Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
Labrador retrievers are the most popular pet breed in the world and chocolate labs are usually preferred as pet dogs over yellow and black labs. So, how much do chocolate lab puppies cost in pet stores and breeders? Is the price difference too significant? And, if it is, which type of breeder should you prefer. Are there any potential health consequences to your choice?
Additionally, are chocolate labs common in rescues and shelters, and are those good options for you to get your next dog from? We’ll go over all these questions below and hopefully help you find your ideal future pet.
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How Much Do Chocolate Lab Puppies Cost On Average?
The average price of chocolate lab puppies is usually listed as $800 to $1,200. This is mostly true but only because the vast majority of labs are bred and sold by puppy mills and pet stores. However, you should also consider the fact that labs sold by reputable breeders cost quite a bit more. At the same time, you can find chocolate labs in rescues and shelters too.
Labrador Pup Price In Pet Stores and From Puppy Mills
By far the highest number of dogs in the US are sold by pet stores and puppy mills. These places offer good prices and are very good at making their pups look irresistible not to take home.
However, such puppy mills also have awful breeding standards. Inbreeding and overbreeding are pretty much the norm there. That’s because puppy mills find the need for maintaining a healthy bloodline and diversifying the dogs’ gene pool to be “an unnecessary expense”. Additionally, they pay very little attention to the raising of their pups and usually just keep them in small, glass tanks for countless hours, days, and weeks.
All this amounts to poorly bred and even more poorly raised unhealthy pups.
How Much Are Chocolate Labs Bred By Reputable Breeders?
The average price of chocolate labs bred by reputable breeders is closer to $1,700 to $2,500 rather than $800-$1,200. This is justified by the higher breeding standard, the better healthcare, and proper raising of the lab pups. So, while the several hundred or over a thousand extra dollars can seem like a steep price hike, they also guarantee a much healthier dog and lower vet bills in the future.
Reputable breeders will always offer you health certificates for their pups as well as the dogs’ parents. They will allow you to check out the whole litter, look at the parents personally, and make sure they’ve been bred and raised adequately. If a breeder refuses to do any part of that but still asks for a high price – it’s better to walk away and look for your future pup elsewhere.
Chocolate Labrador Price In Shelters and Rescues
Labrador retrievers are so popular nowadays that you can find them in almost every dog shelter and rescue too. You may have to look a bit more for a purebred chocolate lab but those will still be easy to find too.
The only drawback of adopting a pup is that you have less of a guarantee about its health. However, this can be mitigated by most shelters as they offer a full veterinary check-up and consultation. The benefits, on the other hand, are that you are saving a dog that might have otherwise remained homeless and you’re not stimulating the exploitative puppy mill industry.
Additionally, dogs from shelters and rescues are either free or are sold for very low prices. Shelters typically use these funds to just cover the shelter’s operating expenses. This doesn’t really turn shelters into the for-profit industry that puppy mills are.
Does The Chocolate Labrador Price Differ From The Cost Of Other Labradors?
Chocolate or brown labs aren’t necessarily more expensive or more affordable than yellow and black labs. In pet stores and puppy mills, the price of all color variations is more or less the same – between $800 and $1,200. Black labs can cost more in reputable breeders because they are more often chosen by hunters. However, chocolate and yellow labs will still have pretty similar prices.
Chocolate Lab Puppies Cost and How That Relates To Their Health?
It’s easy to forget that getting a purebred puppy isn’t just (or at all) about the “status” – it’s about the health. Good breeders make sure their purebred chocolate lab puppies match a certain health standard. This means avoiding inbreeding, overbreeding, and the breeding of undesirable genetic defects.
This is a big reason why puppies in pet stores and puppy mills cost significantly less. Their breeders pay much less heed, time, and attention to how they breed their pups, they invest less into the logistics of finding new dogs to breed, and so on. Additionally, they invest much less into the care and raising of their pups too. All this translates into a much lower cost for you but also a much worse health for your pup. And the latter also means much higher vet bills as your dog grows up.
Steering clear from puppy mills and pet stores will help you avoid or minimize the risk of any of the following:
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
- Central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA)
Are Purebred Chocolate Lab Puppies Cost Worth It?
In our opinion, paying a bit extra for a healthy and purebred puppy is always worth it. It’s all a matter of simple calculus – purebred puppies cost more initially but unhealthy puppies cost 10x as much over time due to health problems and live shorter and worse lives. Ideally, puppy mills and pet stores wouldn’t just go out of business if people stop buying puppies from them.
The other alternative is adopting a pup from a shelter or a rescue. We do support that too, with both hands. While rescues won’t have the same health guarantees as purebred dogs, adopting them doesn’t support an exploitative industry that will just keep breeding more and more unhealthy animals. Instead, you’ll just be saving a lovely dog that desperately needs a loving home. Besides, dogs from shelters and rescues don’t just cost less – they are often free.