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THE BREED STANDARD: EYES, PIGMENT & COAT:  A STUDY IN LABRADOR COLOR

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The Labrador continues to enjoy huge public support and UKC annually reports it among the top breeds registered, and it has ranked as the AKC #1 registered breed for more than a decade.

The public’s thirst for Labradors as pets, and Labradors of specific colors in particular, may drive some breeders’ decisions.  Sadly to lovers of the Standard, increasing numbers of breeders have evolved who breed and sell Labradors of colors that are DISQUALIFICATIONS under the Breed Standard [all breed standards of the FCI, UKC, The KC, and AKC].  These dogs are represented on their registration applications as displaying one of the Standard’s approved colors – black, yellow, chocolate – when in fact they may NOT outwardly appear to be this color, and they may have DISQUALIFYING pigment or ELIMINATING FAULT eye color.   The fact that they have individual registrations makes them eligible for UKC events.

IN THE RING:

As judges you probably won’t see these Not-Standard-color-coated dogs in your ring, but you MAY.   In addition to all of your Breed Characteristic considerations, here are some color reminders that pertain to ALL Labradors.

The UKC Standard:

 Color may be solid black, any solid shade of yellow from red to pale cream, or any solid shade of chocolate. Yellow dogs may have variations in shading on the ears, back and underside of the dog.

A small white spot on the chest is permissible but not preferred. White hairs from aging or scarring should not be penalized.

Disqualifications: Any color or combination of colors other than described above; albinism.

COAT COLOR:

Any dog who is clearly in your opinion NOT SOLID black, a shade of yellow or a SOLID shade of chocolate is a Breed Disqualification.  The Standard is SILENT on the color of UNDERCOATS.

Please note there are NO shades of Black.  Black is a solid color.  Charcoal or gunmetal grey is NOT Black.

Yellows come in various shades and may have darker shaded areas on underparts of the body including from the hock to the paw.  

Chocolates may range in body color from a lighter chocolate to a deep chocolate almost indistinguishable from black.  The lighter chocolates should not have a yellowish or whitish or flecked cast to their coat. Chocolate is a Solid color.


The UKC Standard:

NOSE - The nose leather is black on black and yellow dogs, and liver on chocolate dogs. A slight fading of nose pigment is not a fault. Nostrils must be large and open.

Disqualification: Nose completely Unpigmented.

EYES - The eyes are medium sized and somewhat triangular in appearance, but never so much as to give a hard expression. Eye color is brown in black and yellow dogs, and brown or hazel in chocolates. Eyelids are close fitting, and eye rims match nose pigment. Expression is kindly and intelligent.

Faults: Yellow eyes; eyes too dark; eyes too small or too round and prominent; eyes set too close together; eyes protruding or too deep set; any feature that detracts from the correct Labrador expression.

Disqualification: Absence of pigmentation in eye rims.


PIGMENT:

Unpigmented nose leather or eye rims is a Breed Disqualification.   Unpigmented means PINK.

Any dog who does NOT have proper pigment at the eyes or nose is an Eliminating Fault.  An example would be Brown or Liver pigment on a yellow coated dog.

Pigment in Black dogs is Black.

Pigment in Chocolate coated dogs is Brown or Liver or Brown.   

Pigment in Yellow Labradors is BLACK regardless of the shade of its coat-color.  

Pigment in yellow dogs MAY fade as the dog ages.  This is allowed.  Be sure to verify pigment by checking EYE RIM pigment, it will stay black in yellow Labradors.  If nose pigment is fading, be sure to check the outside rim of the nose which will remain black as if the nose is outlined in black.  These are normal and accepted occurrences.

EYE COLOR:

Any dog who does not have proper eye color is an Eliminating Fault.

Labrador eye color is Brown.  Chocolates should have eyes that are a shade of brown or as noted in the standard, hazel. Hazel does NOT mean Green.

Mirriam Webster defines Hazel: hazel eye=light golden brown colour ; hazel eyes are a light golden brown colour (basically light brown) and can contain minimal green either within the gold and/or on the outskirts but green is never a requirement for true hazel eyes. Hazel eyes are supposed to match the colour of a golden brown hazelnut; they're not any eye that contains green & brown or is multi-coloured that is a misconception commonly used in North America, in Europe the true/original definition is still used.

DOGS WHO RECESSIVELY CARRY BUT DO NOT DISPLAY A NON-STANDARD COAT COLOR:

You very well may see dogs in your ring who are carriers of the gene required to produce Not-Standard-color-coated dogs.  Unless they display incorrect eye color, nose or eye pigmentation you will not be able to distinguish these dogs by color cues.

COLOR and THE STANDARD illustrated in photos

    


    

The UKC Standard:

 Color may be solid black, any solid shade of yellow from red to pale cream, or any solid shade of chocolate. Yellow dogs may have variations in shading on the ears, back and underside of the dog.

A small white spot on the chest is permissible but not preferred. White hairs from aging or scarring should not be penalized.

Disqualifications: Any color or combination of colors other than described above; albinism.

Proper Coat Color

As illustrated By Four

Former UKC #1 Top Ten Winners








COLOR and THE STANDARD illustrated in photos

The UKC Standard:

NOSE - The nose leather is black on black and yellow dogs, and liver on chocolate dogs. A slight fading of nose pigment is not a fault. Nostrils must be large and open.

Disqualification: Nose completely Unpigmented.

EYES - The eyes are medium sized and somewhat triangular in appearance, but never so much as to give a hard expression. Eye color is brown in black and yellow dogs, and brown or hazel in chocolates. Eyelids are close fitting, and eye rims match nose pigment. Expression is kindly and intelligent.

Faults: Yellow eyes; eyes too dark; eyes too small or too round and prominent; eyes set too close together; eyes protruding or too deep set; any feature that detracts from the correct Labrador expression.

Disqualification: Absence of pigmentation in eye rims.


  
Proper Eye and Pigment Colors
 as illustrated by Four Former

UKC #1 Top Ten Winners


COLOR and THE STANDARD illustrated in photos by four former UKC #1 Top Ten Winners

Chocolate

   
 


COLOR and THE STANDARD illustrated in photos CORRECT EYE COLOR: Chocolate






COLOR and THE STANDARD illustrated in photos CORRECT EYE COLOR: Yellow

     


COLOR and THE STANDARD illustrated in photos CORRECT EYE COLOR: Black



 

COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE  JUDGE

Use the Judge’s tools available to you:  Exhibitor Education

 Excuse for Lack of Merit

 Eliminating Fault

 Disqualification

Placement

YOU BE THE JUDGE OF THE FOLLOWING DOGS.  
Compare them to the UKC Standard.  
Evaluate them AS IF each is being presented to you in Your Conformation Ring in a class of ONE.
The choice and responsibility is UP TO YOU.

 It’s NOT JUST about color, its also BREED TYPE and all Breed Characteristics.  






The UKC Standard:

 Color may be solid black, any solid shade of yellow from red to pale cream, or any solid shade of chocolate. Yellow dogs may have variations in shading on the ears, back and underside of the dog.

A small white spot on the chest is permissible but not preferred. White hairs from aging or scarring should not be penalized.

Disqualifications: Any color or combination of colors other than described above; albinism.

The UKC Standard:

NOSE - The nose leather is black on black and yellow dogs, and liver on chocolate dogs. A slight fading of nose pigment is not a fault. Nostrils must be large and open.

Disqualification: Nose completely Unpigmented.

EYES - The eyes are medium sized and somewhat triangular in appearance, but never so much as to give a hard expression. Eye color is brown in black and yellow dogs, and brown or hazel in chocolates. Eyelids are close fitting, and eye rims match nose pigment. Expression is kindly and intelligent.

Faults: Yellow eyes; eyes too dark; eyes too small or too round and prominent; eyes set too close together; eyes protruding or too deep set; any feature that detracts from the correct Labrador expression.

Disqualification: Absence of pigmentation in eye rims.



COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE

We have 2 pictures of this dog for your evaluation


    




COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE


We have 2 pictures of this dog for your evaluation


 


COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE

We have 2 pictures of this dog for your evaluation





COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE

We have 3 pictures of this dog for your evaluation

 


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COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE


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COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE

We have 2 pictures of this dog for your evaluation


COLOR and THE STANDARD YOU BE THE JUDGE