Black And Tan Labs: Expert Review Of the Rottweiler Look-a-like

A black and tan Labrador Retriever has a specific coat color pattern of black fur with lighter tan markings. The black covers most of the body and tail, while the tan appears above the eyes, on the cheeks, chest, and legs. This contrasts with yellow, chocolate, and fox red Labs with more solid coat colors.

Black and tan is one of the original colors of the Labrador breed. While some think they are a mix between a Lab and another breed, black and tan Labs are purebred if properly registered. The only difference is their attractive two-tone coat. They have the same temperament and abilities as any other Lab.

labrador retriever black and tan
black and tan labrador puppy

What Is Black and Tan Labrador Retriever?

Labradors are a beloved dog breed known for their loyalty, intelligence, and friendly nature. Among the various Labrador colors, the tan and black Labradors stand out for their distinctive appearance and unique traits.

tan lab puppy Appearance and Characteristics

A black and tan Lab dog is easily recognizable for its striking coat color. Their coats are primarily black, with tan markings on their chest, eyebrows, cheeks, legs, muzzle, and under the tail. They are somewhat similar to a Rottweiler. The tan points can range from a light beige to deep mahogany, depending on the dog’s genetics.

Aside from their unique coat color, black and tan dogs have the same physical characteristics as other chocolate Lab dog. They are medium to large-sized dogs, weighing 55 to 80 pounds and standing 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder. They have sturdy legs, muscular build, broad heads, strong jaws and muzzles, and expressive eyes. Moreover, they’re renowned for their excellent sense of smell, making them ideal for hunting and search and rescue operations.

Black and tan dogs share the same personality traits as other chocolate Lab dog. They are friendly, intelligent, and eager to please, unlike a Rottweiler. They are also highly adaptable and get along well with children, other breeds, and strangers. These traits make them excellent family pets.

black tan labrador
black and tan labrador retriever

Training and Exercise

Like all Labradors, black and tan dogs are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement. They require daily exercise, obedience training, and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. It includes regular walks, runs, or playtime in a fenced yard.

Health Concerns

Black and tan Labradors have the same health concerns as other Lab dog. These include hip and elbow dysplasia,arthritis, eye problems, and obesity in their adult years. Regular vet check-ups and healthy diet food can help prevent or manage these conditions.

Differences from other Labrador Retrievers’ colors

Tan and black Labradors were bred to share the same traits and characteristics as other Lab dogs. However, some key differences set them apart. Here are some notable differences:

  1. Coat color – A black and tan dog’s distinctive coat sets it apart from other Labrador colors, such as a yellow, brown, and black lab.
  2. Rarity – Tan and black Lab dogs are relatively rare compared to other Labrador colors. Some kennel clubs do not recognize them. Therefore, harder to find.
  3. Genetics – The black and tan puppy coat color results from a recessive gene, meaning both parents must carry the gene to produce black and tan lab puppies.
  4. Temperament – Some owners and breeders claim that tan and black Labradors may have a more independent streak than their counterparts.

Breeding Black and Tan Labrador Retriever Puppy

The Labrador Retriever breed is versatile, serving as therapy, search, rescue, and even guide dogs for the visually impaired.

tan point labrador Genetics and inheritances

The K gene is present in all Labs, but variations exist, with KB responsible for solid coloring.

  1. A single copy of KB is enough to mask the expression of the agouti genes, but two copies of KB can allow agouti to express itself, producing the black and tan coloring of the coat.
  2. The recessive ee gene is responsible for the yellow coat color in the litter.

When two Labs with a single copy of the KB breed, 25% of the puppies of the whole litter will inherit the non-KB version from each parent, producing black and tan puppies. These puppies will have tan points and will not be yellow.

black and tan retriever
black and tan lab

tan lab puppies Breeding Considerations and Tips

If you’re interested in bringing home black and tan Labrador Retriever puppies, here are some essential tips:

  1. Ensure both parents have a single copy of KB: This is necessary to produce black and tan markings on puppies in the litter.
  2. Test for genetic health conditions: Before breeding, test both parents for common genetic health conditions like hip dysplasia and exercise-induced collapse.
  3. Work with a reputable breeder: A reputable breeder will know about the breed’s genetics and health concerns and ensure proper socialization and care for the puppies.
  4. Consider the time and resources required: Breeding pup demands considerable time, hard work, and resources. It includes providing adequate nutrition, veterinary care, and socialization.

Can Black and Tan Labs Compete?

Dog shows and competitions are exciting events where purebred dogs showcase their skills and agility. However, some colors, such as black and tan, are undesirable for show rings in Labrador Retrievers.

But what does this mean for black and tan Lab pups and their owners? Can they participate in dog shows and compete with other breeds? Well, the answer is yes, and no. Let’s dig in further

Participating in dog shows and competitions

Tan and black and brindle Labrador can be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a purebred dog, like Golden Retriever, after the DNA test.

They can participate in obedience trials, hunting tests, and rally competitions. However, they are not allowed to compete in the conformation ring, where dogs are judged based on how closely they conform to the breed standard.

According to the AKC, the breed standard for Labradors specifies that the coat should be solid black, yellow, or chocolate labs. While black and tan lab colors are not necessarily a disqualification for mixed breeds, they are undesirable.

tan lab dog Potential challenges and advantages

Potential challenges:

Limited participation in AKC events: 

Black and tan Labradors, like the Rottweiler, cannot compete in AKC conformation events. It means that owners of these dogs may miss out on opportunities to showcase their dogs and network with other Labrador Retriever enthusiasts.

Perception of inferiority: 

Unfortunately, some Labrador Retriever enthusiasts may view tan, black, and brindle breeds as inferior due to their non-standard brown, yellow, or black. It can lead to discrimination and bias in the Labrador Retriever community, which can be frustrating and disheartening for owners of these dogs.

black and tan lab mix
black and tan labrador

Potential advantages:

Unique appearance: 

Black and tan Labrador dogs are certainly eye-catching and unique. Owning a Labrador Retriever with a non-standard color can be a unique way to show your individuality. It could also start exciting conversations and set you apart from the crowd.


A Tan and Black labrador retriever has short, dense fur requiring minimal grooming. The hair sheds moderately, so occasional brushing and bathing are sufficient to keep their fur clean and healthy.

Good Watchdogs:

Tan and Black Labradors are alert and protective of their families, making them good watchdogs. They have a loud bark that can deter intruders, and their size and strength make them capable of protecting their loved ones in case of danger.

Loyalty and Affection:

Tan and Black Labradors are known for their loyalty and affection toward humans. These attributes render them perfect for households with kids or individuals seeking a loyal partner.

Finding Black and Tan Labrador Puppies

Learn how to find tan and black Labrador puppies and avoid common pitfalls.

Reputable breeders and adoption options

When finding a black and tan Labrador puppy, working with a reputable breeder or adoption agency is essential. Here are some tips for finding a trustworthy source for your new dog friend:

  • Ask for referrals from friends or family who have purchased a tan and black Labrador Retriever puppy before.
  • Look for breeders or adoption agencies with a good reputation online, such as high ratings on Google or Yelp.
  • Visit the breeder or adoption agency to see the Labrador puppy and its living conditions.
  • Ask for health and genetic testing information for the puppies and their parents.

Warning signs and red flags to watch out for

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous breeders and adoption agencies prioritize profits over the well-being of the puppies. Be vigilant for these indicators that signify potential issues:

  • Puppies that appear sickly or malnourished.
  • Breeders or adoption agencies will not let you visit the puppies in person.
  • Lack of health and genetic testing information for the puppies and their parents.
  • Puppies that are not registered with a recognized kennel club.

By following these tips and watching for warning signs, you can find a reputable source for the best dog and enjoy many happy years together.

Conclusion: The Beauty and Benefits of Black and Tan Labs

Black and tan Labrador Retrievers is a beautiful variation of the Labrador Retriever breed. Their unique appearance, friendly personality, good health, and low-maintenance grooming needs make them an excellent choice for families. If you’re considering getting a Labrador Retriever, why not consider a black and tan one? You won’t be disappointed!

black and tan lab puppy
black and tan labs


Are black and tan Labs rare?

Yes, black and tan Labrador Retrievers are rare. It’s due to the two copies of recessive genes that produce this color combination.

Can Labs be black and tan?

Yes, Labs can be black and tan. It’s a less common color variation but still acceptable by breed standards.

What are black and tan Labs called?

Due to their distinct coat colors, black and tan Lab pups are sometimes called “Brindle” Labs.

What is the rarest Labrador color?

The rarest Labrador color is the Silver Lab.

Which color Labrador is healthiest?

All Labrador colors have similar health qualities, but responsible breeding practices are crucial for their well-being.

What is a tan point Labrador?

A tan point Labrador has a distinct coat pattern with tan markings on their eyebrows, cheeks, chest, and paws.

Which color Labrador is the most expensive?

The most expensive color for a Labrador is subjective and based on availability and demand from breeders.

Can Labs give birth to different color puppies?

Yes, Labs can give birth to different colored pups. It depends on the parents’ genes and their possible color variations.

Author Profile

Aritra Sen
Aritra SenSite Owner And Planning Specialist
Aritra, the founder of, is a lifelong dog lover whose passion ignited for Labradors for their loyalty and intelligence. With extensive research and personal experiences, Aritra has become a Labrador expert, offering a rich resource on the breed. provides reliable, timely, and evidence-based information, including Labrador-specific product reviews, training techniques, and care tips. was born out of Aritra's passion and his desire to share his profound knowledge about the breed. The site serves as a comprehensive resource, offering a wealth of up-to-date information for Labrador owners and enthusiasts alike