Nice but dim: are chocolate labradors stupid?


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

Are all (or even most) chocolate Labradors intellectually challenged? Is the beauty on your hearth rug all beauty and no brains?

Or is the deficit in the ‘chocolate brain’ department just a nasty myth?

We’re going to take a look in this article – it’ll be fun!

If you want to know where chocolate Labradors come from, or how to find, buy, train or care for your chocolate labrador, head over to our in-depth article on these beautiful dogs.

No proof

Firstly I should say that to my knowledge, no study has ever been carried out on the differing intellectual abilities of Labradors of different colours.


All the evidence I have seen, has been anecdotal.

Personal stories and experiences passed on from Labrador owners and trainers.

My own experience with chocolate Labradors is not extensive and the fact that the ones I have met have not distinguished themselves intellectually, is quite probably the merest coincidence.

So where did these rumours arise!

Field and show

I believe that the differences observed in the chocolate Labrador population are actually not linked with colour, but rather with type.

There is little doubt that ‘field’ or ‘working’ type Labradors are easier to train than those from show stock.

Whether this is because they are actually better at problem solving (an indicator of intelligence) or because of their temperament, is open to discussion.

I suspect the latter.

Field bred labs tend to be highly sensitive, and 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.

In show dogs you 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.

This can make the dog somewhat harder to train.  And that can result in the trainer concluding that the dog is stupid. Which is not necessarily the case.

Chocolate Labradors have more show ancestry

For the last fifty or more years black Labradors have dominated in the working gundog community. In field trial circles yellow labs are not unpopular, but the average shooting man wants a black lab.

Go to any working shoot in the UK and in most cases, ninety percent of all the Labradors there will be black. There is some logic behind this. A black dog blends into the undergrowth far better than a bright yellow one and so is more suited to hide shooting (in the USA hides are known as ‘blinds’) duck flighting and the like.

The popularity of chocolate Labradors has exploded in last few years, but until very recently, this explosion was largely confined to the show ring and the pet dog community.

Working gundog owners stuck to their black labs because that is what they liked. Now of course the fox red lab (just a dark version of yellow) is increasingly popular and many shooting men and women are also now showing an interest in the chocolate lab.

Chocolate LabradorAs chocolate Labradors ‘collect’ more working genes through recent breeding practices, we are likely to see a change in temperament.

Indeed, some chocolate Labradors are now competing successfully in the field against their black and yellow cousins.

For the time being though, black predominates in fieldwork competitions, and you can still see the preponderance of show genes in many working chocolates by their conformation. The nice otter tail, chunky body, small ears and well shaped head of this working chocolate Labrador, are a give away as to her ancestors And yes, I know that her owner won’t mind me saying, she is not the brightest button in the box!

How about you?  Is your chocolate labrador stupid?  Are you struggling with training? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

More information

Check out our Labrador Care section to find out more about the differences between the varying colours in Labradors

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.


  1. my chocolate lab coco he is 14 months and is a bit thick but is clever at the same time what a brill dog good with the kids wouldn change him for the world

  2. I have a chocolate lab bitch called Tottie.
    I have had spaniels and black labs all my life but I have never had such a bright and easy to train working dog as Tottie.
    I was careful to ensure that she was from working stock and already at just 6 months she has virtually trained herself :
    Comes to a whistle
    Sits to a whistle
    Heals without a lead
    Retrieves a dummy with feather wings on it.
    Retrieves a dummy from ponds and rivers
    Retrieves blind dummies
    Sits until told to move
    She is a true delight and my only complaint is that she is so intelligent that she can open most doors in the house (especially the larder!)
    She even brings her bowl to me at mealtimes and puts her blanket on the sofa before she lies down on it!
    I may just be lucky but I shall definitely be breeding from her.
    I hope this helps.

    • Hi Russell,
      I’m looking for a working Chocolate Lab and wondered what your remarkable dogs breeding is?
      Kind regards

    • Hi Russell,
      I am looking for a chocolate labrador puppy from a working background and would be interested to know if you should be planning or expecting any puppies from Tottie or indeed know of whom I should contact to find one. I am planning on training this puppy for the shoot and although this would be only my first attempt at full gundog training I have had experience of more general training with my two house pet labs Poppy and Belle (chocolate and fox red). If you should hear of any please do let me know.
      All the best Shanee

  3. We have just got our second working lab puppy, a chocolate…
    He is just as easy if not more willing to please than my previous black working lab.
    The colour has raised a few eyebrows within our local shooting community but they have all been extremely surprised upon meeting him over how naturally steady and quick and eager to learn he is.
    At 6 months old he will heel, sit, stay, retrieve, give to hand with no hint of dropping and recall without trouble..
    We have only just begun on the whistle work though.
    As a reccomendation do thoroughly research your working lines for a good puppy. We were very lucky to have good word of mouth on our local gundog breeder.
    Thankfully unlike Tottie he has not learned how to open the larder door, however it will be nice when he can bring me a beer!

  4. We have a choc and a fox red, Fox red steady and anxious to please, choc is as mad as a box of frogs ! Love them both ….

  5. Last year we lost our show strain Chocolate Labrador called Reggie.He was the most wonderful loving dog but we used to say he didn’t have a brain,he had a pea.Now we have a working strain Choccy called Teddy.Much brighter but also much more willful. He has selected hearing .

  6. I have 2 chocolate labs – one has just turned 2 and the other his half brother is 24 weeks – they are both from the same mother – and their fathers are both gun dog champs. The older dog (Cadbury) is an itelligant dog when he wants to be but on occasion acts stupid to get attention. Cocoa the younger one is just crazy and we have compaired him to a young joey kangeroo as he is always bouncing especially when its feeding time. They both have the ability to let them selves in to rooms but once in they are in they cant remember the way out without guidance. They are comical to watch and we wouldnt swap them for the world eventhough they are a little dim at times ????

  7. Hi,
    My chocolate lab jasper is 2 this month. His sire, from an excellent breeder has been described as ‘not the brightest star in the sky’, this may be true and in our visit proved positive but he works the field as some part of the pack. His dam is a quiet and a pet through and through. Jasper has come as a welcome mix of the two, the last of a litter of 10, the biggest, most sensitive and vocal puppy available. He simply acts emotionally how you need him to at the time. Effectionate, boysterous, playful or dismissive, all at the best time. We searched far and wide for him but when we saw him we knew he was right. He is our first dog as a couple and without him we would bs lost. He’s marvellous.

  8. My handsome jack is 8 years, from the day we brought him home at 10 weeks he has been the perfect friend, easy to train, sat at first command, definately not what you expect from a chocky lab. since the passing of my husband he has been my constant shadow, always with me . Also best playmate to my grandaughters age 4 @ 7

  9. I have 2 bitch Labs, 1 black (Stella 7 years) 1 chocolate (Penny 5 years)
    I’ve had them both since puppies and there both very intelligent, loyal, loving and extremely active dogs!!

    I think it doesn’t matter what colour they are all three colours of labs are equally clever although I believe no dog is the same anyway I think there all unique and have there own individual personalities much like us humanoids! :)

    Stella knows all the basic tricks; sit, lie, up, roll over, paws, fetch and drop. She’s fine off the lead on fields and large open areas, she comes back when told to but I can’t trust her off the lead near roads as she just runs round sniffing everything including cars that are waiting for her to get off the road!!

    Penny on the other hand knows the same as Stella but unlike Stella she can be trusted off the lead anywhere any time as she usually stays by my side. Also she carries the leads and retrieves them when told to.


  10. Hi I just wanted to say how useful I have found this article and all the subsequent comments. We had our loyal adorable 13 year old black lab put to sleep a few weeks ago and already I cannot bear life with out a lab in the house. We are not sure if we could have another Black one and so were considering Chocolate but then someone put me off. However after reading this I feel I might take a chance on a chocolate one as I know of someone due a litter any day from working stock with the possibility of a chocolate or two in their. Fingers crossed

    • Hi Anjela, glad you found the article and comments helpful. The main thing is to find a good breeder and a bitch you really like. Even if you have another black one, he will be different again from the dog you have recently lost. Good luck with your pup whatever colour you choose!

    • I just lost my 7yo Yellow because of a vets misdiagnosis and I cannot bear to be in my house until we get another. I feel for you. This is the ROUGHEST loss I’ve ever experienced. Mollie was my child :(

  11. Loved reading everyones comments on the chocolate debate. I am on my 2nd chocolate lab and wouldn’t be without. I first saw a chocolate lab back in the beginnning of 1970s, I knew that when I grew up I would have one. My 1stchocolate lab was 13 months old and was from show lines. He was the most loveable laid back lab you could ever meet. A bomb could go off and he wouldn’t flinch a muscle. I took him to playschool to keep up with the socialisation, he was the clown of the class but would do all that you asked of him even if it was at his speed and not yours. My 2nd chocolate is a bitch, she is related to my first dog (a quarter niece) she is different in her temperament, a bit sharper. She was very willing to do things but had a safety mechanism that would kick in if she thought things were not safe for her. She loved to do agility but if the dog walk felt unsafe would bark at it, test it with both feet before walking over it. She was also excellent at tracking and was taught to do searching in the forest to find my husband who would hide in the bushes. She never lost him! I wouldn’t be without my chocolate labs, though they do seem to be a bit different from the other two colours. They all have differet personalities, like us humans.

  12. I lost my choc lab bracken, a month ago. She was brilliant from the word go.
    She really was my best friend. Brilliant temperament, easy to train and a friend of everyone. I couldn’t of wished for a more perfect dog. If my next dog is as good as she was ill be very happy.

    • Kevin. I lost my yellow 7yo due to a misdiagnosis from the vet…I def understand the pain. I know its been a year for you now and I hope your heart is healing.

  13. A few months ago our 13 year old black lab Matilda passed away. We were heart broken. She was the most amazing dog. We have another black lab called Rodney and he is not blessed with intelligence but is hilarious. Just picking up a choc lab girl on the 20th dec. Didn’t want another black to compete for Matilda. The pups mum charis has cleaned up most if the dog shows around here so I’m really excited of entering this new colour in Labs. Can’t wait. Loving the names in these posts. Cadbury…that’s brilliant!

  14. I have a lovely chocolate labrador who just turned 7 months and he is far from stupid. He is extremely intelligent only ever having to be told something once or twice to learn it. I also have 3 children and he is a fantastic dog who never causes an ounce of bother.

  15. We have 2 chocolates from working dog lines. The boy, Bear is 2.5 years old and has his junior AKC, started UKC, and NARHA started. He has 1 pass senior and we skipped to master with 1 pass now. Got 5 more to go for master AKC. Any training delay was on our part. This dog is smart with excellent drive and temperament. He is a lover. Our girl, Honey is 9 months and has obedience down plus force fetch. She is an Alpha and smart as a whip. You are right about the conceptions of the hunting community, but they are softening up as more chocolates are making achievements in the industry and as more are given a chance, chocolates are proving their stuff and can proudly stand next to the black and yellow.

    • Hi Wendy, congratulations on your achievements with Bear and Honey. Working chocolates seem to be more well established in the USA, but hopefully we will catch up on this side of the pond! Pippa

  16. I desperately want my chocolate lab to stop taking off on me. He will not listen. We cannot go outside in the yard (have no fence) unless he is leashed or tied up.(we have 4 acres) We go outside. He bolts out to the road. Or over to the neighbors place. I call him. He does not come back. He will not listen. He does not come for treats or toys. He is very smart. On his own page and agenda I suspect. Any suggestions on how to get this hard headed four-legged creature on the same page with me.

    • Gayle, I know how you feel! My 3 year old choc lab is a son of 2010 Crufts best of breed, so I though he’d be great. He is lovely but very strong willed. Many people have told me that Chocolate labs are mad and not as bright as the other colours, including vets. It certainly is true in my dog’s case although I think part of it is down to having a strong will, eg he responds like lightning to words like “dinner” or “treats”, even picking them out of sentences spoken to other people, yet I cannot train him to walk to heel or to stop rushing up to other dogs and jumping up people. He’s 38 kg of muscle, he’s run up behind me when with his collie friend and had me flat on my back, cracking my head and opening my elbow for example (not bothering or knowing how to get out the way!?) I had to leave KC training classes because I’d go running in, pulled along by Dali, and he was just too disruptive in the class. I also had a day with a personal trainer, who did ok with him, but I do find that he is just so excitable that I can’t imagine that he’ll ever not bolt if he sees an interesting looking dog or person in the distance and its so embarrassing. I daren’t step outside the door without him being on a lead which is not what I wanted for him at all. Now the worst thing of all is that I’ve developed arthiritis in my hands and just don’t know what to do, its almost impossible to restrain him.

    • My choccie girl Bessie also takes off sometimes, it’s more luck than anything else that she’s not been run over. I’ve been using some of the tricks from “Total Recall” but she’s getting wise to them. Trying to hang onto the lead leaves me face down in the mud! I love her to pieces but she really is a tinker at times.

  17. I have a 9mth old choc bitch, she is from working stock, her mother was an absolute delight to meet very friendly. Millie is wilful, even the experienced dog trainer said so. She is very bright, not scared of anything, thuder storms and fireworks no problem (first dog ever not to be bothered). She has selective hearing but is highly trainable. However we havent let her off lead as were not sure she would come back. She wants to mouth you all the time or lick, and goes mad running round the room from time to time. She is a beautiful dog but hard work. First lab i’ve had, always had golden retrievers before so was a bit of a shock to have such a bouncy girl. Weve been told they usually calm down by two years old is that true?

    • Hi Tina,
      Young labradors can be very boisterous. To an extent this may improve with age, the mad tearing around moments are common in puppies, but a working bred lab will remain very lively for most of its life. The answer is good training and management which you can get help with in the forum, and in the training section of this website. It is a shame that you have not let her off the lead, as the best time to do this is when puppies are very tiny. You will need to teach a good recall now using a long line to begin with as she will not have the ‘following’ instinct that keeps small puppies near you.
      Hope you find the links helpful. Pippa

  18. Hi Pippa,

    Glad the chocolate labrador retriever is up for discussion because we absolutely love ours. We breed both chocolate English and field labs and definitely detect a difference in their personalities; not so much because of the color of their coats but the genetics. Our English are easy-going teddy bears and our field labs have incredible drive and intelligence. Since obsessive compulsive disorder can exist in this breed; perhaps what is perceived as “stupid” or “willful” is a neurological problem? Sadly, since labrador retrievers are one of the top five most popular breeds of dog in our country for the last 20 years….there are many people putting dogs together that shouldn’t be.

    • Hi Lori, in England labs are divided into field and show types too. I presume your ‘English’ are English show type. I have never come across anything that resembles OCD in labs, though obsessive behaviours have been noticed in the occasional working bred spaniel.

      Hopefully as more field genes get into our chocolates (we are a bit behind you in this respect) the ‘stupid’ label will be lost.:) Pippa

  19. I’ve owned two chocolate labs in my life and each experience was worlds apart. My first lab, Moose was absolutely brilliant and athletic. Sometimes it seemed that he was a human in a dogs body. He could jump a seven foot fence and open a sliding glass door with his nose. I’ve still never met a dog quite as remarkable as him. He acquired cancer from eating rat poison that was in the middle of a long and wide table and no one in my family knows how he got so far onto the table to get it down or even smell it through the packaging. Even after eating this poison, he lived for three more years in which everyday was a surprise. Shortly after having him put down we found another chocolate lab for our family and our yellow lab nala who also felt the loss of moose fairly deeply. At a local bbq restaurant called bird dog my dad found an add for a free 11 mo old lab who was too big for the tiny house he was brought to at 4 mo. When we adopted Eddie, we learned he spent the majority of his days in a metal crate which was becoming increasingly too small for his growing body. His tail had been ripped open at the tip from wagging it against the crate in great exuberance. He lived with four dauchsunds and two cats where he was fed small breed food which attributed to him being malnourished, to a point where we could easily count all of his ribs. When we brought him home we soon learned there wasn’t much that didn’t frighten him. Although he was very skittish he was also extremely hyper, creating a paradox within an animal of great personality. Compared to our a first dog moose he was little dimmer and not as outgoing which was good for the fact that fences didn’t have to be rebuilt and holes refilled, but sad because we could sneak up on him and induce a panic attack. This behavior could be attributed to his first 11 mos of life, but he wasn’t exactly stupid, just because he watched the world through a gate he didn’t understand all he saw. In my experience they’re rather trainable but like all pets the way they’re treated as puppies contribute to how they act as adults. The chocolate labs i’ve known in my life, have always been loyal and protective but not at all stupid.

  20. Chocolate labradors are just as smart and capable as any other color. Please note that there are only three recognized colors – black, yellow (with many shades), and chocolate. Any other color that you might see advertised is not a recognized color by the Labrador Retriever Club or the American Kennel Club.

    Back to Chocolate Labradors – we compete in AKC Field Trials and Hunting Tests. We owe 2 excellent chocolate dogs. FC-AFC Rebel Ridge Devils Luck, MH is the #4 Amateur Field Trial dog in 2012. She is a 10 year old female. Our other dog is AFC Rebel Ridge Cosmic Rise ‘N Fall, MH. He is 5 yrs old and needs just one more point to complete his FC (Field Champion) title. They are both quite competitive at the National level against the best of the best – black, yellow or chocolate. The field labradors are generally an exceptionally bright, atheletic, and pleasing group.

  21. I have enjoyed reading the chocolate lab stories. We have a chocolate lab whom we rescued in the Middle East and brought back to Australia. Cessna was three when she was abandoned in Oman. She had been breed in Belgium. Had lived in France and Algiers and for some reason neglected and abandoned. Having never owned a dog before I was surprised how easy it was to look after her. It was not until other dog owners started commenting on how intelligent she is I started noticing how good she is. Cessna is now seven and still learning new skills. We take her to doggy school just for socialisation. She was not good at meeting other dogs as the previous owners had not socialised her. Cessna excels at all the tasks we give her. Is great on recall, never runs away, we can leave the doors open and she just sits and watches the world go by. If she wants a walk she brings her collar to us. But the story I like the most is when I went out and left her home. My last instructions to her was that she was not to eat the cats food (which she will do if I’m not around). Well I arrived home to be met by her obviously wanting to show me something. She took me straight to the cats bowl to show me she had not eaten it. When I praised her she then walked over to where I keep her treats and looked at me as if to say I really deserve one of these. Needless to say she got one. We would not part with her for the world. Oh one thing she will not retrieve unless it is in water. I have not worried about it and never tried to teach her. But now I am curious to see if I am able to teach her.

  22. I have a Chocolate Lab and he is anything but dumb. He understands a large number of words and it has nothing to do with tone or inflection.

    He is truly a creature of habit and needs plenty of exercise. My biggest problem is that he is a master mooch. He has figured out what behavior earns him a treat so he will display that behavior whenever he wants a treat. He also insists on having an hour of family time in the evening and will literally round up everyone and lead them to living room. After about an hour he gets up leaves.

  23. we own a yellow and a chocolate they have very different characters in some respects…….however i dont think the colour makes much difference …but sometimes you wonder who is training who!!!!!

  24. my yellow (tully) is very excitable and reacts to every little noise whereas my chocolate (gunner) is much more layed back. However they both have very good memories when it comes to the good things in life like showing all the grand children where the treats jar is.

  25. Are chocolate Labs thick? The short answer is that I don’t know, however I have just been given a police drug dog that failed its tests, it could find drugs in a warehouse environment but when it went into a house it was more interested in the food in the cupboards. Is it thick? If it is then all the other Labs must be geniuses. She is an absolute delight, she is 16 months old and at times a bit clingy, wants to sit on my knee, wants attention etc, but when we are out, we both get lots of exercise, she comes immediately when called, will only mess where she is told and walks at the side of me without any prompting. In short a dream of as dog, I hope that she has a long and happy life.

    • I think a lot of what we recognize as intelligence is based on proper (or improper) motivation. If you find what motivates a specific dog, it’s trainability goes up. Some dogs need food, some are fine with praise, others are motivated by specific toys.

  26. A word of caution: My chocolate Lab was given to me by the police, she’s an ex drug dog. I was told by the police that you should NEVER put your dogs name on its collar. If the dog is stolen and the thief knows the dogs name then it is very easy for the thief to control the dog.

  27. Polly, my second chocolate bitch, pure chocolate by breeding, is utterly mad, but definately not stupid. She`s probably from show stock, although country bred (Herefordshire). Given that it is possible to have all three colours in a litter, it`s hard to believe that all or most chocolates are dim.

  28. You pretty much summed it up yourself, a self-fulfilling prophecy chocs dont work therefore i best get a black [or possibly yellow]; therefore few chocs working, fewer bred, fewer bought and around we go.

    i have a choc, he is what i call a farm bred dog, he comes on the marsh with me, he is a big bold dog and copes well with the rigours of wildfowling, he’d make a poor peg dog and lacks the real drive of the trialing bred dogs i have shot with. but he’ll retrieve anything from a snipe to a pink, a Canada too if i ever shot one, he allows all kind of indignities from my son [wearing hats etc] and proved to be a nice inroad back into working dogs [before craziness overtook me and i went off into the trial bred spaniel world, ]

  29. Hi I read with interest the debate on thicj choc labs, now i have a black lab Rosie whom we all love to bit and was brought in to our mad house at the age of 8 weeks shortly after my 12 year old choc dobie Bella was put to sleep. Now Rosie is black where her mum was a chocolate, she was definately scattY whether that was lack of training i dont know but my rosie is a real mummies girl retrieves without much training, has never needed a lead and knows all her basic commands, the best thing is that when she comes in on the sofa to see me one word has her sitting up paws in the air as if begging leaning into me and thats CUDDLES

  30. My chocolate pup Perun is now 7 months and 12 days old. Our trainer at school says I should slow down with training with him because he “knows more than he should” at this age. He just won’t believe me when I say that we don’t work for more than 10-15 minutes a day. Perun is so intelligent and learns much, much faster than old yellow lab Monty ever had!


  31. I have a chocolate lab who is fantastic. The best dog I have ever had and trained. She is so obedient. Always comes on recall and stays by my side until she is released. I have a cocker too who isn’t as easy to train as what she has been. I adore her and can’t wait for more chocolates. Have a great time with your puppy.

  32. I have Chocolate girl Bessie, age 9 months, she is pretty smart but can be a bit wilful, she shares her life with 5 year old Border Collie Meg, who looks at some of her antics with dismay. We are working our way through “Total recall” the “jackpot” treats work wonders.

  33. We have always had labs, golden or chocolate. Come August this year 2013 we will have had Crunchie the chocolate lab 2 years. She was 8 years old at Christmas. We got her from East Midlands lab rescue in Nottingham. We decided to adopt a rescue lab and I wanted a chocolate one again. She has all the labrador traits and is loving and loyal. As I type she is laid on her back next to me on the sofa. She likes her comfort and starts bed time ny sleeping on our bed before getting on her bed next to us. She is a spoilt girl. She has many doggy friends but tends to bark at the ones she doesnt like the look of. She has barked less at other dogs under our guidence. Her best friends are Benson a golden lab Cocoa a choccy lab and our neighbours cat Black Betty. They will sleep together and eat together. She keeps loosing weight as her previous owner lived on the 16th floor of a block of flats she didnt get much exercise. When the lady died she was taken to the rescue centre and that was our luck. Labradors everytime.

  34. I have an adorable 3yr old choc lab called Amber. She is certainly not dumb
    Anything but. She virtually needed no trainng, was obedient from the day one when we got her 12wks old. She retrieves , sits stays and is so gentle. She was our baby for two years until our beautiful grandson came along and she just adores him. When out walking she never leaves his side walks side by side with his pram, when he’s upset or poorly so is she. She is patient has never been destructive. Best dog I’ve ever had and she is our 5th.
    I would def recommend a chic lab intact I’m tempted to get another if her mum is having other puppies

  35. My chocolate lab, Khaya, is a field lab in every sense…very athletic, slender, and long. She’s super fast and smart as hell. She’ll give her black lab cousin a run for the money. She was bred to hunt so no show dog in her at all. I love her!!

  36. Hi all
    i hope someone can help me find a choc lab field dog? I have been looking for so long now and just keep seeing the show breed. I want one to my family and to be my companion at work and want him to come cross country jogging with me hence why I want working line dog.
    If someone could help me I would be so happy. I live in Surrey but willing to travel far for the right breeder.
    Thanks for your time!!

  37. Clyde, my chocolate, turned 12 in January. Stupid? Pppphhh….far from it. I can tell him to grab a specific toy from anywhere in the house and he’ll take off….and not come back until he finds that toy. If he hears you say “bath” or “nails trimmed” he ducks his head and tucks his tail. Say “dinner”? You better be ready to feed him. Love that guy.

  38. My chocolate lab, Cadbury, is my first experience owning a lab and far from being stupid, he’s one of the most intelligent dogs I’ve ever owned.

    He’s tested me as an owner more than any dog I’ve had, but the challenge was in me continually coming up with new ideas to keep him mentally stimulated.

    Cadbury is now 4 and is maturing into a top quality dog. Still a little ‘puppy crazy’ sometimes, but overall a great dog.

    If I ask him to get his ball he’ll search the house and yard until he’s found it, likewise with his rope. If I ask him for a kiss he gently puts his nose to my right cheek (right cheek only, not left). If I ask him to shake he gives me a paw and if I tell him other paw he swaps paws. My favourite is when I ask him where his belly button is, he flops down and rolls onto his back proudly displaying his belly button to the world.

    I’m not sure why chocolate labs have a reputation for being stupid. Mine is super smart.

  39. My chocolate Lab, Godiva will be 14 years old in October. I got her when she was 6 weeks old. What a joy she has been. She is the smartest dog I had and truly takes good care of me. I got her 5 days before Christmas and had 45 people at my home on Christmas. I forgot all about her and when everyone was gone I found a small puddle on the tile floor at the back door.
    She was trying to get outside but we were celebrating and forgot about her. Fourteen years later that is the only accident shes had. I will only have chocolate Labs from here on.

  40. I have had my chocolate lab since she was 8 weeks old, she’s 10 years old now and NO MY DOG IS NOT STUPID!!!! My dog is the smartest girl in the world. She speaks dog, cat, and human, seems to understand me without me having to utter a word either. Shes soooo super smart and intuitive I was shocked to see that people think chocolates are dumb, LOGICAL FALICY!! I think those people are just jealous that chocolates are so much prettier than their black and yellow cousins.

  41. Having just lost our beautiful chocolate lab I can honestly say that he was the most stupidest dog we’ve ever owned! He made us laugh every day with his antics and silly dances but was the most loving, affectionate dog but completely untrainable and believe me , we tried! He loved gardening (half of our garden was in the house!) but wouldn’t have had him any other way. On the plus side, when I was walking him he protected me so I always felt safe and knew that he would never let any harm come to me. When I get another dog I’ll get another chocolate lab but it won’t be to replace him, it’ll be because I love their temprement and loyalty!

  42. Oh my goodness, no. Chocolate Labs are just about as smart on average as other dogs. Some people here say their Chocolate Labs weren’t the smartest dogs around, but others have said they’re incredibly intelligent. It really seems to depend on the dog and its upbringing. My Chocolate Lab Molly is my best friend and she’s quite smart. I’m weird, but I talk to dogs sort of the way I talk to people (they seem to like it, it looks like it strikes up their curiosity), and there’s something about her face when I talk. I know she can’t really understand me but she gets the gist and she seems to realize that there are different nuances in people’s voices. I wonder if talking to a dog in a more conversational way throughout their life allows them to learn more words and get a better feel for human speech? I feel this could definitely improve any dog’s intelligence capacity. But Chocolate Labs are most certainly not stupid.

  43. I have had labs all my life. When I was a child we bred our black girl Alibra with our yellow boy Ty and had litters of blacks, chocolates and whites, champagne, yellow and red – all in the same litter. As an adult I’ve had black, chocolate and charcoal labs. All of my labs have been great dogs, but my chocolate lab, McKinley, was by far my SMARTEST, sweetest, most intuitive and all around best lab I have ever had!!!! Everyone who met him said the same thing (one non-dog lover said he was the only dog he ever liked).

  44. If my 5 year old chocolate Lab was or is stupid:
    he couldn’t retriever on hunting days
    he couldn’t be clever enough to use his nose to search for game
    Is is about 3 years he’s going to hunting days during the season.
    Oke I can’t direct him to a certain place, but his passion is high enough to retrieve

    But I must admit he just hasn’t got enough passion to compete in WT & FT

  45. How anyone could think that is beyond belief and probably have no business having any Labrador or Dog as a family member. Just my 2 Wags.

    • The point of the article is to explain why Antonio. And to many Labrador owners, it doesn’t matter how clever their dog is, they love them just the same. :)

  46. I have two chocolates. They are by no means stupid but they aren’t the smartest dog I’ve owned either (My old Golden Retriever takes the top prize for intelligence). They did learn basic obedience quickly, and have a wonderful temperament, but tricks like ‘shake a paw’ and ‘roll over’ seem to elude them. At the same time, these chocolates are the first two dogs I have had that could track scents of other animals and people without me first encouraging them to do so. They do it naturally. They also were sitting, staying, and fetching reliably at 6 months of age. They have almost infinite patience, and are calm mannered around other animals and people. That’s my experience with Chocolates so far :-). Cheers from Canada!

  47. I have just got my second choc lab, she is 8 weeks old. I had to have my previous choc put to sleep in October 2012-Blyton- she was the best dog I had ever owned, so easy and well behaved. I was so devastated at her going (she was 13 years) I said I could never have another dog. However, I weakend, now have Hovis. She is the naughtiest puppy ever! My opinion on whether chocolates are stupid is that I think they are more intelligent than the others and have worked out if they act stupid they won”t be expected to do any work!! I think chocolates are just the best!

  48. We have 2 labs, a choccie called Oscar who is now 12 years and 4 months and Millie, a black lab aged 10 years and 7 months. Mille is definately the brighter of the 2, she is from working lines whereas Oscar is from show lines (his father was a Crufts champ some years back). Oscar is now getting on a bit although he tries hard to be a puppy. His hips are bad and walking is a strain for him but he is a happy chappie. Neither of them have ever shown aggression, even with 3 grand children annoying them, and are just the most wonderful family members ever. We love them dearly and dread the day we have to say goodbye.

  49. Your description of field bred labs and show bred could not describe our two chocolates (one field, one show) more accurately. Fudge (field) is always desperate to please whereas Chester (show) is just a constant joker and life is just game after the next!

    However we have recently discovered that Chester is actually in some ways smarter than Fudge. He is sneaky and finds tricks to get what he wants (including pretending to be sick). He also learns faster than her if there is food involved (we have been training them to sit on a mat and wait for their food and feed in small portions – after one repetition Chester always goes back to sit on the mat for his next portion, Fudges still runs around aimlessly after a week training!). However if it is instinct led (hunting etc.) Fudge is vastly superior, Chester couldn’t find a rabbit if it was under his nose.

  50. My twochoc labs are very intellegent one from working clas and other from show stock, dead easy to train

  51. My husband and I are the proud
    Owners of a 1omth old choc lab named Bailey. He is far from silly. He sits, stays, gives high fives, high tens, will spit something out of his mouth if he is told to leave it, delivers items to people on command… The list goes on. We never worry about him off the lead he will never leave our side and always sits and waits for command at the road. We even leave our front door open and he won’t run out! He shows us a new trick everyday, sometimes we catch him trying to open our sliding doors to come inside! Though he will only ever come into the house invited! He learns most tricks after one food bribe! Typical lab! He is so loving and gentle and wonderful with kids. A very calm relaxed pup, we get comments on how calm he his where ever we go ! Colour makes no difference in my opinion. Love and training is what makes a good lab!

  52. My chocolate, Otto is one of the brightest, thoughtful dogs I have ever seen. He is seven now and I have received many compliments as to how well behaved and calm my dog is. Although I hunt with him, he is more a family dog, he’s our furry son.
    When you talk to him, it’s like he’s really trying to understand what your saying, studying your face, wriggling his tail when a human would nod, even sometimes answering you with a moan, or a small little noise. We love him so much! He is perfect in every way. Even though our vet says he’s a little chunky! Lol

    • My husband and son are amazed because Charlie and I have regular conversation. He interacts and understands what I am saying. He loves to help. Heaven forbid if I don’t give him a piece of wood to bring in for the fireplace when I bring some in. He brings in the paper, helps with the groceries without opening anything, picks up my remote if I drop it, brings in the mail and simply loves to help. They are the greatest dogs.

  53. Vito, (latin for lively! Lol) our 2 yr old Choccy boy is far from thick-he just chooses to act a bit dense at times! The way he interprets our body language is amazing. He is sooooooo easy to train but equally as easily distracted and looking for attention from everyone he meets and loves to clown around. When we got him i joked i was going to get him a harness and put my dark glasses on and then i’d be able to take him anywhere but unfortunately his behaviour around people makes that impossible! Have got him very well-trained when people come to the house but when we’re out it’s a different story often because of other people’s body language which undermines my control. At times he does get quite defiant and rebels. For example a couple of times my other half been a bit out of order with his own behaviour and has walked back into the room to find Vito sat bolt upright in his chair-not lying down or curled up-as if to say ‘i’m the alpha-male now!’ Hah! Soon sorted (other half too!) He has a wide vocabulary and is very eager to please. Doesn’t chew, steal food (remarkable for a lab) and never gets on furniture. We have trained him to do/not to do these but it was easier than you’d think… on the whole i’d still go for chocolate again. i daresay they are harder to train as working dogs but i believe it can be done. They are still very ‘biddable’ and the temperament is wonderful-am looking into training Vito as a therapy dog. He’s fantastic with children as are all the other choc’s i know and with all the unique character/personality traits i think they make fantastic pets. I love the chunky, stocky build, coarse, oily almost curly rich-coloured coat, otter-tail and velvetty blocky head (just don’t get on the receiving-end of it in play!) So i guess i’m smitten!

  54. Where did this come from? My chocolate lab, Charlie has got to be the smartest,most sensitive, helpful caring, gentlest, most loving and protective dog I have ever seen.
    He wants to help me every day. He brings things in for me, picks up his toys and puts them up at night, has saved my life and my sons life when he would quit breathing at night, he will tell me when something is wrong with my son. He took an intruder down when he broke into m home at 3 am in the morning. He tends to understand most everything I say. Just loving them, being gentle and not harsh, never eaise your voice at them because they are sensitive and loving will give you the results you want. I would never have another type of companion that a chocolate lab.

  55. I have 3 Labradors. Topaz (black) 12yrs, Dyson (yellow) 3 yrs and last but certainly not least, Mylo (chocolate) 1yr. I also had another black dog, Monty, but unfortunately lost him last year just before his 11th birthday, which broke my heart as he was definitely a mummies boy. He was the first dog I owned (as an adult) who was shortly followed by Topaz.

    In my experience the 2 black labs, were fairly difficult to train but, I put this down to having the 2 as puppies together. They were very different in personalities though. Topaz was definitely the wearer of the trousers, and Monty very laid back although both extremely affectionate.

    I then decided to get a yellow lab boy. Enter Dyson, who has been extremely easy to train but don’t get me wrong he is as thick as muck. He would do anything for a ball, though. He’s overly affectionate and very sensitive, he’s a big lad from working stock. And when he isn’t laid across the back if the sofa with his 2 front legs draped over your shoulders and his head nuzzled in to your neck watching TV, he’s at your feet nudging a toy towards you or pushing himself against you to get you to rub his hips. He’s very sensitive towards raised voices or fighting (I have 4 teenagers).. So he’ll come and tell you wanting it stop.

    Then came Mylo! My little chocolate fluffy monster at 8 weeks old. He’s very chunky and loves his food. He’s proving to be very difficult to train. Not may I add because he’s stupid but because he’s extremely intelligent! He’s very head strong and looks at you as if to say “I’ll do it depending on what I’m going to get from it”! He’s also a wind up merchant and knows just what to do to get Dyson going, especially when Dysons relaxing he will deliberately tease Dyson with a toy waggling it in his face and then, Dyson in all his stupidness and love of a toy will get up and give chase, hence giving Mylo what he wants. And why I don’t know but he loves my dressing gown and can’t wait to tackle me to get it off me, he’s even clever enough to know how to undo the chord too!

    Topaz in her now late years is grumpy but does this stop Mylo getting over excited when chewing her ears? No. And if she growls at him for doing so, he finds it even more exciting and I can honestly say in all my years of having Labradors, I’ve never seen a tail wag faster! Poor Topaz and her permanently soggy ears. She’s still the only one who barks when somebody comes to the door or even when nobody comes to the door she does as, she’s now a bit deaf and barks just in case. But she’s still always good for a kiss and cuddle. We know were on borrowed time with her but as long as she can still get on HER sopha, we know she’s doing ok and the tablets for her over active thyroid are still doing their job along with the cranberry tablets to stop the urine infections and the tablets to help with her arthritis!

    I love them all so much. They’re my soul mates and give me joy every minute of everyday. I’d never be without them.

  56. How can it be said that chocolate labs are slightly behind the others. What rubbish ! I’ve had both yellow and chocolate. And I can honestly say my chocolate bitch called lulu is one of the brightest dogs I’ve have ever owned. That includes two dobermans. I only have to tell lulu something once as she’s there. I walk her once with both black and golden labs. The labs walking club. As we got closer to them I heard people say, oh no its a choc. Well lulu was better behaved then most of them. Let of the lead the male blacks took off leaving the owners shouting come back etc. The golden lagged alone two eating other dogs poo. While lulu after showing interest in the other dogs for a while ,was at her happiest staying by my side. She showed the others how it should be done and I remained proud of bed throughout our walk. Chocolate Labrador darft. Not half as draft as the person who suggested they are.


  57. I agree with you. I’ve just finished a bit about my Choc lab lulu. Its rubbish to say that the chocs lag behind the others. I’ve had both and I can honestly say lulus the most intelligent dog I’ve ever owned. That includes two dobermans. They live to please their owners. I love all labs you can’t beat them as an all round dog. I would always however choose a choc. Love them x

  58. Over the years I have successfully fostered 9 lab puppies for The Seeing Eye guide dog organization in the states, three of each color. I have not seen any difference in the intelligence is any particular color. Since they all passed their training and are dog guides through out the US and Canada, I guess my impression was correct. I did, however see a big difference in the behavior/attitude between un-nutered male and female puppies. I found the males to be much more tractable in training.

    I currently have a 12 yr old chocolate male rescue lab and last week got an 8 week old male chocolate lab. For me, I just like the color!

    • I bought a golden retriever two months ago he was 6 months old when i bought him. I had one for 11 years and she was the best dog ever so smart and just happy. Well this one seems kinda like he is just i dont know how too say it. He just lays around never excited never happy. It is almost like he is an inbreed? Any ideas on whats wrong with him and he is scared of his own shadow. I feel like i got worked out of 600 dollars with this dog.

  59. My chocolate lab bitch Cassie was 16 when she went on and came from working stock and was as good as any of the 3 other black Labs I’ve had, or my cocker spaniel. In fact she was so good she would even dive under water after wounded duck. Every dog has it’s strengths and weaknesses just like us humans. It is a matter of breeding and training and definitely not colour.

  60. My chocolate lab Hershey is very, very smart. She learns things by listening to casual conversation and understands English, Spanish and Spanglish. It’s amazing how Hershey can understand totally different words with the same meaning, as well as the names of people, animals, places and things, and how she can apply words correctly depending on the context and situation. Hershey somehow can also tell without fail when it’s Sunday, the day when she gets her Greenie, a tooth-cleaning bone that dogs go crazy for. So, I don’t think the chocolate labs are dim at all. Hyper, yes, but stupid, no!

  61. I have a chocolate lab called Millie she is very very clever and willing to do new things,she is 6 yrs old very hyper ,so I would not say chocolate labs are stupid .

  62. I raise chocolate field and show labrador retrievers. I find that after having outcross breeding, they are very smart, sensitive, and all are eager to please. Some have gone on to be Master Hunters or service dogs. Color has nothing to do with smarts…its all genetics and good breeding practices.

  63. I adopted a “purebred” chocolate lab from our local animal shelter as a companion pet. Baker was brought in as a yr old stray. Although he has some confidence & claustrophobic issues, this is the best dog I have ever owned. He learns quick. No issues potting training or marking from day one. He learned sit with hand commands on the first day. He is always the first to sit for treats or meals with out being asked. Has good recall & fetches easily. He mouths his fetches gently. In fact, it’s so gentle he can’t squeak his toys. Fortunately, in the last year his issues are getting better. I don’t have to worry about too much obedience training because he is so mellow I often have to check to see if he is breathing. I love this breed.

  64. I have a chocolate lab, Toblerone, who will be ten this May. She was bred crossing field and show dogs. Her father was a field champ, her mom was a show champ.

    Sometimes she is not the brightest bulb in the box and sometimes she is too smart for her own good!

    She LOOOOOOVES food, and has cost me a small fortune in vet bills because of it. She used to have a feline brother who helped her out in getting into cabinets, etc., but he passed away last winter. Once, he managed to get a bag of cans of cat food out of the cabinet above the refrigerator, far enough so that it was close enough to the baby gate that kept Toblerone out of the kitchen, such that she could reach the bag. She chewed up fifteen cans of cat food. A feat she accomplished without cutting up her mouth, or swallowing any metal bits. One time, she got a whold of a two pound bag of kisses. The vet was laughing when he brought her back after her forced emesis–it was full of sparkly little bits of foil. He said it was the loveliest vomit he had ever seen.

    She had always been too ADD to retrieve. She is distracted by all sorts of things on her way to that which she is to retrieve–another stick, another ball, a squirrel, a scent. Sometimes she will make it to the item, but then she will lie down and start eating it! Sometimes, she will start to actuall bring it back–only to get distracted again. Her vet thought for the longest time that I was exagerating her ADD, until he tried to get her to urinate for him. He brought her back, laughing–she really was ADD! Evertime she was squat down, ready to urinate, something would grab her attention, and she would go after it. He finally gave up, and drew some urine instead for the sample.

    I checked a lot of her family out on on the OFA website, and they were all rated as “excellent,” except for one “good.” She still developed severe hip dysplasia, and we got one of her hips replaced. She was on a specific NSAID for quite some time, until she developed a perforated ulcer. We caught that in time and she had surgery. Her other hip still bothers her-because of the ulcer, she can no longer take the NSAID.

    She is a CRAZY dog. She dances with such JOY over dinner and breakfast.

    She would wolf her food down (and yack it right back up) if I didn’t feed her little bits at a time. When I get to the bottom of the cup of food, she seems so disappointed–her ears go back a little, her tale slows down and stops wagging, and she averts her eyes so as not to look at the dreaded empty cup.

    I love her so much, and she brings me so much joy!!!

  65. I have an 8 year old chocolate lab at home. She is incredibly sweet, very trainable, but dumber than a sack of rocks. Hershey, I know not very original, is very eager to please and picks up on things really fast, but has no common sense. I mean I love her to death, but she is scared of her own shadow, will stand outside in the pouring rain/ heavy snow and not come inside, will eat ANYTHING you drop, was never able to figure out how stairs work, and over all is just very dim. Great dog, just overall she doesn’t have the common sense that our Yellow lab Maddy or our Black Lab Sarah has…

  66. I have a almost 5 month old Choc Lab and she is very smart!!! She learn sit, drop, stay, wait and many more tricks at a 4 week puppy preschool one hour every week. She is still continuing to learn and she is the smartest dog I know! :)

  67. Last year I asked my neighbour, who walks her chocolate lab every day past our home in her electric wheelchair, if he was a bit stupid.
    On the contrary, he is an assistance dog and she has trained him to wake her and bring her inhaler if her breathing is interrupted at night. Turns out I was the stupid one for not noticing his yellow jacket.

  68. I have a 6 month old Chocolate girl. She is so sweet and loveable. She is very intelligent when she wants to be. I think a lot of her “ditzy” behavior is still from being a pup. She is a quick learner if you take the time to teach, although she is very very stubborn. Chewing has been the main issue with her, but at only 6 mos we are still working on teething and knew when we got her that they are horrible chewers. As far as potty training it was fairly easy. We’ve talked about teaching her to shed (deer antler) hunt, since we are both very into hunting. We have no regrets in gettin or chocolate girl. With any dog you get you will have ups and downs as far as training goes. She is by no means “stupid”. We love our Chocolate girl very much.

    • I would like to add that my boyfriend had a chocolate lab as well, named Ginger. She passed at the age of 21 about 6 months ago. We named our girl Ginger after his old lab. I didn’t know her well as she was living with his grandmother once he moved. I’ve heard many stories about the old girl! She seemed to be very smart, and a lover of water! I wish our new girl loved water the same!!! Baths are very difficult. Our Ginger is a beautiful, hyper, intelligent, and sometimes goofy girl. I have a 12 year old beagle, Daisy, as well. The two of them get along so well. Daisy has gotten very slow and inactive in her old age, and with Hinger around she is more upbeat and even plays tug a war with Ginger. (Daisy has never been one to play with toys). So it’s great seeing my girls bring the best out in each other. Ginger is very quick to yeah watching daisy. When Daisy does a command Ginger is quick to follow. Love my girls very much. Although our lab/rot rescue, who is outside, doesn’t seem to get along with her as well. He has some jealousy issues. :))

  69. My Chocolate lab is called Biffy, he’s 14 months old and he’s bloody mental. I would never call him the thick as he knows exactly what he’s doing and exactly what to do to get his way. We tried puppy training with him for a little while but he was just more interested in all the other puppies around him. He’s made a right mess of my kitchen including chewing my door frame up which even getting the pet deterant sprays didn’t help he just still chewed it. He is very good at using his paws also for getting up on the sides and grabbing what he wishes. He sits and stays to a degree but he just loves people and other dogs that when I walks if we don’t notice the people first across the fields before he does then he’s off to say hello. His tail never stops. And he’s a little piggy who is ruled by his belly. He’s a cheeky chappy and we wouldn’t change him for the world, he has so much love in him and I feel so lucky to have him in my life. People considering having a choc lab I would always say go for it as long as you have the time for them, it’s the best decision we ever made.

  70. We have a chocolate and a yellow lab, not litter mates but the same age, 8 months. The chocolate is chunky more slow moving and tires quicker than the yellow lab, so we think the yellow lab (thinner leaner) is a field dog. But make no mistake the chocolate is so smart and can problem solve. She has learned to use the handle on the door to the backyard and can let her self in. Then she learned to use the same handle on the door from the kitchen to the backyard to let herself out. You can see her trying different techniques to figure it out. She may be chocolate, but she is very intelligent!

    • hahaha that sure sounds like a lab! I could picture my own doing such thing as learning how to open the door. She once figured out how to open the water hose, but couldn’t figure out how to close it, so she just kept on barking and calling someone to fix it!

  71. We have a female chocolate and she’s anything but slow witted.
    I think that people have interpreted their independent nature as a lack of smarts.
    She occasionally ignores my wishes, not because she’s dim but, because she chooses to. Her ability to interpret words is amazing.
    She also loves to play the clown which I thing some folks interpret as stupid.
    Only high functioning beings can appreciate humour. Unlike some humans I know.

  72. Hello, I live in Arizona and I have two female chocolate labs. They are from the same father, one is 2.5 yrs old and the younger female is 14 months. They are not used for hunting or sport, they are merely house pets. I was raised with German Shepherds and mix breed dogs, and didn’t get a pure bred Chocolate Lab until my 50th birthday. I will NEVER get a different breed of dog for myself every again. They are smart, extremely loving and gentle to the smaller grandchildren and guardians of our home. If you walk in front of my house on the sidewalk I will know about it. I Love my Chocolate Labs. The only problem I have with them is they will eat ANYTHING!!!! Rocks, sticks, plastic, lawn furniture, jalapenos (I HAD a plant but they destroyed it), and anything else they can put their mouths on. They don’t listen well when I take them to the park to play but no one else’s dog are listening either. They do extremely well at home. They are very loving dogs. Oh and they are good alarm clocks too. Every morning at 5:30am…………EVERY morning!


    • Mine eats anything as well. Paper, rocks, concrete, doors, wood, dirt, flowers, fruits and anything else on her way…

  73. I have a chocolate labrador, she’s 7 yrs old and her name is Donna. She’s always been very very smart and easy to train! A bit distracted, but that’s my fault, because I’ve never trained her very seriously and I can tell she gets distracted when she’s bored, and I keep insisting on playing tricks. She’s well adjusted to the house’s system, I mean, she lives outdoors, in our backyard, but when she comes inside she respects limits and commands, such as “go home”, when she immediately goes back to the backyard and even pick up her toys on the way! She’s a great friend, adorable, sweet and playful, despite being a little old now. She’s still got a lot of energy and can still learn new tricks. Not stupid at all!

  74. We have littermates, a black bitch and a choccy boy. they’re 7 months old now. We did 6 weeks puppy training and Lola came top of class, Eddie came bottom! we have puzzle toys which she works out very quickly and gets the treats, while he waits for her to solve it so he can get treats too – that might not be so dumb though! she loves water, him not so much, but getting there. she is more nervous than him, whereas nothing fazes him. What brought me to this site was the fact we were just doing “shake hands” with them…both doing well, until Eddie tried to give both at the same time and fell on his chin….Choccies a bit dim?!? Not at all!! :-)

  75. Our chocolate lab is just under 2 now and I like to describe him as “trainable” but not necessarily “smart”. He wants to make me happy soooo badly that he’ll do absolutely anything we ask of him…the key seems to be baby steps (really short and frequent training sessions) and giving him rewards when he simply does something we find desirable. He’s not stupid, he just gets distracted easily and can, therefor, easily be taught bad habits! I’d gladly adopt another chocolate :) I don’t know many “stupid” breeds who can “dry off” on command!

  76. We have had our lab for 11 years he’s slowed over the years, but would say is the smartest dog we have ever had. Was easy to train and loves a treat maybe that’s why he was always in training mode. He still does tricks and very obedient. We would gey another in heartbeat

  77. Chocolate lab Millie is nearly 3 years old and our first labrador. We have owned 2 GSD and border collies previously but . Millie is by far the most loving and intelligent dog we have ever owned. Her vocab understanding is amazing fetching slippers or named toys from anywhere in the house on command. I can happily walk her on or off the lead, she listens well and never runs off if warned not to. Our family love her to bits and i never thought i would have ever feel so in love with a dog. Chocolate lab every time now ;0)

  78. Our chocolate lab is 8 months old, I found him particularly easy to train (toilet train, fetch, commands, etc) he picked things up really quickly. A bit boisterous, wanting to jump up and be friends with everyone is his only annoying habit, really, given that he’s enormous- not everyone appreciates being knocked over by a happy lab!

  79. We have a male choc – best decision we ever made – brilliant dog, friendly soft lump great with the kids and would have another one like him in a nano second Father in law was a game keeper and he laughed when we bought him – but even he was won round by our dog’s friendly nature.

  80. I have a chocolate lab called Millie and she is a very clever and alert dog she is 6 yrs old and still learning so the people who say chocolate labs are stupid want to get one and raise it themselves and they will see how they really are,thanks

  81. our choc lab is a bitch called coco,we have raised since a pup she is now 6yrs old.found her very easy to train,loves children and is part of the family.coco is very loyal and friendly.she does have one very nasty habit of eating other animals poo,we have tried all suggestions to distract her but she still manages to find it and of course it makes her sick.

  82. Maxi is an amazing dog. He’s 5 and a half now and an absolute dream. The perfect of dogs (I know I’m biased but many comment) they just need to mature to get out of their ‘doofus’ stage. We’ve recently got a gorgeous black boy called Toby and he has proven to me that labradors as a breed are simply amazing (had a few different breeds as family pets and they’re not a patch)

  83. our chocolate lab coco is 8 months old now and has been a pleasure to train,we had him toilet trained,sit stay down from 10 weeks old.hes loves all his toys his favorate been his teddy,therefore we have had no chewing at all,we have a 3yr old grandson who is his best friend,he is very loyal and a pleasure to own,although he can sulk a little it only lasts 10 or so minuites,he has his own pool in the garden as a typical lab loves his water so as having experiance in owning a chocolate lab,mine is far from being daft,he even knows exactly what i say to him…wouldnt have any other breed..

  84. my little girl choc lab is getting on now but she is far more brighter than my black one she is also loving and v, good with children she was easy to train and has been a delightful obedient pet

  85. I have a chocolate and black lab both! I must say my chocolate is brilliant has always been easy to train and minds well, my black lab is the stupid one. I love her but shes not real bright!

  86. I have a brilliant 8 year old chocolate lab. He was house trained in less than a week, had to be told twice to not chew on furniture, and was waiting to eat the treat I placed on his paw until given the ok in less than a month. I can now place 4 treats on his paws and he eats one at a time. I can leave the room for 5 minutes or longer and he will be waiting to eat the treats. He listens to children read at our community library…. I could go on with other things he does.

  87. I have 2 black labs one show bred and one really well bred field trial bred the difference is astounding the show bred dog merlin is quite ignorant and good at ignoring you , while sparrow the field trial bitch is fairly nervous but extremely well behaved and eager to please. They also look very different one is long tailed and quite rangy whilst the other is stocky with an otter tail and unfortunately severe elbow dysplasia. I’ll choose working bred from now on

  88. Almost two years later, I reread this article and once again such implication rubs me the wrong way. My chocolate is now 22 months old and his intelligence amazes me over and over again. You can actually see it on his face when he is resolving a problem: he stops, observes the problem and gets to it. He is eager to please, loves to work for me and he does rather good on shows. I am as happy with him as I was with our first Lab, Monty, who was a yellow. In the end, I’ll just add that Labs are my choice for life and never will I be with out one, or two, or three… :)

  89. I wouldn’t say it’s the show breeding behind chocolate Labradors that give them this reputation which at one point was more deserved than it is now, put blame where it belongs which is puppy farms, chocolates have the reputation deserved or not from when they were considered a rare or unique desirable colour and so was irresponsibly bred for colour alone taking no consideration to other aspects such as build brains etc …
    Now their are better breeding practices where they are not bred for colour alone this reputation is less deserved but will take a long time to fully disappear completely, ask people on a shoot of at a working test and I bet around 80-90% would not consider getting a chocolate because the reputation is still their.

  90. My wife and I just adopted a 3 year old chocolate lab and though he isn’t as SHARP as our black one I think it is due to the fact that we are his 5th (and final) home. But he is gentle and loving and VERY well mannered. We adore him and we only have labs and we will always have them. Best dog ever!! His name is Max

  91. Pickle is our first female Labrador and is a beautiful Bournville colour. We also have a Weimaraner and have had yellow and Black Labradors before. Pickle is the sharpest dog we have ever had and displays exceptional intelligence. A keen TV watcher she loves nature programmes and Paul O’Gradys dog programmes. In the house she regularly out thinks the Weimaraner and can be quite lippy to us.

  92. I have a 6 mo old Chocolate lab named Maxx or Moose. He was so easy to house break and will follow some commands that we’ve taught him. Since he’s still pretty young he has some growing up to do but he is very playful and gentle and a tad in-your-face. I also have a 2 year old Black lab named Karma or Kuma. She was neglected and abused as a pup so when we got her we had to work hard at khouse breaking and simple commands since no one worked with her. She is very good with my yorkie and with Maxx. She is well behaved but she can be mischievous at times. They are some of the best dogs I’ve ever had.

  93. A few months ago we took over a youngish (14 month) chocolate Lab called Othello; similar to Nick’s lab Max, we are Othello’s 5th home!!!! Interestingly enough Othello also isn’t as “sharp” as our other labs (all black ones). But is that an attribute of colour or just the individual dog?
    We have always had bitches and Othello is our first dog. He is eager to learn, wants to please, adores children (we have 8 grandchildren) is rocket fuelled and a total “nutter” – he will think nothing of jumping/diving off a jetty into the water 2 mtrs below whilst running at full speed.
    His training (in our case re-training) is coming on very well, he took a little while to adapt to the whistle but after he worked it out he has progressed with leaps and bounds.
    Yep a lovely dog and a pleasure to have around … a “true” labrador.

  94. I have 2 labs a chocolate almost 3, Chewbacca (Chewy) and a black girl 18 mos. Lillie. The little girl runs the show she is much more assertive. But my chocolate boy Chewy is the best dog ever. He trained quickly and can open every door in the house, including a deadbolted front door. He never runs away and that dog is the most caring, empathetic dog! If you are sad he is right there gazing at you while the little girl runs around idiotically 😉 I sometimes feel bad because she is such an attention hog that she shoves him away if we are petting him. He is so easy going he doesn’t care she weights 20lbs less than him and he let’s her pin him and chew his neck and ears all of the time. He loves her…

  95. I have a 6 month old Choc Lab called Monty, I was unaware of the views of some people about their intelligence! Monty is georgeous, trained easily, (totally food driven!) We have just had him desexed and he is a great companion. He came from a litter of 9 puppies from a family with 4 children . When we visited him twice before we picked him up it was a happy chaotic environment with kids and pups everywhere! We’re sure this start to his life has contributed to his happy fun loving nature.

  96. I’ve raised labs since 1977, chocolates since 1996…it took me that long to find a line that had the smarts, mellowness, mild manner and health that my blacks and yellows have. Many are hyper banshees and lacking in intelligence. They are also prone to allergies, food sensitivities, sunburn and their coat will bleach out in the sun and at shedding time. I generally always breed my chocolates to blacks that carry the gene to maintain the personality, intelligence, health and dark chocolate coloration that I want to produce. They are wonderful and may be my most well behaved and mellow dogs. But be careful when buying a pup and search out a breeder with some years behind their breeding program.

  97. When my dearest friend Daisy (yellow lab was put down down (arthiritis ) nearly 17, I felt devistated. I was brought Layla choc lab from my friend in Labrador Trust. She is young, bouncy, super intelligent, loving and beaut iful as if she was destined to be and brought by Daisy. This was a year gao and I still feel devist ated at losing Daisy but Layla is forever lovingly there or us. She is 2 half (I am 74!) There is nothing like a labrador. If your children tell you that is too young, a labrador keeps you young.

  98. I have a 5 month old chocolate pup and I have to say she is completely different to myblack lab , I’m struggling so much that even though I managed to train my black lab on my own , I’m having to go to a trainer with this one . She seems quite intelligent but incapable of following anything I try to teach her but it’s as though she just doesn’t want to do what you ask of her not that she can’t . She’s also a more nervous and anxious pup than my black was despite being very well socialised

  99. Riley is our second chocolate lab & 1st female, she came from a family with a litter t 8 weeks old, i had never crate trained a pup before and she was amazing, within a month we no longer locked the door, she would put herself in when we were leaving and of course now sleeps in be with us. I think she had maybe 3 accidents in the house which is great cus she was born & raised in a kennel outside. So i guess i am saying the chocolates are just as smart as the other colors.

  100. This is absolutely not true. My chocolate lab Charlie is a little over a year old , and is the smartest dog I’ve ever had. He knows how to open and close the door by himself, do an array of tricks amongst other things. I see nothing but pure intelligence in his eyes. Charlie obviously does ” dog things” , like maybe will eat something he’s not supposed to, but he immediately tries to hide the evidence. I have no idea, maybe other people’s chocolate labs are lacking smarts, but mine is amazing.

  101. My 18 month old chocolate lab, Lali, is extremely intellegent. Sometimes I think too smart for her own fur. Every time I teach her something new I’m shocked at how fast she picks it up. She is a problem solver. She lacks a little in the manners department, but she’s never had formal training. And still kind of young. Even if she was slightly goofy, I would love her the same.

  102. I don’t usually waste my time on stuff like this but it does not matter what colour of pup you get it is what the breeding lines are and what you are willing to put into the dog. We have breed mostly chocolates for years and some blacks. They are all beautiful and very eager to please and so trainable. Chocolates are not stupid. Look up on line some of the records of showing and hunting. For instance look up Pachanga Magnium Force. It is the same a children……where they come from and how they are brought up. Again Chocolates are not stupid.

  103. I have two chocolate labs and am a part of a huge lab community of all colors. My older one is a service dog CoCo I’ve had since 8 weeks old and is almost 5. His sister Chanel is just a little over a year. I believe they both are extremely intelligent in many areas. They are very versitile in learning many things. They are both English full breed labs so the thicker of the breeds. There isn’t anything fun or obedience wise I haven’t been able to teach them. Most importantly they try uphold their unconditional love and family loyalty reputation. I’ve had many breeds of dogs but after these two I won’t ever have anything other than Chocolatr labs.

  104. As a former Lab raiser for profit, I have come to the following conclusions:
    Yellow labs are the most “laid back”, easiest to train.
    Chocolate labs are the smartest but most difficult to train. They think they are the “alpha” of all animals.
    Black labs are a good compromise for hunting.

  105. I have an AKC registered chocolate lab from 13 years of hunting stock breeding. He has all colors in his ancestry. The ratios of the 3 colors are nearly all equal. He is smarter than most labs I see in the field, show, and dog park. I always get people coming up to me and commenting on his goods looks; both his light chocolate coloring (caramel), his exquisite conformation, and his amazing agility and speed. I’m not bragging just passing on what others have commented about my boy Mojo. By the way, he is out of Poudre River Gundogs in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

    • Hi all i like u all love chocolet labrador i hv one she is not a dog she is my baby gril her name is olivia she is now 8 month old she is werry smart undarstands my all words but i think they r not for our work thy only for love & love pls dont make them a wlorking dogs …… I must say iff u give them a one name pls use that i love my baby olivia she is my life

  106. I truly cannot see how colour can have any bearing on intelligence ! I totally agree re the difference between field and show bred Labradors and the comments and observations made in the article . Having had Labs from both field and show , they are, at times, almost like a different breed altogether . My yellow show stock girl was the class clown , bomb proof but at times wilful and stubborn , she had no interest whatsoever in retrieving , just wanted to be a part of the family, happy go lucky . My current Lab Sam is field bred , is cautious ( not nervous ) , sensitive both to his surroundings and to my moods , his whole life revolves around wanting to please , plus his love of retrieving, his passion . However, he does enjoy family , adores children and other dogs . I guess its down to personal choice re lineage and colour but to me, they are all beautiful creatures .

  107. When I decided to get a lab, I fell in love with the beautiful dark brown color of the chocolate labs. My girlfriend protested the idea, telling me that they are “crazy” and “untrainable.” Even though hours of research could not support these claims, it certainly didn’t help that the only chocolate labs we’d ever known had acted positively nuts. Confident in my training abilities, I eventually convinced her to bring Miko into our lives. He is a little over four months old at this point, and I am absolutely amazed at how intelligent he is. By the time he was three months old, he had learned a myriad of tricks/commands: sit, stay, lay down, crawl, high five, paw, and jump, just to name a few. He would often pick up a trick or command within a matter of minutes, or even seconds. Often, he would only need to see my Chihuahua do it first, and he would instantly understand what was expected of him. After witnessing this first hand, my personal theory is that people often experience “crazy” or seemingly “untrainable” chocolate labs because the people frequently adopt them for their beauty, only to discover that they need exercise, structure, and training that they don’t want to or don’t know how to provide. It doesn’t help that labs have a reputation for being super trianable, which people often think means “does not need training.” Of course, this is not true for all owners of chocolate labs. The sad truth of the matter is that people are more likely to remember a negative experience than a positive one, meaning that when the average person thinks their chocolate lab experiences, they are more likely to remember the “crazy” labs than those that are well-behaved.

  108. We’ve got a 9 month old chocolate lab. Totally crazy and juvenile sometimes but he’s been quite trainable and intelligent. He’s a bit strong willed particularly when he thinks he can get food.

  109. I should add he has the sweetest temperament I’ve ever seen in a dog and is an expert at sensing my mood. When I’m down he wanders up and offers his paw which instantly turns me around.

    • I would never get another chocolate labrador again. Our black lab, who died at 16 and a half, was a super dog, highly intelligent, eminently trainable from a very young age and completely obedient, and I mistakenly thought all labs were like that. We were meant to be getting a golden lab but, when we arrived at the breeder’s, she thrust this little bundle on my chest and she was so adorable we took her. From the outset, she was a major problem, not just the biting and mad behaviour, but also the £1,500+ cost of vet’s bills in the first year for a variety of illnesses, conditions and self-induced ailments (swallowing adult-sized socks and the netting from a gammon joint). She had so many things wrong with her that we couldn’t get her insured, she still isn’t. We perservered because, despite everything, she was a lovely dog and, true to what people have said, she did settle down after a few years. She is both bold and nervous, fronting any dog of any size she meets, yet scared of a paper bag blowing in the wind, car lights, and don’t mention fireworks. At the moment, she won’t walk up the street at night, due to something that spooked her ages ago, but she will walk down it. But her greatest ‘fault’ is that, at 4 and a half, she still won’t come back on command, especially in the garden. She either runs off and is gone until she loses interest, or, stands/sits on the lawn looking at you stupidly. I have tried all methods, but it’s entirely random whether she bothers to return to me and so I have to put her on the lead when she needs to go to the toilet. This is fine in the good weather, but during the winter it’s a pain, I also have severe arthritis in my knees (developed since we bought her otherwise I would not have got another dog) so letting her into the garden on her own is sometimes my best option. I entice her back with biscuits and soft words, but sometimes even that doesn’t work. She is a very strong dog, and strong-willed to boot, and due to her pulling on the lead, and my arthritis, I can no longer take her out for walks, so my son does this during the week, and my husband at weekends – she is much better running in the hills with freedom.
      Her current party trick is vomiting her food back, this has been going on for months on and off and she has had tests and nothing found, my guess is it’s all the crap she eats when she’s outside.
      If anyone could offer any guidance about training an older dog, I would be very grateful. My husband adores her and is happy to put up with all the craziness, but I am at home all day and having to chase around and clean up after her all the time. I compare her badly to our black lab, and don’t love her as much, which I know is unfair. I often think she would be better off with a more active family (she is much more relaxed after a good run out in the fields), but my husband wouldn’t hear of it. He was devastated when we lost Ruby and, if Millie were to go too, I know he would sink into a depression. So I need to try to find a solution that suits all.
      Thank you.

      • Hi Helen, sorry to hear you are having problems with your dog. The recall problem really is a training issue, and any dog can be trained to recall effectively. The downside is that this can take a long time with an older dog that has got into bad habits. Have a look at the Recall Training Centre for more information and help, and to help you decide if you want to go through the retraining process. If you do, you might find Total Recall helpful. Best wishes, Pippa

        • OK, thanks Pippa, I will take a look at it, although I have to say I perfectly trained my previous labrador. The difference is that this one has always been so strong-willed!

  110. I should add that she comes from a winning show stock line, whereas our black lab was from a winning field working line, so I think there might be something in what the poster said about differences in temperament/intelligence there.

  111. We have a one year old Chocolate Lab, he is very intelligent. His pedigree shows FT champions etc and he comes from a long line of working dogs. There was one yellow pup in his litter and I think there were yellow in his family tree which leads me to believe that he has the benefit of intelligence coming from both colours. I have read a number of articles that say there is no evidence to say they don’t make good working dogs it’s just that most gun dog owners prefer Black. We bought him for a pet not to work and he’s just great.

  112. i just had to put down my 9 1/2 yr old female choc lab she is the 4th choc lab i have owned and was a a quick study and a very determined hunter she didn,t know the meaning of quit. my other 3 chocolate,s were all the same determined hunters loyal companions loving family pets each and every one very sadly missed although we said no more dogs i am secretly looking for a
    replacment for my sadly missed old girl i miss her

  113. My chocolate lab Layla is anything but stupid, she is actually very intelligent… Very full of life & a bit excitable & I love her to bits
    She is always very eager to please
    She is a brilliant natured dog

  114. Hi Everyone. I enjoy all of your stories about your chocolate labs. It’s insane anyone would think different coat color would make different temperaments. I wonder if the owners and the way they train has anything to do with these dogs being called dumb. All I am saying is most dogs are like their owners and to call your dog dumb is not only mean spirited (and you should not have a dog) but you are basically calling yourself dumb. Dogs mirror their owners. No matter what color if a dog is loved and treated properly it will be an amazing dog. All of you who speak about your dogs so nicer are lovely people. Anyone one who can have a dog and speak badly about them needs to take a look at themselves. Thats just my view :) dogs are amazing sadly most people are not!

  115. My son has a very gentle teenage chocolate lab of 11 months.
    He is a good dog, loyal, great with kids, but i wonder. He doesnt seem to ever smile. By that i mean that he never opens his mouth, never pants. I just have never seen a dog go thru his day with his mouth always closed. Also, his eyes have an empty look about them which makes me feel that he is not all there.
    But he plays well with the other dog, a golden retriever. Runs around when playing in the back yard, and seems to have a good time but that mouth is always close, and those eyes look right through me.
    I wonder f he is not very smart or maybe there is something wrong with him, mentally, like some of us humans are?
    Besides those two things, different at best, he is a great pet.

  116. I have a Chocolate that I adopted through Lab Rescue of North Florida. I also foster labs with them so in addition to my chocolate who I got at 1 year old I have had several yellow and black labs. My little girl is smart she trained herself to walk on a leash and always on the left. she can open any door in the house and can be quite stubborn to learn tricks. I think all lab colors have smart and dumb dogs.

  117. My Chocolate Lab is a breed that is called a Pointing Lab since this strain of lab points game birds, holds the point until I get to him, waits after the shot until he is released to retrieve the bird. He is also an excellent retrievers going very difficult triple retrieves along with blinds. He is going for his 4x Grand Master Pointer Retriever this spring along with having gotten his senior hunter from AKC. This dog is an absolute joy with his wonderful disposition and drive in the field. He makes all other Labs regardless of color look a bit pale in comparison.

  118. I have a 11 year old Chocklate Lab . He is the best dog i could ever hope for.Koda is far from stupid.He is funny and sweet,although he will protect me if he feels he needs to. He does love Hes a little over weight.

  119. I have a chocolate and a yellow lab. I love them both dearly and equally. I have had labs my entire life and my chocolate lab is the smartest dog I’ve ever owned or seen for that matter. I knew from an early age, when he was 8-9 weeks old that something was different about him. I could go on all day about what he has done. But I will say this, he has never and I mean never gone to the washroom in the house. Ever. When I train him, I show him one time and never have to go over it again. He is good. I hunt birds with him. He’s incredible. He’s never ever on a leash.
    So basically I strongly disagree with your article.

  120. I am grandma babysitting my daughter’s Chocolate Lab right now. This is my first experience with them. Carter is a big boy at least 100 lbs. He does not appear to be stupid to me. In fact he is quite intelligent. He is well mannered and trained very well. He is about 3 yrs old now. I am handicapped and walk on crutches and he does very well with commands when I take him out on is
    leash. He has broken 2 leashes though. He is very, very strong, ye very gentle. I don’t see a lot of aggression in him. He is good with cats also.

  121. George is dumb as a box of rocks; destructive as well, often purposely so. He is prone to sulking, farting, belching, and takes great delight in tearing up things right in front of you, and appears proud of the damage he causes. If not for my youngest child, who adores him, he’d be GONE.

  122. We have a 4 year old called Charlie. He was so easy to train, as someone above has said he really trained himself. Lovely temperament but has a genetic heart complaint so intelligent or not we just enjoy everyday we have with him.