While the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other kennel clubs have registered only three variations of the Labrador Retriever breed — Black Labrador, Yellow Labrador and Chocolate Labrador — there is one variety of Labrador that is relatively new to the canine world. This is the Silver Lab.
Silver Labs carry many of the same characteristics as other Labradors. They are friendly and loyal and make perfect family dogs. This lively dog does well in an active home and loves to be around people.
However, Silver Labradors can be a little controversial because of their color and the fact that no one really knows when they were first bred or what caused their unique color. Read on below to find out everything you need to about this special dog, what makes them stand out and what they’re really like to have as a pet.
History Of The Silver Lab
The Labrador breed is the most popular breed of dog in the United States. It is argued that a Silver Lab is just a Chocolate Lab diluted, which we will go into more detail about below. The British Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as a unique breed in the year 1903 and the AKC followed suit in 1917.
Labradors were originally bred as gun dogs in the 1800s and used to accompany hunters and retrieve animals that had been shot. Their loyal and loving nature mean that they quickly became a very popular family dog. It is unknown how exactly the Silver Labrador came about. Some believe they were bred on purpose, while others think they developed naturally as a result of a more dominant gene.
The color variation in Silver Labs is due to the dominant gene “d”, which is also present in Weimaraner dogs. They also have similar ears to Weimaraner dogs, which is why some people think that Silver Labs are a cross between the Weimaraner dogs and Chocolate Labrador Retrievers. However, there is no evidence that crossbreeding actually took place.
There are two different types of “D” genes that control the silver gene. One type, “big D,” switches coat color to full strength, and the other type, or “little d” switches it to dilute. A Chocolate Labrador can have three possible combinations of the D gene — DD for Chocolate Lab, Dd for Chocolate Lab and dd for Silver Lab. Therefore, a silver lab only has a “little d” and no “big D” gene and is known for being a diluted Chocolate Lab.
It is still unclear how the dilute gene got into these Labs. It could be the result of mixed breeding, spontaneous mutation or hidden genes. However, the American Kennel Club allows them to be registered with them as a Chocolate Lab.
Characteristics Of The Silver Lab
While the Silver Labrador is rare in some countries, it is becoming a more popular breed in the US. However, a Silver Lab is still harder to find than a Black Lab, Yellow Lab or Chocolate Lab and you could end up paying upwards of $1000 for your Silver Labrador puppy. You should never buy a cheap Silver Lab puppy because you are likely to get a unhealthy puppy that is a result of poor breeding methods.
Lets take a look at some of their characteristics and the Silver Lab temperament.
The only way that a Silver Labrador Retriever really differs from other colors of Labradors is the color of their silver coat. We mentioned above that their ears can be longer, which is why some people think they are crossbred with Weimaraner dogs, but there is no evidence for that.
The Silver color of these Labs can be metal or gunmetal gray in appearance. They have gray noses, gray nails and gray pads on the feet. They are medium sized, well built dogs. These dogs also have a large head, thick tail and a short, thick coat.
These dogs normally have light blue eyes until they are around 6 to 8 months old and when they are full grown, pale yellow eyes. This is very similar to a Chocolate Labrador. They can reach a height of 24.5 inches in height for a male and around 23.5 inches for a female, and can weigh around 70 lbs for a male and around 10 lbs for a female. However, their weight depends on whether they are American or English Labradors. American Labs bred for hunting and retrieving are slimmer, taller and often lighter than the chunkier English type that are bred for shows.
Silver Labradors are very active dogs who are best suited to an active family. They are also gentle, adaptable and sociable, which is what makes the Labrador breed so popular. Because they are so good-natured, they can make great playmates for children and are very loyal to their family. They have been known to come to their owners rescue and are fearless.
Labrador dogs are known for being one of the most gentle dogs and one of the least-aggressive dogs. However, this does not mean that they don’t need to be trained or socialized from an early age. We will go into more detail about training and socializing your Labrador below, but it is worth mentioning that a Silver Labrador is one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train, because they are so intelligent.
Silver Labradors have a life expectancy between 10 and 15 years. They can suffer the same health issues as other Labradors, which we have set out below.
Known Health Issues
Labradors are known for being a healthy dog, but they can suffer from two main health problems. The first is elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, which is a result of abnormal development in their hip or elbow joints. It can result in pain, discomfort, lameness and an altered gait. Depending on severity, it can be managed with medication and therapy, but surgery is often an option.
The other main health problem a Labrador can suffer from is patella luxation. This is when the Lab’s kneecap moves out of its normal location and the knee then fails to extend. It is often treated successfully through surgery.
Silver Labradors can have another health issue that is the result of their diluted gene. This is known as color dilution alopecia, which can result in hair thinning and loss and often flaking or itchy skin. It is not curable but it can be treated through medication.
Labradors are known for being loyal, friendly, active dogs who like to be outside just as much as they love spending time with their family. Take a look below at what it’s really like to own one.
Food And Diet
Labradors love food, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be given a healthy diet. If you are unsure of what food to feed your new puppy, you can always consult your vet.
You should give your dog dry kibble once they reach 8 to 9 months old. As a puppy, they should have four meals a day, which can be reduced to two once they reach adulthood. Most Labradors weighing around 60 pounds should eat around 4 to 5 cups of high quality dog food each day. Always remember to check the back of the dog food packet so you know how much of a specific food to feed your doggie every day.
Labradors are known to be prone to obesity, so it is very important that you do not give them too many treats, watch the amount you are feeding them and make sure they get enough exercise.
Your Labrador is an active and energetic dog that will need a lot of exercise. This is why they are best suited to active families where they can join in the fun. If your pup does not get enough exercise, they will get bored and turn to destructive behavior to show their annoyance.
You should be prepared to walk your Labrador for at least sixty minutes a day, with extra time for playing and training. They are great for taking walking and hiking too. Your Silver Labrador will love to swim as well, which you can introduce to them in a safe and clean environment.
Silver Labradors make excellent family dogs. They are energetic and active and love to be outdoors, so do well in a family where they can exercise a lot.
Because they are so loving, they get on well with everyone in the house, including children. However, Labrador puppies are known for being very bouncy and active, so they may not be the perfect pet for families with toddlers or small children who are unsteady on their feet because they might get knocked over!
That being said, an older, calmer Labrador can make the perfect family pet for people of all ages. They are very sociable and would love if someone is at home for most of the day or part of the day.
Training your Silver Labrador is not difficult, because they are very intelligent. In fact, Labradors are known for being one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train. It can take a little time and patience because they are excitable and energetic when they are young, but it should not be too hard.
The most important thing to remember is that you should begin training your Labrador as soon as you get home. You should teach them things such as housetraining, heeling and sitting and responding to their age. It is important to start the training young because they will be more receptive and less likely to develop bad habits. Although you can train an older dog, it will be more difficult to get them out of the bad habits they may have already picked up.
Any Labrador will respond well to treats, praises and other positive reinforcements. You should avoid using aversive training methods like punishment. It is widely known that these methods can actually create and worsen behavioral issues in dogs.
Early and continued socialization is important for your Silver Labrador. Labradors are very friendly, gentle dogs, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce them different place, people, smells, noises and animals from a young age. This will ensure they don’t develop any unwanted behavioral issues as they age, because they won’t come into contact with anything they haven’t experienced before. It will also ensure your Lab stays affectionate to everyone they meet, and they don’t show any signs of aggression.
Like other Labradors, a Silver Lab sheds seasonally and needs regular grooming. You will need to brush their coat twice a week to reduce shedding and remove any loose hairs. You also need to trim their nails often to avoid overgrowth and check their ears regularly for infection.It’s a good idea to check their eyes often too.
It is best to bathe your dog at least once every two months and periodically during the shedding season, as well as brushing their teeth everyday to avoid dental decay or disease.
Silver Lab FAQ’s
Are Silver Labs aggressive dogs?
Labradors are known for being one of the most gentle, friendly dog breeds out there. This is what makes them such a popular dog. Because they are so friendly, they make perfect family pets and get on with children of all ages and make perfect playmates.
Labradors are also great with people they don’t know. This is especially true if they have been trained and socialized from a young age. The only way they would show signs of aggression or destructive behavior is if they are really scared or uncomfortable, so it is very important to make sure you train them properly to ensure your dog does not turn aggressive.
Are Silver Labradors expensive dogs?
A Silver Lab puppy can cost you anywhere upwards from $1000. While this is expensive, they are not as common as other Labrador breeds and so their price is a little higher. You should never buy a cheap Silver Lab puppy because it is likely the breeder is not a responsible breeder and is selling you a dog with many health issues.
You should always buy from a reputable breeder, even if it means going on a waiting list due to this breeds growing popularity. It’s good practice to check out the breeder before you buy to make sure they look after their dogs properly. Meeting the parents of your puppy is important too, to make sure you know what the temperament of your pup is likely to be.
If buying a Silver Labrador is too expensive or out of your price range, you can always rescue. There are many dogs out there who need a loving home, so adopting a Lab might be perfect for you.
Related: Silver Lab Names
The Labrador breed is known for being gentle, friendly and loyal, making them perfect the family dog. The Silver Labrador is no different. While it is not clear what caused this unique color of the popular Labrador breed, these dogs display the same characteristics and temperament. They are active and love to be outside and will thrive in an environment where they can play with you and spend their days by your side. Independent, they can be left alone for periods of time, perfect if you live in a busy household and have to go to work during the day, but make sure you’re home in time to take them for a long walk and they’ll love you. What do you think — is a Silver Labrador the pup for you?