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Charcoal Lab: Facts, Genetics, Health & FAQs (With Pictures)

A charcoal Lab dog sitting on green grass

Charcoal Labs are known to be unique and stunning Labrador Retriever dogs. They are natural attention grabbers with the way they charm everyone upon entering a room.

Lab puppies have a variety of fur colors, and the charcoal Labs may not be something you see every day. However, charcoal Lab dogs genuinely exist, going deep into the Labrador Retriever gene pool.

As we spark your curiosity about these adorable pups, we will also equip you with everything you need to know about them. We will break down their history, genetics, health, temperament, and so much more in this article.

What Is a Charcoal Lab?

A charcoal Labrador Retriever sitting on green grass

A charcoal Lab is a purebred Labrador Retriever that carries a dilute gene. Charcoal Labs come in a light shade of black with hints of gray. They often get mixed up with silver Labs but they are different.

Despite the controversy surrounding its genetics, this dog is considered purebred.

Aside from coat color, the charcoal Lab is similar to the standard Labrador Retrievers in terms of other physical features and temperament.

Generally, the Labrador breed has been known to be a good family pet dog as well as an excellent working dog. So you can expect these qualities from a charcoal Labrador Retriever too.

Due to their controversial dilute genes, they are not considered standard by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and are disqualified in shows. However, you can still register it as a purebred Labrador Retriever.

Are Charcoal Labs Rare?

Charcoal Lab puppies are considered rare. Their breeding process is not as straightforward as the typical Labrador Retrievers and may require a lot of time for charcoal Labs to emerge in a litter.

Moreover, they are not from dominant genes, so you can’t expect every breeding process to have a charcoal Lab. They usually come from carrier genes, like silver Labs.

However, because Labrador Retriever charcoal dogs are still purebreds, there might be exclusive silver and charcoal kennels out there. Let’s find out in the following few sections of this article.

What’s the Difference Between Silver and Charcoal Labs?

Silver and charcoal Labs are often interchanged with one another. Their appearance is sometimes taken as the same as Weimaraner dogs. However, if you look closely, silver and charcoal Labs have slight differences.

These two types of Labs may both have diluted genes, but a silver Labrador comes from the dilution of chocolate Labradors while a charcoal Lab puppy comes from the dilution of black Labradors.

Silver Lab variants have higher tendencies to be blue-eyed, and they have a bluish tinge in their coats. On the other hand, charcoal pups have a grayish fur tone. 

Aside from the charcoal and silver Lab, another “water-downed” variant of Labradors is the dilute yellow one called the champagne Lab.

READ NEXT: Chocolate Lab: An Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Labradors

Charcoal Lab Origin and History: Where Do Charcoal Labradors Come From?

Nothing specific is documented about the charcoal Labs when it comes to history. However, we know they are among the most popular pet dogs globally and in the working dog breed line.

They are sometimes called Newfoundland dogs because of their origin. Like their yellow Lab peers, they are bred to be retrieving gun dogs and popularly labeled as hunting dogs extraordinaire.

The unique charcoal coat color is a product of gene dilution, carrier genes, and selective breeding, which we will discuss later on.

Charcoal Lab Appearance: What Does a Charcoal Labrador Look Like?

Portrait of a charcoal Lab dog sitting outdoors

Aside from the distinctive, silvery charcoal coats, charcoal Lab puppies share the appearance of the rest of the Labrador Retrievers. They are large dogs with evenly distributed muscles and athletic stances.

Charcoal Lab puppies have well-defined muzzles, powerful jaws, and floppy ears. They have broad skulls, and their eyes could be dark or light, depending on parent genes. 

They have thick and long tails known as the otter tail that helps them to maneuver and move easily in water.

In terms of colors, one can look like a charcoal silver Lab puppy or a charcoal grey Lab. Their furs can vary in intensity. Some may be darker, while others are a little bit darker. But not as light as a silver Lab.

Charcoal Labrador dogs have color similarities with male and female Weimaraners. In fact, both Weimaraner dogs and charcoal Labs carry and come from the same dilution gene for their fur color.

Moreover, like other Labrador puppies, a charcoal Lab puppy grows fast into a large dog. They can stand between 21 and 25 inches and weigh around 55 to 80 pounds, making them more suitable in ample-sized homes.

Charcoal Lab Color Genetics: What Makes a Labrador Charcoal?

When it comes to genetics, a charcoal Lab is documented to come from a recessive dilute gene. This means that both parent dogs should have a copy of this dilute gene for charcoal Lab puppies to emerge.

Specifically, this dilute gene is also known as the little d, and two copies from the parent dogs will be the dd genotype. 

When breeding charcoal Labrador puppies, DNA testing can help determine which ones have the little d. So charcoal Lab breeders can produce them through selective breeding.

The same DNA testing process is done when breeders want to avoid a charcoal Labrador puppy in a litter.

READ NEXT: Red Fox Lab: An Ultimate Guide to Fox Red Labradors

Do Charcoal Lab Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

Generally, it’s normal for puppies to change color as they grow. However, it may not be very apparent for a charcoal Labrador puppy. They may only lighten or darken in a very subtle manner.

However, they will still maintain the same coat colors they have from childhood to mature dogs. 

In contrast, senior dogs may develop whitish hairs and a more grayish appearance due to aging, but the charcoal coat color will still be predominant in their bodies.

Charcoal Lab Temperament: Do Charcoal Labradors Make Good Family Dogs?

Charcoal Labrador Retriever puppy walking on a grind road

Charcoal Labradors are really smart dogs. They are natural fast learners and love fun activities. They are also quite affectionate and protective, making them excellent family dogs.

Aside from its tremendous work ethic, it is also a fantastic guard dog. Charcoal Labs will happily guard your property and alert you of any dangerous intruders just to keep you safe.

A charcoal Labrador loves children and is pretty much gentle with them. They also don’t mind having other pets in the house. No wonder this breed is considered a popular pet dog.

However, like other dog breeds, socialization and training them as puppies are crucial factors to help them understand how to behave appropriately.

Luckily, obedience training and learning commands will not be very challenging. They are people pleasers and would always love to show their best to everyone.

Check out this cute video of a charcoal Labrador Retriever having an adventure in the link below:

Ollie The Charcoal Lab Puppy's Big Adventure

READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Labrador Retriever: Which Is Better?

Charcoal Lab Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Charcoal Labradors Healthy Dogs?

Averagely, a charcoal Labrador Retriever dog has a 10 to 12 years lifespan, making them great as a companion. However, their lifespan and health will vary based on different factors.

One of the most critical factors that affect their health is where you acquire them. A reputable and responsible breeder who prioritizes breeding healthy puppies is the one you should be looking for.

However, like other breeds, a charcoal Labrador puppy may be prone to health issues despite being generally healthy. Most of these are genetically linked. Some are less serious, while others can be fatal, so it’s best to be prepared.

Here’s a list of common charcoal Labrador health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Charcoal Labrador Retrievers are large dogs prone to hip dysplasia. This condition exhibits an abnormality of the hip bone’s development, resulting in pain, discomfort, and decreased mobility. Anti-inflammatory drugs, supplements, and daily exercise can help treat hip dysplasia.
  • Seizures: Seizures are also known as epilepsy. This can be caused by abnormal and uncontrolled neurological activity, resulting in variations of movements, such as involuntary twitching and harsh tremors. These symptoms are considered emergencies, so it’s best to take your dog to the vet immediately during episodes.
  • Bloat: Bloat is a condition wherein a dog’s stomach becomes expanded due to gas or excess food material. This can progress very quickly and may cut off your pet’s blood supply which can lead to death, so it’s best to treat this as an emergency case as well.
  • Obesity: A charcoal Labrador Retriever can gain weight fast, and not giving them the proper diet and exercise may lead to obesity. Though this is reversible, excess body fat can often lead to cardiac problems and even death, so make sure your Lab receives nutritionally-balanced dog food daily. This condition is also highly preventable if we are responsible pet owners.

Other factors contributing to charcoal Lab puppies’ health are exercise, diet, vet visits, and pet responsible ownership. All their life, they will rely on you, so you must prioritize their well-being at all times to prolong their life span.

How Much Does a Charcoal Lab Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

A charcoal Lab puppy can cost between $800 and $3,500 depending on different factors such as breeder location, health test inclusions, and bloodline.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, adopting is an excellent option for you as it can only cost around $100 to $600, depending on the rescue shelter or organization.

Moreover, as aspiring owners, we must understand that having a charcoal Lab puppy isn’t a one-time payment. They will need essential items to transition smoothly into your home.

Here’s a list of the initial costs of owning a charcoal Labrador Retriever:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$100 – $120
Food and Water Bowls$15 – $35
Bed$50 – $200
Crate$60 – $500
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $50
Grooming Essentials$40 – $180
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$650 – $2,445

For medical expenses and vet maintenance, we should never forget that prevention is better than cure, so we might as well invest in it as it will save you tons of money later on.

Moreover, most of the items mentioned above are usually available in pet stores, so you won’t have a hard time finding them. 

Some breeders also give freebies after you acquire your puppy that can give you a headstart as well.

RELATED: How Much Does a Labrador Retriever Cost? (2022 Price Guide)

Places to Find Charcoal Lab Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Charcoal Lab puppy for sale and adoption

Searching for a charcoal Labrador Retriever may not be as easy as looking for other Labrador Retrievers because of its rare coat color. You may need to do a lot of research to find the right source of the healthiest charcoal Lab puppy.

These types of Labrador Retrievers are also often found being bred by silver Lab breeders since both silver and charcoal Lab puppies have a dilute coat color.

To help you get started with your search, here’s a list of reputable places where you can find charcoal Labrador Retrievers:

  • Hoof-n-Paw Labrador Retrievers – This kennel has been breeding all types of Labrador Retrievers since 1979, including the rare silver Labrador and charcoal Labrador dogs. Their top priorities are improving intelligence and soundness while minimizing genetic problems regardless of coat color.
  • Ellendale Labradors – These breeders have specialized in breeding all types of Labradors, including diluted ones like the silver Labrador and charcoal Labrador Retrievers, since 1991. You can contact them directly on their site for more details.
  • Dogwood Silver Labs – As mentioned above, breeders that breed silver Labradors may often include producing charcoal coat colors in their kennels. This breeder is one of them. They specialize in selling top-quality, genetically tested, AKC-registered Labrador puppies with silver furs and charcoal coat colors.

Furthermore, before contacting different reputable breeders for your charcoal Labrador Retriever, you might want to check our complete guide on buying a puppy online first to equip you in the process further.

Also, for more breeder options, check our list of the top 10 best Labrador breeders and try asking about the charcoal coat color variety in their kennels.

RELATED: 10 Best Labrador Breeders (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

On another note, if you want to adopt and give a pup another chance at life, then here is a list of rescue organizations and shelters where you might find a charcoal Labrador:

  • Lu’s Labs – This is a foster-based rescue organization run by volunteers dedicated to rescuing and saving all kinds of Labs and Lab mixes. They have rehomed more than 1,600 Labs since their founding in 2015.
  • Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida – This organization started rescuing and connecting any type of Labrador Retriever dog breed into loving families in the early 2000s. They are committed to making a lifelong match for all their adopted Labradors.
  • Lab Rescue OK – This non-profit organization that was started in 2001 by volunteers prioritizes creating long-lasting solutions for all Labrador Retriever dogs in the face of euthanasia, abandonment, and neglect and connecting them to loving homes. The unique charcoal and silver Lab may be one of their rescues.

Aside from the ones mentioned above, other options for you to source charcoal Lab pups are joining social media groups and asking for recommendations from your local vet.

In addition, if you want to save more money on adopting, we also have tips for finding free puppies for adoption near you.

RELATED: 10 Best Labrador Retriever Rescues for Adoption (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

Dog Name Ideas for Charcoal Lab Puppies

Charcoal Labs are known as charismatic, affectionate, and loyal gun dogs. They are also great companions. In general, this breed is known as a sporting class dog

With their personality and charm, you might be undecided about what to name your pup. So we’ve suggested a few for you to think about.

Here are some name ideas for your charcoal Lab puppy:

  • Truffles
  • Cooper
  • Shadow
  • Cole
  • Beary
  • Luna
  • Charlie
  • Bella
  • Thor
  • Draco
  • Bailey
  • Max

Moreover, you can name your pup after your favorite movie character or anything that reminds you of that charcoal coat color. You can even ask your family or friends for any suggestions too.

READ NEXT: How Much to Feed a Labrador (Puppy & Adult Feeding Chart)

Frequently Asked Questions

Charcoal Lab puppy sitting in a open field

Are Charcoal Labs Purebred?

Charcoal Labrador Retrievers are considered purebred despite controversies surrounding the dilute gene, similar to the silver Lab debate. They don’t come from any mixes or other breeds.

As mentioned above, these Labs come from recessive genes of purebred Labradors, making them purebred dogs as well. 

What Is the Rarest Lab Color?

The rarest Lab fur color is the silver Lab. It comes from the less common standard Labrador color, the chocolate Lab. Its genetic makeup is more unique and uncommon than charcoal Lab dogs, making them rare.

These silver Labs exhibit silvery coats that lean more on a bluish tone all throughout their bodies. They appear to be the “water-downed” color of the chocolate Lab.

Do Charcoal Labs Have Blue Eyes?

As a charcoal pup grows, it will likely develop brown, hazel, or yellowish eyes, unlike the silver Lab that can retain the initial blue eye color from birth.

Generally, all Labradors of any coat color, including the charcoal variant, are usually born with blue eyes. However, at the age of three to four weeks, these dog breed’s eyes will slowly transition into permanent colors.

Do Charcoal Labs Shed a Lot?

A charcoal Lab pup will most likely have the Labrador’s tendency to shed a lot. These dogs will shed all year long. Their coats are thick, double-layered, and high maintenance.

With that being said, daily brushing and regular grooming are a must if you want to keep furs around your house at bay. Moreover, if you are highly sensitive to pet hair, this dog may not be the one for you.

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Final Thoughts: Is a Charcoal Labrador the Right Dog for You?

With their unique color and adorable personality, it’s no surprise that many people love charcoal Labrador Retrievers. They are energetic, brilliant, and loyal companions.

Since we already went through everything you need to know about them in this article, the next step is to assess if you can provide for all their needs throughout their lifespan.

Some of these needs will include giving them daily exercise and activities, ensuring your charcoal Lab’s daily diet is appropriate, having an excellent grooming schedule, and not missing any health vaccines and vet visits.

If you think you fit right in with this dog, then no one should stop you from owning one. Comment below if you’ve decided to open your home to the charcoal Labrador!