Home About Labradors Black and Tan Labradors: Are Black and Tan Labradors Purebred Labradors?

Black and Tan Labradors: Are Black and Tan Labradors Purebred Labradors?


Have you ever heard of black and tan Labradors? Black and tan Labradors are often mistaken as mixed inter progeny of Rottweilers or Doberman Pinschers. However, the truth is that black and tan Labradors do exist and they are purebred Labs – just like solid-colored yellow, black, and chocolate Labradors.

Black and Tan Labradors 1Photo: geb_bruno/Instagram

Where did black and tan Labradors come from?

The “black and tan” trait of the Labrador is believed to be from Gordon Setters, which are one of the dogs interbred with the St. John’s Water Dogs – the ancestors of Labradors.

Tan points and markings come from the agouti allele, an agouti gene responsible for determining coat color and pattern in dogs. In Labradors, tan markings are recessive to dominant black and solid chocolate varieties. This means the recessive trait remains hidden for several generations within Labrador genes prior to surfacing. Black and tan Labradors can only be produced when both parents carry the recessive agouti allele gene.

Aside from black and tan Labradors, there are also chocolate and tan Labrador puppies and even brindle ones.

Are Black and Tan Labradors allowed to compete in shows?

Black and Tan Labradors and Chocolate and Tan Labradors – just like other Labs with mismarks – are not allowed to compete in the show rings. The reason behind this is that the mismarks are not considered desirable traits for the standard Labrador Retriever.

Despite not being allowed in the show rings, black and tan Labradors and other Labradors with acceptable mismarks can still be registered with the American Kennel Club.

Do Black and Tan Labradors have different temperament and activity levels compared to solid-colored Labradors?

Although black and tan Labradors look a tad different, they are sill 100% Labradors.  So, they have the same temperament and sweet-Labrador awesomeness.

Black and Tan Labradors 2

Photo: guidedog_fred/Instagram

In fact, the Guiding Eyes for the Blind has produced and trained black and tan Labradors as guide dogs.  The website of the non-profit reads: “Because we breed for optimum guide dogs, our primary criteria are confident, easy to handle dogs with excellent health and a sturdy conformation. We do not remove dogs from our breeding colony if they produce these coat colors. These pups have the same temperament and health traits as their solid colored littermates.”

Precautions before buying a black and tan Labrador

Chances are some breeders would sell black and tan Labradors for a lower price since they do not fit the breed’s approved show standard. But beware, some people see the existence of black and tan Labradors as an opportunity to sell mixed breed dogs in an attempt to pass it off as a pure mismarked Labrador. So, you must be very careful in dealing with such sellers.

The best way to examine if the black and tan Labrador is indeed a purebred is to visit the place. Pay a visit to the kennel, where litters, the dam, and the sire, – if possible— are being cared for. It’s possible to have one or two mismarked Labradors in one litter. Anything more than that – especially if the other pups have different marks and colors other than what is the set standard and permissible traits– it means the puppies are of mixed breed.

You can also check the fence of the property, where the dam and the litter, have their kennel. If the fences are low, there is a good chance that some dogs can easily get into the property. This makes it a possibility that the pups are of mixed breed. The reputation of the breeder also matters. Do some research about the breeder prior to buying a black and tan Labrador.


  1. Please help I need to find a Black and Tan female Labrador to breed with my incredible Black and Tan male Labrador retriever . Can you help me locate others who might Have a black and tan Labrador female to breed with my black and tan male.?

  2. Text or call me 304-276-6152. Just had a female Black and Tan lab Out of my litter. Had 5 blacks, 2 chocolates a silver and a Black and Tan


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