A champagne lab is a beautifully colored dog whose light coat has been getting some extra attention these days. But are they actually genetically different from a yellow lab, and is breeding for this particular coat color a bad thing? Keep reading to learn the answer and more about Labrador Retrievers and their coloring.
Let’s jump in!
What Color Labrador Retrievers Are There?
Labrador Retrievers have been some of the most beloved and popular dogs in America for decades. These generally happy and friendly dogs come in three primary colors: yellow, chocolate, and black. The colors are determined by genes inherited from their parents. But there are other color variations that occasionally pop up, including champagne, and different shades and marking patterns thanks to the mixing of genes.
Yellow Labradors, for example, can vary in shade from a light cream to a rich fox red. Chocolate labs have a rich brown coat ranging from light to dark chocolate. Black Labs, as their name suggests, have a solid black coat.
What Is a Champagne Lab?
A champagne lab is a unique color variation of a yellow lab. It’s a relatively rare and sought-after coat color that’s a beautiful and striking light tan or champagne-like shade. The color comes from a dilution gene from both parents.
Champagne Labrador Retrievers typically have a lighter nose and eye color, which adds to their distinctive appearance. They’re not officially recognized by kennel clubs, including the AKC (American Kennel Club), as a standard color. But they’ve gained popularity among breeders and the general public. Of course, they possess all their Labrador counterparts’ lovable qualities and traits.
Are Champagne Labs Rare?
Champagne labs are relatively rare compared to the most common colors of yellow, black, and chocolate. The champagne color isn’t commonly seen in the breed. Its rarity has contributed to the appeal and desirability among dog lovers. Due to their scarcity, champagne labs often have higher demand and can be challenging to find.
Are Champagne Labs Genetically Different From Yellow Labs?
A dilute gene causes the champagne coat on Labrador Retrievers. Dilute means an autosomal recessive trait that causes clumping and uneven distribution of pigment granules in the hair shaft. So, the champagne lab coat is a dilution of the yellow lab coat.
However, there are debates about whether the champagne or silver coloring results from mixed breeding. Some people think it’s because of a mix of a Labrador and a Weimaraner a long time ago, which led to the dilute gene.
The controversy arises because some breeders argue that the dilution gene can be associated with health issues or a higher incidence of genetic disorders. However, others argue these dogs can be just as healthy as their traditionally recognized counterparts. While this may be true in the first generation of the diluted color, further breeding of diluted dogs with other diluted dogs may have unintended results. Given the rarity of the gene in the first place, finding enough genetic diversity for responsible breeding may be difficult.
The doubt surrounding purebred champagne labs is evident in that kennel clubs don’t recognize the color. Here at HypePets, we don’t discriminate between purebreds and mixed breeds. In fact, a Weimeraner x Yellow Lab mix sounds like a beautiful combination to us!
Are Champagne Labs Recognized by the AKC?
The AKC doesn’t recognize champagne labs. We could not find any kennel clubs that recognize the coat color in Labrador Retrievers at the time of this article. As new information and research emerge, the recognition or acceptance of certain colors may change. It’s always recommended to consult reputable breeders and organizations for the most up-to-date information.
The AKC officially recognizes the primary Labrador Retriever colors, including black, yellow, and chocolate. AKC breed standards focus on genetically accepted coat colors, which are traditional for Labrador Retrievers.
What Is the Rarest Color Lab?
Silver, charcoal, or champagne are the rarest color Labrador Retrievers. They’re rare due to their gene variations.
The black coat color on labs is determined by the dominant (B) gene, while the chocolate color is determined by the recessive (b) gene. A different set of gene variations determines the yellow color. Silver, charcoal, or champagne are the result of specific gene combinations involving the dilution gene (D) and the chocolate gene (b). These variations dilute the chocolate color to a lighter shade, resulting in a silver or charcoal appearance.
It’s important to note that the rarity of a particular color doesn’t necessarily make it more desirable or valuable. However, some breeders may try to sell rare colors for more money.
Fun Fact: Coat color isn’t the only genetically determined aspect of a dog to watch. Eye color is another. For example, learn why some Border Collies have blue eyes.
What Is the Temperament of a Labrador Retriever?
Labrador Retrievers are most known for their friendly and outgoing temperament. They’re also highly regarded as one of the most gentle, loyal, and affectionate dog breeds.
Most labs are sociable and enjoy the company of their humans and other animals. They tend to naturally be good-natured, making them excellent family pets and companions for people of all ages.
Labs are also known for their intelligence and willingness to please, making them highly trainable. They’re often service, search and rescue, therapy, and guide dogs. In addition, labs are usually playful and energetic, thriving on physical activities like swimming, running, and retrieving. They are excellent hunting and sporting dogs. This lovable breed has an overall excellent reputation.
Where Can You Get a Champagne Lab?
We highly recommend starting by searching for Labrador Retrievers at shelters and rescue organizations. Some people think you won’t find a lab or purebred in a shelter, but the reality is any type of dog can end up in a shelter or need rescuing. So, be sure to check with your local shelter or on pet adoption websites.
If you must have a champagne lab and can’t find one to adopt, be sure to go to a reputable breeder. We recommend setting your expectations of how to get the champagne color in a responsible way. In other words, check to make sure the breeder is looking for health markers in their dogs and not just the coloration. Some backyard breeders may not be as careful about inbreeding to get a particular color, which can lead to other health problems down the road. Also, be sure to research and ensure it’s not a scam or puppy mill.
Cherish Your Champagne Lab and Its Brilliant Coloring
We have to admit, champagne labs are beautiful. If you welcome one into your family, cherish its brilliant coloring as a genetic gift. Labrador Retrievers can be the best of friends to anyone. There’s nothing like walking through the day with a smile on your face and your canine buddy by your side!
Do you have a champagne lab? If so, we would love to see a photo! Tag us on social media.
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