Major Kennel Clubs in the world recognize just 3 color variations in the labs – Yellow Lab, Chocolate Lab, and Black Lab. They are new to the list but aren’t accepted as a distinct colored breed by many dog breeders around the world.
Most breeders have highly debated on the reasons why certain English labs receive this color. After a series of research and case studies, it has come to be known that a recessive’ allele is the reason why these pets get the dilute grey or silver color.
In the 1950s, they became famous after being advertised in a gun dog magazine. And since then, many people have shown their interest to adopt this breed.
Adaptability, versatility, and responsibility are the main reason for its unparalleled popularity as an ideal all-around shooting dog. This Labrador outshines all other breeds in its capacity to work together with the man in countless roles.
If you are searching for a lovable, engaging, and a beautiful dog, they are your best bet. They are quite fresh to the dog world. As they become popular, many people prefer to have them as their first pet.
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Before you proceed, take this informative quiz and learn important facts about this arguably handsome pet.
1. What is the average lifespan of a Silver Labrador Retriever ?
Many experts claim that these dogs have an average lifespan of around 12 to 13 years. Some dogs of this breed have lived up to 19 years of age.
Silver Lab Video And Infographics
Silver Lab Breed Characteristics Sheet
- Origin: Newfoundland, Canada
- Dog Breed Group: Sporting group
- Purebred: Yes
- Lifespan: 10-12 years
- Height:Male – 21.5 -24.5 inches; Female – 22.5-24.5 inches
- Weight:Male – 65-80 lbs, Female – 55-70 lbs
- Coat Appearance: Double coat
- Coat Colors: Silver, Grey
- Temperament: Outgoing, active, friendly
- Good With Children: Yes
- Intelligence Level: High
- Good With Pets: Yes under supervision
- Hypoallergenic: No
- Grooming: Moderate
- Shedding: High (seasonal)
- Barking: Low-moderate, Barks when necessary
- Suitable For Apartments: Low
- Need For Exercise: High
- Easy To Train: Yes
- Good For First Time Owners: Moderate
- Health Issues: Eye problems, hereditary myopathy, exercise-induced collapse, luxating patella, hip dysplasia
- Litter Size: 5-10 puppies
- Average Price: $800-$1200 (US)
Silver Lab History
The British kennel club formalized the Labs as a breed in 1903 and the American Kennel Club recognized them in 1917.
Before this, no breeders ever recorded silver or charcoal or dilute color labs found within their litters or perhaps, it was then culled at birth, although they were glad to document many other ‘off-color’ labs that deviated from the standard such as chocolates, black, vitiligos, brindles, and tans.
From nowhere, in the 1950s, silver Labradors were advertised by Kellogg’s Kennels for sale in a gun dog magazine, in which they publicized the labs as a litter of ‘rare gray Labradors’.
So where did they come from?
After researching the subject, we’ve been able to find only informal accounts of the color being seen from the late 1920s onward and they have been historically described as a ‘diluted chocolate color.’
In the 1960s, the chocolate Labrador became more popular in the USA. Kellogg’s kennels were among-st the first to popularize them in the U.S. on a broad scale.
In the 1980s, Dean Crist (Culo kennels) and Beavercreek kennels (in the 1990s) both decided to follow the footsteps of Kellogg’s kennels.
They specialized in ‘silver’ Labradors, so they bought themselves a couple of dogs (probably descending from Kellogg’s stock).
Dean Crist has stated that ‘silver’ was a ‘dilution of chocolate’. The extent of the dilution varies, so some more silver, some seem greyer and others on the borderline of chocolate.
Though it wasn’t until 1987 when the silver color was accepted as a lab registration color. Ever since there has been a lot of disputes about silver labs really exist or not.
Due to that the AKC later changed the color “silver” to a “shade of chocolate” labs. You can even register silver labs now in AKC under the “Chocolate” category.
Soon after in the 1990s, Beavercreek kennels, also in the United States started to produce a new line of these dogs were produced. This variation of Lab began to gain a lot of publicity as they looked like a genuine silver Labrador.
Silver Lab Size
They are medium to large breeds and gender to play a major role in determining the weight of this dog breed.
Size – An adult male Lab’s height is usually between 22.5 and 24.5 inches whereas the height of a female Lab is 21.5-24.5 inches.
Weight – A full grown Male Lab can weigh between 65 & 80 lbs; the female breed could be anywhere around 55 to 70 lbs.
Silver Lab Lifespan
Many have claimed that the average Labrador Retriever lifespan is 12 years to 13 years.
But since this is a healthy breed, if taken care of properly, Labradors live up to 20 years. Few dogs are reported to have lived up to 19 years.
According to experts from the University of Sydney, chocolate lab life expectancy is lower than their other lab counterparts.
Paul McGreevy, who is a Professor of Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare Science at the University says research is going on as to whether breeding certain pigmentation in Labs are due to any disorder related to the coloring attribute of the skin.
Black Labrador lifespan is ten percent higher than that of chocolate labs.
Silver Lab Temperament
Except for the color, they are very much like the standard Labs. Apart from being gentle, loving and playful; they are also very possessive about their masters.
Here are a few common characters:
- Eager to Learn New Tricks – Besides exercising, they also show interest in learning new tricks and playing games with their masters.
- Affectionate – They tend to forget their age and love the warmth of their master’s lap even when they grow to be adults.
- Protectiveness – Once they get close to their owners, it’s very difficult to make them stay away from them. They grow overprotective about them and even grow anxious if a stranger tries to talk to their master.
- Intelligent – Almost all the dogs have this defining characteristic and they are no different. Lock them up in a room and you’ll see how they make their way out. LOL!
What You Should Know About Silver Lab Care?
Grooming And Shedding
Being a Lab, it sheds seasonally & requires regular grooming.
- Brush the coat at least once or twice a week using a comb to remove the dead hairs.
- Trim the nails regularly to prevent overgrowth.
- Check ears regularly for bad smell or infection. Clean outer ear only using a damp or moist cloth.
- Regularly check eyes as well.
- Wash once in 2 months and occasionally during shedding time using a high-quality dog shampoo.
- It is recommended to brush the teeth daily using pet toothpaste.
Giving a positive experience of grooming makes your puppy stay happy & healthy.
How To Train Silver Labs?
The key to getting your pet to learn tricks is patience and consistency. Potty Training would, of course, be your top priority and it would be best if you train your pet right at an early stage. Once it grows old, you would find it difficult to train them on the basics.
Few puppies bite their peers and even their owners out of fun and sometimes during the teething period. If you have been bitten in the past, you would know that we are discussing some serious stuff.
Do not isolate them but stop giving them attention when they bite you or a friend. They should be aware that you dislike biting; gradually they will learn that it is not something acceptable.
Other important training procedures involve helping the puppy learn to take commands from their master. If you give them orders regularly, they will learn this part quite quickly.
Never start serious dog training before 5-6 months from the pet’s birth. Take it slow and you will definitely be happy with the results.
Silver Lab Health Problems
Usually, the dogs with recessive’ allele are known to suffer from coat problems; they suffer from heavy hair loss. They also sometimes inherit genetic disorders and health problems like hip dysplasia, luxating patella, etc.
- Eye Problems – With age, the eyesight of these Labs grow dull. Cataract, retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia are few common eye problems that they are faced up with.
- Hereditary Myopathy – This is a rare disease that causes a deficiency in type II muscle fiber. This leads to an inability to walk properly and at times the pet is seen hopping in a peculiar manner.
- Exercise Induced Collapse – Few Labs were notified to have collapsed after a short period of exercise. This leads to hyperthermia, weakness, and disorientation in the pet.
- Luxating Patella – This condition is when the kneecap dislocates from the usual position; the condition to disrupts the gait of the dog.
They suffer from Obesity since they are lazier than the other breeds. You must keep your pet engaged and exercising should be made obligatory on a daily basis.
They love swimming so you can even get them to swim for 20 minutes every day. Healthy or Not, you must make it a point to take your pet to the vet for a routine checkup – Prevention is always better than cure!
What Foods Can You Give?
There may be many owners out there who wish to feed their pets with the best quality food available in the market. But it is very difficult to judge food brands available these days. Consult a dog before choosing a food for your puppy.
Start feeding them with dry kibble when they are more than 8-9 months old. They mostly have a huge appetite, so it is important that you keep a close watch on your pet’s feeding habits right from the day you bring it home.
Lab puppies need to be fed four times a day while for adults you can feed only two times. For puppies, divide the diet into 4 meals and maintain a 3-hour gap between each meal.
An average lab weighing 60 pounds may need 4 to 5 cups of food every day. Divide the food into two portions and feed them morning and evening.
Do not overfeed your pet if you want to avoid obesity issues, as discussed earlier in this article.
Must Read: Best Dogs Foods For Labs And Feeding Methods
Foods Your Dog Can Eat
- High-quality brand Dry Kibble
- Brown Rice
- Whole Chicken
- Fruits like Apples, Oranges, Bananas,
- Vegetables like Sweet Potatoes, Carrot, Lettuce, Spinach leaves, and Broccoli
Foods to “Avoid”
Ready For The Interesting Facts?
- They are actually claimed as Chocolate Labs with a dilution gene that gives the coat a grey-silver appearance
- They are waterproof. Just Kidding! Their double layered coat allows them to withstand even the coldest water.
- Except for their color, they have the exact same characters and behavior of a Retriever. They are similar in terms of energy, temperament, and personality.
- It is sometimes termed as the money making dog for some breeders. Many owners take pride in the unique color of these pets and may even charge high prices while selling it off.
- They are not recognized as a pure breed by AKC (American Kennel Club)and most of the other Kennel Clubs.
- In order to produce pets with the silver color, breeders try breeding the dogs within close relatives.
Coat Color And Controversy
The coat color of this dog is always a controversy. Many believe they are not purely bred labradors. They believe the ‘d’ gene was introduced by some breeders from the dog breed Weimaraner.
AKC recognizes them with registration as chocolate labs with dilute chocolate coat color and they are not a recognized breed in the united kingdom though can be registered.
They are sometimes referred to as charcoal Labradors also and that too is a dispute. The coat colors of silver and charcoal lab are from the outcome of a dilute gene(‘d’ gene from the allele gene pairs) transfer to the successive generation.
This recessive gene has more contribution towards the coat color of the champagne labs and chocolate coat labs also.
But breeders claim that they have control over the coat color of these dog breeds as they could avoid the passing of this dilute gene by carefully matching the parent labs.
What Causes the Labrador’s Silver Coat?
And now, for the science!
You might remember studying about dominant and recessive genes in school which describes the inheritance patterns of certain traits. Dominant genes are the more “influential” and will express themselves regardless of even partnered with a recessive gene.
On the other hand, recessive genes are weaker and can only express themselves only when two copies of the gene are present, i.e. if they partner with another recessive gene.
For instance, let’s take humans. Blue eyes are the most famous example of a recessive gene. A child can only have blue eyes in one of two ways:
- When both parents have blue eyes.
- Regardless of their eye color, both of their parents carry the recessive gene.
This means that two black-eyed parents can potentially have a blue-eyed child. They have a 1 in 4 chance as long as they both carry the recessive gene for blue eyes.
Similarly, a Labrador’s coat color is dependent on a few genes that are being turned on and off. The ones that dictate color in Labs are the B and E genes. Other genes like the A gene gives a dog’s coat a solid color and T gene for ticking to always turned off.
Every Labrador puppy inherits two ‘bee’ genes, one from each parent.
- The big ‘B’ (the dominant gene) and it causes a black labrador coat
- And one we label small b (this is the recessive gene) and it causes a chocolate or brown labrador coat
There are three different combinations of ‘bee genes’ that a Labrador can inherit one from each of his parents
Meanwhile, the “Eee” genes act as a “masking” gene (epistatic gene)
- The big E (the dominant gene) and it does not impede with the ‘bee’ gene
- While the little ‘e’ (the recessive gene) has the potential to ‘switch off’ or mask the ‘bee’ gene that would otherwise give us black or brown coats. The result is a yellow Lab.
There are three possible combinations of Eee genes in Labs
- Two dominant genes (EE)
- One of each (Ee)
- Two recessive genes (ee)
Only the third will be yellow. In the first and second dog, the dog’s color will be determined by its ‘bee’ genes and the E gene will switch off the e gene.
Simply, remember this, if the dog has EE or Ee = non-yellow coat, which may be black or chocolate, the color is based on what is there at the B gene but if the dog has recessive yellow color=ee then it will always be yellow no matter what is present at the B gene.
Genetically, there are 9 possible combinations of coat color gene pairings which result in the following coat colors:
EEBB, EEBb, EeBB, EeBb = this is a Black Lab – the presence of one ‘E’ and ‘B’ will always be black.
eeBB, eebb, eeBb = A Yellow Lab – the expression of an ‘ee’ pairing means the Labrador will coat color will be yellow irrespective of any other gene combination.
EEbb, Eebb = Chocolate Lab – With a ‘bb’ pairing and at least one ‘E’ present the Labrador will always be chocolate.
Genotype is the genetic makeup
The phenotype is the color or appearance of the dog
How does the Silver Lab come from?
So, now the million dollar question arises, ‘how does the Silver Lab come from then?’
Well, it’s a least discussed gene that is the culprit for creating the Silver Labrador Retriever.
The coat is likely caused by recessive gene expression. Just like blue eyes, if two Labrador parents have the ‘dee’ genes, they can produce a Silver Lab. The ‘D’ gene is always present in labs, in a pairing of two ‘DD’ allele. The Big D and little d.
These dee genes have the potential to over-ride all the other colors, though in a subtler manner.
The dee genes act as a sort of switch. The ‘big D’ usually switches coat color to full strength, and the ‘little d’ switches it to ‘dilute mode’. But, as we know, genes come in pairs. And big D overrules little d.
So, genetically there are 3 different possible outcomes:
1: DD pairing = no dilute gene present- solid color
2: Dd pairing = one dominant ‘D’ present and one recessive ‘d’ allele present- solid color, dilute factored.
3: dd pairing = 2 dilute‘d’ genes present – dilute colored Labrador
Traditional Lab breeders reveal that pure Labradors can only have a ‘DD’ pairing and never a dilute color carrying the ‘dd’ pairing.
So only when ‘little d’ is paired with another ‘little d’ it will have an effect and they dilute the coat color of the Labrador that carries them.
Technically this means that you can have this “silver” characteristic across all three colors:
- A Black Lab which has diluted genes is called a “Charcoal Lab”
- A Yellow Lab which has diluted genes is called a “Champagne Lab”
- A Chocolate Lab which has diluted genes is called a “Silver Lab”
Exclusive Names For Your Silver Lab Puppies
Silver Lab Price And Breeders
As mentioned earlier, they are sometimes high price owing to their coat color; but this should not give you the idea that this breed is overpriced.
Few breeders take advantage of the uniqueness to impose heavy rates but that doesn’t emboss them to be an expensive pet choice.
The average price for this breed is $500 – $1000. Some customers are willing to pay higher when they are smitten by their uniqueness.
Every dog is unique in its own way; some may look cute, some might be extraordinarily intelligent and some may be rare but all that matters towards the end while buying a pet is whether you are willing to put in the effort to give it a comfortable environment.
Silver Lab Breeders
Breeders of this pet are just rare like the breed itself; though these dogs are famous, breeding them requires a lot of skill and accuracy. Owing to this factor, many breeders charge a lot for this pet.
If it is a best friend that you are buying a pet from, then you can skip this portion but it is always good to know the basics while purchasing Lab Puppies.
- A good breeder does not have vast information about all kinds of dogs instead focuses on just a few types.
- Always inquire about the source of the puppy; if the breeder gives you a satisfactory reply that’s worth believing; then you can consider purchasing from him
- Ensure that the pup is healthy and if the breeder is willing to sign on health-guaranteeing papers then it would be best.
- A good breeder is caring and takes up responsibility for the well being of his pets.
Make a personal visit to the breeder’s place, let your wish to see the pet first be known and inquire him about the ways to take care of your pup. A good breeder will always happily help you with all your doubts.