Do Black Labradors Bite? 8 Causes and Solutions

Labradors are America’s sweetheart, but they are still dogs, and this is key to understanding their behavior, more so than understanding the breed or the personality. This means you can expect them to act just like any other dogs, and this includes biting.

The coat color is often mistaken as an indication of a labrador retriever’s behavior or personality, while in reality, black, yellow, or chocolate lab all share the characteristics, and the factors affecting their behavior remain the same across colors.

So, Do Black Labradors Bite? Black Labrador Retrievers Bite, like all other breeds, whenever they feel threatened, fearful, playful, or defensive, but with positive reinforcement training and proper obedience exercises, you will be able to train your Labrador Retriever to not bite, whatever their coat color may be.

If you notice that your black lab is often biting, or want to prevent the issue from happening in the first place, keep on reading to explore the reasons behind your lab biting, the truth behind coat color as a factor, and how to prevent biting before escalating. 

Do Black Labradors bite? 

black lab smiling to answer do black Labradors bite

Asking if a dog bites, whatever the breed is, seems to many like a rhetorical question; of course, they do! It’s in every dog’s nature to bite whether to test the limits, try to make himself/herself the dominating one, fear, or even playfulness; it is normal. Dogs explore the world with their mouths, much like kids.

Labradors are generally not dangerous with all coat colors but are known to bite and do significant injury to their victims. Labs have bitten 59 individuals and caused physical damage to 74 others. In the past 30 years, four people were killed.

It’s important here to understand that these 59 attacks (recorded from 1982 to 2014), put Labradors in the 10th position of all dog breeds, and by comparison, Pit Bulls are in the first position with a shocking 3397 attacks in the same time period, followed by Rottweilers at 535 bites then German Shepherds at 113 bites.

You can see below how common are Labrador bites in comparison with other dog breeds;

Rank Dog BreedNumber of Attacks
1Pit Bull3397
2Rottweiler 535
3German Shepherd 113
4Bull Mastiff 111
5Wolf Hybrid 85
7Akita 70
8Boxer 64
9Chow 61
10Labrador 56

Black Labrador Retrievers are no exception. The Labrador is typically a fantastic, family-friendly dog. They’re also incredibly loving and social; that is why they don’t usually bite, yet, dogs differ in personalities, and reactions in situations, so it is sometimes known to happen.

All dogs bite, even the sweetest dogs like Labs and Goldens. I have another guide on Golden Retriever biting which you can check here as well.

On, and in case you are curious, Wolf Hybrids are quite aggressive and unpredictable in general, and I’m guessing they would be higher up in this ranking if they were as popular as the other dog breeds. You can learn why wolf hybrids are quite unpredictable in my post on why dogs can’t join wolf packs here.

Does coat color affect the Labrador’s nature? 

I can tell you I’ve heard this one more than I can remember, but is it true? That is questionable.

Labradors Retrievers come in 3 different coat colors: yellow, chocolate, and black. Yellow and black labs are bred from the American line, while chocolate labs are bred from the English lineage.

In a study to test whether a labrador retrievers/ personality would differ based on coat color, Higher training evaluations, fetching, and attention were applied to yellow and black dogs more than chocolate labrador retrievers.

Chocolate Labrador retrievers are often grown from the English line, as labor dogs, which means that training may be more difficult. Although it does not always imply a more or less aggressive dog, it can signal that chocolate labs are more distractible, less punitive than American Labradors, and less willing to obey commands. 

8 Causes Why Labradors Bite

A Labrador is significantly less likely to bite than any other breed. It can be patient considerably more and has a far greater tolerance than other breeds, yet its tolerant and amiable character will not prohibit actions of instinct totally. Labrador retrievers may bite owing to:

  • Sense of being in danger
    • When a dog is sensing danger, his/her reaction may be violent as this entices their feeling of the need to defend themselves or their loved ones.
  • Experiencing Bad Treatment
    • Often dogs, especially labrador retrievers, may show aggression and violence as a reaction to being treated poorly or with hostility by his/her owners.
  • Being caught by surprise
    • Dogs, in general, are not huge fans of being sneaked up upon or surprised, so it’s always best to make sure there aren’t any acts of surprise from other humans, dogs, or children, to save yourself from an unexpected reaction that may be harmful.
  • Feeling Protective or possessive.
    • Having such a loyal personality is one of the main reasons why labradors may act with hostility; they have a natural feeling of protectiveness over their possessions and owners.
  • Illness or feeling in pain
    • If your lab is feeling a bit under the weather, he/she might get snappy and aggressive, so make sure you check that there are no medical concerns.
  • Rough Play
    • If the dog was not adequately trained as a puppy that there is a difference between playful nipping and painful biting, he or she might not know that what they are doing is harmful.
  • Distractions or feeling overwhelmed.
    • Whether it is children are running around, loads of people in a crowded space, Labrador, or multiple things are happening all at once, this may scare your lab and cause him/her to snap.
  • Loud Noises
    • Careful whenever there are celebrations, fireworks, or even the TV Volume turned up; dogs tend to be startled by loud and sudden noises.

Aggression signs to watch out for 

Labrador Retrievers are infamous for their playful personalities; they are fun to be around, active, loyal, and protective over their partners, but like all other breeds, aggression is not uncommon for them. It’s always fun and games until all of a sudden, things get serious. 

Aggression, in my opinion, is always preventable if noticed and solved from the beginning, so I always advise you to pay close attention to sense if your dog is about to become aggressive.

Here are the red flags you should watch out for if you notice on your dog to prevent any unfortunate events from occurring:

  • stiff and immobile posture
  • Ears pinned back
  • Growling whether loudly or not
  • displaying teeth
  • Shaking all over
  • scowling
  • Snapping at other dogs or humans
  • quick snips
  • Menacing barks
  • Leaping forward 
  • lunging without making eye contact
  • Sharp biting that rips the skin
  • Bite with enough force to leave a bruise
  • Bite that results in puncture wounds

What to do if your black lab is aggressive? 

Your loving black lab is suddenly acting aggressively, and you have no idea what to do, but let me tell you, it is not that hard to alter this behavior.

It is always wise to know the cause of the issue to provide a solution that will solve it from its roots.

First, you need to make sure that this aggression is not a result of being ill, so go to your vet for a check-up and take it from there.

Aggression can be treated through positive reinforcement and obedience treatment, as they have the most effect on dogs. 

You may also resort to professional help from either your vet or a professional trainer if things get out of hand.

I have a complete guide on Black Labrador Retrievers’ aggression here which you should definitely check out for more details and training steps.

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Related Questions 

Are black labs good dogs? 

Black Labradors are amazing dogs,  Black Labradors are lively, protective, loyal, and fun-loving dogs, and many are also keen retrievers. If you’re thinking of getting a black lab, I guarantee you are getting a fantastic partner.

Can black labradors become aggressive? 

Black labradors can become aggressive, like all other dog breeds; some situations can entice a violent reaction from a black lab; does it differ according to coat color? Not, all labradors can get equally aggressive.

Can labrador puppies be aggressive? 

Yes, labrador puppies can get aggressive; Labrador retriever pupipes are generally energetic, active, and friendly, But some lab pups can show signs of hostility like biting, barking, snarling, and lunging – but young age is actually in your favor as puppies to be more trainable that grown-up dogs.

Helpful Resources 

Jarrett P Which dogs bite? Emergency Medicine Journal 1991;8:33-35.

Dog Bite Statistics

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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