Is a dog’s colour linked to how long they will live and their chance of developing a serious illness?

Chocolate Labrador with pumkins
Chocolate Labrador more likely to have health issues ©ben.hanson, unsplash

Would you expect how long your dog will live to be associated with the colour of his coat? Or even to be at an increased risk of acquiring a terrible illness? A new Australian report verifies these facts.

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The University of Sydney has recently carried out a survey and reports that a Chocolate Labrador will most probably not live as long as the Yellow or Black dogs of the same breed. Likewise, in other investigations, Chocolate Labradors have a higher frequency of skin disease and ear infections than different colour Labradors.

An in-depth study of the dogs’ colour and how long they will live

More than 33 thousand Labrador retrievers based in the United Kingdom were studied using their veterinary records. The results published in a recent publication, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. Labradors are one of the most popular breeds worldwide. This electronic patient data is also being reproduced in Australia, where many homes have a Labrador as a pet.

Hence, in the United Kingdom, a non-chocolate Labrador has an average life expectancy of 12.1 years. A chocolate-coloured dog from the same species will outlive them by 10 percent longer.

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Black Labrador pup
Different colour same breed Labrador ©andre.spiekr, unsplash

Increase in health issues in different coloured same-breed dogs

Likewise, the frequency of ear infections is reported as being twice as high in the chocolate Labrador variety. This chocolate dog is also four times more probable to suffer from hot-spot dermatitis skin problems.  The findings came as somewhat of a surprise to the researchers. The author of the report, Professor Paul McGreevy works at the Faculty of Science at Sydney University. His findings show that as the chocolate shade is recessive in dogs, both parents must hold this gene for the resultant pups to be the same colour.  Consequently,  breeders wishing to obtain a dog with a chocolate coat are more likely to use both parents holding this gene.

Labradors and their chance of serious illness

Across the 33 thousand dogs studied, joint conditions, ear infections and obesity are all noted as being the most common health conditions in this breed. A high percentage, 8.8 percent of all the Labradors in the UK, are categorised as being either obese or overweight. This is more common if they are neutered, male dogs. The most standard reasons for the death of chocolate Labradors are cancer and musculoskeletal problems.

chocolate Labrador puppy
Chocolate Labrador breed ©henri.joubert, unsplash

If you are thinking about getting a new chocolate Labrador puppy, these results certainly give you a heads-up pinpointing the potential health issues. The colour of your new pup could be linked to how long he or she will live.

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Read more: Guilty Labrador Offers up an Adorable Apology for the Mess He Made

I live in County Durham, in the North East of England, and have been a freelance writer for several years. My hobbies include travelling, gardening and spending time with my grandchildren. I believe that animal lovers are a special group of humans, full of empathy, big-hearted, rather prone to sentimentality and generous of spirit. No matter how few possessions or how little money you have, owning a pet makes you a rich person!