Black Labrador – Your Complete Breed Guide

It’s really hard not to fall in love with a Labrador Retriever, given how incredibly sweet these doggies are. They are the kind of dogs you keep if you really want a best friend pooch as they will love you deeply and enjoy nothing more than spending time with you.

They are also so beautiful whether you have yourself a bright yellow Lab or the unique chocolate variation. However, none are as mystical and intriguing in aesthetics as the Black Labrador.

Black Labradors are one of the three standard color types on Labrador Retrievers that have a fully black coat. In most other ways, including build and temperament, they are the same as common brown and yellow Labs. They do, however, have a few personality quirks and care needs differences that make them unique about Labradors.

If you are interested in getting a Black Lab, here is all you need to know so you can take great care of your new pup.

What Are Black Labs Known For?

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Black Labradors are known for their unique all-black aesthetic. They were bred for use as working dogs, mainly for hunting and retrieval purposes. However, their beauty and awesome personalities gained their popularity, especially in the United States as companion pets.

The Black Labrador is very similar to other color variations of the dog breed in terms of physical traits. Here are just a few that you will notice on your Black Lab.

Coat Type And Color

The shade of black on Black Labrador Retrievers is a dark solid one. In some cases, it may appear shiny especially if the dog has not had a bath in a while.

The fur itself is usually short, straight, and densely packed for a very thick coat. It is also coarse to touch. In some sporadic cases, the fur may be longer and slightly wavy. This is a result of a recessive gene and is, therefore, not a trait you will find with many black labs.

Size And Built

How big a Black Labrador gets depends mainly on genetics. They can range between 55 to 80 lbs in weight and 21.5 to 24.5 inches in height. Like all other Labradors, female Black Labs tend to be smaller than males.

The build on Black Labradors can best be described as solid and proportional. They have muscular limbs and wide chests.

Facial Features

Black Labs have a long and narrow snout. However, the snout is not tapered. The eyes on these doggies are medium-sized, wide-set, and usually either brown or hazel in color. Finally, their ears are large and floppy.

How Long Do Black Labs Live On Average?

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On average, Black Labradors live for 10 to 12 years.

They are usually very healthy doggies, especially as most breeders selectively breed out unwanted traits that could cause complications for the puppies later on.

However, this is not to say that the Black Lab dogs are completely disease-free. For some perspective on potential illnesses you may have to deal with, here are the most common conditions that affect Black Labradors.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a very common condition among large dog breeds like the Black Labrador. The abnormal joint formation could also affect the dog’s shoulder or elbows. As the dog grows older, the joint suffers degeneration resulting in painful, debilitating arthritis later on in the pooch’s life.

Exercise-Induced Collapse

Exercise-induced collapse is common in retriever breeds, especially the Labrador, and the black variety is not spared. It is common when Black Labradors reach adult years and manifest with the loss of limb strength and general agility after long periods of exercise.

Exercise-induced collapse gets worse with time, and eventually, the dog may not even be able to tolerate more than 20 minutes of activity.


Myopathy refers to the condition of muscle functionality. In Black Labradors, this condition is hereditary and affects skeletal muscles. This results in issues like mobility and growth. It could also affect swallowing muscles leading to issues like choking or malnutrition.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Gastric dilatation volvulus is associated with a condition known as bloat. This is where the Black Labrador’s stomach swells and twists on itself when full of food, fluids, or air. It is very painful for Black Labradors and can be life-threatening if not addressed.

How To Take Care Of Black Labradors?

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Black Labradors are relatively low maintenance dogs.

However, they can be very tricky to live with and raise right, especially if you have no idea what they need or how best to take care of them.

That is why we have compiled this list of must-knows when it comes to taking the best care of your Black Lab. Let’s get right into it.

Get The Meal Quality And Quantity Right

Black Labradors are prone to a number of health issues like obesity and musculoskeletal diseases that can very easily be prevented or managed through healthy diets.

It is crucial that you find a dog food brand that uses high-quality ingredients in the right proportions for your dog’s health and well-being.

Pet Plate is by far the best option out there as they use human-grade ingredients and customize meal plans based on your dog’s age, breed, and health needs.

Watch The Portions

Obesity is a big problem among Black Labrador and is largely due to their large appetites. It is your job to ensure a balance between what they want and what they need in terms of how much food they get to eat.

2 to 3 cups of dry kibble spread out over three meals per day is enough to keep your Black Labrador adult happy without compromising on their health.

Exercise 1 To 2 Hours A Day

Black Labradors are athletic and outdoorsy doggies. However, they have a lazy side and will quickly slip into an inactive lifestyle if allowed to. So set aside 1 to 2 hours of the day to get your Black Lab some exercise unless there are any health issues preventing it.

It is also essential to invest in fun toys, in which case we recommend the iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers for dogs. The best thing about this automatic ball launcher is that it has multiple distance settings, so you can use it to play with the dog both indoors and outside.

Stick To Your Regular Vet Visits

Regular visits to the vet for routine checkups are the best way to find some of the health issues that affect Black Labradors and deal with them before they get out of hand. So, find a vet schedule that works for your dog and stick to it.

Are Black Labs Good Dogs? Temperaments Of Black Labradors

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There is a common misconception in the dog world that Black Labradors are bad and ill-behaved. This couldn’t be more unfair and further from the truth about these loving and loveable doggies.

To put things into perspective, here are some of the personality traits you can expect with your Black Lab pooch.


Black Labradors are intelligent dogs or perhaps one of the brightest dogs on Stanley Coren’s listLike the rest of the color types in the breed, they are very quick to grasp new concepts during training and have a fantastic memory.

All you have to do is make the training sessions fun for them and be consistent, and it is very little you can’t teach Black Labs.


There is truly never a dull moment with a Black Labrador. They are hyper and very lively. This is sometimes misconstrued as being aggressive, especially when they play rough or get destructive while they are in a lively mood.

The best way to keep your Black Labrador calm is to find ways to help them work out all that nervous energy. Investing in playtime is the best way to do this.


Black Labradors are very social and are awesome if you want a companion that will get along with everyone in your life. However, as with any other dog breed, you have to start socialization early with Black Labs. This will help get the dog comfortable even around strangers and especially around smaller pets.

Attention Seekers

Black Labradors thrive from attention and affection. They love being around their human friends and may not be very happy being left alone for too long.

Why Do Black Labs Turn Brown? Grooming Tips For Black Labradors

Black Labradors are not hypoallergenic and in fact tend to shed quite a lot. They have short, dense, shiny black coats that are relatively high maintenance.

Due to old age, they undergo certain changes and may start to look dull and brown. Your job is to do your best to keep their coats shiny, fresh, and healthy for as long as possible with good grooming habits. Here are a few tips that should help.

Brush The Black Lab’s Coat 2 To 3 Times A Week

A regular brushing schedule will help you deal with the shedding and will definitely make cleaning up after your dog easier. To make things more convenient, consider investing in the iRobot Roomba i3+. This tiny vacuum is designed to clean up pet dander, and though small, it packs quite a punch.

The choice of grooming tools you make when caring for your Black Labrador is just as important as the frequency. The FURminator Undercoat Tool is one of the best grooming brushes for the job. It has thick bristles to work through the dense coat and an ergonomic handle that makes working with the brush very comfortable.

Wash The Black Lab Every 6 To 8 Weeks

Black Labradors are not any more likely to stink up than any other breed. However, they need regular washing to keep their coats shiny and healthy and to protect their skin from irritation.

Paws & Pals 6-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo helps with all this and then some with its multifunctional formula. That way, you can take care of your Black Labrador’s coat, whether it is unproblematic or riddled with issues like irritation, dullness, and odor.

What Happens When You Breed A Black Lab With A Yellow Lab? If you breed a Black Labrador with a Yellow Labrador, you might end up with either black or yellow labs, depending on the genes. You will often have black Labradors as the E and B genes required for the trait are dominant. However, if the Black Labrador parent carries recessive E genes, there is a higher possibility that the resulting puppies will be yellow.

Can 2 Yellow Labs Have A Black Lab? It is not possible for 2 Yellow Labradors to produce black Labrador offspring. For a Labrador to come out black, there need to be dominant color genes that Yellow Labs simply do not have. However, it is possible in the reverse scenario for Black Labs to have yellow puppies.

Why Does My Yellow Lab Have Black Hairs? It is highly unlikely for a normal and healthy Yellow Labrador to have black hairs. This is because their genetics essentially prevent the formation of dark fur on their coats. However, the coat or just a few fur strands may turn dark in cases of:

  • Fungal infections
  • Dirt and stains
  • Genetic mutations
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Pete Decker