Why Do People Say That Chocolate and Black Labs Shed Less?
Is the idea that darker colored Labs shed less hearsay? If that's the case, why would the Labrador community subscribe to this theory for so long? The rumor is likely a generalization based on a misconception.
Rumors persist that chocolate and black Labs shed less because their hair is less noticeable than yellow labs. However, one can argue the opposite if your home primarily features light-colored furniture and carpets. Therefore, it's better to treat Labrador shedding on a case-by-case basis.
If a Lab's color does not affect shedding rates, then what does?
Factors That Contribute To Shedding
Every Labrador sheds differently. The only similarity between them is that they all shed regardless of coat color.
The following can impact shedding for Labradors:
- biological factors - DNA driven allergies or disease
- environment - location & climate
- hormonal factors - spaying & neutering, heat cycles
- stress & anxiety
- bathing frequency & shampoo usage
Why Do Labradors Shed Their Coat?
Your shedding Lab can become a real pain in your side. So why do Labradors need to shed in the first place? As frustrated as you may feel, shedding is a natural and healthy occurrence for Labradors. It's how their wolf ancestors have survived for thousands of years!
Labradors shed their coat to adjust to their environment. It is an evolutionary trait that Labradors use for temperature control, which is especially vital in regions with contrasting climates. Plus, Labradors sport a double-layered coat, which is denser and more prone to shedding.
Shedding is an essential part of your Labrador's biology, rooting back to their early ancestors.
Furthermore, plenty of wild animals molt for survival. How does molting benefit wild animals? Camouflage is one example. Arctic hares and foxes change the color of their coat depending on the season, which allows them to blend into their surroundings.
Another benefit of molting is temperature control. For instance, Labradors grow coats to suit different seasons of the year. Their winter coat is denser, providing warmth during cold weather. On the other hand, their summer coat is lighter, accommodating for the additional heat.
Furthermore, Labradors, in particular, shed more than other breeds because they sport a double coat that consists of two layers.
The outer layer is sleek and waterproof, allowing labs to dry off quickly, while the undercoat is much heavier and keeps Labs warm and comfortable. In turn, the combination of both coats makes Labs' fur quite dense, which leads to additional shedding.
When Do Labradors Shed Their Coat?
If it's in a Labrador's nature to shed, is there any way to expect when they'll do so? To a certain degree, yes. Labradors shed rather consistently, but there are certain times of the year when Labradors usually shed the most.
Labradors shed their coats all year round. However, this shedding is most prevalent in molting seasons that occur two to three times a year. Usually, these molting seasons happen between the winter and spring and later between the summer and fall. Each molting season should last about three weeks.
Keep in mind that seasonal molting will differ based on the time of year.
For instance, expect spring molting to yield thicker, denser fur since your Lab is discarding their winter coat. On the other hand, autumnal molting will not yield as thick fur. In this case, the Lab is discarding a lighter summer coat to make room for the dense winter one.
How Do I Manage My Labrador's Shedding?
So, it sounds like there's no way to avoid shedding. Are there at least ways to keep your Labrador from coating your home in fur? It's possible to manage your Labrador's shedding, but it will take time, work, and patience.
You can manage your Labrador's shedding through both prevention and maintenance. Proper nutrition can help prevent excessive shedding due to allergies or deficiencies. Brushing and bathing on a schedule will also help. Tools such as robotic vacuums and air filters help with household maintenance.
To review these methods in detail, check out Do Labs Shed? A Complete Guide To Labrador Shedding where I discuss specifics and highlight some of my favorite products that got shedding under control for me.
Finally, I can't emphasize enough that you should never shave your Labrador, as they need their coats to protect them from the elements. Shaving away these coats makes Labs vulnerable to sunburn, cuts, and other injuries.
Can Labs Shed Too Much?
While a shedding Labrador is perfectly normal, there may be times when you feel like something seems off with your Lab. Are there any times when shedding crosses a line from healthy to problematic?
Labs can shed too much. While all Labradors shed a lot, irregular shedding may indicate a health problem like allergies, stress, or a hormone imbalance. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice your Lab shedding more than usual, as they'll help you determine if there's an issue.
If you and your vet discover your Lab's coat issues are not related to a severe medical condition, you can always try changing up their diet. A healthy, balanced diet can significantly improve the quality of your Labrador's coat.
In short, Labradors shed a lot. This process is entirely normal and keeps your Lab happy and healthy. Furthermore, no color Labrador sheds less than others. Therefore, you and your Lab will be much happier if you accept their shedding and handle it appropriately.
Regular grooming is an excellent way to remove dead hair while spending quality time with your furry loved one. However, if your Lab's shedding ever seems out of character, promptly contact your vet.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson