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Thread: Chocolate Labradors

  1. #1

    Smile Chocolate Labradors

    The following extract of an artical writen on Chocolate Labs made me smile. Recognised myself in it...

    Found it on Wylanbriar Labradors | Bred for Temperment, Type and Trainability

    The fundamental thing that often gets chocolate Labradors a bad name is the experience and ability of the people who tend to choose to work them. After all, let’s be honest, very few people wake up and think “I want a really top class working dog…… I think I’ll go buy a show bred chocolate!” So the vast majority of those who DO work or train them, bought the puppy, and more importantly, RAISED that puppy as a pet dog. Then at some point thought, ‘I fancy working this dog…’ and so start training, often at 1 or 2 years old, with clubs or trainers, or worst of all, at home in their own inexperienced way. The result is exactly what would happen if that dog had a black or yellow coat. It is a pet dog in newcomer hands and the result is often, not very pretty.

    His second dog, now he has the working bug, is almost always a ‘specialist’. A trial bred dog from a working kennel, usually black or yellow. He is a better handler (questionable?)by now and knows how to raise a puppy with work in mind, and, hey presto! The whole picture becomes prettier and the ‘chocolates can’t work’ stereotype is reinforced just that little bit more. Had his second dog also been a chocolate would it have ‘gone better’? – Almost certainly. Did its colour handicap it, or in fact did the handler and its start in life to a greater extent? Without a doubt.

    Only a fool would not admit that a show bred dog ‘tends’ to have an upper ceiling of ability in almost any hands. I personally have found the show bred dog, even in reasonably experienced hands, starts to flounder a little at the higher end of the Open test or Novice trial scale when style, real drive, and natural problem-solving starts to need to come strongly into play. Up to this level, for me, they have never greatly set themselves apart from their working bred compatriots. They often ‘go’ slightly differently, and that can grate on ‘fast-dog’ handlers, but unfortunately, how many chocolates are IN experienced hands?….. very very few.

    It’s important to remember, the mad, lunging, whining, panting chocolate is just a dog with bad manners and a lack of basic training and boundaries. It could have been any colour. Show bred dogs tend to be bred to have confident, sociable, outgoing temperaments. A huge bonus if raised well. A huge drawback if not. The quiet sensitivity of many of the working lines makes their confident show bred cousins look like mindless ‘act first, think later’ idiots. But that can be channelled into a really happy, buzzy, keen to please worker if tailored correctly, it does not HAVE to be a drawback.

    The other important factor which is leaving many show bred dogs behind (not just chocolates) is the way they are trained. The show bred dog, undoubtedly, usually does not have the drive and pace of the working bred dog and, therefore in the early stages, needs training accordingly. You really wouldn’t expect to drive a Discovery they way you would drive a Ferrari, yet the two polar opposite bred dogs are almost always trained using the same methods. Understandably because the show bred dog at gundog classes tends to be very much a minority. Standard novice gundog training, in most quarters, especially at club level, involves a large amount of steadiness. Dummies thrown over the head and pick dummies by hand. ‘Stay, Stay, Stay, Stay…’ Sadly, for a show bred dog, not exactly spilling over with natural desire, this approach tends to be utterly un-stimulating and entirely boring. They need what drive and desire they do have, encouraged from day one with very upbeat, short sharp training sessions, keeping them bouncing and leaving them wanting.

    I think sometimes it is a very misunderstood area, regarding the breed standard, showing and the Labrador. The Labrador breed standard was drawn up by shooting men for shooting dogs. Very little has been changed over the years. The Labrador was a Light to Middleweight hunter type of a dog, not a Cob and not a racing thoroughbred. These extremes have come about by individual breeder’s interpretations of the breed standard and neither end of the spectrum look like the dogs intended by the original BS writers. Just being lean does not mean a dog is healthy. Just being heavier of build does not mean a dog is unhealthy. Carrying too much weight for its own structure makes a dog unhealthy and that can be seen, not only in the show-ring, but as often in the working type in a thousand pet homes every day. The idea, for example that working bred Labradors have a better record of joint health, hip and elbow results etc. does not play out at all. In fact there are good and bad in every body shape of the breed.

    There are as few chocolate Labradors shown in the ring as there are worked you may be surprised to know. The number in your average show class would be proportionate to the number in your average, say, working test field. One, maybe two, usually no more. We have not ‘given the Chocolate Labrador to the show ring’; we have, in fact, ‘given the Chocolate Labrador to the pet owner’. However, there are a dedicated few working to wrestle it back from them!

    The future really is far brighter than the past for the colour in terms of being taken seriously. There ARE some good chocolate role models, albeit very few and all with a good dollop of working blood in them. There are some good stud dogs with proven ability now out there, and more importantly, they are not ONLY now being worked by pet owners and newcomers. So, hopefully, we can move towards giving them a helping hand to prove they aren’t the classroom idiot of the breed.

  2. #2
    I have been shooting a long time, I have run my own shoots and shot all over the country. I am not saying there are not any good working chocolate labs but I have not yet seen one. All the ones I know are head strong and a little boisterous.

  3. #3
    Not sure of the present situation but you still don't see very many of them on shoots, over forty years ago I had two, both were capable workers but at that time at least there was a very limited gene pool, at that time there were two problems in chocolate's, eyes both of mine had gone completely blind before they turned five.

    And although mine were fine there was much talk at that time of aggressive tendencies in chocolate's an ununusual trait in Labradors.

  4. #4
    Shooters have - Black, Yellow or even occasionally Brown Labradors.

    Hairdressers have - Golden or Chocolate Labradors.

    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  5. #5
    We have only owned 1 chocolate Labrador that belonged to my sister.Very boisterous dog,I managed to get basic commands but wouldn't make a gun dog,however this dog has by far been the most gentle,friendliest affectionate dog we ever had the pleasure of owning.
    She was as thick as a plank,but I trusted her with my sisters children.she lived to 17 years and was a lovely family pet.

  6. #6
    HI all
    I bred a litter three years ago black dog to black bitch pure working strains and she threw 4 blacks three yellows and a chocolate bitch, which, against my better judgement my mrs persuaded me to keep.She is a cracking looking dog fairly dark chocolate in colour she is very lean and fit and works well but any faults are due to my training not the dog's.I use her for everything she hunts up and flushes,wildfowling,a bit of picking up so she is not a typical peg dog. She is very bright hunts and retrieves very well.I have been stopped while out and about and asked where I got her from as she doesn't look like your typical chocolate Labrador(short stumpy and fat).I would like to mate her up with another working bred chocolate but it will have to look good too and there are not too many about.So I also am looking for a good black dog that carries chocolate.So if anyone Knows of any give me a shout

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    Shooters have - Black, Yellow or even occasionally Brown Labradors.

    Hairdressers have - Golden or Chocolate Labradors.

    ​There is no such thing as a Golden Labrador ?

    One day I want to be as wonderful as my dogs think i am .....

  8. #8
    15 years ago we purchased a brown lab and he was a pig to train , however he turned out to be a outstanding deer dog and worked on Roe & Red in Scotland and Fallow in England , he was put down 3 years ago and i wish my current dog had half his tallent,we are looking for another brown lab later this year.

  9. #9
    I was lucky enough to get a 2 year old Chocolate Lab from a rescue centre that a friend ran and apart from him being hard to get to "go back" I can honestly say he was good as gold!
    In water retrieving ducks he was up there with the best Black Lab I had.
    ​However,I haven't seen a good one since

  10. #10
    I have had two I lost one when he was 3 but still got the other who 4 now.
    he dosent do too bad when beating and on the little shoot I'm on.
    got to say he head strong tho. Butt all good fun.

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