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Is it true that the chocolate Labrador is more fragile than others?

The life expectancy of a dog is linked to its lifestyle, its diet, but also to its breed, and therefore to its size or weight. In some cases, it can even be linked to its color, as surprising as it may seem. For example, the chocolate colored Labrador has a shorter life span than other black or sand colored Labradors. Let's take a closer look.

Fragility of the chocolate Labrador: genetics in question

A scientific study conducted by a university in Sydney (Australia) has allowed researchers to look at the particularities of the brown Labrador or chocolate Labrador, but also more specifically at the health of Labradors in general living on the soil of the United Kingdom. The number of dogs on which this study was based is still 33 000. The scientists therefore have a large amount of electronic data and markers that have allowed them to draw certain conclusions.

The chocolate color can only be passed on to a puppy if both his father and mother have passed on the DNA portion that gives him this coat color. This is why it is said to be recessive. Some breeders who wish to produce litters of chocolate Labradors select their males and females at the time of mating. But as these dogs are quite few in number, they are confronted with restricted lines and a limited gene pool during sexual crosses.

It is clear that the genetic pool of the chocolate Labrador is reduced, because the more the genetic pool is limited, the more the risk of developing certain pathologies increases.

Pathologies more frequent in the chocolate Labrador than in other Labrador Retrievers

It has been scientifically found that the chocolate Labrador is more susceptible to certain health problems, as described below. This seems to be a consequence of the very rarity of this variety of Labrador. When the pigmentation is created, the so-called "accidental" risks are more numerous, as explained by the scientists who studied this case.

Pyotraumatic dermatitis

This is a skin condition that manifests itself in the form of hot spots. It affects more particularly the rump, the neck, the ears and the cheeks of the animal. It is responsible for increasingly virulent itching, so much so that the dog scratches constantly and insistently. The scratching, biting and licking become obsessive and lead to sores and then to infections and skin superinfections.

At the beginning of the disease, perfectly delimited red patches appear with a more or less swollen center. The hair on and around these patches falls out. Pus leaks out and sticks to the other hairs in the affected area. The purulent lesion frequently becomes crusted and has a peculiar bad smell. Gradually, the patches may spread to a greater or lesser extent.

The main causes of pyotraumatic dermatitis are flea bites, sarcoptic mange, inflammation of the anal glands, irritation of a harmless wound and otitis.

Depending on the extent of the animal's reaction to the disease in question, hotspots may or may not appear because they are not systematic. This is why it is imperative to limit the risks of proliferation of bacteria in the upper layers of the dog's skin by avoiding scratching, biting or licking its wounds. In any case, it is very important to consult the veterinarian without delay.

Pyotraumatic dermatitis affects more than 4% of chocolate Labradors, while less than 1% of black or sand Labradors are affected by it.

Otitis externa is common in chocolate Labradors

It is a prevalence in these dogs. The inflammation of the external auditory canal is called otitis externa. It is about 13% in black Labradors, almost 17% in beige Labradors and reaches almost 24% in chocolate Labradors.

Obesity, more important in brown Labradors

This is another health problem that affects chocolate Labradors more frequently than others. But knowing this, the owner can take precautions to prevent obesity in his little friend. It is essential that these dogs receive a strictly balanced diet and are able to get enough exercise every day. As a reminder, obesity affects nearly 9% of chocolate Labradors.

The life expectancy of the chocolate Labrador is reduced by 10% compared to that of a sable or black Labrador. Thus, for a life expectancy of about 12 years for black or light-colored dogs of this breed, brown-coated individuals have a life expectancy of less than 11 years, a significant difference.