Labrador genetics - read your Labrador’s genetic code!

Narrated from: Dog Breeds

You have probably seen that Labrador’s coats come in many colors, but only three colors are officially recognized by American and English kennel clubs: yellow, black and brown (chocolate).

Coat color is quite important for many people, so breeders tend to do some research in genetics in order to determine what offspring a Labrador might produce.
By examining only your Lab’s coat color and the color of his/her nose, you can determine your Lab’s dominant genes as well!

There are basically two kinds of genes that affect your Labrador’s color – “b” and “e” genes. The “b” genes determine the color of your dog’s nose – either black or brown. The “e” genes determine whether this color would be distributed to the coat or not.

Your Labrador’s nose would be either black or brown. In its genetic code there are two “b” genes – one provided by the father and the other by the mother. The black color is dominant over the brown – this means that if at least one of the genes is “B” (black), your dog would have a black nose.

If your dog’s nose is brown, then it means the dog has a bb combination – both parents have provided “brown” genes.

The second kind of genes is usually marked with “e”. An E-gene permits a dog’s coat color to be the same as the nose color; an e-gene prevents that. And the E-gene is dominant over the e-gene, which means that if your dog’s color is the same as the nose color, the dog has at least one E-gene.

So, you may have noticed that there was no “yellow” gene – this means that yellow Labradors have an “ee” combination – yellow is the result of nose color pigment not being permitted to be deposited in the hair.

So, let us summarize:

A black Labrador with a black nose – he has at least one B and one E-gene.

A yellow Labrador with a black nose – has two e-genes and at least one B-gene.

A yellow Labrador with a brown nose – has two e-genes and two b-genes. Also called a “true” yellow Labrador.

A brown Labrador with a brown nose – has two b-genes and at least one E-gene.

No other combinations are possible. However, when mating Labradors there is a problem – except for the true yellow Labrador, no other Labrador’s full genetic code could be read without examining the Lab’s family tree. So, it is possible that two brown Labradors can produce a yellow offspring. Two black Labradors can produce yellow or even brown offspring – it all depends on the non-dominant (b and e) genes that are “hidden”.

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