Yes, Chocolate Labradors can be guide dogs, but it’s quite rare.
I found a comprehensive answer as to why on the Guide Dogs for the Blind website (GDB)
‘While most Labradors from GDB are either black or yellow, GDB does have dogs in our breeding colony that carry the gene for chocolate, and occasionally chocolate puppies are born.
Chocolate puppies follow the same raising and training process as all other puppies and have the same opportunity to become successful working guides.
To put it simply, the genes that determine if a puppy will be chocolate are recessive, which means both parents must have the gene to have a chance to produce chocolate offspring.
Because GDB focuses primarily on choosing parents who will have puppies with the highest temperament and health qualities to succeed as working guides, GDB does not deliberately match up parents who carry the chocolate gene.
On occasions where mate selection factors indicate that an ideal match would be between two parents carrying for the chocolate colour, there is still no guarantee that any puppies born will be chocolate, which is why it is so rare in the GDB population’.
Which colour Labrador is the most intelligent?
This is a controversial debate that has been rumbling on for many years. The simple answer is that they are all intelligent.
The Labrador as a breed actually ranks as the 7th most intelligent dog in the world. Traditionally, black labs have been seen as the most intelligent, as they have been used for many years as working dogs.
Chosen above yellow or brown because the black coat colour blends into nature better. As working dogs, this means that they exhibit certain key characteristics. They are confident, strong, alert, watchful, easy to train, sociable and obedient.
As the genes for black labs are dominant (so there are more of them) and as they have been used for many years as these working dogs, it can be argued that these intelligent characteristics have been more successfully bred into the larger population of black labs.
BUT Yellow labs and chocolate labs are no less capable of exhibiting this intelligence. There are fewer yellow labs born and significantly fewer chocolate labs born than black.
This is a complex gene theory which is explained amazingly well here.
If you read this linked article, you will understand that for example two highly trained and intelligent working dog black lab parents, could have a litter of mixed colour pups.
We would therefore expect the pups to have inherited the characteristics of their parents, whatever their coat colour.
Are there chocolate lab guide dogs?
The simple answer is yes, but they are much fewer in number. At the top of this article, you will find a comprehensive explanation as to why.
Are chocolate Labradors harder to train?
No, chocolate Labs are not harder to train than any other lab.
As with all dogs, it is down to breeding (so look carefully at their ancestry), as well as the time you put into them.
Chocolate Labs, like all Labs, are:
- good companions
- intelligent and eager to please
Simply put, they are great dogs!
Which color Labrador is the calmest?
Labradors, regardless of coat colour, have a sweet and gentle nature. They are a naturally boisterous breed, so the key to a calm dog is effective training, rather than choosing a specific colour of coat.
Are all chocolate Labs hyper?
I am going to stick up for the chocolate labs here. The reputation they have for being hyper is purely anecdotal.
They can quite reasonably be attributed with the same abilities as their black or yellow counterparts. Please see, ‘Which colour labrador is the most intelligent,’ in this article.
What you need to consider very carefully before you purchase a puppy is the bloodline they come from.
Then also the training methods you are using as an owner when you have the pup, regardless of coat colour.
How long does a chocolate Lab live?
The average lifespan for a chocolate lab is actually considerably shorter than for their yellow or black cousins.
On average a chocolate Lab lives for 10.7 years, while a yellow or black Lab lives for around 12.1 years.
See this article here for more information on this study and the reasons behind the findings.
So, can Chocolate Labradors be guide dogs?
Absolutely, but they aren’t very common. Although chocolate Labradors have a reputation for being harder to train, there is no hard evidence to support this.
They are every bit as capable as their black and yellow equivalents.
Want more? We have a whole section on Labradors here.