Dog breeding is something that many people take incredibly seriously. If you know anything about the culture of breeding purebred dogs, then you should know that there is a science to it. It’s important to keep the bloodline pure in order to ensure that you are really breeding the right type of dog. This is why new variances in a breed of dogs can wind up causing quite a stir in the community.
You may have heard of these fairly new silver labs that have appeared on the scene. Of course, silver isn’t a color that purebred Labradors can be, right? Well, some people really aren’t so sure. This is a topic that has confounded some people and others refuse to entertain the idea that these dogs could be pure Labradors.
If you want to truly understand what is going on with this conversation, then you need to dig in deep and look at all of the particulars. There is a lot of information about how these dogs came to be, why their coats have a silver appearance, and what this means for their status as purebred dogs. If you are interested in purchasing a silver lab, then you will want to continue to read on. There will be plenty of information about the dogs themselves, health concerns, and whether or not you should seek one out.
To start off, it is important to know what the officially accepted Labrador colors are. In order for a Labrador to be considered pure, it will need to have its bloodlines traced to be recognized by the Kennel Club. This club officially puts their stamp of approval on purebred dogs, and this gives a lot of validity to claims of purity. There are only three colors that Labradors can be registered under according to the Kennel Club.
These are the three colors that are widely accepted for purebred Labradors. So with that being said, does that mean that the case is closed? Since there are only three recognized colors, does that mean this conversation can be shelved? Interestingly, there is a bit more to this story than you might think.
If you know much about Labradors in general, then you are probably aware that there are color variances. Now, the Kennel Club doesn’t register dogs under the color variances, but there are dogs who have different color shades who are registered as pure Labs. As an example, champagne is a variation of a yellow Labrador that is widely recognized as legitimate, and these dogs are registered as yellow at the Kennel Club.
There are other color variations of Labradors that are more popularly recognized than silver, as well. You can find white Labs, charcoal Labs, and even fox red Labs that all are registered at the Kennel Club. They aren’t registered under their color variation, but they are registered under the main color that they are an offshoot from. If this all seems pretty complicated, that’s probably because it is.
This isn’t a simple topic that can be completely ignored, as it is something that is still being actively debated in the Labrador community. Opinions are split when it comes to many different aspects of this issue. There is a lot to consider. If breeders consider champagne Labradors to be legitimate, then why can’t silver Labs get the same treatment?
In order to understand more about why the silver Lab is so controversial, it is important to examine where it came from and how it gets the silver coat. Once you know more information, you can make your own decision about how you feel. It’s smart to examine the facts for yourself before formulating an opinion. You want to know everything, especially if you’re thinking of purchasing one of these dogs in the near future.
Take a Break From Reading And Watch Our Favorite Silver Lab Puppy Video
Silver labs carry all of the visual characteristics of Labradors. They look like a typical Labrador would, except for having a different coat color. The facial features, snout, and musculature all match up with what people recognize as the Labrador standard. Even the temperament of the dogs seems to be the same as you would expect from a purebred Labrador.
There are some breeders who say that there are subtle differences in these silver labs. People say that their ears are just a little bit longer than you would see in a traditional Labrador. Some people think that a few of their features appear to be a little more hound-like than other Labs, too, but this might just be people looking for ways to exile this offshoot from the purebred Labrador lines. The vast majority of people say that silver labs look exactly like normal Labradors but with different coat colors.
The coat colors really aren’t exactly silver, either, to be honest. They do have a bit of a silver appearance, but it isn’t a striking silver. It’s actually more of a grey in most circumstances, and some people have referred to it as a metallic type of color. Sometimes these dogs look like they are a paler version of a chocolate Lab.
Regardless, it is understandable why they are colloquially referred to as silver labs. Some of the silver labs will be really pale, and others will have a bit more vibrancy to their coat. It just depends on the combination of genes, but they do look really nice. This has made the silver Labrador a popular dog that is sought-after by certain people.
Considering that these dogs aren’t a widely accepted offshoot of the Labrador species, they aren’t nearly as common as some of the other Labrador variances. Even so, there are people that are breeding silver Labradors. If you want to purchase one, then you will likely be able to find one without too much trouble. It just won’t be as common as finding a breeder of chocolate Labradors or the other accepted types.
The first reported “silver” Labradors appeared in the 1950’s. This is much later than any of the other recognized colors. The other colors of Labradors are more acceptable because people officially recognize them as recessive genes that have always been present in these dogs. The traditional color for a Labrador is black, but even early on, you would rarely have seen a yellow or a chocolate Labrador produced.
It really all comes down to genetics, and this is a discussion that will be examined in further detail later on. The important thing to note is that silver Labradors appeared far later than any of the other color variances. Some people say that silver is a gene possibility that has been present in Labradors all along, and others feel that this is highly unlikely. You should know that this isn’t impossible.
There is a chance that Labradors have always carried the possibility of producing silver variants. It may have just taken the right set of recessive genes to meet before it finally occurred. Many breeders find this to be highly unlikely, but they do admit that they can’t completely discount the possibility. The controversy comes in when people start to insist that another breed of dog was introduced to the bloodline at some point to introduce this trait.
It is very hard to prove or disprove a claim like this. Scientists do recognize that it is possible for rare genes to exist within a species and remain hidden for long periods of time. It is rare, but it is not unheard of. Breeders are very knowledgeable people when it comes to dogs, though, and they do feel that it is highly unlikely that this is the case.
Many breeders suggest that silver Labradors are really Labs that have been crossed with Weimaraner dogs to introduce the silver coat. There is a bit of evidence that lends credence to this theory. The original silver Labs can be traced back to a few different breeders who trace their lines back to Kellogg kennels. This is the kennel that is responsible for introducing the “pointing Labrador.”
Why does this matter? Well, pointing isn’t a traditional Labrador trait. The Weimaraner is a hunting point retriever, though. The popular thought is that it is quite possible that these dogs have been bred into the line at some point to introduce some of their traits, and that this could be either directly or indirectly responsible for silver labs. What you choose to believe is up to you, but it isn’t a far-fetched theory.
Genetics are very important when it comes to dog breeding. You see, all dog breeds carry dominant and recessive traits. In order to pass on certain desirable traits, breeding is done very selectively. This does lead to a lot of inbreeding among purebred dogs. There are health concerns because of this, but that will be addressed later on.
Dog genetics is every bit as complex and simple as the genetics of any other breed. If you have taken a Biology class during high school, then you probably remember being taught about dominant and recessive genes. Biology teachers often use brown eyes and blue eyes as an easy to understand representation of this concept. Brown eyes are a dominant gene, and blue eyes are a recessive gene, so Bb would mean that someone has brown eyes but carries the trait to pass on blue eyes to his or her children as a possibility.
Depending on what genes your partner has, you may or may not pass on blue eyes when you have a child. Dog genetics work in much the same way. If a dog carries the recessive gene for a certain trait, then it needs to be paired up with a mate that will allow them to pass on that trait successfully. This is how all of the different breeds of dogs work to pass down their specific traits.
Labrador coat color is determined by two different genes. There are “b” and “e” alleles that will work to determine if a Labrador is going to be black, yellow, chocolate, or one of the rarer color variants. Dog breeders understand these combinations very well and they know what types of genes their dogs carry. This allows them to selectively pick their mate and breed the types of dogs that they want.
|Black Lab Coat Genes||EEBB EeBB EEBb EeBb|
|Yellow Lab Coat Genes||eeBB eeBb eebb|
|Chocolate Lab Coat Genes||EEbb Eebb|
Breeders are able to determine exactly how to manipulate the genetic chart to get the right coat on their Labrador. They know that having an “ee” pairing will always result in a yellow lab and that having an “E” gene will make a chocolate lab. The rarer color variances are a little different, and silver involves the inclusion of a “d” allele.
This “d” allele will cause a silver Labrador to be possible. Different combinations of the “d” gene will lead to different types of “silver.” This is also how other diluted colors of Labradors become possible. Take a look at the chart below to get a visual representation of how it works.
|Solid Color with Possible Dilution||Dd|
Even if biology and speaking about genetics isn’t really your thing, this should be fairly easy to understand. Passing on these rarer coat colors to the next generation involves carefully breeding to allow recessive genes to continue forward in the line. It is widely understood that this is how it works, but still many people wonder whether or not the silver Labradors are legitimate or a mixed breed. At this point, the only real answer is that nothing is for sure.
If you aren’t a dog breeding enthusiast, then you probably think that this controversy is a little silly. There are a growing number of people who think that this whole topic has been blown out of proportion. Whether or not these dogs are completely legitimate purebred Labradors is hard to determine. It is unlikely that the detractors of this breed will go away any time soon.
The reasons that people fight to keep these dogs from being included as part of the main bloodline is that they think the purity of the breed needs to be upheld. They think that it is important that the facts be represented properly, and they feel that purebred dogs need to be kept that way. It’s a complex topic and people who have an opinion one way or the other are not easily swayed. It is up to you to decide what you think about the topic.
There are some noted problems with silver labs due to their smaller genetic pool. As mentioned above, selective breeding is the way that people pass on certain traits in dogs. With these silver Labradors being far less common than other types, their breeding pool is significantly smaller than other Labradors. This can lead to a lot of inbreeding, and that causes some significant health problems.
This problem isn’t unique to the silver Labrador, though. Many purebred dogs are inbred and have significant health issues because of it. Although purebred dog enthusiasts may get angry when people point these things out, it is a real concern. The long-term health of many of these dogs won’t be as good as many mongrels or mutts.
Even so, they aren’t really any less healthy than many other types of purebred dogs. It should be noted that these dogs have the potential to have a disease that causes hair loss. This is a specific alopecia that is present in dogs that have a color dilution gene. Not all silver Labradors will have this problem, so you shouldn’t have to feel too concerned.
The vast majority of silver Labradors are just as healthy as their more widely available Labrador cousins. The chance of having to deal with the alopecia issue is fairly slim, but if it does occur in your dog, then you need to know that it is incurable. It isn’t something that can kill the dog, but it will cause them to lose fur and can negatively impact how they look overall.
People charge a hefty price for these silver Labradors. They wind up being more expensive than many of the other variations, and this winds up irking many people. You have probably heard of some breeders charging hefty prices for sought-after crossbreeds such as the Labradoodle. The silver Labrador is no exception, and you will likely have to pay a fair amount of money for one, especially if you want it to have official papers.
Whether or not getting a silver Labrador will be worthwhile to you is for you to decide. These dogs can be very sweet and are quite beautiful. They have all of the amazing qualities that a normal Labrador does, so it could be an excellent companion for you. Just weigh how much you would like to own one of these dogs against the overall cost.
If you want to purchase a purebred Labrador to enter into different competitions, then you should avoid purchasing a silver Lab. The silver Labrador is not widely accepted as a real purebred Labrador and will thus be excluded from most competitions. Many Labrador owners love entering their dogs into shows and even hunting competitions. This just won’t be possible with your silver Lab because people mostly see them as mixed breeds, even though the jury is still out on what they are officially.
There will be some competitions that might allow your dog to compete. This doesn’t mean that you won’t receive some scorn from other dog owners, as people take these competitions fairly seriously. Entering a crossbreed into a competition is seen as unfair, and whether or not you feel your dog is a purebred, others may not feel the same. It might be best to simply avoid competitions entirely if you want to own a silver Lab.
Many purists in the Labrador breeding scene take great offense to silver Labs. They see them as dogs that should not be widely bred and may tend to shun you if you own one. This is incredibly immature and inappropriate behavior, but some people do have a tendency to act out. You might think that this seems really dumb for someone to act like this because of disagreeing about a dog breed, but some people take these matters incredibly seriously.
Not everyone is going to act this way. Most normal people will simply compliment you on how pretty your dog looks. It is only when you get into the purebred dog enthusiast world that people will start to get mean. This is only being mentioned because you should be prepared for these types of people mentally.
Silver Labs Make Great Hunting Companions
A lot of silver Labrador owners are using their dogs as hunting companions. They’re quite good at aiding you while you’re out hunting small game. If this is something that appeals to you, then you may enjoy having a silver Labrador by your side. They’re amazing dogs that have great agility and plenty of stamina, so you’ll have no trouble taking them out for a hunt.
The most common use for silver Labs is as fantastic pets for their owners. These dogs are very pretty and can be very sweet dogs as well. If you want to own a nice silver Lab to just enjoy and hang out with, then it is going to make a great pet for you. People usually purchase these dogs as companions, and they’re very loyal with good obedience tendencies.
Consider purchasing one of these dogs if you want to have a nice pet. It won’t be as useful for competitions because of the stigma surrounding the silver Labrador breed, but that shouldn’t matter to you. If all that you want is to get a nice dog that will be a great pet, then you will have no trouble.
The opinion of breeders in the Labrador community doesn’t have to matter to you. At the end of the day, the types of dogs that you decide to purchase and raise is up to you. Whether or not someone who breeds Labradors approves of your choice has no merit on your happiness. Enjoy owning a silver Labrador if it is something that you want to do, and don’t be concerned with the opinions of others.
Looking for awesome names? We’ve compiled a list of over 1,000 awesome dog names.
Not sure the Silver Labrador is for you? Check out our other breed guides:
Each week, we publish high-quality, helpful content written & reviewed by our team of board-certified veterinary specialists. Think of us as your partners in pet parenthood: we’re here to provide you with expert medical answers to your pet health questions, so you can continue to give your pets the happy & healthy lives they deserve.