Silver Labrador Retriever: turning the old to new
Silver Labradors exploded as the latest fad in the spring of this year. Although the Labrador breed has been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 1903, there have been reports of a “Silver” lab since 1920, however the AKC only recognizes the typical yellow, black, and brown colors. There is documented evidence from 1920-1950 regarding the rarity of silver or gray colored Labradors and that they were not considered ideal for the breed standard.
Rumors in dog media circles
People are crazy about this “new” style of Labrador. So let’s look at some of the rumors – people need facts:
Silver Labs were bred with Weimaraners – Wrong! Although this is still a very active rumor, scientifically the evidence does not stand up. Labradors are sporting dogs. They were bred to recover, to work, and to help fishermen. Labs are mild-tempered, medium-energetic, and more settled by nature. Weimaraners are also sporting dogs, they were bred to hunt medium-sized animals, they are high-energy, very active and very nervous. The temperaments and purposes of the two races are very different. When 2 breeds are crossed together, it is to improve specific favorable traits. These 2 different dogs have already been selectively bred for their specific favorable traits.
What really happened with the silver lab is the selection of recessive genes. You see, if you remember a little biology from high school, you might remember the different genetic variations in the chart. Several genes are put together, represented by a capital letter and a lowercase letter.
Learn more about genetics and recessive genes on my site. Look under the Simplified genetics table
(This is very simplified, so if you are a geneticist, you can skip this part!)
Now let’s move on to the next rumor about this new breed color in the media …
Silver Labs has blue eyes – Silver labs and Weimaraners often have blue eyes when they are puppies. Also due to recessive genes. But generally this color changes as the dog matures, just like the eyes of human babies. The Silver Labrador’s eye color usually turns amber and Weimaraners generally get a variation of light amber, green, or blue.
Silver Labradors sell for over $ 1000 and this is way too expensive – Not necessarily, they usually sell for $ 1000-1200, I’d say this is a fair price. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic in which dogs need comfort and companionship during solitude. Large breed dogs are more expensive to buy simply because you have more dogs! Know the seller or breeder as long as it is reputable, it is fair.
Silver Labradors Sell Like Imposters – C’est possible. Unfortunately, anywhere there is an opportunity, some people can seize it. Silver labs can be sold at much higher prices due to their “rarity” or pawned to buyers like other types of dogs collectively that are more expensive than labs. They can be pawned as a high-quality show dog at a high price. Know that you have bred, know your breeder. Do your research before you buy.
Silver Labradors are not recognized by the AKC – Certain! To this day, the Silver Coated Labrador is still under review for acceptance by the AKC, although traditional coated labs have been recognized since 1903. To me, this really speaks to the sudden trend of this breed. Now that the public has decided that this silver color is amazing, they wonder why it is not accepted by the AKC. The AKC bases its standards on breed reputation, character traits, appearance, and reproducibility. It is a challenge to track these attributes in a race that was not considered viable until now.
What this means for prospective new Silver Lab owners is that their lab cannot compete in AKC dog shows at this time and cannot be bred as a Silver Lab backed by AKC show breed standards. But you can have one as a family dog.
The future of silver labradors
The Silver Labrador Retriever still has all the character traits and temperament of the classic Labradors. They make a great family dog. Their grooming and exercise requirements are the same as for the traditional Labrador breed. The only thing we don’t know about these Labradors is how they will age and what their quality of life will be like. We can only assume that it will be similar to the lifespan and quality of life of other Labradors. However, the double inheritance of recessive genes raises some concern about possible greater fragility. Only time will tell. When we consider survival of the fittest, would recessive genes find double ways to thrive in this world, even if the traits themselves were originally considered undesirable?