Study: Chocolate Labradors have a significantly lower lifespan than black, yellow Labs

According to recent research, chocolate Labrador Retrievers have a significantly shorter lifespan than black and yellow Labradors. 

After analyzing the veterinary records of nearly 33,300 Labradors, scientists out of the Royal Veterinary College have found that the breed, which has been ranked as the most popular in the United States since 1991, is host to a plethora of health problems, including obesity and joint conditions. On average, Labradors face a life expectancy of 12.1 years, while the average life expectancy for a chocolate Lab is just around 10.7 years. 

RELATED: Best breeds for kids

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Best dog breeds for kids
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Best dog breeds for kids

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

"The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful family pet; a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles Spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child." What does that wagging tail mean?

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Golden Retriever

"The Golden Retriever is one of the most well-known dogs because of their gentle, caring temperaments. They are able to lounge around the house for an afternoon or take a hike through the woods," says Pete Lands, DVM, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Goldens are very bright and easy to train. They're also stoic when it comes to kids. "While they may not like it, Golden Retrievers tend to be apathetic to young kids pulling on their ears or tugging at their tails. This makes them one of the best family dogs you can find," he adds.

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Labrador Retriever 

They look large-and-in-charge, but Labs are famously child-friendly. "The Labrador Retriever is a reliable family pet," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee." These are the most popular breed dogs in every state.

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Beagle

Cute as a button, sweet, and gentle, these pack animals thrive on companionship. According to the American Kennel Club, these charmers make excellent family dogs because they are loving by nature, love to play, and have goofy personalities. If you want a dog who wants to be with people, this is a great breed for your family. Pass Beagles up, however, if your house is always empty during the day.

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Irish Setter

Does your family love a good group jog or a game of beach Frisbee? If so, an Irish Setter will be the perfect fit for you. Regal to look at and energetic beyond words, this breed grows to be large, around 50 to 70 pounds and has a long lifespan, so they can grow up with your kids. Irish Setters make great companions, are wonderful with children, and have lively dispositions. They also love to play with toys and balls. Don't miss these secrets dog trainers won't tell you.

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French Bulldog

Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, are diminutive in size, but big in personality. Known for their affectionate natures and silly "bat" ears, French Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. The perfect family dog for apartment dwellers, Frenchies do well in small spaces, and love being around kids. French bulldogs also love getting dressed up for Halloween.

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Boxer

Make a Boxer part of your family, and you will never feel unprotected again. Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions, but love to play. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat. Keep your pooch safe all summer long with these 28 warm-weather health tips for dogs.

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Cocker Spaniel

There's a definite possibility that Cocker Spaniels think they are people. They're gentle, loving, very smart, love being around children, and tend to always put themselves in the middle of the action. They also make great therapy dogs and may be a good fit for an anxious or special needs child. Their beautiful, floppy ears make them prone to ear infections, so keeping them clean and groomed is essential.

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Bichon Frise

These little bundles of low-shedding fur are some of the friendliest dogs on the planet. Sweet, affectionate, and playful, the Bichon Frise is a fantastic playmate for energetic children. Their small size makes them a great city dog, provided you give them lots of walks. According to Animal Planet, they're loyal to a fault and do best with consistent training and moderate amounts of activity. These are the dog breeds most compatible with your (or your child's) Zodiac sign.

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Collie

Rough Collies are known for their majestic, flowing coats, while smooth Collies have shorter coats. Rough or smooth, Collies make great family pets. (However, rough collies require more grooming.) This breed is incredibly intelligent and likes nothing better than to engage in activity with the children who love them. They're fast learners, loyal to their families, and protective. Just ask Lassie.

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Poodle

Have an allergic child? According to Health, Poodles might just be the ticket for you. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Poodles seem to come close, because they appear to produce fewer allergens. They also come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—and an abundance of colors. These adorable goofballs are super-smart, easy to train, adapt well to new situations, and love kids. Here's your official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.

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Labradoodle

An intentional mix of Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles are as adorable as their name. A medium-shedder, Labradoodles were originally bred to be even-keeled and empathetic, so they could be trained as guide dogs for visually-impaired people. This breed couldn't be more affectionate, or more adorable. Note that they need lots of exercise and tend to get along great with other dogs.

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Pug

This Instagram-darling brings with it major cuddle-factor. Their cutie-patooty smiling faces and cozying-up tendencies make Pugs a popular favorite for children who prefer gentle play to roughhousing. These playful pups were bred to be lap dogsand adore being around people. They're clever, quiet, and make great family pets.

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Chihuahua

Long-haired or short, Chihuahuas are the tiniest of all dog breeds. They tend to adore children and are very loyal to their families. Chihuahuas love the indoors and are not fond of very cold weather, perhaps because they're thought to have originated in Mexico. They're easy to train and love the lap of the person who loves them best. Watch out for these secret signs that your dog is mad at you.

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Chug

Chugs are a specific breed comprised of Pug and Chihuahua ancestry. Many have the best characteristics of both popular breeds, making them great pets for children. According to Pet Guide, Chugs are a designer dog with characteristics that vary from liter to liter. Like their forebears, most will make good family dogs. They're loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and love to play.

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Havanese

This tiny charmer is the national dog of Cuba. They have exuberant personalities and adore people of all ages. Havanese dogs are very social and outgoing. A loving breed, they also enjoy playing games. They're a toy breed, so not a great fit for rough-and-tumble play, but they're perfect for families who are looking for a silly, outgoing friend for their child. Read on for the 50 secrets your pup won't tell you.

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Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers make fantastic pets for older kids. They are sweet beyond belief, very protective, and very trainable. The American Kennel Club calls them mischievous, playful, and charming. Known for their silly, comical antics, and crowd-pleasing behavior, Bull Terriers need lots of exercise and lots of love.

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"The relationships between coat colour and disease may reflect an inadvertent consequence of breeding certain pigmentations," explained Sydney Professor Paul McGreevy according to The Daily Mail. Because the gene for a chocolate coat is recessive, two chocolate Labs are necessary for their puppies to be chocolate.

Demand for these puppies is high. But because of inbreeding, "it may be that the resulting reduced gene pool includes a higher proportion of genes conducive to ear and skin conditions,” McGreevy continued. 

Not only are chocolate Labs more susceptible to ear infections -- 23 percent are affected, compared to the 13 percent of black labs -- but nearly 9 percent are obese.

For more on the study, watch the video above.

RELATED: See the smartest breeds 

25 PHOTOS
25 of the smartest dog breeds
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25 of the smartest dog breeds

BORDER COLLIE

According to Coren, these dogs are able to learn a new command in under five seconds and follow it at least 95 percent of the time.

POODLE

Second place on Coren’s list of smartest pups, these beauties are also great family dogs and hypoallergenic.

GERMAN SHEPHERD

There’s a reason why these guys make great crime-fighting pals—they’re obedient and alert (and handsome, too).

GOLDEN RETRIEVER

The ultimate family-friendly dog, these pooches are loyal, whip smart and very patient.

DOBERMAN PINSCHER

Playful and fun-loving, this breed is easy to train and fiercely loyal.

SHETLAND SHEEPDOG

Hey, only a highly intelligent breed would be able to raise a pig. (If you don’t get this Babereference, please go rent the movie immediately.)

LABRADOR RETRIEVER

The most popular dog breed in America is also one of the smartest. Great with families, these guys are loving and loyal.

PAPILLON

Named after the French word for “butterfly” (just look at those sweet, pointed ears), this toy breed is intelligent, energetic and friendly.

ROTTWEILER

Fans of children’s book Good Dog, Carl won’t be surprised to discover that rotties are fearless, devoted and confident. (And also very obedient, according to Coren.)

AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG

No wonder these canines are such excellent work dogs. But even without cows to herd, this breed makes great companions thanks to their obedience, loyalty and protective nature.

PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI

We wouldn’t expect anything less from Her Majesty’s favorite breed.

MINIATURE SCHNAUZER

Full of energy, these friendly pups are fast learners and sociable (and they have the best mustaches).

ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL

Affectionate, athletic and attentive, these tail-waggers were bred as hunting dogs.

BELGIAN TERVUREN

Ideal watchdogs, these pooches are highly trainable and have boundless energy.

SCHIPPERKE

From the Belgian region of Flanders, this breed is curious, confident and clever. (Although these small pups definitely think they’re bigger than they are.)

BELGIAN SHEEPDOG

Those Belgians really know a thing or two about smart pooches, don’t they?

COLLIE

Well, duh—have you never seen Lassie before?

KEESHOND

Outgoing and playful, this sturdy breed is known for the markings around their eyes that looks like glasses.

GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER

Cooperative and trainable, these pups are popular hunting dogs so they need plenty of exercise.

FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER

Great with kids, this friendly breed is also a popular therapy dog.

ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL

With their soft and luxurious coat, these guys love being friendly with kids, adults and even other pups. 

STANDARD SCHNAUZER

Devoted, loving and playful, these guys are also hypoallergenic.

BRITTANY

Known as sensitive souls who are very clever and attentive.

COCKER SPANIEL

Thanks to a certain fictional female dog, the cocker spaniel has a lot to live up to.

NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER

If you’re looking for a dog that loves to play fetch, then look no further than this smarty-pants.

RELATED: 7 REASONS IT’S ACTUALLY BETTER TO LET YOUR DOG SLEEP IN YOUR BED

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