What is a Chocolate Labradoodle?
The chocolate Labradoodle or brown labradoodle is what we call a dog that is a brown Poodle Labrador Retriever mix. These dogs weigh around 50-65 lbs and are created when you breed a Poodle and Labrador Retriever.
Their distinctive brown coat is what makes them stand out from the other Labradoodle variations.
Not to worry though, chocolate Labradoodles are no different from other Labradoodles in terms of behavior, size, or health. They are just brown!
What is a Chocolate Labradoodle?
In the world of canine color genetics, the term “chocolate” describes the brown color spectrum. As such, the brown coat color range is often described in terms of different types of chocolate. For instance, milk chocolate describes a lighter brown color and dark chocolate denotes a much deeper, richer brown.
What Does the Chocolate Labradoodle Look Like?
- People tend to confuse a chocolate Labradoodle and a chocolate Poodle because of their similarities. You will notice that chocolate Labradoodles have their own distinct characteristics upon closer inspection.
- For example, you’ll notice that their eyes are more like a Labrador Retriever’s and the coat texture is much softer than a Poodle.
- Also, depending on the parents, a full-grown chocolate Labradoodle on average can be between 25 to 45 inches tall and weighing about 35 to 75 pounds.
- This can vary since breeders often mixed Labradors with toy Poodles, creating a mini chocolate Labradoodle, which can be between 14 to 16 inches and weighing 15 to 25 lbs.
- A Labradoodle’s coat is heavily determined by the coloring of the parents before breeding. This makes it hard for breeders to determine a standard size for this hybrid.
- Labradoodles will still show characteristics like drooped ears, long snout, and an elongated tail. A chocolate Labradoodle can also come in three different types of coats that include curly, straight, and shaggy.
- Also known as a ‘wooly’ coat, Labradoodles that have curly fur almost resemble sheep. A chocolate Labradoodle with a curly coat appears when the Poodle parent gene is most dominant.
- Maintenance can be difficult, as the coat is dense and thick. Owners whose dog has a curly coat must stay on top of weekly brushing to keep it healthy.
A straight coat is one of the least common coat types, only showing in chocolate Labradoodles where the Labrador gene is dominant. This coat can cause more shedding and looks nothing resembling a chocolate Labradoodle.
You will find that dogs with this coat are F1 Labradoodles with a chocolate coat, meaning they are the first generation. Unfortunately, they are less desired and can be hard to home.
- A brown Labradoodle with this coat is also known as a Chocolate Fleece Labradoodle. This coat is most common with the breed and is the most preferred among Labradoodle owners.
- A shaggy coat is low maintenance and has low shedding, making it great for those with allergies. It is soft to the touch and gives the breed a classic look.
Which Shades of Brown Count as Chocolate?
Since the Labradoodle breed itself is still early in its evolution and development, there is some disagreement regarding exactly which coat colors fall into the “chocolate” color category. This means that different Labradoodle breed associations and clubs can use different terminology to discuss the various shades in the chocolate coat color spectrum.
The Australian Labradoodle Association of America, for example, separates the dark brown Labradoodle coat color from the cafe (a lighter brown) and lavender (a brown hue with pink, lilac or lavender undertones). But the Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association includes lavender and caramel in with the chocolate coat color category. So how can you be sure the puppy you bring home will grow up to have the shade of chocolate coat you are hoping for?
When you are searching for a chocolate Labradoodle, the easiest way to get around this confusing difference in terminology is to let the breeder exactly what color coat you want your dog to have. If you want a chocolate Labradoodle with a lighter or darker brown coat, then use those exact terms so your goal is clear.
And if you are able to find a photograph online of the exact coat color you want that you can show the breeder, this can be even more helpful.
Are Chocolate Labradoodles Rare?
Luckily, chocolate Labradoodles are not hard to come by! They typically come in different variations of brown too, since that is also the most common color in a Labrador Retriever.
Depending on how determined you are in finding the perfect chocolate Labradoodle, you can expect to search through a good amount of dogs before finding the one with the color you want.
This is because breeding Poodles with Labrador Retrievers can create an almost unlimited amount of coat color combinations, including different variations of chocolate color.
Some will be brown mixed with different colors creating rarer dogs like Chocolate Merle Labradoodle or even a Chocolate Phantom Labradoodle.
The chocolate color actually comes from the Chocolate Australian Labradoodle, originating from the first Labradoodle named Sultan, as mentioned earlier.
To get an authentic chocolate Australian Labradoodle, you will find a majority of them from breeders located in Australia.
However, if you are in the United States, there is still a chance for you to find a chocolate Labradoodle from specialty breeders!
The dogs themselves and their lineage may not be from Australia, but breeders in the U.S. have successfully started breeding chocolate Labradoodles.
They have coined themselves as chocolate Labradoodle breeders and have dedicated themselves to creating a reusable lineage for future generations.
Chocolate Puppies Can Change Color
Unique among the other possible Labradoodle coat colors, the chocolate coat color has a tendency to fade over time. Sometimes the coat color will stay a deep, rich, dark chocolate tone.
But more often than not, the dark chocolate will start to fade. When it fades, it may end up having a lighter brown (café), a silver undertone (lavender) or a cream undertone (parchment). Even the most color-knowledgeable Labradoodle breeders are generally hard-pressed to determine what the chocolate coat will do over time.
Once the coat starts fading, it may continue to fade for up to three years before settling into the dog’s permanent adult chocolate Labradoodle color. This is the reason the chocolate coat color is considered to be rare in doodles.
Why Is My Chocolate Doodle Turning Grey?
- Later in life you might find your gorgeous brown doodle starts to change color again. It’s not something to worry about, and similar to the process that happens to us humans. Your dog’s dark coat might turn grey or even white, and this will begin around the muzzle and face first.
- Breeding a true chocolate Labradoodle that stays a true chocolate all through life can be as much of a surprise to the breeder as to the dog owners.
Does Labradoodle Coat Color Matter?
It is true the Labrador Retriever dog parent contributes simpler coat color genetics to the Labradoodle breed. But Labrador Retriever enthusiasts are known to have their own opinions about the three classic coat colors and which one is best for what roles.
For example, yellow Labradors are the top pick for service dogs and guide dogs. Black Labradors are prized for hunting, retrieving and hunting roles. Chocolate Labradors are considered ideally suited for show dog competitions and family pets.
Is this factual?
- Or is it just so much personal opinion codified into fact? Here, the answer really depends on what types of activities you want to pursue with your pup. For most owners, as long as their Labradoodle puppy is sound and healthy, coat color is incidental.
- There is nothing wrong with wanting a Labradoodle dog with a specific coat color. We all have our preferences, which is what makes our world so colorful and fascinating. But, be wary if you run across a Labradoodle breeder that is going out of their way to advertise “rare” or “designer” Labradoodle coat colors. Often, this is just a method that less reputable breeders will use to try to inflate puppy prices.
- And, remember that Labradoodle puppies are just as likely to inherit one of the many Poodle colors, rather than the three standard Labrador shades.
Chocolate Labradoodle Temperament
As we’ve briefly mentioned earlier, the only difference between chocolate Labradoodles and any other Labradoodle is their coat color. Their temperament will be very similar. However, there will still be variations between puppies, as mixed breeds can inherit any traits from either parent, and how they are raised plays a large part.
As long as you train and socialize your chocolate doodle dog well from a young age, they will most likely be very friendly, energetic, and intelligent. Most Labradoodles, chocolate ones included, are eager to please and love spending time with people, particularly their closest family members.
These large dogs are energetic, too. They do best in active families that have plenty of time to spend with them. Whether it’s playing games, learning fun new tricks, or burning off some of that energy.
Chocolate Doodle Health
- A few year ago, a research study made waves by announcing that chocolate Labrador Retrievers might be less healthy. They reported that they are more likely to become obese, suffer from ear infections and joint disorders and die earlier than yellow or black Labrador Retrievers. But is this a concern for Labradoodle dogs, who have one Labrador Retriever parent dog and one Poodle parent dog? It is hard to say. So if you want a brown Labradoodle, just be sure you work with a responsible, health-focused breeder. One who has deep knowledge of the canine genome and keeps careful health records for her breeding dogs and their puppies.
- When the breeder invests the time and expense to pre-screen parent dogs for all known heritable (genetically transmissible) health conditions before allowing a mating, there will always be less risk that the puppies will grow up to develop serious health issues. Your Labradoodle breeder should happily show you clear test results for both of your puppy’s parents and give you an initial guarantee of good health for your new Labradoodle puppy.
Health Issues to Watch Out For
- There are some health problems that all Labradoodles, including chocolate ones, are prone to. Be sure to learn about the following if you’re bringing one of these puppies home:
- The Labrador parent should have good hip and elbow scores, and a recent clear eye test and PRA certificate. The Poodle parent must also have good hips, but be clear for von Willebrand’s and sebaceous adenitis too. These are just a few of the major problems that can affect Labradoodles.
Chocolate Labradoodle Grooming
- Depending on your chocolate Labradoodle’s coat type, grooming can vary from dog to dog. Some dogs need to be groomed weekly, while others may need to be groomed every few weeks.
- Whatever the case may be, your dog’s coat is nothing to be neglected and proper care is important to maintain a healthy dog.
- Coats that are the curly type are denser and less likely to shed. But because it is so thick, weekly brushing is recommended to prevent any build-up or matting.
- Be aware that matting can occur when brushing is neglected for a long period of time and is exposed to dirt, debris, and wet substances.
- On the other hand, dogs with straight coats can shed more and may require more maintenance. Brushing regularly, either weekly or every few days can reduce the overall shed amount produced by your dog.
- Lastly, chocolate Labradoodles that have a shaggy coat are the best for those with allergies, as they are not prone to shedding as often as dogs with straight coats.
- You can get away with brushing your canine friend once every few weeks or as needed depending on the outdoor activities they participate in.
- If you are unsure about the type of coat that your dog has, you can always check in with the breeder that you purchased your dog from or take them to a groomer.
Finding a Chocolate Labradoodle Puppy
As we’ve already learned, finding a chocolate Labradoodle that will stay the same color for its entire life is rare and difficult. You might find a puppy that’s the perfect shade at 8 weeks, but this will change dramatically over the next few years.
It’s important that you choose a reputable breeder when searching for a chocolate doodle puppy. This will decrease the risk of an unhealthy puppy.
If you’re looking for a certain shade, register your interest with breeders. They may be willing to contact you if they get a chocolate colored puppy in their future litters.
Always avoid puppy mills, pet stores, and backyard breeders, even if their chocolate Labradoodles are cheaper. These places usually give their puppies worse care and are less interested in their health. It’s likely that more puppies will be bred in these places as demand rises, but it’s really important to only choose reputable breeders.
Chocolate Labradoodle Rescue
- If you aren’t set on getting a chocolate colored puppy, you can look at rescuing an older chocolate Labradoodle. This is also a good way to ensure your dog’s coat is less likely to change color.
- Some dogs are given up to rescue centers because of behavioral issues, but there are lots of reasons for dogs to end up there. Many go on to make wonderful, loving family pets.
- Work closely with rescue center staff to make sure you find a dog that will suit your family. Let them know your situation, including if you have other pets and children.
- As the Labradoodle breed gains popularity, breed-specific rescue centers are becoming more common. But, if there are still none near you, check rescue centers dedicated to the parent breeds. They may accept mixed breeds, too. Rescue Labradoodles will often be cheaper than puppies from breeders, and they may have some basic training.
Do You Love the Chocolate Labradoodle?
- Chocolate Labradoodles can make great canine companions. These high-energy dogs love to run and romp and play – and their favorite playmate will always be you!
- If you love the idea of making your new dog the center of your family and world, a dark brown Labradoodle might be your perfect new family pet.