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Myth or real? #7840863 05/16/20 12:10 AM
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Been thinking of getting a lab. I’m not an expert bird hunter and have never owned a lab. I do dove hunt. I love the chocolate lab look. My brother in law on the other hand is an avid duck hunter and swears only by black labs for hunting. He says yellows are ok too, but stay away from chocolate labs for hunting. If I do get one I’d like to train to retrieve, but will mostly be a family dog. Anyone verify his claims? I wanted to reach out to real hunters w experience instead of googling this info. Thanks in advance.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7840883 05/16/20 12:21 AM
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Follow your heart not your head.


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: bill oxner] #7840896 05/16/20 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by bill oxner
Follow your heart not your head.


Will do Bill. Mainly just curious as to what others may have experienced w chocolate labs as retrievers. I wouldn’t think it matters what color.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7841470 05/16/20 04:23 PM
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Libby was a big chocolate Lab and she would definitely retrieve a ball. Smart as a whip too.


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7841634 05/16/20 07:34 PM
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Chocolates are fine, I’d look for good genetics and train the pup well!


See y’all around the campfire.

Originally Posted by Grizz
Wingshooting is like sex for me - I love doing it but I'm just not that good at it.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7841659 05/16/20 08:01 PM
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It’s all about the genetics. Even then it’s a crap shoot, applies to getting any pup, not just a chocolate lab.

If you want one, then get one.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7842016 05/17/20 01:45 AM
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You definitely need to ask your brother in law about a silver lab. I bet he'd go super triggered! Lol


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7842022 05/17/20 01:50 AM
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You can get a really nice lab in black, yellow, or chocolate, as long as you do your homework. Look for a strong field pedigree. Are there more nice black dogs? Yes but there are also more black dogs. Color wise chocolates look good and some have been bred for color at the expense of ability or temperament by unscrupulous breeders. If you get a pup from a kennel that produces proven talented field dogs and puts a premium on bidability and athleticism you will be able to find what you are looking for, regardless of your color preference. The best hedge is to find a repeat litter of a proven cross.


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Smokey Bear] #7842056 05/17/20 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Smokey Bear
You can get a really nice lab in black, yellow, or chocolate, as long as you do your homework. Look for a strong field pedigree. Are there more nice black dogs? Yes but there are also more black dogs. Color wise chocolates look good and some have been bred for color at the expense of ability or temperament by unscrupulous breeders. If you get a pup from a kennel that produces proven talented field dogs and puts a premium on bidability and athleticism you will be able to find what you are looking for, regardless of your color preference. The best hedge is to find a repeat litter of a proven cross.



Yep... spot on!


I'd put money on it that 90% of duck hunters would be blown away on just one hunt with this girl.

HRCH Kimber

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Last edited by BradyBuck; 05/17/20 02:42 AM.
Re: Myth or real? [Re: BradyBuck] #7842065 05/17/20 02:52 AM
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Beautiful!

Originally Posted by BradyBuck
Originally Posted by Smokey Bear
You can get a really nice lab in black, yellow, or chocolate, as long as you do your homework. Look for a strong field pedigree. Are there more nice black dogs? Yes but there are also more black dogs. Color wise chocolates look good and some have been bred for color at the expense of ability or temperament by unscrupulous breeders. If you get a pup from a kennel that produces proven talented field dogs and puts a premium on bidability and athleticism you will be able to find what you are looking for, regardless of your color preference. The best hedge is to find a repeat litter of a proven cross.



Yep... spot on!


I'd put money on it that 90% of duck hunters would be blown away on just one hunt with this girl.

HRCH Kimber

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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7842210 05/17/20 12:14 PM
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cheers


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: BradyBuck] #7842459 05/17/20 04:42 PM
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I’ve also been reading a lot where vets are now no longer removing dew claws on labs. Any input on the necessity of doing this bradybuck?

Originally Posted by BradyBuck
Originally Posted by Smokey Bear
You can get a really nice lab in black, yellow, or chocolate, as long as you do your homework. Look for a strong field pedigree. Are there more nice black dogs? Yes but there are also more black dogs. Color wise chocolates look good and some have been bred for color at the expense of ability or temperament by unscrupulous breeders. If you get a pup from a kennel that produces proven talented field dogs and puts a premium on bidability and athleticism you will be able to find what you are looking for, regardless of your color preference. The best hedge is to find a repeat litter of a proven cross.



Yep... spot on!


I'd put money on it that 90% of duck hunters would be blown away on just one hunt with this girl.

HRCH Kimber

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[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by BradyBuck
Originally Posted by Smokey Bear
You can get a really nice lab in black, yellow, or chocolate, as long as you do your homework. Look for a strong field pedigree. Are there more nice black dogs? Yes but there are also more black dogs. Color wise chocolates look good and some have been bred for color at the expense of ability or temperament by unscrupulous breeders. If you get a pup from a kennel that produces proven talented field dogs and puts a premium on bidability and athleticism you will be able to find what you are looking for, regardless of your color preference. The best hedge is to find a repeat litter of a proven cross.



Yep... spot on!


I'd put money on it that 90% of duck hunters would be blown away on just one hunt with this girl.

HRCH Kimber

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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7842461 05/17/20 04:47 PM
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Just do your own research on dewclaws. I personally want them, at least there front ones.

https://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/7797348/dewclaws#Post7797348


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843552 05/18/20 05:52 PM
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I've only owned 1 chocolate lab. He was a dud- just had no drive, lazy, and didn't like hunting. But he was a great house dog and a giant lover. His mom was a so-so chocolate (owned by uncle..but he did close to zero training- so likely could've been good with more work), dad was a really good black. I have hunted with a couple other chocolates...they've been mediocre to good.
Would I own another chocolate? yes, but would definitely do more homework first. My personal experience lends me to be wary of chocolates for hunting, even though I do love their look. But I know there are definitely good chocolate dogs out there.

I have owned 1 yellow lab- she was phenomenal. No idea her history. I have hunted with a handful of other yellows. They ranged from useless to phenomenal.
Would I own another yellow? yes.

I have now owned 2 black lab/lab mixes. Both rescues. Likely no pedigree to speak of- but have/had the drive and willingness to please. And have become some of the best dogs I have hunted with (but like all dogs- it takes work). I have also hunted over blacks that were garbage to phenomenal.
Would I own another black? yes.



Only because there are so many dogs out there in shelters/pounds..I am going to throw a pitch for looking at rescue groups. I have gotten my last 4 dogs from rescue groups or the pound. But be very picky...it took 3-6 months to find the right dog I wanted, but it has been great in the end. I go into it knowing I am saving a dog, and primarily it will be another family member, must first and foremost get along with other dogs and children, and if it ends up hunting- then that is a bonus for me. Its saves you money not having to buy from a certified breeder, and may save a dogs life.

My current lab is the only one I can remember that has had dewclaws. As a current puppy jumping/trying to climb on me- they do hurt and definitely provide her benefit when climbing. This spring working in icy water, they did provide her with more traction climbing/walking on ice/snow. I've never had a huge opinion on them...and still don't- but I also don't know all the issues behind both arguments.
Will I get them removed from dogs intentionally? no. Will I not get a dog because their dewclaws have been removed? also no.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843615 05/18/20 06:45 PM
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I've seen some nice chocolates on hunts.
But the ones I've seen run 300-400 yard retrieves are either black, or yellow.
It probably has more to do with bloodlines,and training, than color.
Just personal experience.



Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden.
Experience is what you get, when you didn't get what you wanted.


Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843629 05/18/20 07:06 PM
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I have a couple chocolates whose drive/desire is through the roof. Both have been pro trained and have come from Field Trial backgrounds and no issues with willingness to learn or hunt. Just like any other breed, the backyard breeders have bred strictly for color and some of them don't have the natural hunting desire but if you look for a quality pup from parents with their health clearances I don't think you'll have any issues.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Duck Buster] #7843631 05/18/20 07:06 PM
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Good summary Duck Buster. Thanks for the insight.

Last edited by Nick1; 05/18/20 07:07 PM.
Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843663 05/18/20 07:30 PM
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It all starts with the pedigree. I believe their are more black and yellow dogs in the gene pool than chocolates and they are going to be easier to find a solid pedigree from. This may be from the old wives tale that chocolates are no good. Either way it all starts by doing your homework. A good solid hunting pedigree will get you ten steps ahead before you even get going regardless of color. Second is training, expect to get out of it as much as you put into it. Again, do your homework on training program you want to follow.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843696 05/18/20 08:06 PM
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I'm hesitant to weigh in here because I'm a pointing dog guy and not a lab guy, butt.... Like a lot of these types of things, the arguments from both sides stem from a confusion about trends and statistics and exceptions. So, as many have said there are awesome chocolates, and slivers, and purples or whatever, but with chocolates, if one really wants to up their odds at a good hunting dog that will also be a family companion, always a risky endeavor because once the family loves the dog there ain't no going back, anyway with a chocolate one should be very, very, very, very careful, if nothing else just because there is even a debate about this. I for one can tell you that I have been around a lot of labs in the past, some my own, and what they say about black, yellow, and chocolate has been true in every case. I have never seen a black that wasn't at least pretty good, yellows split, and chocolates, I hate to say it, I have never seen one worth anything. Now, again, that being said, you will absolutely find some amazing chocolates, especially in the hands of a great trainer or handler. Are you one of those? I definitely am not, so I have to hedge my bets. Same reason we don't get pointers from the rescue, a great trainer could make most of them great, but I can't take that level of risk.

I'm not trying to disagree with anyone here, in fact trying to agree with their exceptions, but that can be a very expensive and long lasting risk to take for a preference. Now, again, for those who are, or if you are, really able to get great things out of almost any dog go for it. And, as many have pointed out, if you really want the chocolate, go for it, just make absolutely sure its from a great line of the kind of hunters you want. In any case, great luck to you and enjoy whatever dog you get!


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843843 05/18/20 09:20 PM
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I'm going to weigh in here again.

If you were to just go and pick up a backyard bred Labrador with no research then yes, you be better off probably picking black or yellow. So yes, those saying go with black or yellow would be correct in that situation.

But then again it would be a huge crap shoot anyway on any color being worth a damn.

I'd take choc from a great HT/FT pedigree over a black or yellow backyard bred litter 100 out of 100 times. It's not even a choice.

If you want a chocolate lab you can 100% easily find one from proven stock.

There are tons of GRHRCH/MH/HRCH choc labs out there a few FCs. The high point derby dog of all time was a choc female.

Those saying they've never seen a good choc just haven't seen many dogs.

With all that said....

I personally look at heavily FT titled pedigrees. I'm looking at litters with a FC sire minimum..

So that means I'm looking at black litters


Last edited by BradyBuck; 05/18/20 09:22 PM.
Re: Myth or real? [Re: Nick1] #7843878 05/18/20 09:51 PM
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I would Pick the best litter you can afford out of proven dogs or at least dogs you’ve seen hunt and not worry about the color.

You have to Decide what traits you want a dog to have and find a litter that should produce what you want. You want to give yourself the best chance of getting what you want. If color is one of the most important things to you then get that color.

Re: Myth or real? [Re: BradyBuck] #7843939 05/18/20 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BradyBuck
I'm going to weigh in here again.

If you were to just go and pick up a backyard bred Labrador with no research then yes, you be better off probably picking black or yellow. So yes, those saying go with black or yellow would be correct in that situation.

But then again it would be a huge crap shoot anyway on any color being worth a damn.

I'd take choc from a great HT/FT pedigree over a black or yellow backyard bred litter 100 out of 100 times. It's not even a choice.

If you want a chocolate lab you can 100% easily find one from proven stock.

There are tons of GRHRCH/MH/HRCH choc labs out there a few FCs. The high point derby dog of all time was a choc female.

Those saying they've never seen a good choc just haven't seen many dogs.

With all that said....

I personally look at heavily FT titled pedigrees. I'm looking at litters with a FC sire minimum..

So that means I'm looking at black litters



Well said and great advice!


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Re: Myth or real? [Re: mickeyhft] #7844031 05/19/20 12:24 AM
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There has been a lot of good advice in selecting chocolate labs for hunting. A lot of recommendations were research, pedigrees, which adds up to $$$ when looking for all that. I am not sure that was the OP's original intent in asking the question. I just want to point out the OP stated it would primarily be a family dog that he'd like to train to retrieve. Family dog first and foremost (at least how I am reading it).

Is there some basis behind your BIL claims about chocolate labs? yes, but there are A LOT of exceptions as many have said. You'd be best to do homework if your intention is to have a really good chocolate HUNTING dog. If you want a higher probability of a dog that will retrieve birds without doing pedigree checks and everything else- black or yellow labs likely have higher probability of having more hunting drive in untested litters with unknown pedigrees. There's also more of them out there to choose from.

If you truly do just want a family dog that MIGHT retrieve your birds with training- temperament and personality of labs work great in homes (all colors of labs). Get a dog you'll like regardless, and you can't go wrong. If the dog then likes to fetch and you work with it on retrieving, it may then do what you want it to do in the field.

I can't tell you how many people I know own dogs from champion pedigree lines, sent them to professional training, but don't do anything with them. They spent thousands of dollars because someone said "this is what you should do for a really good hunting dog", but their dogs primary duty is to play with the kids and sleep on the couch. Hunting is secondary and they bring their dog 1-2x a season. Their training goes soft because they dont keep up with it and practice it, so they are well behaved albeit mediocre hunting dogs. So think hard about what you truly want the dog to do. Because if you don't need a dog of that caliber, don't spend the money for a dog of that caliber. Unless you want to of course.



The biggest question is: how important is it to you that they dog retrieves birds? Deal breaker? Be honest with yourself.
In my opinion that should determine how much investment (time and $$) you put into looking for and acquiring a new dog. Once you determine that

Re: Myth or real? [Re: Duck Buster] #7844104 05/19/20 01:32 AM
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Hey duck buster, my original intent was to get the perspective of other avid hunters who have or had experiences with multiple colored labs so they have a baseline of comparison. My BIL is an avid bird hunter and has trained only black labs, but has been around many colored retrievers. Just to clarify, he did say if I was to never take her hunting or even occasionally, a chocolate would be fine, but a driven high achievers, not so much. I felt if I only took one persons advice, that wouldn’t be fair to the dogs. Also, before I posted the question, my research led me to believe that chocolates are just as capable as others. But still wanted to hear from actual owners and not go by just what I read on the google. O I do trust his opinion, but wanted others perspective as well.

The other point, you are right on, I am an avid dove hunter, who’d like to get into duck hunting as well. The pup would be a family pet who I’d like to train to retrieve. This pup will not be in any competitions ever.

I desire a chocolate mainly for the the color. Nothing against blacks or yellows, but I have always been drawn to chocolate. I’d also like the pup to have a great disposition and easily trainable. I will also add that I do not have professional training to teach labs to retrieve, so any lab I get may be a disservice to the lab, lol.

You make excellent points, and I’m not taking any advice the wrong way. I’d love the dog to retrieve. But I probably fall within somewhere in the middle as far as the amount of time/ work dedicated to creating an elite retriever due to my work schedule.

That’s as honest as I can get. I appreciate your honesty as well. Really it comes down to how much am I willing to spend. In my mind, I want to spend more to get away from the backyard breeders and inbreeding and such. So I guess, I want a champion bloodline for clean genetics mainly, and she can retrieve, double win. But again, I’m a weekender hunter. Please offer more feedback. Thanks, nic.



Originally Posted by Duck Buster

There has been a lot of good advice in selecting chocolate labs for hunting. A lot of recommendations were research, pedigrees, which adds up to $$$ when looking for all that. I am not sure that was the OP's original intent in asking the question. I just want to point out the OP stated it would primarily be a family dog that he'd like to train to retrieve. Family dog first and foremost (at least how I am reading it).

Is there some basis behind your BIL claims about chocolate labs? yes, but there are A LOT of exceptions as many have said. You'd be best to do homework if your intention is to have a really good chocolate HUNTING dog. If you want a higher probability of a dog that will retrieve birds without doing pedigree checks and everything else- black or yellow labs likely have higher probability of having more hunting drive in untested litters with unknown pedigrees. There's also more of them out there to choose from.

If you truly do just want a family dog that MIGHT retrieve your birds with training- temperament and personality of labs work great in homes (all colors of labs). Get a dog you'll like regardless, and you can't go wrong. If the dog then likes to fetch and you work with it on retrieving, it may then do what you want it to do in the field.

I can't tell you how many people I know own dogs from champion pedigree lines, sent them to professional training, but don't do anything with them. They spent thousands of dollars because someone said "this is what you should do for a really good hunting dog", but their dogs primary duty is to play with the kids and sleep on the couch. Hunting is secondary and they bring their dog 1-2x a season. Their training goes soft because they dont keep up with it and practice it, so they are well behaved albeit mediocre hunting dogs. So think hard about what you truly want the dog to do. Because if you don't need a dog of that caliber, don't spend the money for a dog of that caliber. Unless you want to of course.



The biggest question is: how important is it to you that they dog retrieves birds? Deal breaker? Be honest with yourself.
In my opinion that should determine how much investment (time and $$) you put into looking for and acquiring a new dog. Once you determine that

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