It seems that there are many new Labrador Retriever owners that are confused about what denotes a purebred Lab. Some believe that any mismarks, brindling or mosaic coloration demonstrates a mixed Lab breed or a non-reputable dog breeder. This, however, is not entirely true.
My own purebred chocolate Labrador Retrievers are from a long line of purebred sires and dams. Both lines were responsibly bred with both black and chocolates to keep the chocolate line pure and a beautiful shade of mocha. They come from highly reputable Cricket Hollow Farm that has built their reputation on almost 2 decades of breeding this specific dog breed. My breeder goes above and beyond with health guarantees, AKC limited registration papers, biosensoring, socialization, puppy aptitude testing, microchipping, dew claw removal, and if you should ever have to get rid of your dog, they make you sign a contract that says you will return the pup/dog to them so that it does not end up in a shelter or put to sleep.
They have also had brindled puppies!!
How do I know? Well, my girls are from the same line – just two separate litters and although the first litter came out dark chocolate, the second had number of brindled pups. Yep! Brindled pups from a very pure Labrador Retriever line and a highly reputable breeder. Cheyenne showed no sign of brindling when we brought her home even though almost her whole litter was brindle. The ironic thing is that even though both had no brindle at birth, the brindle is quite obvious after a summer laying out in the sun. My girls become a beautiful reddish-brown all over and Dakota’s tail and Cheyenne’s legs will become a awesome red. Beautiful cannot even begin to describe it – and I promise you that they are all Lab!
So, to answer some questions about brindle Labrador Retrievers:
1) What is brindling?
“Brindle is a coat coloring pattern in animals, particularly dogs, cats, cattle, and, rarely, horses. It is sometimes described as “tiger striped”, although the brindle pattern is more subtle than that of a tiger’s coat.” Labs with brindling have tan speckling on their forelegs, muzzles, and chest.
2) How does brindle happen?
It is all in the genetics. Why do two human parents with black hair have a brown haired child when there is no one else in the family with brown hair and it is not in their family line? Genetics.
3) Can brindle Labs be shown?
Short answer – no. The AKC only recognizes three coat colors: black, chocolate, and yellow. They allow for very little mismarking (if any) on the Labs in order to be in competitions.
4) Does this mean the Lab is sick or is more predisposed to illness?
No way! A brindle, mismarked, or mosaic dog is just as healthy as any other dog without color variations. It is only fur deep.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with brindle dogs – they make awesome canine companions and are as healthy as any other dog out there. However, keep a couple of things in mind when thinking about purchasing a brindle pup. 1) If you plan on showing the pup or breeding, look for another pup without color variations and 2) If a breeder tries to sell you a brindle pup for more money or advertises the pups as “special” or a “brand new color” run away very fast as that breeder is not reputable at all!