article – thank you. We have an almost 9 year old chocolate bitch and a 12 year old black dog. Our black lab is kind and wonderful in so many ways, but quite disobedient due to our own ignorance when we got him. Our chocolate bitch is a bit highly strung, but much more obedient (having been trained early on) and loyal. My husband and I will struggle to agree on black or chocolate, dog or bitch when we get another in the future. One thing is for sure, I’ll be purchasing your book/s to help us when we take the plunge.

  3. Our Chocolate Lab Henry is the love of my life and extremely intelligent. He retrieves the newspaper every morning, rings a bell on the doorknob to go out and of course all of the usual commands of sit, stay, lay, shake and speak. We walk him off the leash and even if he runs ahead, he will stop and sit at the corner, sit down and wait until we catch up. He looks up at us with those beautiful gold eyes and waits for us to say”okay” and then follows us across the street. If we do not say “okay” but cross the street, he will stay there sitting until we give him the go ahead. He loves to be cradled in our arms on his back like a baby (he is 2 and 62 pounds). He is the most affectionate and lovable dog I have ever owned. His coat feels like velvet and he is the most beautiful shade of chocolate. He is a great watch dog and does not let anyone he does not know pet him. Sometimes people will ask me if they can pet him but when they reach out to do do he does a little “duck and dodge” in order to escape their touch. Once he gets to know you though he will be your buddy forever!

  4. Loved this article. We also have your book The Labrador Handbook.
    We have two chocolate Labradors both rescue dogs. Gwen 4 and Ollie 21months. They both have challenges hence their rescue status. Having previously had A black lab I find our current choc labs more playful and their concentration span appears to be far shorter. This may be pure coincidence but training has taken a lot longer. But we love them very much

  5. This article has me convinced! We have the option of a chocolate girl from a friend’s litter and we have ummed and ahhed since the day they were born as we ideally wanted a black lab. My heart has been saying go for it, and this site has convinced my head to follow suit! Thanks so much. I will check back in once we bring our new puppy home to let you know how it goes!

  6. I Have a 1 year old Chocolate lab who’s name is Jake from state farm and Yes he does wear kaki’s he is so hand some and a hand full was curios on how much food a day he should have? he is 1 year old and about 85lbs every website I see tells me some thing different !!!! can some body please HELP ME????

  7. My chocolate lab is the best. She is my best friend and goes everywhere with me. No matter where we go everyone always wants to pet her, and they always tell me how great of a dog I have. She wins over everyone’s hearts. She may be older but she’s still a puppy at heart. I love her as if she was my child. I even tell people she is my daughter and people laugh but I am serious. Dogs just make me smile no matter what.

  8. I had an English working chocolate. She was a cracking dog and shocked everyone in the UK by winning her first novice test at 11 months. However reading your notes regarding colour I am not convinced she was purebred. By all means her five generation pedigree was all Labrador but her coat was very slightly darker than our other (English/show) chocolate, her head was narrower and not the classic t-shape (she had a domed head) but the real giveaway was her coat texture, it was slightly wiry. For this reason I suspect there may have been some Chesapeake thrown in the mix many generations ago. She was a great dog though.

  9. My chocolate Lab Buster passed away 5 months ago and my heart is still broken, he was the most amazing, loyal, best friend anyone could wish for and the day he went is one of the worst days of my life. He was a week short of his 10th birthday and he went to early and I miss him so much. He gave my family and I countless hours of fun and we wish he was still in our lives now. His temperament was amazing and would want to play all day and offer so many cuddles. Miss you Buster and I would love to take you for another long walk one day.

    • Lee, I can truly relate to your pain. My chocolate boy Jerry (Garcia) was the best friend I’ve ever had. At one dark point in my life, he literally saved my life. Any time I cried, Jerry would come and cozy up to me and lick my face. I have so many fun stories about him…he was such a smart, fun, goofy boy who loved to “work” and to love and be loved, and to chase his flyer, and to eat! He was always a healthy weight, but I swear he was always looking for food. His grandfather was a drug dog for the Atlanta P.D., and I think his extraordinary ability to find hidden toys and tiny bits of food were due to this inheritance. I would’ve laid down my life for his and he for me. Oh my gosh I could go on and on…forgive me. We had to let him take his final rest last September (2014). It was the first real grief I’ve had. I still cry sometimes, and I think of him every day. But mostly nowadays my husband and I remember all of the fun we had with him. I will be thinking of you, and hope that your pain is usurped by great memories. Cry all you need to…let yourself feel all the feelings, and know that you are in good company with a whole bunch of chocolate lovers! Chocos rule!!

  10. Labs rock the universe! Have Lizzy, who’s a 16 year old black lab and Sophie, who is 7 year old chocolate girl. To this day they are so lovable,caring girls that truly enjoy bringing others into their world!

  11. I loved your article and your photographs. Our beautiful chocolate lab lived until he was 14 years, 9 months. He was a field dog and we did just as you suggested: we exercised his mind and his body and thus, his soul was happy. He was a strong dog physically, but it was his emotional intelligence that blew us all away. He was my constant and trusted companion when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He accompanied her into the radiation treatment – she placed her hand on his head while she had radiation on her brain. He was there throughout her journey and cuddled her when she took her last breath. He was then a keen therapy dog. He was self-empowered to heal and support people. When my mother passed on I felt he was too focused on people and so I entered him into doggy daycare. He went there 5 days a week. He was the biggest goofball after that. He loved all dogs and was a known ‘charmer’. He would sing – yes, sing, to the female dogs he liked. At the age of 11 I packed he and all of my belongings up and together we relocated to Australia from Canada. He made the journey without missing a beat. I knew no one, but felt right at home, with him by my side. I found another doggy daycare and he thrived being with the puppies. He was mentally sharp until the day he passed. His arthritis did slow him down, he practiced his sitting at the park and watched the other dogs play. He loved it when they came to greet him. He died in my arms, with butterflies swooning him. He was ever the angel in my life. My best friend. If I could only find a man who was like him. Ha ha (I did and my dog approved of him). After nearly two years, I am ready for another dog, and so is my husband. We will seek out another chocolate lab. They are my tribe. I love this site and bless all creatures, but my heart belongs to labs.

  12. Hello I’ve just discovered your helpful site. I am looking to buy a chocolate puppy to bring home mid March. We’ve previously owned a golden retriever and a black lab. We want a girl and she will be a family pet so needs to be used to children. I will be following your site and any hints re local ( ish ) breeders would be welcome. Thank you

  13. I’ve just discovered your site. I’m looking to buy a chocolate puppy to bring home mid March. We want a girl. We previously owned a golden retriever and a black lab. She will be a family pet so needs to be used to children. We live in Essex so any tips on breeders known to you would be welcome

  14. I’ve always had lab mixes but have also had the pleasure of a chocolate and a yellow. The yellow is soon to be 15 and happily roaming the fields with my former spouse. I am about to welcome a female chocolate to my family in the new year. I have never owned a female so choosing a name is going to be a fun adventure.

  15. We have had Labs for 15 yrs now, always Black…we lost our first back in Sept 2011, my husband then decided he wanted a ‘brown’ one! Having never been a Chocolate fan, I wasnt up for it, till I saw the advert for Chocolate puppies, Has it was for Hubbies 50th, I told him he could chose, but gave him a few tips! Male, and not the one you feel sorry for…..Hubby then chose Tyler, he was huge! 6 weeks and beautiful, we have had Tyler 3.5 yrs now and even though he has been hard work, we wouldnt be without him, he has such a character and is still huge! Our boys now are inseperable, Benson 10.5 yrs, Jovi, 6 yrs and 3.5 yr old Tyler, A very happy combination…….we love them to bits ….

  16. Hi Guys

    We have a most beautiful Chocolate Labrador named “Cassie”, she is eight now and she was born in British Columbia Canada, and she was flown home to the UK with us when she was 2/12. She is from champion Field stock, and has been the most precious thing that we have ever owned. So easy to train right from the start, she loves the snow, and the rain, but doesn’t do too well in the heat unless she can stay wet !!
    We now live in Bournemouth where she is able to enjoy all of her favourite pastimes, like swimming, and running in the woods. Not sure what the future holds for her though as she was diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy last week so the next few months or years may be very different for her. Her parents were healthy as far as we were told, she has a good pedigree. I cannot say how much she has enhanced our lives, she is the most obedient, clever, intuitive, lovable dog that we have ever owned, who is the life and soul of our bones. Everybody needs to own a Labrador sometime in their lives especially a Chocolate named Cassie !!

  17. We currently have 3 Labs- 1 yellow, 1 black, and 1 chocolate. We have had 2 yellows in the past.

    All are wonderful dogs. The black is neutral in behavior, not hyper nor too mellow. Every yellow we have had are/were just big, lovable fuzz balls.

    BUT, the chocolate male (Rusty) is special. He is the most loyal dog I have ever owned and I have owned many in my 62 years! He is also the sweetest. All Labs love to be with their human family. But Rusty’s mission in life is to be with my wife and me. He’s just the perfect dog.

    Rusty, the chocolate, is smaller than the black and yellow(s). I suppose this is common.

    Thank God for Labradors!!

  18. I have a chocolate Lab named Buckster Brown. He is now 1 1/2 years old, and the love of my life. I have owned two black labs previously but none compare to this chocolate boy. He has just stolen my heart! I can’t express how smart he is and everyday getting smarter. I have no experience in training a dog and I have managed to teach him so much. He knows many simply commands such as sit, stay, come, roll over, etc. He can also cover his eyes to play peek a boo which is my favorite. He can open cabinets, doors and the refrigerator. Told you he was smart, but none of these things compare to his beautiful nature. He is a bundle of love that never stops giving, and he works so hard to please me. He has truly won me over and I can’t imagine life without him! Everyone should own a chocolate charmer sometime in their lives.

  19. We are owned heart and soul by a 16 yr old Chocolate need Glory. She is the smartest and most focused animal I have ever seen. She now has adrenal gland cancer but is bravely hanging in there. She is irreplaceable. If she had been born with thumbs…she could have ruled the world!

  20. Hi! Our choccy boy is called Cooper and he’s 7 months old and completely crackers! Hes obsessed with his dads shoes (the chewing of them anyway!) but will do almost anything for a treat. Im hoping that will help with his recall training coz right now making new friends, following his cat brother Bayley around and exploring are FAR more interesting than coming back when mum calls! Gonna have to invest in a whistle! Great article by the way 👍

  21. My Betsy is a chocolate and she is a beauty! Betsy will be 7 in 4 months! Betsy is an athlete if she had thumbs she would be an outfielder. Betsy is the best dog. She is so lovey. A 70 lb lap dog! Betsy has a lot of heart!

  22. We just got out 2nd Chocolate labs today if she is half as good as her sister dog that is 2years old she will be a great dog, we do dock diving with her and hunting she is a Field trail American Lab and a great dog

  23. We have a chocolate lab called William, we have had a black lab and a yellow one, we have loved them all dearly, William…with his rich dark colour, His beautiful, kind, friendly, soft face, his gentle nature and ways, just makes my heat burst with love for him.

  24. i have a 3yr old chocolate named tilly also a black named mizzie she is nearly 4 tilly is from show and is gorgeous so is mizzie gorgeous i love them to bits they are my baby girls but tilly is so funny she needs her tennis ball whereever she goes she took a bit longer to train but is gorgeous

  25. I got my first chocolate Labrador 5 years ago and I adore him! Max is very affectionate, brilliant with my two year old and has such a lovely temperament. Every night he follows the last person up to bed and sleeps on a very expensive bed spread on the floor. My nights sleep wouldn’t be compete without hearing max snore or having one of his dreams. I can not imagine my life without him.

  26. We have a wonderful chocolate lab called Rusty. He is 11 years old and is well apart from a fat lump on his chest. We have cut his food but it is growing all the time. The vet says it is benign. It is now very big and we are thinking of asking the vet to surgically remove the lump which they have told us is not a problem. Has anyone had this surgery undertaken?

    • Hi Ronny, I have had several fatty lumps removed from my elderly spaniel. It is a straightforward op and he should recover quite quickly. Good luck, Pippa

  27. I have a four year old choc named Bisto, I had never thought of getting a choc till Bisto and his siblings were born! I went to choose him when the litter was 4 weeks old and I was smitten ~ I wanted them all! Yes Bisto is VERY easily distracted, EXTREMELY friendly and a little bit daft, but on the whole I have NEVER known a more laid back dog than Bisto! Once Chocolate, always Chocolate is my thoughts now!

  28. We originally got my first chocolate lab as a companion to my very smart, semi hyper and needy yellow. I swear to this day, that my yellow trained him for me. But, his disposition and demeanor have sold me on chocolates forever. Mousse is the most kind, gentle and sweetest dog I have ever owned. Never an chewer and mellow from the get go. He is six now and we lost or yellow this summer. Soon, we will be on the hunt for another chocolate for Mousse to train.

  29. Hi, I just got an 8 week old chocolate lab and he has been with us for 3 weeks now. He is doing really well. He can already do the basic commands sit, lay down, paw, roll over and up. We are working on come and wait which is doing great. The only concern we have is when we come home he doesn’t get excited to see us, but if other people come over he is really excited to that person and he doesn’t like to sit with us or lay with us. He always goes and lays somewhere else or if we go and sit by him he moves :( Does he not like us? Any suggestions would be great!

  30. I have a 7 year old choccie male Rolo we all love him to bits and he also loves everyone. He is my shadow and is very sensitive to high voices. Sadly today my friend has had to have her 10 ywar old choccie put to sleep so sad. They are oart of our family and so loving….we live in Australia and it was hard to find a choccie back then although more popular now on the beach.

  31. having bred labs for some years of all 3 colours I have had many of these comments directed at me and have given much the same responses. temperament is a mix of genwtics and environment . As my chocolate/liver lines came out of my black and yellow dogs and because I routinely take choc girls to black studs at least every second generation then their genes are much the same as their ancestors of other colours. In mixed litters there is always a ring leader, a very laid back pup an explorer etc and I have never seen one colour dominant any of these temperaments. I currently have a lab of each colour all have the general lab traits of playfullness, intelligence and curiosity and live and all are different….could I choose one over another? no way

  32. Hello, what an excellent article and a very interesting read!! I can categorically state my chocolate lab is the best money I ever spent!! At 8 weeks old he was a typical farm raised puppy his show bred mother and working dog dad which means he has a build of a working dog but the looks of show dog but then I am biased! We couldn’t take him anywhere with out being stopped by people. He is also one of the rare phenomenon or Labradors that isn’t lead by his stomach! He is now 6 years old and has just started to grey on his muzzle!! I couldn’t imagine life without him!! He is my best friend! If any one is looking for a dog get a Labrador you won’t be disappointed!! Xx

  33. I lost my 10 year old chocolate lab to an aggressive cancer in August. I miss him soooo much. He was the sweetest boy. He was handsome, friendly, gentle, goofy, so loving and a great snuggler. He still looked and acted like a puppy at 10 years old. Even at 75 pounds, he thought he was a lap dog. He always slept with me unless I had overnight guests, in which case he would sleep with them in the guest room, just to make them feel welcome and safe. Everyone who met him loved him. I wish I could have cloned him because he was the best dog and without question, my best friend. I am unemployed right now so I can’t afford to buy another chocolate lab yet but I’m checking the rescue websites daily to see if I can find a new chocolate or chocolate mix puppy. He was my first dog and now I’m a lab mom for life! Rest in peace, sweet Fudgie.

  34. I have raised labs for over 20 years and have all three colors black chocolate and yellow. I love them all but if I was only able to have one dog ..God forbid that ever happen .it would be chocolate hands down .I started with a chocolate female and am convinced that with proper breeding and training that labs are the best breed in the world just saying .

  35. I definitely brought my beautiful girl from the right person. My baby is just like one of my children. I love her so much. Shes gentle and affectionate and no matter where I am shes always right bside me. Very clever and such a good girl. I hope she lives for ever. Best money Ive ever spent

    • HELLO* ive had maNY different breeds but so far I love the chocolate lab best just got my new friend jack, 3 months ago, seems like hes been here forever* we had just lost our german shorthair few months b 4 I was heart broken & hubby too, started looking in shelters but something always happened, so nothing, then outa the blue 1 of my brothers called said he had too get rid of 1 of his tho it wasn’t his legaly yet, long story short, got jack & what a great dog he is. thanks jeff Julie HES AWSUM . god bless ck.

  36. Thank you so much for putting up this article . It was perfect timing. We have just rescued a chocolate lab she is 8 months. She was given up because she was to much to handle. We have had her for 6 weeks , her zest for life is amazing. Yes she is hard work – the joy she brings out weighs that. She wants to make friends with everyone. People though are still biased though. we take her to puppy training. and the trainer is not keen on her at all because she is a chocolate lab. I find that a little sad.

    • We have 3 Labs, one of each color. Our 5.5 y/o choco girl, Haely is my current obedience dog. She has earned her AKC CDX, GN and RE titles, her UKC U-CDX, U-RO3 and we are currently training in Utility. She has earned 4 RAE legs so far in Rally. At the recent Lab National at Purina farms, Haely earned a 1st, 3 2nds and a High Combined in Rally. She is a joy to work with.

  37. Hi. My Dougal, is now ten and half, came from working stock born on the isle of Jura, specifically chosen litter, as owner wanted a change from black dogs on the hill,. He is dyspraxic sadly, so did not expect him to work at all. However after slow and steady training,he goes through any cover willingly, and picks up stuff the spaniels have rushed over, can’t jump but if he tries makes everyone smile. He has achieved intermediary police dog obedience certificate and is a registered pat a pet, visiting our old peoples home regularly, where his tender nature and calm attitude are very much loved.

  38. My chocolate has provided us with 11 years of entertainment. To this day I’m convinced she part kangaroo, or cat as fortunately she seems to have 9 lives. Driven 24 hours a day to please and get rewards she has risen with limited training to the national dog agility podium at such a senior age. Forever my favorite breed

  39. I had an English chocolate lab best dog ever, good with kids very mellow, obedient never had to put him on a leash. He was the neighborhood pet. Everyone loved our Bruin. Bruin passed away in March of 2015, he had a good 13.50 years. We were looking for another dog a smaller one but we keep going back to a chocolate.

  40. What a brilliant informative article. We are going to get a puppy next year so we are doing our homework now as neither of us had a brown lab before. Thanks everyone for leaving there comments x

  41. I have 2 labs one yellow and one chocolate and I love them to pieces. My chocolate lab Gunner is definitely unique and has an amazing personality. He is very friendly but can be disobedient around other dogs and people and hurts my back when walking on a leas. But heyho I adore him. My Lucy lab is my best friend

  42. I loved your article! My chocolate boy Max passed away 2 months ago he was 13.5 years old and I loved him so much. It still knocks the wind out of me when I see his photos. He was the perfect partner… Miss him so much!! He was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!

  43. i have two chocolates right now. A two year old female and an 8 month old male. Mannerisms are very similar but they are completely different characters. DJ, the Female, has about 40 tricks up her sleeve and learns fast. The boy, Diesel, has been a bit slower to learn but has a hi drive to please. The two together are better to watch than anything on tv as comedy usually ensues. They are both field trials bred but DJ hate guns and the boy doesn’t mind the noise as long as he gets his duck or ball. Love my dogs, they are both goofy. Can’t imagine my life without them

  44. I never wanted a chocolate lab but my best friend got a chocolate puppy and kept telling me about the last one left from the litter, who was now 6 months old. I agreed to visit and instantly fell in love he is 2 now and I can’t imagine my life without him, he is so loving and laid back. He makes me smile every day x

  45. Thank you for the informative article…our eight month old chocolate is named Pippa!
    She’s been a little celebrity around town.