chocolate labradoodle

Chocolate Labradoodle

Chocolate Labradoodle puppies are cute, clever and full of fun. Their friendly personalities and active characters make them very appealing to a lot of family homes. Today we are going to look at the pros and cons of brown Labradoodles, and help you to decide whether this is your perfect pet.

The chocolate Labradoodle is a brown dog bred from a Standard Poodle parent and a Labrador Retriever parent. Chocolate doodles are thought to inherit their rich brown coloration from the chocolate Lab. But it isn’t always that straight forward. Different terms are given to the various shades of this color. For instance, dark chocolate refers to a deeper brown, whereas milk chocolate describes a lighter version of this coat. There is still a bit of disagreement about exactly which shades qualify as ‘chocolate’ by various breed clubs. So, finding the exact shade of chocolate brown Labradoodle you want can take more effort than you’d first expect.

Chocolate Labradoodle Quick Links

Are you thinking about adding a chocolate Labradoodle to your family? In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about this iconic coat color. Let’s get started by finding out exactly what this type of dog is.

What is a Chocolate Labradoodle?

The Labradoodle dog is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle breeds.
Chocolate is one of the many coat colors that these mixed puppies can inherit.

In the world of canine color genetics, the term “chocolate” describes the brown color spectrum. As such, the brown coat color range is often described in terms of different types of chocolate. For instance, milk chocolate describes a lighter brown color and dark chocolate denotes a much deeper, richer brown.

Here, it is important to know that the term chocolate is used only to describe the Labradoodle dog’s coloration. Otherwise, a Labradoodle of any coat color is still considered the same dog breed.

Chocolate Doodle Size

The standard chocolate Labradoodle can be around 70lbs. But a mini chocolate Labradoodle, with a Labrador and Miniature Poodle parent, are usually around 40lbs.

Which Shades of Brown Count as Chocolate?

Since the Labradoodle breed itself is still early in its evolution and development, there is some disagreement regarding exactly which coat colors fall into the “chocolate” color category. This means that different Labradoodle breed associations and clubs can use different terminology to discuss the various shades in the chocolate coat color spectrum.

The Australian Labradoodle Association of America, for example, separates the dark brown Labradoodle coat color from the cafe (a lighter brown) and lavender (a brown hue with pink, lilac or lavender undertones). But the Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association includes lavender and caramel in with the chocolate coat color category. So how can you be sure the puppy you bring home will grow up to have the shade of chocolate coat you are hoping for?

chocolate labradoodle

When you are searching for a chocolate Labradoodle, the easiest way to get around this confusing difference in terminology is to let the breeder exactly what color coat you want your dog to have. If you want a chocolate Labradoodle with a lighter or darker brown coat, then use those exact terms so your goal is clear.

And if you are able to find a photograph online of the exact coat color you want that you can show the breeder, this can be even more helpful.

Are Chocolate Labradoodles Rare?

Whenever you are investing in a crossbred dog breed, there can be more genetic guesswork involved to predict which puppies will inherit which genes from each purebred parent dog. This is especially the case when one of the purebred parent dogs has a complicated color genome. Let’s take the Labradoodle’s two main purebred parent dog breeds as an example. The Labrador Retriever breed standard states that this dog breed has three colors:

  • Yellow
  • Black
  • Chocolate

But then there is the Poodle parent dog breed. The Poodle breed specifies no less than 10 different solid coat color possibilities:

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Silver beige
  • White

The Poodle breed also includes 18 potential color combinations! On top of this, the genes necessary for brown coats are recessive. So, a more dominant gene, like the one for a black coat, will often overpower it if it is present. With such a wide range of possible coat color combinations and patterns in the Poodle breed line, breeders often find it hard to breed for a true chocolate Labradoodle coat color that remains consistent throughout life.

Chocolate Puppies Can Change Color

Unique among the other possible Labradoodle coat colors, the chocolate coat color has a tendency to fade over time. Sometimes the coat color will stay a deep, rich, dark chocolate tone.

But more often than not, the dark chocolate will start to fade. When it fades, it may end up having a lighter brown (café), a silver undertone (lavender) or a cream undertone (parchment). Even the most color-knowledgeable Labradoodle breeders are generally hard-pressed to determine what the chocolate coat will do over time.

Once the coat starts fading, it may continue to fade for up to three years before settling into the dog’s permanent adult chocolate Labradoodle color. This is the reason the chocolate coat color is considered to be rare in doodles.

Why Is My Chocolate Doodle Turning Grey?

Later in life you might find your gorgeous brown doodle starts to change color again. It’s not something to worry about, and similar to the process that happens to us humans. Your dog’s dark coat might turn grey or even white, and this will begin around the muzzle and face first.

Breeding a true chocolate Labradoodle that stays a true chocolate all through life can be as much of a surprise to the breeder as to the dog owners.

Does Labradoodle Coat Color Matter?

It is true the Labrador Retriever dog parent contributes simpler coat color genetics to the Labradoodle breed. But Labrador Retriever enthusiasts are known to have their own opinions about the three classic coat colors and which one is best for what roles.

For example, yellow Labradors are the top pick for service dogs and guide dogs. Black Labradors are prized for hunting, retrieving and hunting roles. Chocolate Labradors are considered ideally suited for show dog competitions and family pets.

Is this factual?

Or is it just so much personal opinion codified into fact? Here, the answer really depends on what types of activities you want to pursue with your pup. For most owners, as long as their Labradoodle puppy is sound and healthy, coat color is incidental.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a Labradoodle dog with a specific coat color. We all have our preferences, which is what makes our world so colorful and fascinating. But, be wary if you run across a Labradoodle breeder that is going out of their way to advertise “rare” or “designer” Labradoodle coat colors. Often, this is just a method that less reputable breeders will use to try to inflate puppy prices.

And, remember that Labradoodle puppies are just as likely to inherit one of the many Poodle colors, rather than the three standard Labrador shades.

Chocolate Labradoodle Temperament

As we’ve briefly mentioned earlier, the only difference between chocolate Labradoodles and any other Labradoodle is their coat color. Their temperament will be very similar. However, there will still be variations between puppies, as mixed breeds can inherit any traits from either parent, and how they are raised plays a large part.

As long as you train and socialize your chocolate doodle dog well from a young age, they will most likely be very friendly, energetic, and intelligent. Most Labradoodles, chocolate ones included, are eager to please and love spending time with people, particularly their closest family members.

These large dogs are energetic, too. They do best in active families that have plenty of time to spend with them. Whether it’s playing games, learning fun new tricks, or burning off some of that energy.

Chocolate Doodle Health

A few year ago, a research study made waves by announcing that chocolate Labrador Retrievers might be less healthy. They reported that they are more likely to become obese, suffer from ear infections and joint disorders and die earlier than yellow or black Labrador Retrievers. But is this a concern for Labradoodle dogs, who have one Labrador Retriever parent dog and one Poodle parent dog? It is hard to say. So if you want a brown Labradoodle, just be sure you work with a responsible, health-focused breeder. One who has deep knowledge of the canine genome and keeps careful health records for her breeding dogs and their puppies.

When the breeder invests the time and expense to pre-screen parent dogs for all known heritable (genetically transmissible) health conditions before allowing a mating, there will always be less risk that the puppies will grow up to develop serious health issues. Your Labradoodle breeder should happily show you clear test results for both of your puppy’s parents and give you an initial guarantee of good health for your new Labradoodle puppy.

Health Issues to Watch Out For

There are some health problems that all Labradoodles, including chocolate ones, are prone to. Be sure to learn about the following if you’re bringing one of these puppies home:

The Labrador parent should have good hip and elbow scores, and a recent clear eye test and PRA certificate. The Poodle parent must also have good hips, but be clear for von Willebrand’s and sebaceous adenitis too. These are just a few of the major problems that can affect Labradoodles.

Finding a Chocolate Labradoodle Puppy

As we’ve already learned, finding a chocolate Labradoodle that will stay the same color for its entire life is rare and difficult. You might find a puppy that’s the perfect shade at 8 weeks, but this will change dramatically over the next few years.

It’s important that you choose a reputable breeder when searching for a chocolate doodle puppy. This will decrease the risk of an unhealthy puppy.

If you’re looking for a certain shade, register your interest with breeders. They may be willing to contact you if they get a chocolate colored puppy in their future litters.

Always avoid puppy mills, pet stores, and backyard breeders, even if their chocolate Labradoodles are cheaper. These places usually give their puppies worse care and are less interested in their health. It’s likely that more puppies will be bred in these places as demand rises, but it’s really important to only choose reputable breeders.

Chocolate Labradoodle Rescue

If you aren’t set on getting a chocolate colored puppy, you can look at rescuing an older chocolate Labradoodle. This is also a good way to ensure your dog’s coat is less likely to change color.

Some dogs are given up to rescue centers because of behavioral issues, but there are lots of reasons for dogs to end up there. Many go on to make wonderful, loving family pets.

Work closely with rescue center staff to make sure you find a dog that will suit your family. Let them know your situation, including if you have other pets and children.

As the Labradoodle breed gains popularity, breed-specific rescue centers are becoming more common. But, if there are still none near you, check rescue centers dedicated to the parent breeds. They may accept mixed breeds, too. Rescue Labradoodles will often be cheaper than puppies from breeders, and they may have some basic training.

Do You Love the Chocolate Labradoodle?

Chocolate Labradoodles can make great canine companions. These high-energy dogs love to run and romp and play – and their favorite playmate will always be you!

If you love the idea of making your new dog the center of your family and world, a dark brown Labradoodle might be your perfect new family pet.

References and Resources

  • Lewis 2021. Labradoodle Coat Colors. Australian Labradoodle Association.
  • Coopshaw 2020. Labradoodle Coat Colors’, Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association.
  • Chappell. Two Different Types of Pigment. Dog Coat Color Genetics.
  • Mattinson 2016. Which Labrador Color is Best? The Labrador Site.
  • Attaway 2021. Complete Guide to Labradoodle Colors’, Lakewood Labradoodles.
  • McGreevy et al. 2018. Labrador Retrievers Under Primary Veterinary Care in the UK: Demography, Mortality and Disorders. Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.

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