The brown Labradoodle coat color can range from a light caramel to a deep chocolate shade. We’re going to look at how Labradoodles get their brown coat, how a brown Labradoodle puppy’s coat color can change over time. And how you can find the brown doodle dog of your dreams!
Brown Labradoodle fur is caused by a recessive gene. That means it can remain hidden for several generations and brown puppies can be born to different colored parents! Happily, whether you’re looking for a cafe, caramel, or chocolate Doodle, your puppy will be clever, friendly, and active.
What is the Brown Labradoodle?
The brown Labradoodle is one of the many coat colors that these super-popular pups can have. Lots of Labradoodle breeders won’t use the term ‘brown’ when advertising their puppies. So, you should research the specific shade of brown Labradoodle you like the most.
Both Poodles and Labradors come in various shades of brown.
So, it’s not uncommon in Labradoodles mixes, and isn’t necessarily going to be hard to find a brown Labradoodle puppy.
The color of the brown Labradoodle is the only thing that will separate them from other Doodles.
They’ll have the same lovable temperament and care needs as any other Labradoodle.
Brown Labradoodle Coat Color GeneticsBrown Labradoodle Coat Color Pigment
All dogs, including the Labradoodle mix, get their adult coat color from one of two basic pigments:
- Eumelanin (produces the black spectrum)
- Phaeomelanin (produces the red/yellow spectrum)
When genes interact with the eumelanin pigment, coat color can express in four different color shades:
When genes interact with the phaeomelanin pigment, coat color can express as the full range of reds.
This spans from the lightest cream or tan all the way to the deep burnished copper, often called “Irish Setter red”.
Focusing on the Brown Color
There are eight genes in the canine genome that control coat color. They each have a specific location (locus) and two alleles (variants).
It’s no surprise that the genes at the B (brown) locus give instructions to produce the true brown Labradoodle coat color.
At the B locus there are two alleles. The dominant “B” allele shows as black, but the recessive “b” allele shows as brown.
When a gene is dominant, a puppy only needs to inherit a copy from one parent to express the color. But, when a gene is recessive, the puppy needs to inherit a copy from both parent dogs to express the coat color.
So, Labradoodle puppies need to inherit the recessive brown allele from both the Labrador and Poodle parents.
Recessive genes can go hidden for generations. So, breeders won’t necessarily know a dog is carrying the right gene for a coat color just by looking at the dog.
Instead, a breeder must know the genetics of their parent dogs very well to reliably breed chocolate brown Labradoodle puppies.
Brown Labradoodle Coat Color Fading
Lots of different Labradoodle coat colors can look brown to the untrained eye. But, in actuality, a true brown Labradoodle can be quite challenging to breed for.
This is because, as we now know, brown is a recessive trait. Puppies need the allele from both parents.
To further complicate the challenge, Labradoodle coat colors can fade over time. So, a Doodle pup could start out life with a black coat, only to grow up and have a pale liver one.
Where Coat Fading Comes From
The Labradoodle breed comes from two purebred dogs: the Labrador Retriever and the standard Poodle.
Labs come in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate.
Poodles, on the other hand, have 11 solid coat colors and 17 coat color patterns.
The Poodle genome also includes the G series locus, which stands for progressive greying.
So, it is the Poodle parent breed that is responsible for the Labradoodle coat’s tendency to fade over time.
Will my Brown Labradoodle Stay Brown?
The progressive greying gene is not the only cause of Labradoodle coat color fading over time.
Other factors that can cause a dark coat color to fade include:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Hair length
- Natural aging process
And more. Not all Poodles will carry the greying gene.
But, it is a dominant gene. So, if your Labradoodle’s Poodle parent does carry it, your brown Labradoodle’s coat will certainly fade over time.
The Light Brown Labradoodle Coat
So far, we’ve been looking at chocolate as the main shade of brown on a Labradoodle coat. But, Labradoodle breed associations use some colorful terms to describe the full range of shades.
Depending on which association you consult, darker shades of brown can be called:
- Dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- Or cafe
Lighter brown coat colors are called:
- Smoky lavender
- Cafe au lait
- Soft lilac
- Creamy beige
- Or caramel
Why So Much Variation?
A knowledgeable breeder might tell you that the brown Labradoodle standing in front of you is really red, cream, apricot, gold, silver, pewter, or dark charcoal.
But, you’ll be well within your visual rights to argue! After all, a brown dog is brown, no matter what the breed association says!
Many Labradoodle puppies start out life with a much darker coat color than they will show in adulthood.
A true brown Labradoodle (chocolate) may have a black-appearing coat in early puppyhood.
But, a lavender adult Labradoodle likely started out in life with a chocolate-appearing coat.
A Labradoodle with an adult parchment coat color may have had a milk chocolate puppy coat. And a red adult Labradoodle quite likely had a brown-appearing puppy coat.
Where Can I Find a Brown Labradoodle?
Despite the complexity of dog genetics, reputable breeders and experts are learning more and more every day.
And, the Labradoodle breed is extremely popular. So, there’s no shortage of puppies from reputable breeders out there!
If your heart is set on a brown Labradoodle puppy, reach out to reputable breeders to see if they’re expecting any chocolate puppies.
You may need to wait a little while, thanks to the popularity of the breed as a whole.
But, the short wait will be worth it for a healthy brown Labradoodle puppy!
Do You Have a Brown Labradoodle?
Is it your goal to own a brown Doodle, or do you already have one of these popular little dogs at home?
Brown Doodle coats can be unpredictable, but there’s a shade out there that everyone will love!
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References and Resources
- Switala, A. ‘Labradoodle Shades: A Beginner’s Guide to Coat Colors’, Texas Australian Labradoodle (2021)
- Dawn, A. ‘Doodle Coats and Colors’, Safari Doodles (2021)
- Chapelle, J. ‘Two Different Types of Pigment’, Dog Genetics (2021)
- Buzhardt, L. ‘Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs’, VCA Animal Hospitals (2021)
- Lewis, L. ‘Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Australian Labradoodle Association of America (2021)
- Coopshaw, K. ‘Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association (2020)
- Fuller, M. ‘Simplifying Coat Color’, Super Novas Standard Poodles (2021)