Labrador Retrievers are still one of the most popular breeds to have as a pet. But is it true that the gorgeous chocolate Lab tends to have a shorter life span than their yellow and black siblings?

Shorter lives for Chocolate Labradors

Chocolate Labs actually do tend to live shorter lives than the other retrievers. The average life span for Labradors is around 12 years, but only 10.7 for chocolate Labs. A new study by an international group of researchers found that they also have a high rate of skin and ear disease compared to yellow and black Labs.

Why chocolate Labradors? 

A study of 33,000 Labrador Retriever puppies by Royal Veterinary College, London found chocolate Labradors are often bred for their coat colour, decreasing the size of the gene pool and increasing the chances of hereditary illnesses.

Professor Paul McGreevy, from the University of Sydney, explained that the gene for this colour must be present in both parents for their puppies to be chocolate.

"The relationships between coat colour and disease may reflect an inadvertent consequence of breeding certain pigmentations", he said. "Breeders targeting this colour may therefore be more likely to breed only Labradors carrying the chocolate coat gene."

However, Labradors of all colours are likely to suffer from obesity, ear infections or joint problems as they age, so at the end of the day, the Chocolate Lab isn't alone there!

Do you have a chocolate Labrador?

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