For many years, we have commonly known about the Labrador Retrievers that are black, yellow, and chocolate. Undoubtedly, they are the dominant genes and most visible to many of us, irrespective of the country we reside in.
Less was known about the existence of Silver Labs, until in the 1950s, when the first official Silver Labrador turned up. Since then, there have been several controversies with the recognition of Silver Labs by the American Kennel Club as Pedigree.
People thought Silver Labrador dogs as a product of Lab mixes; however, theories kept flowing, and conceptions kept on changing. So today, in this article, let’s learn more about the characteristics, appearances, and other minute details of the Silver Labs.
Quick Summary Table: of Silver Labs
|Height||21 inches to 24 inches tall|
|Lifespan||10-14 years with an average of 12.5 years|
|Colors||Silver, blue, grey|
|Intelligence||Very intelligent and trainable|
|Breed Type||Labrador Retriever|
|AKC Breed Popularity||The Labrador is the most popular breed in the USA|
|Temperament||Amicable, loving, playful, and energetic|
|Daily Food Consumption||Twice a day in the case of adult dogs
Four times a day for puppies
|Common Health Issues||Retinal dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and epilepsy|
Facts about Silver Labs:
Before going deep into the topic, let’s get a brief overview of the various aspects of Silver Labrador Retrievers. Here are some of the essential facts about Silver Labs:
- Though many controversies exist regarding their origin, AKC confirmed and registered Silver Labs as a pure breed of dog.
- The attractive silver-grey hue of the dog comes from the emergence of recessive “d” genes, also known as dilute genes that are present in its chromosomes.
- Their double-layered glossy coat supports certain natural oils that nourish their hairs intrinsically and makes their bodytolerant to harsh weather conditions and water.
- Like the other variants of Labrador Retrievers, Silvers Labs are also extremely active and smart; proper training can make them serve various household and military purposes.
- Silver Labs are extremely protective, possessive, and affectionate towards their owners. They are highly emotional and friendly, which makes them a good family dog.
- This breed of dog behaves very childish and loves to live their life free-spirited. It is so because they get mature very slowly.
- Silver Labs are extremely fond of eating; they can even consume more than 1650 calories to 2400 calories in a day.
- Since they are inherently athletic and highly energetic, they love to run around and explore open spaces, hike in the mountainous terrains, and swim in waters. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Silver Labs are excellent swimmers.
- Silver Labs are not permitted to participate in show rings.
- Silver Labs rank to be the most popular breed in the USA.
- Being a rare breed, these dogs are pretty expensive compared to other colored Labradors.
About the Silver Labs:
Silver Lab is a rare dog breed that is known for its silver-grey color. While some breeders and dog experts say that Silver Labs are the consequence of outbreeding with Weimaraners, but contrary to that, many claim that they are the result of the emergence of new gene colors.
Generally, these Silver Labs are regarded as hunting dogs as Labradors are experts in hunting. Other than being regarded as hunting dogs, they are also used as show dogs, gun dogs, and sniffer dogs. Since they are used for tasks that require swiftness, they need to perform some activities like running and walking daily.
Silver Labs and every other Labrador Retrievers from the breed are well known for being friendly with their owners, family members, or other animals. They need to be groomed at least twice a week with high-quality brushes to maintain their coat healthy.
The prime thing to keep in mind for the dog’s diet is that it needs high-protein foods to remain fit and active. However, throughout their lifespan of 14 years, Silver Labs face health-related problems that severely affect their performance and body functioning.
Appearance of Silver Lab:
Silver Labrador Retrievers have a silver-grey-blue coat, which makes them stand out from the crowd.There are many controversies about its color, such as the scientists claimed that they are the by-product of diluted genes, for which they have become the lighter version of Chocolate or Dark colored Labrador.
Other than the basic dominant-recessive combination, when two recessive-recessive genes combine, an offspring of pale or diluted color is obtained. The recessive genes are considered to be dilution genes because of the faded color of the dog. Hence, a particular term ‘dilute’ is used for the Silver Labradors.
While discussing the color of Silver Labs, we must also talk about its coat. The Silver Labs have a double-layered coat over their body, which is short, condensed, straight, and smooth; sometimes, it might be either silver or grey with a bluish hue. We can see furs throughout every region of their body, including broad skull, chest, and legs. During Spring and Autumn, they start to shed their coat.
The dilute dogs have a special color for their eyes and nose. Till the age of 6-8 months, the young Silver Labs have light blue-colored eyes, but as they grow and become mature, it changes to light yellowish color.
Adult Silver Labs occasionally have blue eyes. Some of the dogs even possess brown, green, or hazel colored eyes. Although they have floppy ears and thick flurry tails, some of the dog breeders have claimed that Silver Labradors have longer ears than regular Labs that make them look more like a beast.
Again, depending upon their genotype, the Silver Lab puppies can grow up to be medium-sized or large. Also, gender is an important factor that decides the weight of the dog. An adult male Silver Lab may have a height of about 22.5 inches to 24.5 inches and weigh approximately 65 lbs to 80 lbs. The height and weight of a fully grown female Silver Lab are pretty comparable to that of its male counterpart. The female Silver Labs grow up to a height of 21.5 inches to 24.5 inches and weigh between 55 lbs to 70 lbs.
Thus, we can say the phenotypic and genotypic features of Silver Labs make it one of the most attractive and cutest breeds of dogs. Though the status of Silver Labs as a pure breed is at a continuing controversy, they have the most eye-catching color and pleasing appearance.
History and Origin of Silver Lab:
The first Labrador Retriever was recognized and registered by the British Kennel Club back in 1903. However, the American Kennel Club recorded the first dog of the Labrador breed in 1917. Later in the 1950s, the first Silver Lab was documented. The Culo Silver Labs were said to be one of the early doghouses that produced this new silver-colored Labrador Retriever.
It is claimed that their gene, also known as the “d” gene is solely responsible for their “dilute color”. The attractive and shiny silvery color of the Silver Labs stands out from the ordinary coat color of other Labradors, and the straightforward reason behind this is the “d” gene combination. When two recessive “d” genes combine, it produces a diluted or watery or faded color, which is the reason why some dog breeders still consider them as chocolate-colored Labrador Retrievers.
Generally, there is always a dominant ‘D’ gene in a pairing of the two ‘DD’ alleles in Labradors. However, there are some controversies regarding the fact that the dilute ‘d’ gene showed up in the breed of Labradors due to their outcrossing with the Weimaraners. As the Weimaraner breed of dogs always carries the dilute ‘d’ gene and has a distinctive faded, silver, or grey color. However, the Labrador breeders highly disapprove and discard the chances of the dogs being crossbred with Weimaraners.
During the 1950s, the Silver Labradors were suddenly promoted for sale in the gun dog magazine. As a result, many people believe that the dilute ‘d’ gene joined the Labrador breed lately after the standards of recognition for dog breeds were set. On the contrary, some believed that Silver Labs are not a pure breed of Labrador Retrievers.
There have been many debates on this matter, although the American Kennel Club registered the Silver Labs in the chocolate category around 1987. As they believed that most Silver Labs are originally dilute chocolate-colored; thus, there are possibilities that Pale Chocolate Labs were mated for producing this dog. The British Kennel Club allows the registration of Silver Labs as ‘non-recognized’.
However, if spoken from the perspective of the traditional color breeders, majority of them don’t believe the existence of Silver Labradors. Albeit, the Labrador breeders, have argued that Silver Labs are purebred Labradors. There are also several genotype-related explanations, such as spontaneous mutation and hidden genes that support the emergence of the new recessive “d” genes, and thereby prove the Silver Labs to be a pure breed of dog.
As Silver Labs were very rare during the early days, the breeders had to inbreed their dogs with their relatives who were very close to them in accordance to produce silver litters. A study on Silver Labrador Retriever community says that from 2012, the population of Silver Labs has become quite decent along with a diverse gene pool. Presently, Silver Labs have turned out to be the most popular breed of dogs in the US.
Is Silver Labs Dog Good with Children?
Just like any other Labrador Retrievers, Silver Labs are also full of love and serve as amazing family pets. They are very gentle, especially with children, if socialized from an early age. But not to forget, they are very bouncy while young; hence, it is better to keep away a Silver Lab puppy from the toddlers. However, an adult and mature Silver Lab is calmer and more patient, thus, being the perfect partner and best friend of your younger children.
Care of Silver Labs:
Food and Nutrition Requirements:
Various breeds of dogs have different nutrition requirements. Similarly, Silver Labs have different food and nutrition requirements based on their size, potentiality, and needs. The following are some tips that are to be kept in mind while feeding your silver lab:
- Silver labs are usually medium in size. Hence, they must be fed with one and a quarter cups of best-quality dry food two times a day.
- If you want, you can also combine the said food with the best-quality wet food. It will form a balanced diet for your Silver Lab.
- One of the most important things that you are supposed to take care of while buying food for your Lab is that it must be rich in protein. As per the vets, 25% of a dog’s diet must contain a high amount of protein to keep them healthy and strong.
- Again, you must also avoid certain things while buying food for your Silver Labrador Retriever. You should strictly avoid foods containing rendered fats, dyes, and wheat gluten or corn, as these may affect the immune system of your dog, and also, these are not at all healthy for them.
- Now, a Silver Lab, just like any other Labrador, carries obesity tendencies. Therefore, do not feed them too many snacks.
- Also, few foods like onions, garlic, chocolates, avocados, Macadamia nuts, grapes, and raisins are not recommended for feeding Silver Labs, as these are highly toxic for them.
Like human beings, your Silver Lab also requires some physical activities in accordance to keep themselves active both mentally and physically. Following are some of the exercises that your Silver Labrador Retriever can practice regularly:
- Labradors are usually a high-energy breed, so as the Silver Labs. So, they need at least an hour of walk regularly. It is suggested to practice walking in two sessions.
- If you have a big fenced playground beside your house, send them out to play. Playing any form of games like fetching a tennis ball or chasing butterflies is beneficial for the growth of their bones and muscles. Such games can also help in boosting their mental health. So, don’t let them dwell only in the apartment, as they would not do well there.
- Let them run and explore new places, or play hide and seek, and search for things. These activities will help in strengthening their bones and muscles and increase their stamina. At the same time, exploring things will sharpen their mind and increase their confidence level.
- Also, any form of water sports is perfect for your Silver Lab. So, you can even try to teach them swimming. First swim by yourself, and then make it follow you. Most of the Silver Labradors don’t mind going into the water. However, if your dog is afraid of swimming, then you can support it by holding its belly and indulge it in swimming. Gradually, it will learn to swim. Taking the Silver Labs for swimming quite a few times in a week can help in burning off their extra body fat and energy.
Silver Labs enjoy every form of exercise you want to practice with them. Be it performing agility training or going for simple runs, Silver Labs are great fitness partners.
Silver Labrador Retrievers are dogs having a high-energy level and always tend to do a lot of activities. They are pretty intelligent and can quickly grasp and remember the given training whenever required. You must train your Silver Lab correctly to make it an ideal pet. So, now, let us know about the training requirements of Silver Labrador Retrievers.
Every dog needs special attention to how it should behave. Most trainers follow some basic tricks to teach behaving skills to their dogs. If your Silver Lab gets incited by unknown guests, then you can offer them with soft toys and their favorite chews to calm them down. Affectionate behavior from your part can also make it behave like you.
Clicker trainingis a special kind of training for Silver Labs to boost their response system. It is a type of training involving reactions to sound. Dogs usually respond to click-clack sounds. So, to create a quick responding ability in your Silver Lab and make them perform the fundamental tasks like sitting up or lying down, generate a click-clack sound and reward your dog as soon as it responds correctly. It is essential to make your Lab understand that every click comes with a treat, and to get such small rewards, it will learn all the basic tasks quickly.
House Training or Potty Training:
House training is an imminent part of a dog’s training that must be taught at a very young age. Since excreting waste materials is a natural necessity, so you have to choose a definite toilet spot for your Silver Lab. You can set a separate outdoor toilet area for your dog in the yard, or you may use a pad or crate or litter box for indoor house-training purposes. Take your Lab to that place and make it do its potty. Initially offer your pet with treats and praises, so that it learns the training quickly. Now, repeat this process daily, and your Lab will soon get acquainted with the habit. You can also note its potty hours that will help you to save your floors from getting dirty.
Positive Reinforcement Training:
While training your Silver Lab, whenever it performs fantastically in the training periods, show some positive reinforcements such as offering them their favorite food or a cuddle from you. But make sure to give the treats in limits to avoid obesity. You have to play an essential role in encouraging your Lab to take part in your training sessions with full energy.
Test your dog’s skills through adverse conditions:
Apart from training, it is also essential to test the skills of your dog it has learned by then. To do so, you can introduce it to odd situations and see how it reacts. You can also gradually increase the difficulty level. Some additional distractions will help in increasing the confidence level of your Lab.
Maintain the training sessions regularly through exercises:
Training a Silver Labrador will make it more lovable and civilized. This breed of dog requires daily exercises to be active and fit. To avoid boredom, you can make it involved in various activities revolving around your given training. From your busy schedule, take out at least one hour for your dog to play games and do exercises with it. Such activities will also develop good bonding between you and your pet.
Silver Labs require special attention and care so that they can have a clean and tidy appearance that makes them look more adorable. Though dogs have a wash-and-wear furry coat on their body, still it requires regular grooming. Now, let’s have a look at the grooming requirements.
Head-to-toe examination of your dog:
The first step of grooming is to inspect every body part of your Silver Lab thoroughly. Before applying any grooming process, you should give your dog a head-to-toe massage using massage oils. It will smoothen your Lab’s hair and also help in losing dead hairs and skin tissues. Additionally, massages will soothe your pet and make it feel relaxed and loved.
Silver Labs do not require frequent bathing. You can bath your Lab when it is needed, like when it becomes too dirty or smells bad. Now, while bathing, you must use a specialized dog shampoo to clean your Silver Labrador. After that, drying is also necessary. A variety of dog dryer and dog towels are available in the market; you can use them.
Brushing and shedding:
Regular brushing is a must for Silver Labs. Brushing your dog once or twice a week is an excellent grooming habit that incites the body oils and keeps its coat glistening. You can brush your dog’s hairs and teeth using slicker brushesand dog toothbrushes with soft bristles,respectively. Shedding is a seasonal activity for a dog like Silver Lab. You can control shedding by using de-shedding combs and bathing them with de-shedding shampoo and conditioner.
Cleaning the eyes and ears:
You should regularly check your dog’s eyes and ears. If you notice any liquid discharge from the eyes, you can wipe it out using soft cotton ballsdipped in saline. In case you find dirt in the visible parts of their ears, you can even clean them with cotton balls soaked in ear cleaners. But if you notice unusual stains or marks in these delicate parts of their body, you must consult a veteran or take your Lab for a routine check-up.
Nails are an important part of every dog’s body that must be kept under complete surveillance of its owner. You should check your Silver Lab’s nails regularly, and clip it properly so that it doesn’t hurt you or your dog. Long nails bend into their footpads, forcing it to be apart, and cause difficulty in walking.
Long hairs or furs easily capture fleas, ticks, worms, and other parasites that cause severe itching to your dog. You will see that your Silver Lab often itches its body and gets irritated. To avoid it, you can use pest-controlling substances, but before applying such products, it’s better to consult your veterinarian.
Common Health Issues:
Any living being, be it human or dog, possesses certain health issues; Silver Labs too have some health-related problems. However, veterinary doctors have already prescribed special treatments for each of these health disorders. So, let’s learn some of the common health issues found in Silver Labradors and how we should treat them.
Retinal Dysplasiais a particular kind of eye problem found in Silver Labs that create abnormalities in retinas. To obtain a visual image of what we see, light is first absorbed and then transmitted through the retina to the brain, but in this dysplasia condition, light cannot pass through due to the formation of retinal folds. This health issue can be detected at a young age, and it is a genetic disorder.
Unfortunately, it is heart-breaking to know that no effective treatment for this dysplasia syndrome has been introduced yet. So, the best you can do as an owner is to give your Labs a better life, because even after possessing this eye defect dogs can live a healthy and normal life. But,youneed to make sure that such Silver Labs do not breed, block this genetic disorder to pass onto the next generations.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:
Hip Dysplasiais the abnormal growth of hip where the ball and socket joint is formed in such a way that it is less functional than it should be. This disorder can be detected by doing an X-ray of the hip of your Silver Lab, from which the vet can tell the status of its pelvis bone. And luckily, this disease can be cured by two methods. One is through the surgical approach in which your Lab will have to undergo Hip Replacement Surgery or Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis. Another one is the non-surgical process, in which your dog’s weight is to be controlled so that the pressure on its joints becomes normal, and at the same time, your pet must consume nutritional supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and omega-3 fatty acid.
On the other hand, Elbow dysplasia refers to the collection of developmental defects present in the elbows of your dog’s legs. Though this health issue cannot be cured permanently, it can be treated through surgeries or anti-inflammatory medications.
Canine epilepsy is a serious health issue in Silver Labs that occur due to frequent seizures. Some types of epilepsy have certain familial connections, while some do not have; it is difficult to detect the real cause. But the cure of canine epilepsy is also a mystery. There is no direct cure. Some Labs can live their life normally without undergoing any treatment. However, various drugs like phenobarbital, potassium bromide, and diazepam are used to treat epilepsy in Silver Labs.
Besides the above-stated health problems, Silver Labs may also have Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Corneal Dystrophy, Patella Luxation, Color Dilution Alopecia, and ear infections. So, as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep a check on the health of your Silver Lab and consult a vet if needed.
Now, as we have come to the end of our content, you must have learned a lot about the Silver Labrador breed of dog. So, if you are planning to get a Silver Labrador, but still perplexed about its origin, then you need to understand that whatever breed the dog may be, it is just a little adorable creature craving for love and care. When you are a true dog-lover, how does it matter wherefrom it originated? These dogs exist currently, and you like it; that’s what should matter.
So, in our opinion, if you want them to adopt, don’t hesitate and get a cute Silver Lab puppy and love it as much as you can. Follow all the afore-said caring tips, and provide the little pet with unconditional love. We bet you it would be your eternal friend. So, if you liked this article, you can share your experience with your beloved pet and give your feedback below.
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.