Posts Tagged ‘black golden retriever’

I just happened to come across the neighbors’ puppies when I came in this afternoon. The father was a golden retriever.

Long-haired male pup:


Smooth-coated female:


Here’s the mother, a 40-pound Rottweiler mix:






(He has that golden retriever pout).


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A bitch licking one of her black puppies:

“It’s just a unique mutation that made this puppy black– and all 9 of his littermates!”

Only correct if  by “unique mutation,” one means fence-jumping Labrador.

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I have been asked about this creature several times.

It unfortunately doesn’t exist.

Its status in the amateur dog expert world, however, is near legendary status. I get asked about it more often than you’d think.

It is a creature like the chupacabra. It is one that people swear has to exist, simply because people see something they can’t quite explain. However, on the surface, this creature appears more plausible than the chupacabra.

But it is not.

The creature in question is the “black golden retriever”– a name that not only sounds like an oxymoron, it is one.

Here is a purported photograph of a black golden retriever:

(Source for image)

I don’t know what kind of dog this animal is. It could be a flat-coated retriever or a golden mix of some sort. After all, we know that many golden crosses wind up being black dogs. That is because virtually all goldens are dominant black dogs wit the e/e genotype that prevents black pigment from appearing on their fur. When crossed with a breed with some genotype  that is dominant over e/e, the black color gets expressed in the crossbreed’s fur. For reasons that will take a lot more space to explain than I have here,  it doesn’t always happen. But it happens a lot.

All golden retrievers are e/e dogs. This is a recessive trait. It is impossible for them to carry dominant black, and goldens– and all gun dogs– don’t have recessive black color. You cannot breed to purebred goldens together and get black puppies.

The only black fur that can pop up on goldens is the somatic mutation that turns patches of their fur black. This mutation actually turns patches of the skin cells from e/e to E/e. E/e allows black pigment to appear on the fur. Where the dog is yellow or red, the skin cells are e/e. Because this trait happened because of a mutation in the somatic cells. It cannot be inherited.

Except for that somatic mutation, no purebred black golden retrievers exist.  If such a dog did exist, it would also have to have a mutation that allows black fur to develop. If such a mutation could be found, it would be remarkable. Not only would we have dominant black and recessive black, we would have a third black color in the dog world, which we would have to call “golden retriever black.”

But if one runs into what appears to be a black golden retriever that appeared in a normal litter of purebred puppies, the dog is likely not purebred, and at least some of its littermates aren’t either.

Black golden retrievers are one of those little urban legends I wish would die.

If someone has a dog like this, I would ask very simply that the owner get the dog tested. Is this dog a dominant black or a recessive black? If it is either, then the dog is a crossbreed. If the gene cannot be determined,  then you have a scientific discovery on your hands.

But until someone provides that evidence, black golden retrievers are about as real as the chupacabra.


No. I’m not talking about the mangy foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and other creatures that have been claimed to be chupacabras. I’m talking about something that looks like this.

The likelihood of that thing existing is about the same as the so-called black golden retriever appearing in a litter puppies from known purebred parents.



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