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"Acquiring a Labrador Retriever: 9 Important Things to Think About"

If you’re considering getting a Labrador Retriever, there are some key facts you should know. These facts will help you make an informed decision and ensure that you’re well-prepared for the responsibilities of owning a dog. Let’s dive into these facts:

1. Colors Have Evolved: Labradors have been around for a while, and there used to be just three main colors for them. But around 40 to 50 years ago, we started seeing new colors emerge due to a mix of genes. These Labradors are still full-blooded, even though their coat colors have changed.

2. Various Colors: Labradors can now come in black, yellow, chocolate, as well as newer colors like charcoal and silver. Yellow Labradors can range from light cream to a reddish shade, and sometimes, you can even spot the hidden dilute gene on their noses. A small white spot on their chest is also okay. If a Labrador has the dilute gene (d), it can have non-standard colors like charcoal, silver, or champagne. Dogs with the dd DNA have these non-standard colors, while Dd means they carry the gene, and DD means no dilution.

3. Registry and Color: Kennel Clubs like the American Kennel Club (AKC) register request that when you register your dilute labrador, that you register  their base coat colors, eg. “silver” as chocolate, “charcoal” as black, and “champagne” as yellow. This helps maintain the pedigree of Labradors, even with the most recent colors.

4. Historical Challenge: Before DNA tests were available, people bred dilute Labradors without knowing their DNA makeup. So, we have to trust the original breeders about the dilute gene’s appearance. AKC can’t dispute this, and therefore there are thoughts if not millions of labradors now with the dilute gene.  DNA tests now show that dilute genes are common in Labradors and no one knows for sure that the original breeds that contributed to their origin didn’t also include the dilute gene.

5. Kennel Club Rules: Some Kennel Clubs may not question AKC’s export pedigrees, which means they’ll register dilutes as black, chocolate, or yellow. This has led to the acceptance of these non-standard colors around the world unintentionally.  They can be carriers of these dilute genes without exibiting the colors themesleves. 

6. Checking the Gene: If you want to be sure your Labrador carries the dilution gene, look at its pedigree or get a DNA test (dd, Dd, or DD).  In the USA, Embark, or Paw Prints Genetics, or Animal Genetics.

7. Reputable Breeders: Good Labrador breeders care about quality, regardless of the coat color. They’ll show you their dogs’ quality through testing.

8. Skin and Behavior Myths: Some say dilute Labradors are more prone to skin issues and behavior problems. But this is often exaggerated and not exclusive to dilutes. Skin problems can happen due to other genetic factors in the breed.

9. Club Acceptance: Some Labrador Clubs accept dilutes, while others may be unwelcoming. The AKC parent club doesn’t allow dilutes in conformation events, but they can participate in other AKC events like hunt testing and obedience competitions.

In Conclusion: Getting a Labrador Retriever is a big decision. Knowing these facts about the breed’s evolving colors, gene makeup, and club rules will help you better understand your future furry friend. Remember, a Labrador’s love and loyalty remain unchanged, no matter the color!