Aisling Labradors  

Quality Traditional Dual Purpose Labrador Retrievers
Champion Lines

A Primer on the Genetics of Color

Breed Standard:  The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. Any other color or a combination of colors is a disqualification.  A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable. White hairs from aging or scarring are not to be misinterpreted as brindling. 

Black - Blacks are all black. A black with brindle markings or a black with tan markings is a disqualification.  

Yellow - Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog.  There is no such thing as a "White" Labrador; it is a Yellow Lab with a white or cream colored coat; likewise, there is no such things as a "Fox Red" Labrador; it is a Yellow Lab with a red-ish coat.

Chocolate - Chocolates can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate. Chocolate with brindle or tan markings is a disqualification.


    • A thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment. (Traditionally called a "Dudley".)
    • Eye rims without pigment. 
    • Any other color or a combination of colors other than black, yellow or chocolate as described in the Standard. 

Phenotype is visible while Genotype is invisible and determined by what is inherited from the Dam and Sire.

A dog has two versions of each color gene receiving one from it's Dam and one from it's Sire.  A capital letter indicates a dominant...i.e. "B" (Black) is dominant and cancels out "b" (Chocolate) while "E" is dominant and cancels out "e" (Yellow).

Black Dogs can be:  BBEE (no hidden colors) or BbEe (hidden chocolate and hidden yellow)

Chocolate Dogs can be: bbEE (no hidden colors) or bbEe (hidden yellow) OR bbee (chocolate pigmented yellow coat)

Yellow Dogs can be: BBee (no hidden chocolate) or Bbee (hidden chocolate) OR bbee (chocolate pigmented yellow coat)
A dog that receives a "b" from both it's Dam and Sire is Chocolate with no Black anywhere (bb)- including nose, lips and eye rims. Our Little Cain is a bbEE (or EEbb) mating him with a Yellow or Black female will never produce any Yellow puppies while mating him with a Black will produce Black and Chocolate puppies depending upon the Black's genotype.  A dog that receives a "b" and an "e" from both parents has no black pigment; it needs at least one "B" to have the Black nose, lips and eye rims which is the desired state according to the Breed Standard, a chocolate nose on a yellow is "fault" not a disqualification however a nose "thoroughly lacking pigment or flesh colored" (pink) are a disqualification, as are a eye-rims with no pigmentation.

A dog that receives an "e" from both parents is Yellow coated (ee); it's nose and eye rims are determined by whether it received a "B" from either parent.  All of our Yellow Labradors are BBee (eeBB).  Mating them with a Chocolate will never produce a Chocolate puppy.  Mating them with a Black will produce both Black and Yellow puppies depending upon the genotype of the Black (a BBEe Black will produce both Black and Yellow puppies with one of our Yellows/a BBEE Black will produce only Black puppies with one of our Yellows).  Mating two of our Yellows to each other (a BBee to a BBee) will ONLY produce Yellow Labradors with Black pigment.  We do not produce Dudley's here at Aisling.  With the ability to genetically test coat colors, Breeders now can bred Yellow to Chocolate with no worries about producing puppies who would be disqualified from Conformation Competitions.

For a visual reference, see  "Coat Color Inheritance Chart For Labrador Retrievers"

For more detailed information, visit "The Genetics of Colors in Labradors" by Amy Frost Dahl, Ph.D (1998).

For information on mis-markings on pure bred Labradors, visit Woodhaven Labradors