Of the three colors of Labrador Retriever, black, chocolate, and yellow, it seems the black has gained most popularity. Is it because the color is more beautiful? Are black Labrador Retrievers more intelligent or affectionate?
Black Labrador Retriever color genetics is probably at the root of the popularity. Black is the dominant coat color in Labrador Retrievers. There actually are only two coat colors in Labrador Retrievers: black and brown. The yellow Labrador Retriever is a result of the genes being unable to express black or brown. There is not really a yellow color gene in Labs.
Black Labrador Retriever color questions are readily resolved if you think back to what you learned about genetics. Genetics is the scientific study of heredity – dominant and recessive genes. We use it, among other things, to study the colors that are likely to be passed on to offspring.
Labrador Retrievers all have two sets of gene pairs. They get one part of the pair from the mother, and one pair from the father.
- The first gene pair is for dark coat color. Black is the dominant color, and brown is the recessive color. These genes are often labeled “B” for black and “b” for brown.
- The second gene pair is called “Expression” genes. The ability to express a dark coat is the dominant gene, and the lack of that ability is the recessive gene. The common labeling for this pair of genes is “E” for ability to express and “e” for the inability.
- that word “express” bothers you, think of it this way. The first pair of genes says whether the coat will be black or brown. The second pair of genes says whether you will see any dark coat color. Both “B’ and “b” may be present, but if “ee” is the other gene pair, the dark coat won’t come out.
The “B” gene and “E” gene both are dominant. No matter what else a Lab inherits, if it inherits a “B” and “E” gene, the coat will be black.
Black Labrador Retriever coloring is pure black if the puppy receives dominant black “B” genes from both parents and dominant expression “E” genes from both parents: BBEE. The puppy will be black, and carry recessive genes as long as it receives from its parents at least one “B” gene for black color, and one “E” gene to let the color show. For example: BbEe will be black as will BbEE or BBEe.
What are chocolate Labs? As noted above, the “b” gene that produces chocolate coloring in Labrador Retrievers, is recessive. A Labrador Retriever puppy will be chocolate only if it has two “b” genes, and at least one “E” gene to let the color show. There are, therefore, only two combinations that will produce chocolate Labs: bbEE and bbEe.
The genetic heredity of a Labrador Retriever puppy may include either “B” or “b” genes and the puppy still be yellow rather than black or chocolate. The secret is in the “e” genes. Remember, the “e” genes keep color from showing. They are recessive, however, so the puppy must have two “e” genes to keep color from showing. As long as it carries no “E” gene to make color show, the puppy will have a yellow or nearly white coat â€“ the absence of color. The three possible combinations for yellow Labs are: BBee, Bbee, and bbee.
What Color Will Your Labrador Retriever Puppies Be?
Black Labrador Retriever color may or may not show up in the puppies, even if both parents are black. If one or both carry a chocolate gene, there may be some chocolate puppies. If one or both carry an “e” gene that keeps color from showing, there may be yellow puppies.
Two black Labrador Retrievers can produce a litter containing all three colors of puppies.