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A Labrador has produced a litter of pure yellow, chocolate and black puppies in an extremely rare case as part of a breeding programme fifteen years in the making.
Black Labrador Zola, four, delivered ten pups who are a mixture of the three different colours – only seen on a "handful" of occasions before.
Dog breeders Tina Davis, 62, and her husband Martin Davis, 63, started with a female chocolate Lab in 2006.
Over the years they bred a mixture of yellow, chocolate and black Labs and decided to strategically mix doggy DNA to produce a litter of all three.
The couple have used Wylanbria Kennels as their stud farm from the moment they started breeding.
The farm's owner, Diana Stevens, 47, worked with them to breed a line of stud dogs with whom their female dogs could successfully produce a mixed litter.
Zola was impregnated by Diana's black Labrador Rocks, three, who had also been uniquely bred to carry all three colour genes.
It took over a decade to combine the correct genes on both sides to make it happen, and even then, the chances were still slim.
The ten adorable pups – two yellow, three chocolate and five black – were born on October 18 and have already been matched with permanent loving homes.
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When Zola went in to labour Tina says she had her fingers crossed that this would provide the litter that they'd both been waiting for.
Retired hotelier Tina, from Horsham, West Sussex, said: "We've always loved dogs, and when a friend decided to go abroad she had to rehome her two chocolate labs.
"Chocolate Labs are not renowned for being good gun dogs and we wanted to prove that with the right breeding, they could be up to the job.
"Things just progressed from there and we started breeding a variety of different coloured Labs.
"We'd planned to produce a boy and a girl capable of giving all three colours since the day we started breeding, and now we've finally done it.
"Only a tiny handful of Labradors have the genetic predisposition to produce all three colours, and even less are mated to a partner dog to make this happen.
"Labradors can often carry a lot of genetic problems so it's not just about the colours, you have to make sure you're producing a healthy puppy too."
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Typically a breeder can sell a Labrador pup for up to £3,500, but Tina would rather sell them cheaper as she doesn’t want to make them unaffordable for good homes.
The couple have a huge waiting list of families keen to buy one of their puppies, and their long history of breeding is reflected in the quality of the Labs they produce.
Zola had a tricky experience this time around with the pups having to be delivered by C-section, so Tina has decided not to breed from her anymore.
However, 50% of this special litter will have the DNA to breed all three colours again in the future.
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In a few years time, Tina plans to breed from one of Zola's daughters, which will give her the freedom to choose between each colour combination.
"By successfully breeding a litter of different colours, we now have the right line to continue to do this which we're extremely pleased about," she said.
"If we wanted to we, could sell this litter for a much higher price as they now carry extremely valuable genetics – but we're not interested in the money."
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"We'd much rather see our Labs go to a loving home and a good family who are committed to having a dog," she added.
"Our puppies are not designer dogs to be shown off or used as an accessory, and we feel very strongly about that.
"Zola had a difficult time of it this time round and it was very stressful for us both, so were planning to take a bit of a break before we breed again.
"But whatever colour each of our puppies come out, we know they'll all make amazing pets for whatever family they go to."
- In the News
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