Labrador Color Inheritance

Find out how your lab got his coat color. Includes helpful charts to predict puppy colors in a litter of Labradors

Labrador coat colors made simple!  Find out how we get chocolate, black or yellow puppies and what color pups we might get when we mix Labradors of different colors.

We’ve also got some great new puppy color charts for you, scroll down or use the green menu to find them!

Strictly speaking,  there are only three different types of Labrador color. Black Labs, brown Labs (usually referred to as chocolate or liver) and yellow Labs.

These are the three colours recognised and accepted by the Kennel Club

In practice,  there is a wide range of shades of yellow Labrador color, from palest cream to richest fox red.

But what makes a Labrador brown, or black, or yellow.  And what about Silver Labradors?  Where does this new and controversial coat color come into it?

Labrador color questions

I’ll be answering your questions on what color puppies we can expect when we mate together two Labradors in any of the different color combinations.

And I’ll also explain the genetic code that causes each of the colors in the first place.

I’ll try and keep it as simple as I can!

Understanding how a Labrador’s coat color is inherited starts with understanding how the three basic colours are passed on from one generation to the next.  So we’ll tackle that first.

Where do Black and Chocolate Labradors come from

The information that determines whether or not your Labrador is basically black or basically chocolate, is passed on through a pair of genes.

[wp_ad_camp_5]We can call these the ‘Bee’ genes.

Every Labrador dog inherits two ‘bee’ genes, one from each parent.

There are two types of ‘bee’ gene.

  • One we call big B (this is the dominant gene) and it causes a black labrador coat
  • And one we call little b (this is the recessive gene) and it causes a brown or chocolate labrador coat

There are three different combinations of bee genes that a Labrador can inherit from his parents (one from each)

  • BB
  • Bb
  • bb

Let’s look at those in more detail – I’ll explain how they influence the color of your dog’s coat.

Why black is a dominant color

It is normal for dominant genes to switch off, or over-ride, recessive genes.  And that is exactly what happens here.

A dog with BB genes will be black, because he has no little b gene, the one that gives us a brown coat.

[wp_ad_camp_2]But a Bb dog will be black too.  Because if the dominant black gene is present, it switches off the brown gene.

How chocolate Labradors are made

Even though a dog inherits a little b gene, the dog will only appear brown if no black gene (B) is present at all. Here are those three possible combinations of ‘bee’ gene that a dog could inherit again, with the coat color that results.

  • Two black genes (BB) gives you a black Labrador
  • One of each (Bb)also give you a black Labrador
  • Two brown genes (bb) gives you a chocolate Labrador

Remember that the black dominant gene always switches of the brown gene, so only the dog at the bottom will actually look brown.

How colors remain hidden

Although Chocolate Labradors have grown steadily in popularity in recent years,  the dominance of the black color enabled our chocolate friends to remain hidden and rare with the breed, for many decades.

Silver Labrador in long grass
Has the silver Lab been hidden in our Labrador gene pool for generations or is it an imposter!

Generation after generation of black dogs can continue to have only black puppies if dogs with the Bb gene are only ever mated to dogs with BB genes.

Remember, the dog in the middle of our list above will look black, but pass the brown gene on to about half of all its offspring. But things are never that simple are they? Because of course some Labradors are neither black nor brown.

Where do yellow Labradors from?

So having told you everything above, I’m now going to confuse the issue, and tell you that there are times when a BB, or a Bb dog will not be black at all

And when a bb dog won’t be brown!

The genetic information that creates a yellow coat comes from another pair of genes altogether.

We can call these the ‘eee’ genes.

And these genes have a different kind of power.  They have power over the ‘bee’ genes.

How yellow can over-ride black and chocolate

Little eee genes are able to influence or in certain cases to ‘switch off’ the ‘bee’ genes that cause black and brown coats. Each dog inherits two ‘eee’ genes, one from each parent. There are two types of ‘eee’ gene.

  • One we call big  E (this is the dominant gene) and it does not interfere with the ‘bee’ gene
  • And one we call little e (this is the recessive gene) and it has the potential to mask or ‘switch off’ the ‘bee’ gene that would otherwise give us black or brown coats.  The result is a yellow dog

But little ee is recessive, and if the dominant E gene is present, it switches off the masking gene.

It only takes one big E gene to do this.

So the dog will only appear yellow if no big E gene is present at all.

Each dog inherits one of these ‘eee’ genes from each parent. There are three possible combinations of eee gene that a dog could inherit. It could have

  • Two dominant genes (EE)
  • Two masking genes (ee)
  • One of each (Ee)

Only the middle of these three dogs will be yellow. In the first and third dog, the E gene will switch off the e gene, and the dog’s colour will be determined by its ‘bee’ genes.

Don’t forget these are different and additional genes to those responsible for black and brown. Each Labrador born has a combination of ‘eee’ and ‘bee’ genes. There are nine different possible combinations.

Nine different possible Labrador genotypes!

The chart below lists them (genotype is the genetic makeup, phenotype is the appearance of the dog)

Genotype Phenotype
EEBB Black
EEBb Black
EEbb Brown
EeBB Black
EeBb Black
Eebb Brown
eeBB Yellow
eeBb Yellow
eebb Yellow

Predicting the colour of Labrador puppies

Trying to work out what colours Labrador puppies will be is difficult without knowing the parent’s genotype.

Because as you can see, the second dog down the list may look black but he could throw brown puppies, and the fourth dog down the list may look black, but he could throw yellow puppies.

The fifth dog down the list is also black but he could throw yellow or brown puppies.[wp_ad_camp_4]

Mating two yellow labradors

Two yellow Labradors mated together will never throw brown or black puppies.  All their offspring will be yellow.

This is because yellow dogs do not possess the big E gene which is needed to switch off the masking effect.

Mating two chocolate Labradors

Two brown dogs mated together will never throw black puppies because brown dogs do not have the black gene.

But two chocolate dogs can produce yellow puppies, if each of the parents carries the little e gene – see the bottom right hand box below.

chocolate x chocolateThe colour of puppies produced by other color combinations of parents are a little more complicated.

It all depends on the genotype of the dogs involved.  Let’s look at a few more examples

Can two black labradors have yellow or chocolate puppies?

Depending on their genotype, two black Labradors can indeed have yellow or chocolate puppies.

Remember from our grid above that there are four different possible genotypes for a black labrador.   The genotype refers to the genetic code that the dog carries.

Four ways to be black

In the diagram below, I’ve put the four possible genotypes along the top to represent one parent –  the mother for example.  And the four different possible black genotypes down the side to represent the father.  Inside the grid are the puppies that could be born from each combination.

If  and only if,  both of them carry one little e gene, then some of the puppies may be yellow.  Remember that  your puppy needs two little ee s (one from each parent) in order to be yellow.

If only one of the two black dogs carries the little e gene, all the puppies will be black, but half will carry the yellow gene, this is how the colour can skip a generation

Two Black LabsThe same with the little b gene, if both of the black labs carry one little b gene, around a quarter of the pups could be chocolate, depending on whether or not the double ee gene over-rides the bee combinations!

Is it possible to get all three colors from two black dogs

Yes it is, check out the bottom right hand square in the diagram above.  Notice that it can only happen if the two black dogs have this genotype: EeBb

In other words, they both carry a little e and a little b

Mating a yellow Labrador with a chocolate Labrador

Now let’s look at what color the pups will be if you mate a chocolate lab with a yellow lab

This is good example of how complicated, and unexpected, labrador colors can be.  There are six different possibilities for litter color combinations depending on the genoptye of the parents.  You can even get a litter of all black puppies from a chocolate mother and a yellow father (or vice versa)

Here are the color possibilities

  1. Yellow and black puppies
  2. All puppies are black
  3. Yellow, black, and chocolate puppies
  4. Black and chocolate puppies
  5. Yellow and chocolate puppies
  6. All puppies are chocolate

Let’s have a closer look and find out why – in the diagram I have put the yellow Labrador possible genotypes along the top, and the chocolate genotypes down the side.

yellowxchocolateThere are three ways to be yellow, and only two ways to be chocolate. A chocolate labrador can be either Eebb or EEbb. That’s nice and simple.

A yellow dog can be one of three different genotypes: eeBB, eebb, eeBb – because anytime two little ee s come together they switch off the three different possible combinations of bee genes.

So, if you look at all the possible color combinations you’ll find that there are possibilities for all three colors in a litter of puppies from eeBb mated with  Eebb

Whereas if we mate EEbb with eeBB all the puppies will be black, because they will all have one big B and one big E

Black Labradors crossed with chocolate labradors

Let’s have a look now, at what happens when we cross a black labrador with a chocolate labrador.

We’ve seen that there are four different ways to be black, but that chocolate dogs only come in two different genotypes.

That gives us 8 potential outcomes.  The chart below has the different black labrador genotypes along the top, and the chocolate genotypes down the side.

black x chocFinally, we’ll look at the last possible combination of standard Labrador colors.  Black crossed with yellow.

Black labs crossed with yellow labradors

Because there are four ways to be black and three ways to be yellow, there are quite a variety of color pups for a mating between a black labrador and a yellow labrador.

black x yellow

What about silver labradors?

Last but not least, you may be wanting to know how silver Labradors get their coat color?

silver labradors - an unusual and controversial color pup There is another pair of genes involved which we haven’t looked at in this article, and that is the ‘dee’ genes.

Big D and little d.

These D genes have the potential to over-ride all the other colors, albeit in a subtle way.

When two little dd genes are paired together they dilute the coat color of the Labrador that carries them.

In a black dog this gives a softer, charcoal coat colour, in a yellow dog a paler ‘champagne’ yellow, but in a brown dog, the result is the striking silver coat that is currently causing such controversy among Labrador enthusiasts.

Head over to our article on silver Labradors to find out more!


It isn’t unusual for people to be quite surprised by the color of the puppies in a litter that they have bred.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

[wp_ad_camp_1]But as you can see, colors and indeed other inherited characteristics like certain diseases, can remain hidden from one generation to the next.

Potentially for many generations in a row if they are carried on a recessive gene.

And if you think think Labrador genetic is complicated, try working out the genotype of a cocker spaniel

It comes in a veritable myriad of different colour combinations.

It is enough to make your head spin!

If you want to refer back to any of the charts I have made for this article, you are welcome to do so providing you link to this website as the source.

Help with choosing your puppy

Choosing the perfect puppyNo matter which color Labrador you prefer, you’ll love this complete guide to finding and choosing your new best friend.

Packed with beautiful photos, Pippa’s latest book: Choosing The Perfect Puppy covers every aspect of the puppy search process

It will help you avoid common mistakes and ensure that you end up with the perfect pup for you.

Previous articleShades of Yellow: 17 Labradors to Brighten Up Your Day
Next articleGiardia In Dogs
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. We went to go see a litter of chocolate lab puppies, and saw 2 black ones in the litter of 7. We met mum, and she was a chocolate lab. I noticed that she was daintier than your typical lab, and didn’t have the “block head” that was common as well. She was beautiful though, and her temperament was amazing, I figured she was either a field lab or had a bit of mix, but it didn’t bother me… but looking back now, I should have asked. The reason being that we picked one of the black puppies who stole our hearts. Their father was supposedly an English chocolate, and we were shown a picture. We didn’t find out until after, that 2 chocolates cannot throw black, even though there were 2 in the litter, including ours. As he got older, it became clear that he wasn’t a pure lab, which is fine with me, but now I’m curious what his mix is. He is exceptionally handsome, has large webbed feet, a short corse coat (that is a little bit longer than your typical lab, with a wavy line down his back), but he doesn’t have the otter tail, it’s really long, his ears are really big, and he doesn’t have the “block head.” In fact, when most people see him they say “what a beautiful dog! What is he?” … then the other day, a woman said “oh! Is he a flatcoat retriever? My sister breeds them.” A quick google search, and I realized very likely what his mix is. His head is the spitting image of a flattie, except for the whisps of long hair. His ears are still exceptionally long, but I figure he will eventually grow into them. He’s longer and leaner than a lab too…more like the field lab, but closer in confirmation to the flattie. To make a long story short, we ordered a DNA test because we’re soooo curious! And also – wondering if there is ANY way possible his dad could have been the English chocolate we were told, or if its simply impossible…I assume the mum was the mix, but you never know! They could have bred her to two different dogs hoping she would catch and they just assumed because she had mostly chocolates, he was the father…

    • UPDATE – his DNA test confirmed that he was mostly lab, with about 20-25%% golden retriever in his lineage, and about 10% Airedale Terrier! This explains why his coat is black (mum was a chocolate), and why a lot of his features seem to be a tad “longer” than your typical lab. It is safe to assume that his father was not in fact the english chocolate, but rather likely a “Goldador.” The airedale terrier, I suspect came from his mother, though I could be wrong. He is absolutely fantastic, and we just love him to bits! Such a fabulous temperament and a really cool mix of breeds to boot!

  2. I have black female labrador…I crossed her with yellow male labrador..first time got 5 puppys.3 pups are yellow. .Two of them was black… 2nd time I crossed that same male dog and we got 10 puppies. 7 pups are fully black and 3 of them are brown and black mix. Like a rottweiler dog. Still I don’t know what is the problem. Pls tell me anyone that.

    • What seems to be the problem? Looks to me like you have a pair of labs that throw all 3 colors which is perfectly fine. I have 2 blacks that throw all 3 colors. Nothing wrong with them, it’s all got to do with their genotype.

      • Just re-read your post. It’s a mutation of the genes sometimes. I’ve seen labs that look like a calico cat. It’s a different kind of mutated gene unlike the D gene.

  3. Hi I teach year 12 and 13 biology (and have a yellow lab). This article explains dihybrid inheritance far more succinctly than any of the A-level text books I have been making my students read- thank you so much, I will be giving them all the link!

    From a personal viewpoint I would love to know more about the genetics of the different shades of yellow (so, I can see, would several other readers!) but I fear there are several more genes involved, especially in fox red, and my instinct tells me there may also be some sex linkage- are male fox reds more common than female? If you do have enough info for a follow up article I would imagine there would be a lot interest. Many thanks again for this excellent one.

    • Thank you, and I’m glad you found this helpful – shades of red are fascinating, we’ll definitely be looking at the topic at some point 🙂

      • Obviously not knowing the genotype of the parents it is indeed difficult to predict what colour the offspring will be, but are you aware of what genes are involved in creating the fox red shades of yellow and whether these are dominant or recessive? I wonder if it is a sex linked gene- perhaps making fox red makes more common than fox red females or whether the fox red is just recessive to yellow. I would love any further info you may be able to give on this. By the way, I have found this article to be extremely interesting and will recommend my high school biology pupils read this article when trying to understand dihybrid inheritance- you explain is much more succinctly than any of their text books do.

  4. I have a 11 month old lab her mother was a white lab her father a black lab and now as shes shedding her winter coat we noticed shes turning grey ( she looks like she has grey socks) and a few areas on her back thats got grey is this normal for a lab that came from two different colored parents

  5. I have a full blood lab pup that has brindle on her feet. How does this happen and will she grow out of the color?

  6. My lab had white tuxedo markings and white paws and as he aged, his snout turned white, his litter had the Same markings, what part of the genetics determine the white marks?

  7. I have a yellow lab puppy that as she gets older she is getting darker and darker. Her parents are both chocolate. Will she have the personally of a yellow lab or that of a chocolate lab. In reading some of your replies to questions I understand there is a color called red fox shade what personally do they normally have.

  8. Found this article in trying to figure out why my black lab has brown “highlights” on her muzzle and legs. She is AKC registered. When I take her to the park everyone asks me what breed she is. I say lab and they reply back that she must be a mix. But she looks very lab to me. She is more of the smaller English Lab type. Any one have any thoughts?

    • I have a rescue dog with the exact same colouring that you are describing. A coworker of mine was telling me that her friend’s AKC registered lab had “off color” or “off mark” coloring which resulted in a brownish muzzle and legs. I came here looking for more info too.

    • Depends on genotype. U have a 4/12 chance of all black. 4/12 chance of black and yellow. 2/12 chance of chocolate and yellow. 2/12 chance of black, chocolate, and yellow. It all depends on their genotype. I have 3 breeder labs that I’ve figured out the genotype on just by breeding to each other and through stud services.

    • If u have bred before to other dogs and know what colors they had in litter, with enough thought, u can figure out their genotype.

  9. hi am sub
    i have a chocolate lab mating with same color lab
    and i am astonished and very happy also when i saw there are nine healthy puppy delivered with same chocolate color which is my favourite color

  10. We have a white Lab, (English cream variety). It is like the Lab on Downton Abbey. We purchased from a breeder in Manitoba who specializes in this color. Does anyone else have a white Lab?

  11. Hi. Great information. I read up on genes before because I have a black and tan lab. Her father was chocolate and her mother was black. She is definitely lab! I didn’t quite understand the full genetics of how she came out marked the way she did. Am I understanding it right when it says that both parents had a one in a rare gene for her to come out marked like that? If just one parent had the weird gene and the other didnt, she probably would had been a solid color? She is gorgeous and I get so tired of people saying she is a rottweiler or she is mixed. Thanks for any information. I can’t really find much on this topic.

  12. Hey, great article, it helped me understand a lot. But I just had one question. My dog is a yellow Labrador with a pink nose. I heard its possible for them, pink-nosed, to produce chocolate lab puppies. BUT, she recently bred with another yellow lab and both of her parents are yellow. Is this still possible?

    • Hi Ashley, two yellow Labradors mated together will never throw brown or black puppies. All their offspring will be yellow. This is because yellow dogs do not possess the big E gene which is needed to switch off the masking effect 🙂 Have a look at the different possible combinations that can occur if you mate a yellow dog to a chocolate or black dog. It depends on the genotype of the dog.

  13. Just read your article. I have 2 labs. Female is yellow and the male is yellow. They bred (planned) and produced 1 black pup and 5 yellow. You say this is impossible but I kept accurate details of the breeding and never let my female out of sight even outside. I am not a breeder and only have the 2 dogs. Is it possible that your wrong? Both my labs have 1 black parent.

  14. Hi, just read your article. The breeder I bought my black lab puppy from gave me a registration paper that suggested his mother and father were both chocolate (his grandparents and great grandparents are also listed as brown). However is a black lab.. How is this possible? Did they lie?

    • Hey Hannah,
      I’m a geneticist just doing some research for a friend that breeds Labradors. Just thought I’d answer your question while I was here. There is no way 2 chocolates can produce a black pup. It is never possible. One of your pups parents has to be Yellow or Black.

  15. This article (and the site) was very educational, our five month chocolate lab came from a litter of three chocolate, three black and one yellow to black parents, now I understand how all three colours can exist in one litter.

  16. Hi I have a black labrador , whos parents were both black. She is 13 months old and just recently her coat has got in patches brown.. To be honest I thought at first it was mud , but we bathed her and its not mud. Any clue as to why this could be .

  17. I have a silver (diluted chocolate) lab and I want to breed her eventually but I want to keep the diluted color going. It sounds like my best option is to breed her with a chocolate lab but I was wondering what the possibility of having diluted color puppies whether they’re black brown or yellow would be if I bred her with an English cream (diluted yellow) lab.

  18. Hi dear Pippa, first of all thank you for your book. All the advice works like a magic with our 11 weeks old pure bred chocolate lab. But few days ago I noticed his tail, like 2″ from the body, has a grey hair on it. Please, would you know what is wrong? We had a black lab and he never had this and this is a very big concern to me. he is only 10 weeks….Thank you. His mom was black and his dad was brown. all pups were brown. Thank you!!!

  19. Hi there I have a few questions. We cam across a litter of pups whos mom is a chocolate and dad is yellow. 3 of the pups are solid black and 4 are solid white, there is one pup that came out broken colored like a brindle. Both the parents are registered. I have never seen this happen. Can you explain it? TIA

    • The yellow parent it either Bb or BB so carries black. You only need one B to be black so that is how they got black puppies….. the brindle I have no clue how that would happen.

  20. Dear Pippa,
    Your website is great and is very informative.
    I just mate my female yellow lab with a chocolate lab and I have a litter of 4 yellow and 3 black pups. Is there any possibility for the next litter with the same chocolate lab to be or have chocolate pups? Greets from sunny Aruba 🙂

  21. sir i read your article and congrats for that could you help me out with this situation.I got yellow lab and planned her to mate with black lab .What color type would i expect from her?Does she would produces all yellow or mixed colors of litters? any idea for me

    • My yellow bitch and black lab dog just had a litter of seven, six black and one yellow. Your chances are of all three colours with a mix is my understanding. Three of our blacks have a definite hint of brown in their coat which is lovely

  22. Hi pippa my question is I have a male yellow that we just bred with a chocolate and she had all black pups, they are 2 weeks old now and two of them are starting to lighten up and look more chocolate. is it possible that they will be chocolate? thanks

  23. Hi we are new lab owner we have a 3 month old lab. Read the site and was very educational.
    My question is tjat the lab we have is blacb and ta
    People always think its a German shepherd.
    Mom was black and dad was chocolate is this a normal color for them
    Thanks in advance

    • I have a black female lab now crossed with a yellow male lab. What are the possible colors expected. Is there any chance of getting a lab with both color( mixed color lab)

    • The Black and Tan is another set of gene’s altogether. the KB. They are a throw back to the beginning of the Labrador breed. A simple DNA test can be done to test for these markings.

  24. So I have enjoyed this website. It has been super helpful. I have been a lab mom for about 15years and just recently had the first litter if our own. Both of ours are black and we ended up with 6 yellow and 2 black. This is super hard to explain to people that it can happen, most want to doubt they are full blooded. I am printing your artical to help explain this!! Thank you again!

  25. When you cross a black lab who is half chocolate with a yellow lab who is half chocolate can you possibly get all three colors of lab pups?

    • Only if your Black lab also carries yellow. You should for sure get Black and Chocolate but you won’t get yellow unless the black dog is Ee that is carries a gene for yellow because a lab puppy must get a small e gene from each parent to be yellow.

  26. Hi Everyone, after reading a bit I think that what the Labrador site explained is that there are Three AKC registered colors for the Labrador Retriever Black, Chocolate (brown) and Yellow. Fox red is recognized by AKC in the Yellow family it is the darkest and then it goes to almost white. In America it seemed the lighter yellow was preferred. Then two very well know breeders went to England and brought back a fox red boy. They were both from Pennsylvania and has since moved there operations to other states. I also breed, and all of my studs are from one of those original breeders Keepsake Labradors. They are the most beautiful fox red color. I bred my Black girl to the only known living Fox Red Champion. My Black Girl had majority Black in her line but her Father was Yellow. I had a mixed litter of Black and Yellow the darkest yellow with red down her back and on her ears is the one I kept. I just bred her to a wonderful Fox Red Stud and she is due the end of march 2015. Can’t wait to see what colors she will have hoping for a black one like her Mother, but just can’t get away from that beautiful rich color of the fox red. So I’m hoping for both! Wish me luck!

  27. my female labrador dogs pregnancy period has exceeded, about 12 days over but not giving puppy, please tell me what i do for this
    tell me what cautions i take for this problem.

  28. there is chocolate ,black ,yellow, silver, fox red , and charcoal . how i now is cause i have silver chocolate yellow black and fox red.

  29. I have 2 yellow almost red labs there brother and sister. They seem 2 be getting darker as the months pass is this normal? They habe an almost white mum and a black dad.

  30. So I have a gold lab female and a chocolate lab male. Am I likely to get chocolate puppies from them? im assuming that my gold lab would have to have one or 2 BIG E genes for this to happen? I believe her siblings were all gold. However she has a chocolate colored nose. Is this an indication of her gene pool?

  31. Hi I have recently bought what I thought was a lab 8weeks old she is mainly black with brown on her paws and legs and a slight bit of white on her chin does this,mean she is not a a lab or can this happen? I know the father was yellow and the mother chocolate labs. Any help please??

  32. My black lab has pedigree papers. He is a black lab with 3 feet with white on bottom. Is he a purebred? We paid for a purebred. Still love Him regardless, but don’t understand.

    • Hi Lisa, We have a chocolate lab with a white blaze down his chest, this white fur comes from the very first breed of labrador that came from a new foundland dog, it had a white muzzle a white blaze and white feet.
      Your dog can still be a full pure bred labrador with white on its coat.

  33. I love you for this article because i am living in India where there is a lot street or local dogs which got this red colour. i bought a lab and its colour is red(which didn’t know when i buy it) then people here starts to tell that it is not a pure breed. But when i got into your site what i saw is exactly the same labs 🙂
    Though vet said that mine is red colour i wasn’t confident enough. But when i saw your site i’m so glad 🙂
    Is this a rare colour? because no one around in India saw this colour lab and this is the only site which i found this much pics of red labs

    • This is all very interesting. Believe me or not, a few years ago, we were given two labs that the owner called “blue labs”. A brother and sister, they were blue grey and had black all inside their mouths. The owner could not keep them and we had two small boys that these dogs played too rough with. We gave them to a friend, who said this color was really rare, and they were stolen from him shortly after we gave them to him. They were with out a doubt the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen, except my beloved German Shepherds !!!

  34. We have a pair of labs the male chocolate female yellow.We have had 4 litter now out of our female.Every litter has been 10 chocolate puppies.Ever heard of this? It seems very very rare to me.Any insight comments would be apreciated.

    • Yes I have a black female that has just bred with my chocolate male I was wondering the odds of what her puppies will look like

  35. Hi Pippa, I have a male chocolate lab & a female yellow, they had the first litter & I was shocked. She had 1 black, three yellow & two brindle??? They have papers & a pedigree. The two brindle are very pronounced. Have you seen this happen before??

  36. my chocolate (american field & trial) female just had her first litter on thursday. The sire is also a chocolate lab (english), and they are both from very reputable kennels. We have 6 chocs & 2 appearing black. Any explanation for this since it doesnt seem to match the gene determination?

    • Hi Susan
      There are two possible explanations. The first is that your apparently black pups are very dark chocolate. The second is that a mis-mating has taken place.

      • You could have a “B” genotype DNA test done for under $60 and see if it comes in “bb” or not. Since Choc. doesn’t have a “B” in it, the absence of a “bb” would mean the father of the blacks if not all the pups was not Chocolate.

  37. Pippa, I have a chocolate female, that we were told carries the silver/charcoal gene, and also a fox red male. The first litter that we just had 2 days ago, were all chocolate. There are a few that are really lite that may be silver, but we did not get ANY yellow or fox red. Does this mean that every litter that they have together will be this way?

    • Hi Shauna, unless your chocolate dog carries the yellow gene she will not throw yellow puppies. If a good sized litter is all chocolate, that would suggest she probably is EE and does not carry the recessive yellow gene. However, all the puppies in the litter will carry the yellow gene because they each get a little ‘e’ from their yellow dad.

  38. I feel slightly aggrieved here as there is a “Forth” colour which is Fox Red and we also have one. This is in fact the “original” colour before the intense breeding bred it out to yellow or white. It is a beautiful colour and very distinctive. I am VERY surprised that the Labrador site does not know this! Enjoy your Fox Red Lab:) ( often gets mistaken for a Rhodesian Ridge back )

    • Hi Allan,
      Fox red is considered a ‘shade’ of yellow, and fox red dogs have the same ee gene as other yellow dogs. The Kennel Club does not recognise it as a separate colour, and all fox red dogs are registered as yellow. Many of the photos on this site are of Fox Red labs and they are certainly very beautiful.

  39. Hi,
    We viewed a litter of 8 yellow labs 6 and a half weeks of age. The one we chose has very blue eyes whereas 6 of them had brown eyes.
    Is this common and are they likely to stay blue or will they become brown over time? Additionally she also has a brown nose instead of black.
    I have been searching the internet but have struggled to find information about this.
    Thank you

    • Hi, this is a useful article on pigment in yellow lab noses! Some people refer to a yellow lab with chocolate nose and eye rims as a ‘Dudley’ others insist that a true Dudley has no pigment (ie pink nose)

      Labs with chocolate pigment do sometimes have lighter eyes. If you are interested in ‘showing’ you need to do some more research into this.


  40. Hi Pippa – we have a 3 month chocolate lab who we got very sick from some unscrupulous breeders. Hopefully the wdorst is behind us and hes now grown into a playful, always hungry puppy.He hates to go for walks, is this normal? I’ve also noticed some black shades developing on his coat which is strange as otherwise he’s all chocolate coloured. Is this normal or is the black as I see it just a darker shade of chocolate? Still can’t pee train him but potty training is getting there. Thank you

    • Hi,
      Chocolate can come in slightly different shades, and may change a little as the dog matures. A dog’s coat can also look rather patchy when he is moulting. Pippa

  41. Hi
    We have a labrador and he is red. We get a lot of comments on his colour as it seems to be quite rare, most people question his breed. Can you tell us how the red colour comes to be? Your article on colour is very interesting. Thankyou!

    • I feel slightly aggrieved here as there is a “Forth” colour which is Fox Red and we also have one. This is in fact the “original” colour before the intense breeding bred it out to yellow or white. It is a beautiful colour and very distinctive. I am VERY surprised that the Labrador site does not know this! Enjoy your Fox Red Lab:) ( often gets mistaken for a Rhodesian Ridge back )

  42. I have just read your article on Labrador colour inheritance with GREAT interest. If you have a moment some guidance would be appreciated. I have a 13 year Choc lab who when mated with a black dog produced an all black litter, (when mated with a yellow dog she produced black and chocolate) One of that litter was put to a yellow dog, and produced another all black litter – If I put a bitch from that litter to ‘fox red’ labrador any idea if I would get a mixed litter or would they again be all black. Many thank if you have time to answer this, I am really enjoying the articles on the labrador website. Debbie Mason

    • Hi there, glad you like the site 🙂
      All yellow dogs carry two little e genes and give one of these genes to every puppy in the litter. So every black puppy with a yellow parent will have a yellow gene to pass on to the next generation. Therefore you can expect a mixed litter
      Whether you get the darker (fox red) shade of yellow is another matter, but good luck!