The Black Labrador Retriever has a very smooth and shiny coat of very short black fur.
Also, the gene responsible for making a Labrador black is the more dominant of the coat color genes. This combined with the regular culling of the other colors soon brought black Labradors to be by far the most common color seen.
Black Labrador Retriever Breed Standard
The UK Kennel Club Labrador Breed Standard states for the Black Labrador Retriever they should be ‘wholly black’.
The American Kennel Club breed standard states:
‘Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. Any other color or a combination of colors is a disqualification…A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable…Blacks are all black. A black with brindle markings or a black with tan markings is a disqualification.’
So although some black Labradors are born with white patches or even (very rarely) a combination of colors, these dogs are disqualified from being shown in the ring.
The owner of a Black Labrador Retriever that doesn’t meet the standard is also encouraged to neuter or spay their dog to prevent breeding. This helps in the preservation and future of the breed standard, protecting it from being diluted by unwanted genes.
The Black Labrador Retriever Used in Hunting
It is widely believed that the black Labrador Retriever is the best of the colors to use as a working dog. It is certainly the most popular color seen in those circles. There are a few logical reasons why this could be the case:
- The Labradors ancestor, the St Johns Dog, was mostly black and was a highly trainable, hard-working and loyal animal. So in the labs early history, everybody desired a black and other colors were culled.
- Due to a long history and many generations of Black Labradors being selectively bred for their working genes, they have a natural drive and temperament for hunting pursuits in their genes.
- Yellow and especially Chocolate Labs have been mainly bred for their appearance and to closely match the standard for show. They have not been selectively bred for working. So their gene pool as a whole isn’t as strong in this respect as the blacks.
- Finally, a black dog blends into grasses and woodland better than a bright yellow dog and so is far less likely seen by the hunters prey, scaring it away.
I should say now though that a Black Labrador being more skilled and trainable than the other colors is basically a myth.
As the popularity of yellow and chocolate Labradors has grown, they’ve moved into all areas of work and competition. They have competed against and worked with blacks in all disciplines and have proven beyond doubt they can match the black labs in every way. These other colors have gained popularity over time and yellows and chocolates are widely seen throughout the world, as family pets, working dogs and in the show ring.
However, regardless of the skills of other colors, the Black Labrador definitely remains the favorite of the hunting fraternity and is by far the color most often seen with hunters out in the field.
Are You The Proud Owner Of a Black Lab?
We would love to hear any stories of you and your pet. Perhaps you have something to say on why they’re your favorite color? Or any differences you think exist between the black lab and labs of other colors?
Tell us something about your pet in the comments section below. We love hearing from you and will try to answer every comment :-)