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Exotically-coloured dogs such as lilac bulldogs soar in popularity with prices hitting £9,000

The popularity of exotically coloured dogs such as lilac bulldogs has soared as much as the cost in recent years, with the price of some puppies hitting £9,000.

But following concerns about health complications and inflated prices, the Kennel Club has begun an investigation into the craze.

Bill Lambert, the club’s health and welfare expert, said: ‘We urge buyers to be cautious about the advertisement of rare colours used as a marketing tool to inflate puppy prices. 

'Breeders who appear to be prioritising colour over other factors and charging inflated prices should be treated with suspicion.’

The popularity of exotically coloured dogs such as lilac bulldogs (file photo, above) has soared as much as the cost in recent years, with the price of some puppies hitting £9,000

Labradors were traditionally only black, yellow or chocolate, with puppies typically costing £1,800.

But demand for tiger-striped ones, charcoal, white and silver, has seen the prices for such animals soar. 

David Goode, chairman of the Labrador Retriever Club, said the colours appeared in the 1980s when US breeders crossed weimaraners and labradors. 

They were registered there as pedigrees and then, thanks to a reciprocal agreement, kept that status when they were imported.

Demand for tiger-striped labradors, charcoal, white and silver (pictured above), has seen the prices for such animals soar. David Goode, chairman of the Labrador Retriever Club, said the colours appeared in the 1980s when US breeders crossed weimaraners and labradors

He added: ‘These puppies have different temperaments and health issues, such as skin disorders and hair loss. Of 35,000 labrador puppies registered last year, about ten per cent were the wrong colour. 

'We do not think the Kennel Club should continue to register them as pedigrees. At least they should be put on a separate register.’

Vicky Collins-Nattrass, health co-ordinator of the Bulldog Breed Council, said: ‘It’s got out of hand. Our concern is that some breeders are setting up fertility clinics so more puppies are bred like this.’

Other breed societies alarmed by the introduction of new colours include those for the French bulldog, dachshund, pug and chow chow.