Fancy a tiger on your shoot?
Some breeders are now selling ‘striped labradors’.
Skilled labrador breeders invariably have a detailed knowledge of their dogs and know which of their animals carry yellow or chocolate genes, selecting their mates with a view to ensuring that different colours occur in their litters. Among pet labradors, chocolates, being rarer, have usually sold for a premium, so breeding a litter of chocolate labradors rather than black or yellow or fox-red labs can be considerably more lucrative.
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Tiger striped labradors?
However, perhaps chocolate labradors have had their day, for there’s an increasing demand for labradors in different colours. Apparently charcoal, white, silver and even tiger-striped labradors are now being bred and, of course, being sold for exorbitant prices. I’ve never yet seen a silver labrador, let alone a tiger-striped one, but I do start to wonder ‘whatever next?’. How long before someone produces labradors with black-and-white or liver-and- white markings? (You might like to read what makes the perfect labrador?)
Silver labradors have been around in the US for some time, where they have proved as controversial as they have here. Silver-labrador enthusiasts insist that the colour occurs naturally, while opponents of silvers insist that a touch of Weimaraner blood must be responsible, for the silver colouring is very similar to that of the German dog.
It’s not difficult to work out how white labradors have been bred, for many yellow dogs, particularly of show breeding, are very pale. I did manage to find an American website that says that brindled labs occur naturally, explaining in detail how you can breed one. The genetics are complicated, but reasonably convincing, though the doubters — of whom there are many — generally believe that a boxer or similar brindled breed is involved somewhere in the parentage.
I have to admit that I’m not a fan of brindled dogs and I didn’t find the photographs I have seen of brindled labs attractive, though one American website I came across reports: “This coat pattern can look really interesting on a lovable lab. But you won’t be able to show a brindle lab at AKC shows, as it is not an accepted colour.” Fortunately, the same is true here, too. However, there’s nothing to stop you taking your tiger-striped labrador shooting, though I wouldn’t suggest trialling it. You might get laughed at.