Silver Labrador: Everything You Need to Know Before Adopting

The silver labrador is a gorgeous dog, with the classic looks of a Labrador with a shimmery silver twist! He is beautiful, has an awesome temperament, and is at the forefront of much debate. His history is mysterious; he is believed to be either a purebred Labrador or a Lab mix. Not only is the debate raising his presence, but it is also raising his popularity.

Unfortunately, Silver Labs has been caught up in a wave of fierce controversy about dogs, loathed by many but beloved by others. There are several theories as to how silver lab obtained its coat, and many breeders and clubs have been divided on the subject.Let’s take a look at today’s reality, and if you’re considering buying a Silver Labrador, you’ll be armed with the information you need to decide if this puppy is for you. Or, if you’re here simply because you love a bit of dog drama, then read on!.

History & Controversy

Adult Silver Labrador Retriever
The Silver Lab has a controversy among Lab breeders.

The popularity of the Labrador Retriever dates back to the early 19th century in Newfoundland, Canada. He was a hunting dog, and traditionally worked on the water to collect ducks, fish, and many other small water creatures. He was and still is the fisherman’s favorite choice of canine companion.

His ancestors were called St. Johns Dog, and he has a similar appearance, but is black. Visiting English nobles brought him back to England, improved the breed standard and named him the Labrador Retriever. Since then, he has become a family favorite all over the world.

The Labrador community’s opinion on Silver Labrador is divided into two parts. There are those who believe that they are purebred Labrador, just like any other color, and there are those who believe that the Silver Labrador is a mixed breed of Labrador and Weimaraner.

The never-ending debate first began when Kellogg’s Kennel advertised ‘Rare Gray Labrador’ for sale in the 1950s. This raised questions from many Labrador breeders and enthusiasts worldwide. , because it seems that this silver color suddenly came out of nowhere. Similar debate exists with other lab color variations, like red fox lab.

Despite the controversy, Silver Lab is not recognized as an official color. They can still be registered as Labrador dogs with dog clubs around the world. However, they can be registered as ‘Chocolate Labrador’ with the AKC.
It can also be registered as an ‘unrecognized color’ in the UK equivalent to the AKC. It’s unclear exactly how popular Silver Labrador is. It’s clear that the controversy surrounding them is definitely enhancing their reputation.

Theory 1: The Silver Lab Is A Purebred Labrador

Labrador Outdoors in Field
Silver Lab enthusiasts seek to prove the color is from legitimate purebred lines.

Purebred advocates often claim that they are always around. Silver labradors were recorded as either unrecognized or immediately killed to prevent their silver genes from entering the Labrador gene pool. Breeders do not want to be accused of crossbreeding.

These silver dogs have a rare diluted Labrador gene that they can inherit. If so, one could surmise that the Silver Labrador was indeed a purebred Labrador.

As a result, no one raised any questions until the 1950s when Kellogg’s Kennel was the first to be brave enough to publicly advertise their dogs as Silver Labradors.

Proponents argue that the answer lies in the genetics of the breeds used to refine the Labrador as we know it today; the British used St. John’s, a black dog, and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Since then, silver Labradors have been bred to produce more silver Labradors and as a result, this rare coat color is becoming more popular than it used to be. The silver color originated in the UK but has gradually made its way to the US and has both a bench line and a display line.

Theory 2: The Silver Lab Is A Mixed Breed

Labrador Outdoors in Forest
Labrador Retriever purists often argue that the Silver Lab is a mixed breed.

Opponents of the Silver Lab view as purebred argue that the only possible explanation lies in Weimaraner’s genes being mixed into the gene pool. The Weimaraner is similar in appearance and size to the Labrador, except that its coat has a distinctive silver color.

Two notable early Silver Labrador breeders are Crist Culo Kennels and Beaver Creek Labradors. Their litters can be traced back to the first litter advertised in 1950 by Kellogg’s Kennels. Since silver is so rare, it is possible that these dogs were bred with close relatives to obtain this color. Inbreeding is the term used to describe this practice and it is known to cause a multitude of health problems.

Campaigners against color say breeders are polluting the Labrador’s genetic stock by introducing a different breed. They also say that inbreeding with Silver Labradors causes a host of health problems. Purebreds argue that these are not purebreds and are indeed a mixed breed.

They also claim that the Silver Lab breeders are simply ‘participating for the money’. The typical argument is that these breeders are not interested in the Labrador breed. They just wanted to breed as many Silver Labradors as possible without regard for health.

Of course, other breeds are never mixed and registered as purebred to protect the lineage. This is a terrible thing to do and campaigners have every right to protest if this is true. However, recent studies suggest that there are now enough Silver Labs around to mitigate inbreeding concerns. Reputable breeders do not engage in inbreeding and to this day, there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Silver Labrador Color Genetics

Silver Labrador’s color is often referred to as a diluted version of a chocolate-colored Labrador. Usually, genetically, color variations are known as dilution genes, which cause ‘watering’ color variation.

One set of genes controls all coat colors. In particular, in standard Labradors you will read that genes B and E affect the coat color of Black, Chocolate and Yellow. However, silver color is controlled by another gene, the D gene. Gen D is present in all standard Labrador colors.

The gene acts like a switch, turning on for full color and off when diluting. To understand a little more, all genes come in pairs, the pair being a large ‘D’ and a small ‘d’. A large D produces a dark coat color and a small d produces a lighter color.

Silver Labs has a dilute chocolate color, so here are the possible gene pairs and color results for Chocolate Labrador:.

  • Chocolate Labrador: DD
  • Chocolate Labrador: Dd
  • Silver Labrador: dd

The big D always prevails and so it always dominates the small d. So, for the Silver Lab to appear, the puppy needed two copies of the thinning gene to have a thin coat. So, only the third gene combination bred produces Silver Labs.

In some dog breeds, such as Weimaraners, there are also two small d genes. This is why the recent appearance of the double minor d gene in the Chocolate Labrador allowed the Silver Labrador to emerge, hence the controversy.

In The Ring

Silver Labrador Running on Pavement Outside
Silver Labs can register as Chocolate Labs, but not as show dogs.

The inheritance of this color in the breed can only be theoretical, not proven. Therefore, Silver Labs is allowed to participate in AKC activities. They can be registered as purebred Labradors, but cannot participate in show games. If you bought a puppy just for show, you probably already know this fact and it shouldn’t be a problem.=

Many breeders continue to challenge the AKC and win the title for the line to be able to compete. Others sided with the AKC and were equally opposed to the puppy entering the competition.


Silver Labrador in Field
They have strikingly beautiful coat colors.

A silver Labrador looks the same as any colored Labrador except for his color, of course. Many describe his coloring as pale brown, while many others describe his coloring as shiny silver. A silver Labrador can be various shades of color depending on his parents and genetics. They also tend to have brown noses and buff eyes. Before 8 months of age, many pups have light blue eyes that gradually turn yellowish.

Some, mainly those who believe he was bred with a Weimaraner, claim that Silver Lab looks more like a “hound” and that his looks come from his Weimaraner parent lineage. Their ears are larger than those of a traditional Labrador, and their muzzle is longer and thinner. Some say he doesn’t, just looks like a traditional Labrador.

Male Silver Labs stand 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall. Females will be slightly smaller, between 21.5 and 23.5 inches. He is a heavy puppy, 65 to 80 pounds for males. Females weigh 55 to 70 pounds. They are strong and well-proportioned dogs. Silver Labs has a cheerful and cheeky expression, with a strong muzzle and powerful neck. They also have an otter-like tail, long and thick, which they use to guide themselves in the water.


Adult Silver Labrador Standing on Hill
Silver Labs are temperamentally similar to traditional Labradors,  making them wonderful companions.

Intelligent and trainable, Silver Lab lives to please and serve his Master. Not only is he the most docile of pups (as long as you follow his training and discipline), but he will always be there for you, ready to stick his paw. Maybe! If you want a real companion, the silver Labrador is a great choice.

He is also a very sociable dog who loves to join in on all the family games and splash around in the pool. He’ll take anything you throw at him and keep you and your whole family entertained for hours.

Not only does he serve his master, but he is loyal to everyone in the flock and will happily hug anyone in the room. Also, if socialized from an early age, he also loves small children and other animals. However, this sociable individual has a slight downside in that he is known to suffer from separation anxiety.

He is a happy, lucky dog ​​who is described by the AKC as “friendly, active, and outgoing.” His temperament is one of the main reasons why he is the most popular breed and has been around for over 23 years!.

Exercise & Training

Silver Labrador Exercising Outdoors
As with any Lab, expect to spend lots of time exercising to get out excess energy.

As a working dog, the Silver Labrador is an active breed. Silver Labs requires about 60 minutes of exercise per day. However, that does not mean that an hour of daily walking is enough. Like any Labrador, they need vigorous exercise to expend extra energy.

Silver Labradors need interactive and fast-paced activities. You should train your Lab to walk or run with a harness, as they make great running partners. Other activities they enjoy include playing catch, taking agility classes and interactive games. As a friend of fishermen, they still have a affinity for water, so swimming is another sport they love!.

Silver Labradors are one of the smartest dogs on the planet. This is one of the main reasons why Labradors are commonly used in the working world. You will often find them involved in search and rescue, drug detection and guide dogs for the blind.

They will spend their lives trying to impress you with their skills as you combine their intelligence with their love to please their owners. As long as you match their training. Make sure you have enough toys to keep the puppy entertained.

Health & Nutrition

Chocolate and Silver Labs in Snow
You should expect the same health issues as with any other Lab.

The Silver Labrador is generally a healthy breed and lives an average of 10 to 12 years. So, if you are thinking of welcoming a silver Labrador into your life, then you need to keep the following health issues in mind:.

Hip and elbow dysplasia.

This is a common health problem in later life for most dog breeds. An abnormal formation causes it in the hip and elbow joints, and eventual symptoms can include joint pain and crippling arthritis.

Exercising collapse.

Puppies can lose muscle control after a period of excessive exercise. There’s nothing you can do to prevent this except to watch out for symptoms like collapsing and not being able to move or drag your limbs away after running. In very rare cases, the dog can die instantly, but most cases last up to 25 minutes.

Color Dilution Hair Loss.

This was found in dogs with the color dilution gene, dd, as described above. It is not found in all dd dogs and it does not always lead to this specific alopecia. It is caused by a bacterial infection in the hair follicle and causes dry skin and hair loss. It manifests itself over a period of 6 months to 3 years, and antibiotics can help control it.

Typically, a Silver Labrador will eat about 3 cups of food and this should be a large breed formula for Labs. He will also eat anything and everything else he can touch! It is imperative to monitor its food and treat its intake with any Labrador to avoid obesity and other weight-related health problems. Give it snacks in moderation and try not to give it high-calorie or human foods like cheese. You might be his best friend at the time, but he won’t thank you for it when his joints can’t take the extra weight.

Could Pet Insurance Help?

If your pet insurance covers inspection fees and your dog requires an inspection, your policy will likely reimburse you for these costs based on your policy details. However, if you’re a new customer, vet bills won’t be paid until after the waiting period defined in your policy has passed, so signing up while you’re concerned about your current health condition doesn’t currently help. Pre-existing conditions are not covered by any current pet insurance plan.

This is why it is a great idea to sign up for a pet insurance policy when your pet is young and relatively healthy to ensure you will be covered when you need it most.


Labrador Puppy Outdoors
Grooming needs don’t differ by coat color.

To keep the silver Labrador warm in cold conditions, he has a double coat. His undercoat is thick and dense, and is resistant to water and ice. This allows them to stay in the water for too long without getting sick, and their coat is short and shaggy.

Labradors are moderate to heavy shedding species. Their coat needs to be brushed once or twice a week. He’ll need a bath every six weeks to keep the fresh smell of all the mud and lake water he loves so much!.

Breeders and Puppy Prices

The average cost of a Labrador Retriever puppy can range from $1,000 for a reputable breeder. Since silver Labrador retrievers are rare, you may end up paying more as there are fewer and fewer available to meet demand. By checking reputable breeder websites, the average cost is between $1,250 and $1,500.

Buying your puppy from a reputable breeder will not only ensure that you are paying the right price for the puppy, but also ensure that you will get a healthy dog ​​and have the best start in life. life.

Should I Get a Silver Labrador?

Lab Puppy with his new owner
Adopting a new dog is always a big decision, regardless of its color.

Do you want him to participate in registered hunting and obedience trials? As stated earlier, the Official Kennel Club does not recognize silver Labradors as “Silver Labradors”; there is no silver tick box on the registry.

Since he has to be registered as chocolate or an unrecognizable color, unfortunately your puppy will be considered less popular than all the other competing Labradors. Many contestants said their silver Labradors were plagued by color bias during the competition. If getting your pup active is important to you, then you should be prepared for it. If that’s a deciding factor, consider a Labrador in another color.

Once you’ve answered the contest questions, there are a few other things to be aware of. First, many anti-silver activists believe that inbreeding has caused serious health problems. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Until there is, don’t let this put you off. He has the same health issues as any other standard Labrador.

There is an additional potential hair loss problem. The silver gene pool is now large enough that reputable breeders will not breed siblings or close relatives.

Second, many anti-silver activists also say that silver labrador breeders are only in it for the money. Again, this is not true. If you purchased your puppy from a reputable breeder registered with the AKC, then his parents must undergo a health check. That way, you know your puppy has undergone the same health tests as AKC-registered yellow puppies.

Final Thoughts

Whatever side of the fence you sit on, and whether you believe that the Silver Labrador is a purebred or a mixed breed, two things are very clear. Firstly, the history of their coat color will probably always remain a mystery. Secondly, and more importantly, whatever their genetics, Silver Labradors are loveable pups who make awesome family pets. As long as he is healthy and you are ready to commit to having a dog, then you will both have a long, happy life together!

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