Chocolate labs don’t live as long as yellow and black siblings, study finds

The color of a Labrador retriever's coat seems to be related to its lifespan and health, according to new research.

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Chocolate labs tend to live shorter lives then their yellow and black counterparts, and they tend to have a high rate of skin and ear disease, Live Science reported, citing a new study by an international group of researchers.

The scientists, part of a research project called VetCompass, studied some 2,000 labs from a larger database containing information on more than 30,000 of the breed.

They found that chocolate labs had a higher incidence of ear and skin disease and lived on average 10.7 years compared to the black and yellow labs’ 12 years.

Researchers believe genetics could play a role in the differences, according to Live Science.

"The relationships between coat color and disease may reflect an inadvertent consequence of breeding" dogs to be certain colors, lead author Paul McGreevy, professor of veterinary science at the University of Sydney and chair of board of VetCompass, said in a statement.

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Scientists noted that while there seems to be a link between fur color and health, they don’t know what it is yet and that more study is needed.

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