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Are chocolate labs more expensive than black labs?

Chocolate and black Labrador Retrievers are two of the most popular color variations of this beloved dog breed. With their friendly personalities, high intelligence, and enthusiasm for life, it’s no wonder Labrador Retrievers consistently rank as one of the most popular breeds in America. But when it comes to choosing between a chocolate or black Lab puppy, one key factor for many families is cost. Are chocolate Labs truly more expensive than their black counterparts?

The Popularity of Chocolate Labs

There are a few reasons why chocolate Labs tend to cost more than black Labs. First, chocolate Labs are rarer than black Labs. The chocolate coat color is recessive in Labs, meaning both the mother and father dog must carry the gene for chocolate coloring to produce a chocolate puppy. As a result, chocolate makes up only about 10-15% of yellow Lab litters on average. Their relative rarity means breeders can charge more for these uncommon chocolate puppies compared to common black puppies from the same litter. Additionally, the rich chocolate coat color is very attractive to many families looking for a Lab. Their uniqueness and appeal puts them in higher demand than the classic black Labrador Retriever. This boost in demand allows breeders to ask higher prices for chocolate Lab puppies.

Comparing Price Ranges

To get a better idea of the price differences between chocolate and black Labs, let’s look at some average price ranges:

Coat Color Average Price Range
Chocolate $1000 – $2000
Black $700 – $1500

As you can see, chocolate Labs tend to run $300 or more above comparable black Lab puppies from the same breeder. Keep in mind these are just general estimates – prices can vary based on bloodline, breeder reputation, location, supply and demand, and other factors. But the takeaway is that on average, chocolate Labs do tend to be more expensive than black Labs when purchasing from a breeder.

Why Pay More for a Chocolate Lab?

For families willing to pay the premium price, a chocolate Lab puppy is worth the extra cost. Here are some of the top reasons why:

  • Rarity – Chocolate Labs are relatively uncommon compared to black Labs.
  • Unique appearance – The rich chocolate coat is eye-catching and gorgeous.
  • Desirability – Chocolate Labs are very high in demand.
  • Breeding costs – Producing chocolate litters is more complex for breeders.
  • Supply and demand – Lower supply and higher demand allows breeders to charge more.

Essentially, buyers must be willing to pay a premium if they want the rare and highly desired chocolate coat color. For many Lab lovers, the extra cost is worthwhile. That said, black Labs are wonderful family dogs too, and can still be found from reputable breeders at somewhat lower prices.

Consider Adoption as an Alternative

For families looking to save money, adopting a Lab from a shelter or rescue can be a great alternative to buying from a breeder. Adoption fees typically range from $50 to $500, much less than the cost of a purchased puppy. The downside is you often don’t know the dog’s history or get to choose their color. However, shelters frequently have both chocolate and black Labs available. Here are some pros of adoption:

  • Significantly lower cost
  • Give an adult or senior dog a second chance
  • Avoid support of puppy mills
  • Meet the dog’s personality first

No matter what color Lab you welcome into your home, they will quickly become a beloved member of the family. For those set on a specific color, be prepared to pay a premium for rare chocolate Labs. But for families open to any color, adopting a Lab in need can be very rewarding while saving money too.

Comparing Health and Temperament

Aside from color and cost differences, do chocolate Labs and black Labs have any other distinctions? According to experts and research, chocolate Labs and black Labs share identical health issues and temperaments. The only reason chocolate Labs cost more is due to color preferences, not any physical or personality differences. Let’s take a closer look:


When purchased from reputable breeders, chocolate and black Labs will have very similar health. They share the same genetic conditions common to all Labrador Retrievers, including:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Eye diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

There are no additional diseases specific to chocolate Labs. Overall, they share the same excellent health and longevity when screened by breeders. The only minor difference is that black Labs’ dark pigment provides some increased sun protection compared to chocolate Labs.


Chocolate and black Labs have virtually identical friendly, loving personalities. As an energetic, intelligent breed, typical Lab temperament includes:

  • Friendly, outgoing
  • Eager to please
  • Intelligent, responsive to training
  • Active, needs daily exercise
  • Loves water and retrieving
  • Gentle, affectionate with family

These wonderful traits apply equally to both black and chocolate color variations. There are no differences in behavior. With proper training and care, any color Lab makes an excellent family companion and service dog.

Tips for Choosing Your Lab

When deciding between a chocolate or black Labrador Retriever, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set a maximum budget. Chocolate Labs can cost a few hundred more on average.
  • Decide if coat color is a priority. If not, consider adopting instead.
  • Select a reputable breeder that health tests. Ask to see certificates.
  • Meet parent dogs. Evaluate their friendliness and energy levels.
  • Temperament test the litter. Make sure your puppy is confident and sociable.
  • Get references from past puppy buyers.
  • Avoid pet stores or online purchases sight unseen.

By selecting an ethical, responsible breeder, you can find a healthy, well-socialized Lab puppy with an ideal temperament. While chocolate color demands a higher price, focus foremost on breeder quality over coat color alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are chocolate labs purer than black labs?

No, black and chocolate Labs are equally pure in terms of breeding. Coat color does not affect how purebred a Labrador Retriever is. Both colors meet the breed standard if purchased from a reputable breeder.

Do chocolate labs have more health problems?

No, there is no truth to this myth. Both chocolate and black labs have the same genetic health issues. When health tested by the breeder, they are equally healthy regardless of coat color.

Do chocolate labs have different personalities?

No, chocolate and black labs exhibit the same friendly, energetic personality. Personality is not linked to coat color but rather proper breeding, socialization, and training.

Should I choose a gender based on color?

No, gender does not affect chocolate or black lab temperaments. Both female and male Labs make wonderful pets regardless of their color.

The Bottom Line

Chocolate and black Labrador Retrievers make equally excellent family pets. While chocolate Labs are more rare and tend to be more expensive when purchased from a breeder, they are fundamentally the same dog as their black counterparts in terms of health, temperament, and attributes. Focus on finding a Lab from a responsible breeder that has been properly screened and socialized rather than getting caught up in coat color alone. By selecting the right breeder first, you can be confident you have a healthy, friendly Lab that will make a terrific companion for years to come.