Lab Colours VS Temperament

Discussion in 'Behavioural science and dog training philosophy' started by IanT, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. IanT

    IanT Registered Users

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    Hi There,

    Today took my 11 month old Black Lab Billy to the vets for a check up - while there we mentioned that Billy is very nervous with new people and very very timid.
    To which my vet responded that Black Labs are known for more being timid or nervous than the other colours - to me this sounds like BS, but it got me thing, our previous Yellow Lab was nuts for people but Billy is happiest with his family (which has only been with for 6 weeks)

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Nope, never heard of this before. Definitely a new one for me!

    I'm sure that over time you will help Billy to become more comfortable around people he doesn't know :) As I'm sure you know, going at his pace, never forcing him to have any interactions with people, asking people not to stare at him or lean over him, having people toss him treats....these kinds of things can help :)
     
  3. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I really don't by into that. you got him at 11 months and he's only been with you for a short while who knows how things have been for him before. I'm with you vetty BS.
     
  4. Cath

    Cath Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Fred is a 18 mths old Black Lab. He loves people new and old. He is known in the village as Fred the Flirt. If you have only had him 6 weeks he needs to find his feet/paws, everything will be new to him.
     
  5. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I once had a woman tell whilst Rory (chocy boy) sat beautifully waiting to move in a bank that chocs were untrainable and crazy. I said crazy like this one sitting here patiently and calmly? I told her it was an excuse for poor training. I'm never going to be popular.
    Give your boy time he's only young
     
  6. UncleBob

    UncleBob Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Next time that you visit the vet say that you found the comment really interesting and that you would like to read the research that suggested that coat colour was linked to nervousness. I suspect it may take a while for them to provide that ... ;)
     
  7. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    UncleBob that is naughty. Funny. But naughty :D
     
  8. Cath

    Cath Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    But we love him :D:D
     
  9. SteffiS

    SteffiS Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I've only ever had chocolate labs and whilst I would not agree that they are untrainable they certainly seem to be the clowns of the lab world - on the other hand dogs are supposed to take after their owners so what does that say about me ;) ?
     
  10. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Utter rubbish! Oh and chocolates are crazy etc etc. It sounds as if Billy just needs a little help and he's very much becoming accustomed to his new life with you. Rachael has already given some good advice to help Billy.
     
  11. Boogie

    Boogie Moderator

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    I know two choocy guide dogs who do the work brilliantly. I met a choccy, Max, last month - he is due to be a stud dog for Guide Dogs if he passes all the medical tests, so they clearly don't see this choccy/nutty link.

    Here is Max - he's a beauty!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    There is a grain of truth in the colour/temperament thing - there are still more black Labs working than other colours, and I think it's true dogs from SOME working lines are more snsitive than others Labs.

    And the chocolate thing is really a result of chocolate carrying lines TENDING to be a bit more excitable and often choccies owned by pet owners.

    My own chocolate is bonkers though. His black sister is not. I firmly believe this is overwhelmingly likely to be the case because of Charlie's environment, injury time and my inexperience. Not his coat colour - which really has to be the least likely factor to explain it!
     
  13. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I think, given two genetically equal dogs, coat colour is completely irrelevant. I was going to say the same thing as Julie about field-bred dogs, which tend to be more sensitive and historically have been predominantly black, but I couldn't find any stats to back it up. I'd be interested if anyone does know the percentages of coat colours "in production", though.

    I also think that, now they are popular, sometimes, choccies are bred specifically for coat colour, rather than for temperament.

    And then you have people who have heard the stereotypes and, every time they see a nervous black Lab or a nutty choccy, it compounds those opinions, whereas the "exceptions" go unnoticed.
     
  14. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    I have heard of colour related differences in temperament, and it can certainly be *true, but I've not heard that particular one. In a population of any dog bred to standard at a reputable breeder's there will be variances in temperament but there will not be a preponderance of any one. They wont all be timid or bold.

    I read once, black labs are easiest to train, yellows are next, chocolates are crazy, unstable, nit wit nightmares. I asked our Vet and boarding kennel and they agreed, in their experience chocolates were very hard to teach, handle, work with. This was about 20 years ago.

    *It was true, chocolates were often unstable. The reason given, it sounds logical, is they were a newly popular colour, BYB were getting on the band wagon and churning out dogs only for colour with no regard to temperament, or hips, elbow, eyes or heart either. The same thing happened when yellows became popular (long before the movie Marley which should have put most unkn owing people right off them, LOL) Black labs were most trainable, most stable simply by dint of there being more of them, around longer, more bred by reputable breeders. If a Vet's experience with chocolates was only with poorly bred dogs then it might well be true that they were hyper. Hyper is the word I've heard used most often in conjunction with chocolates.

    I see the comments above about field bred dogs. I know when we were doing field work most dogs were black for the very stereotype that chocolates were too hyper to handle. I never heard a thing about timid for any colour till this thread.
     
  15. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I think wherever you breed for one thing you risk other factors suffering. It may be true that chocolates are bred for colour more than the other two colours and so temperament moves down the list plus there are probably fewer dogs to choose from. I think we're seeing the same in the enthusiasm for fox red in the last few years so if you want fox red or chocolate I'd be researching the lines and the breeders carefully :)

    "And then you have people who have heard the stereotypes and, every time they see a nervous black Lab or a nutty choccy, it compounds those opinions, whereas the "exceptions" go unnoticed."

    I would agree with this and also add it's amazing how many people will pick the nutty stereoptype if a choccie is going bananas and a labrador/show line are easy going stereotype if they're behaving themselves (as most choccies are predominantly show).
     
  16. IanT

    IanT Registered Users

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    Thanks Rachel, thats the regime we are on now, just trying to keep him comfortable around new people and slowly introduce him to our world after growing up on his breeders farm....
     
  17. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Sounds great. I'm sure that he will be much happier living with you.
     
  18. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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  19. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    INteresting article. OUr first dog as a married couple was a rescue English Springer Spaniel. Purebred, field bred, registered, gun trained, four years old AND mostly white. The OH had hunted a lot over a friend's ESS, Whisper was perfect for us. We were told the reason mostly white was preferred was that it showed up better in the field so hunters could see their dog. That seems like a really solid, sane, sensible reason for a colour preference. And white does show up very well amongst the grasses and leaves
     
  20. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Obi is quite heavily marked for a Clumber. I do prefer the stronger markings although once the dogs start working you forget all about that :D I have a soft spot for Clumbers with lots of freckles too :)
     

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