If Your Dog Is This Color, It Could Live Longer

Some dogs live longer than others, and the genetic reason will surprise you.

four Labradors on hayclaire norman/ShutterstockIf you have a dog, chances are you’ll agree they’re more than pets—they’re part of the family. Keeping your fur baby around for as long as possible is a priority, so take note: You could be feeding your dog all the right foods, giving him the proper amount of exercise, and smothering him with love and affection, and he still may not live as long as you’d wish. And the secret to his longevity may be linked to the color of his coat.

New research from the University of Sydney studying Labrador retrievers found the chocolate breeds don’t live as long as their yellow and black counterparts. The reason for this, said lead author Professor Paul McGreevy, from the University’s Faculty of Science, may be recessive genes.

“The relationships between coat color and disease may reflect an inadvertent consequence of breeding certain pigmentations,” he told Science Daily. “Because chocolate color is recessive in dogs, the gene for this color must be present in both parents for their puppies to be chocolate. Breeders targeting this color may, therefore, be more likely to breed only Labradors carrying the chocolate coat gene.” We all think our dogs are the greatest, but pay attention to these signs that your dog is smarter than you think.

According to the study, which took place with Labradors living in the United Kingdom and is currently being replicated in Australia, the median longevity of non-chocolate Labradors is 12.1 years, more than 10 percent longer than those with chocolate coats. Researchers tested more than 33,000 Labradors across the UK in conjunction with the University’s VetCompass Program. In addition to lifespan, Labradors with chocolate coats are also more apt to suffer health issues, such as ear infections and skin diseases.

No matter what color your Labrador may be, researchers noted that many of these dogs tend to be overweight, regardless of color. So there is something you can do to keep your furry friend as healthy as possible for as long as possible—monitor his diet to prevent obesity. And be wary of this type of food that could give your pup heart disease. Here are the signs to watch for that your dog might be sick.

Certain labs may be prone to health issues but on the upside, they’re one of the smartest dogs around. Here are the smartest dog breeds, ranked.

Here are more amazing traits your fur-ball friend has—proving he’s way cooler than we humans will ever be.