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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views June 2019 Issue

Chocolate Labs Less Healthy Than Black Or Yellow

Labrador retrievers

© Life on White | Bigstock

“Chocolate” linked to health problems.

Labrador retrievers have remained the most popular dog breed for almost three decades, but Lab lovers who opt for chocolate rather than black or yellow Labs may be in for more veterinary bills — and heartache. A study of some 2,000 Labs published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology shows that chocolate Labs are two times as likely to get dermatological problems in the form of hot spots. They are also more likely to end up with otitis externa — the canine version of swimmer’s ear. They die younger, too — at an average age of 10.7 years as opposed to 12 years for the other two colors.

It takes a recessive gene from both a dam and a sire to breed a chocolate-colored Lab. Researchers wonder if that gene is linked with others that interfere with health and longevity. Genetic investigations will reveal more clues — and possible solutions.

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