The Silver Lab is lively, fun and friendly. A great family pet, ideal for active homes. What makes the silver Labrador extra special is the dilute gene, which turns their chocolate fur into a pale silvery gray. But that attractive silver coat is also surprisingly controversial!
Best selling author Pippa Mattinson investigates the debate over silver Lab puppies and digs down to the facts!
Meet the Silver Lab
In this guide we’ll take a look at where silver Labs come from and how to buy a healthy silver Labrador Retriever puppy.
As well as finding out why people can’t stop fighting over them!
This is a BIG guide, so use the links to jump to the sections that interest you!
- Silver Lab FAQ
- The breed at a glance
- Silver Lab characteristics
- Coat color and the dilute gene
- History & origins
- Temperament and training
- Health and longevity
- Silver Lab pros and cons
- How to buy a silver Lab puppy
Silver Lab FAQ
- How much is a silver Lab?
- Are silver Labs good family dogs?
- How big do silver Labs get?
- Are silver Labs rare?
Some long established breeders of Labrador Retrievers consider these silver dogs to be a disaster for the breed.
Yet many Labrador owners across the world have fallen in love with them.
Price is just one of the many aspects of these Labs that causes lively debate among our readers!
How much is a silver Lab?
Expect to pay upwards of $1000 for a silver Labrador puppy.
The price of your pretty gray puppy may be greater than the price of a Lab of one of the three recognized colors.
People are often willing to pay more for something they believe to be unusual. We’ll look at just how rare silver Labradors are in a moment.
Are Silver Labradors Overpriced?
You may have heard that silver Labs are overpriced.
Objections to so-called overpricing are common in dog breeding and not confined to the silver Lab.
The same accusations are often aimed at Labradoodle breeders and Cockapoo breeders.
Many purebred dog breeders feel it is outrageous to charge large sums of money for dogs that are crossbred.
And view the silver Labrador Retriever as a cross breed too.
Others feel it is entirely reasonable to charge whatever you can get for a puppy.
No matter what its ancestry, provided that it is healthy and well cared for.
Their view is that it is the quality of the puppy that counts, not the price on his head.
And like most prices in a free world, demand is what drives prices up.
Are silver Labs good family dogs?
Silver Labradors make great family dogs. They are ideally suited to active, outdoor loving families with children over five.
Labradors can be very bouncy when young so a silver Lab puppy isn’t always a great match for toddlers or those unsteady on their feet.
But an older, calmer, rescue Lab can make a perfect companion for younger children.
Labradors are very sociable dogs that love company.
A silver Lab is likely to be happier in a family where there are people at home for part or most of the day.
How big do silver Labs get?
The recommended breed standard height for a Labrador is up to 24 and a half inches for a male. And an inch shorter for a female.
However, individuals can vary a couple of inches or more either side of that.
When it comes to body weight, the variations can be even greater and will depend on which of two groups (American or English) a silver Lab falls into.
Male Labs often reach about 70lbs in weight. Females about 10lb lighter.
But there can be as much as 20lbs difference either side of that average.
American Labs bred for hunting and retrieving are slimmer, taller and often lighter than the chunkier English type that you see in the show ring
Are silver Labs rare?
As a relatively new color variation silver Labs are rare in some countries.
Partly because registration of silver puppies is not widely permitted.
Some national kennel clubs and breed clubs have clarified their views on silver Labradors.
You can find some of these statements in the links below:
However, the silver Lab is no longer particularly rare in the USA where it is registered under the color Chocolate.
While not rare, It is still a more unusual color and silver puppies can be harder to find than black, yellow or brown.
The breed at a glance
- Popularity: The Labrador is the most popular breed in the USA
- Purpose: Hunting companion and retriever
- Weight: 65-80lbs
- Temperament:Co-operative, friendly, enthusiastic
Note that we don’t have individual figures for different colors of Labrador as these numbers are not published by the AKC
Silver Lab characteristics
As ‘dilute’ versions of a standard Lab, many silver Labs look just like any other Labrador, but for their distinctive coat color.
“Dilute” is a commonly used term for variations in animal fur color.
It refers to a specific gene that causes the color of an animal to show in a lighter or ‘watered down’ variation.
Another feature of a dilute dog is the color of the nose and eyes.
The dilute gene is normal in many dog breeds but has only appeared quite recently in Labrador retrievers
We’ll discuss the science behind it, and the arguments that surround it, especially when it comes to the silver Lab, a little further on.
Although they appear to be all Lab to most, there are claims that the ears of some silver Labs can look longer than those of a regular Lab.
Others describe them as a bit ‘houndy’ in appearance.
And many have compared the silver Lab with the Weimaraner.
A naturally silver breed that has always carried the dilute gene.
Before we get into discussing how the dilute gene got into Labradors, let’s take a quick look at how it works
Labrador coat color and the dilute gene
There are three different colors of Labrador recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Those colors are:
Missing from the list, you’ll notice, are:
Just as the silver coat is a diluted version of chocolate, so the charcoal is a diluted version of black, and champagne is a diluted version of yellow.
How the dilute gene works
Labrador coat color is controlled by a set of genes.
You can read about the way B genes and E genes influence coat color in this article on Labrador color inheritance.
However, the silver color is controlled by a different gene, the D gene. The D gene acts as a type of switch.
One type, “big D,” switches coat color to full strength, and the other type, or “little d” switches it to dilute.
In simple terms, genes come in pairs. Big D produces full strength coat color. Little d produces a dilute color.
A Chocolate Labrador can have three possible combinations of the D gene
- DD – chocolate Lab
- or, Dd – chocolate Lab
- alternatively, dd – silver Lab
And big D always overrides little d. This means that a Labrador needs two copies of the dilute gene in order to have dilute fur.
Only the third combination would produce a silver coat.
Unless little d is paired with another little d, it will have no effect.
In some breeds of dog, all individuals have two little d genes. Weimaraners, for example.
And the recent appearance of the double little d gene in chocolate Labradors is what has enabled the silver Lab to appear on the scene.
The big question is – “how did it get there?”
And that question lies at the heart of that debate into the true origins of the silver Labrador Retriever.
Where do silver Labs come from?
Reports of silver Labradors seem to have first appeared in the United States in the 1950s.
Culo Silver Labs was one of the early kennels to produce this new silver color.
You may be interested to read this report of an interview with the owner Dean Crist giving his account of the history of the silver Lab.
Exactly how this new color came to be is a question that many people are asking, and arguing about.
When such a dramatically different shade of coat appears in a long-established breed of dog, it’s only natural that people start asking questions about it.
People want to know where silver Labradors came from and how they were created.
In particular, they want to know how the double dd gene got into the purebred Labrador.
How did the dilute gene get into Labradors?
There are a number of options that can explain the appearance of a new gene in a purebred dog
- mixed breeding
- spontaneous mutation
- hidden genes
The first and most obvious explanation is that at some point, an outcross occurred, between a Labrador and a breed of dog that carries the dilute gene.
A Weimaraner for example
#1 Mixed breeding
Many people believe that the first silver Labs were crossbreeds.
Not only is this theory plausible, there are clear motives for dog breeders to create a new color variation in an existing breed.
Motives could include financial gain (though they couldn’t have known initially how popular the color would be), attention, or just the sheer fun of creating something new.
Diane Welle of Blue Knight Labs does not go quite so far as to directly accuse the breeders concerned
“There have been accusations that these “rare” silver Labradors are actually a cross between a Labrador and a Weimaraner.
I will let you be the judge, as there is no evidence at this time, one way or the other.
However, it is interesting to note that Silver Labradors can be traced back to two breeders.
Those breeders are Dean Crist (Culo) and Beaver Creek Labradors.
Both of their lines trace back to Kellogg kennels (LE Kellogg and Harold E Kellogg) Kellogg Kennels began breeding Labradors in 1922.
Guess what else they’re famous for breeding? They’re credited for the ‘rare’ pointing Labrador of course!”
Her point is that ‘pointing’ is, of course, an HPR (hunt point retriever) trait, and Weimaraners are HPRs.
An update to her original article, however, also notes that she previously claimed that Weimaraners were also bred in those same kennels, but found out that that fact was in doubt.
Those in favor of the Weimaraner outcross theory often claim silvers have a houndy look about them.
To be fair, this is true of many field-bred Labradors of any color.
And most silver Labradors today look pretty much the same as any other Labrador Retriever – apart from the fact that they are silver.
The cross-breeding theory has been a very popular one. But recently it has lost some credibility due to genetic testing of silver Labs which has failed to show a link to Weimaraners.
#2 Spontaneous mutation
It is not uncommon for genes to mutate.
This is another way that a rare or unusual characteristic can appear in a family of dogs that were previously unaffected by it.
This isn’t a popular theory for the appearance of the dilute gene in the silver Labrador.
Partly because the other two explanations are both so plausible.
For a mutation to be identical to a gene that already exists for an unusual coat color in another breed would be something of a coincidence.
Many people feel that the spontaneous appearance of this dd dilution gene in the Labrador Retriever gene pool is, to say the least, unlikely.
However, it cannot be entirely ruled out.
# Hidden genes
The capacity of “rare” genes to remain hidden for long periods of time is a phenomenon that most scientists are aware of.
This explanation for the appearance of the silver Labrador in the 1950s is perhaps the most valid alternative to the cross breeding theory.
We know that some genes are dominant over others. And can mask or hide them. We call the masked or hidden genes recessive.
Many diseases are caused by recessive genes and only appear when the unfortunate individual inherits two copies
Genes carrying rare diseases can remain hidden for decades, only to appear when closely related dogs are mated together.
This happens more frequently when gene pools are small, as they are in our pedigree dog populations.
Colors can be dominant or recessive too
The B color gene that determines whether or not a Lab is basically black or brown, and favors black dogs.
Brown is recessive and a Lab needs two copies of the little b brown gene to have a brown coat.
Brown labradors only became common when breeders deliberately set about mating them to one another.
Some people argue that the rare dilute gene has also been present in Labradors all along, and that it only appeared, as rare diseases sometimes do, when two closely related dogs were bred.
The first Labradors were not registered by the AKC until 1917. Before then there would have been regular outcrossing with other similar breeds.
Including the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a breed that does have the dilute gene.
So it is entirely plausible that the little d gene passed from Chesapeakes into one or two Labs before the Labrador pedigree registers were closed and remained hidden in the breed only to reappear in the 1950s when the demand for Chocolates was beginning to rise.
Silver Lab temperament and training
Whatever the origins of the silver Lab, the silver Labradors we see today are very much Labrador in both temperament and conformation.
Training a silver Lab puppy is a huge amount of fun.
It takes a little time and patience as Labs can be rather bitey when small and rather bouncy as they grow into teenagers.
You’ll need to set aside some time for training each day, and you’ll find the following sections of this website helpful in raising your silver puppy
- A complete guide to Labrador Puppies
- Labrador Retriever training guides
- Help and support from our forum
Silver Labrador health and longevity
Silver Labs suffer from the same health issues as other purebred Labs. Including a predisposition to joint problems and to over-eating!
Two studies record Labrador lifespan at between 11 and 12 years of age and Labs also have a higher rate of cancer (at 31% of all deaths) than some other breed
On balance though, Labs are a fairly healthy and well constructed breed, free from some of the disabilities that plague some other purebred dogs.
There is a potential health issue associated with the coat color dilution gene which you need to be aware of.
Color dilution alopecia
The color dilution gene, that dd which gives us the pale silvery coat, is sometimes associated with coat problems.
Specifically, it may be linked to a kind of hair loss.
The problem is known as “color dilution alopecia” and is more common in dogs that have the color dilution gene, dogs like Weimaraners, and now, silver Labradors.
It isn’t usually a life threatening condition, but it also isn’t curable. It can lead to progressive hair loss in young dogs and potentially recurrent infection in the hair follicles.
Coat dilutiondoes not always lead to skin problems.
Not all dogs with the dd gene carry the faulty alopecia version and most silvers are, in fact, free from alopecia.
In most respects therefore, silver Lab health is much the same as that of any purebred Labrador.
The silver Labrador debate
Silver Labradors are one of the most controversial topics being discussed within the dog community today.
Each time we discuss this topic on the Labrador Site’s Facebook page there is some anger expressed by those that are opposed to the very existence of silver Labradors.
They object because they hold one or more of the following beliefs. They believe that Labs carrying the dilute gene:
- threaten breed purity
- are not recognized by the AKC
- to be inbred
- are overpriced
- to be bred by the wrong people
Are Silver Labs Pure Bred?
There is no definitive proof that silver labs were created by cross breeding but even if they were, that is not necessarily a problem from a health or welfare point of view.
However, most Labrador breeders care very deeply about the future of their breed.
Some are concerned about the impact of accepting a genetic change without what they feel to be proper consideration.
They are angry at what they see as a dishonest Trojan horse operation to sneak what may be an outcross into the breed line.
Pedigree breeders are also commonly committed to the concept of closed registry breeding.
With so many concerns being raised over the last few years about closed registry breeding, this is a contentious subject with strong opinions on both sides.
Restricted gene pools
Many scientists are hugely concerned about the restricted gene pools created by pedigrees.
And would like to see pedigree registers opened, at least in a controlled manner, to allow new genetic material to enter.
Sadly, for those in favor of maintaining breed purity in pedigree breeds, and who believe that silver Labs are cross-breeds, these dogs will always be seen as a threat to breed purity.
Do the AKC Recognize Silver Labs?
With regard to the AKC, many silver Labs have been registered as pedigree purebred Labrador Retrievers.
Silver is not recognized as a color and not permitted in the show ring.
However, a silver Lab can be registered (as chocolate Labs) and entered into field trials and hunt tests provided that both its parents are registered with the AKC
Are Silver Labs Inbred?
The problems associated with inbreeding are a major concern for all those who care about canine welfare.
Inbreeding increases the risk of health problems arising or becoming exacerbated.
When a rare or unusual color becomes popular and demand rises there is always a risk that inbred puppies will be produced.
Former Labrador breeder Jack Vanderwyk, a vehement opposer of silver Labradors, conceded in 2012 that:
Today, in 2012, many, many generations later, the ‘silver’ Labrador population has a fairly viable gene pool, with seven distinct, (almost) unrelated lines. As a result, the average COIs (Coefficient Of Inbreeding) are often not higher than those of other Labrador lines. This means that we shouldn’t underestimate the ‘silver’ population.
So it may be that inbreeding in silver Labradors will not be the problem that it once appeared to be.
It is worth remembering that any risk of inbreeding can be reduced by ensuring a low co-efficient of breeding between the parents of each litter. A knowledgeable breeder will be able to help you with this.
There have been concerns that many silver Labrador puppies are irresponsibly bred by backyard breeders or in puppy mills
These concerns can of course apply to any popular breed but as silver Labs become more mainstream, there are clear signs that responsible breeding practices are being adopted.
Silver Labrador puppy: buying tips
If you decide to bring a silver Lab puppy into your life, it is very important to find a responsible Labrador breeder.
You’ll need a breeder who health tests all their dogs before breeding, and whose dogs are a part of their lives, not just breeding machines.
Happily, breeding silver Labrador puppies is not mutually incompatible with being a responsible breeder.
But you will need to be diligent in order to avoid puppy mills and bad breeding practices.
Silver Labrador puppies should only be purchased from breeders that have tested the puppy’s parents for hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA (inherited blindness) and CNM (a muscle wasting disease.
Remember that a silver Labrador, if registered with a kennel club, will be registered as chocolate.
Check the pedigree and health certificates very carefully.
Do also check out our information on buying a healthy puppy.
You can find out more about how to find a good Labrador breeder in this article.
Pros and cons of silver Labs
One of the downsides to bringing a silver Lab into your life is that you may experience unpleasant reactions from those that think silver Labs are ‘ruining the breed’.
Or who believe that they should be banned.
- Some people may be rude about your dog
- You won’t be able to compete your dog in the show ring
- You may have to pay a higher price than you would for a regular color Lab
- It might be harder to find a responsible breeder in your area
- There may be a risk that your dog will get alopecia
- Your silver Lab is likely to have the health and fitness of any other Lab
- This Lab will be as lovable and trainable as any other Lab
- Your Lab will probably be a great family pet
- You will have the pleasure of owning an unusual dog
There are also questions regarding the registration of silver Labs born in the future. You should be aware that there are people campaigning to have silver Labs de-registered.
Should they succeed it could affect those who want to breed from their dog, or who want to compete with their dog in obedience or field trial competitions that are only open to registered pedigree dogs.
Silver Labs – summary
People have been arguing about these unusual gray Labradors for a decade or more.
In some ways we seem no closer to reaching any conclusions.
On the other hand, acceptance of silver Labs does seem to be steadily growing.
We love all Labradors, no matter how lowly their pedigree, or what controversial their coat color is.
If you have a silver Lab, we’d love to hear about your dog, and about your experiences in finding him or her.
We’d also be really interested to know if you have experienced any prejudice against your dog because of his unusual coat color.
Whether you love silver Labs or oppose them, your politely expressed views are very welcome! Just drop them into the comments box below.
Let us know what you think and why!
- Labrador Puppies
- Labradoodles – Pros & Cons
- Which Labrador Color Is Best?
- The Yellow Labrador
- The Chocolate Labrador
- The Black Labrador
- St John’s Water Dog Guide To An Extinct Breed
References And Further Reading
- “Purebred Vs. Mutt,” The Labrador Site, 2019
- “Dilute Coat Color D-Locus and New D2-Locus,” Animal Genetics, 2019
- “Dilution D Series,” Dog Genetics
- Welle, M, et al., “MLPH Genotype – Melanin Phenotype Correlation in Dilute Dogs,” Oxford Academic Journal of Heredity, 2009
- “Q And A With Dean Crist,” Silver Labs – Just The Facts
- Welle, D, “No Such Thing – Silver Labradors,” Blue Knight Labrador Retrievers, 1990
- “Breed Color Position Statement,” National Labrador Retriever Breed Council of Australia, 2010
- “Silver Labs,” The Labrador Club of New Zealand
- “What’s In The Gene Pool?” Institute of Canine Biology, 2017
- “How Population Size Affects Inbreeding,” Institute of Canine Biology, 2017
- Wagner, S, “The Truth Behind ‘Silver’ Labradors,” Woodhaven Labrador Retrievers
- Hered, J, “A noncoding melanophilin gene (MLPH) SNP at the splice donor of exon 1 represents a candidate causal mutation for coat color dilution in dogs,” 2007
- “Color Dilution Alopecia,” Animal Dermatology Clinic, 2010
- Philipp, U, et al., “Chromosomal assignment of the canine melanophilin gene (MLPH): a candidate gene for coat color dilution in Pinschers,” 2005
- Philipp, U, et al., “Polymorphisms within the canine MLPH gene are associated with dilute coat color in dogs,” 2005
- “Silver Labs – Improvement Movement,” Silver Labs Blog
- Zeirath et al Frequency of five disease-causing genetic mutations in a large mixed-breed dog population. Plos one (2011–2012)
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website
I have a 10 year old silver named Milly, her parents were a chocolate male and a silver female, she is the sweetest thing ever and will just love you to death, she does really well with my severely Autistic brother, he gets a bit rough when he’s mad or annoyed, and Milly hasn’t bit him or even growled once. She is the best dog I’ve ever had and is best friends with my cats who play with her all the time. She is a good hunter though, despite never going on a single trip, she’s gotten many rabbits, chipmunks, birds and even a turtle.
For all the controversy over silver labs, I would like to pose a question about the breed in its entirety. Were not the original lab breed derived from stray dogs from Newfoundland in Canada back at the beginning of our nation’s founding?
Hi Dan, we have a great article with more detail about the history of the Labrador breed here!
Digitization of historical newspapers has ended the myth that silver Labrador Retrievers first appeared in North America and that they first appeared in the second half of the twentieth century. Numerous ads for silver Labradors and articles document their presence in England far earlier. It appears that those who sanctimoniously advocate breed preservation and oppose breeding silvers have a good bit of egg on their faces.
I have an 11yr old silver that has been amazing. He taught my 18 month old grandson how to play fetch!
We have 2 Silver boys, they are brothers. I have always loved the Weimaraner, but where we live is not conducive to that breed. We decided on the Silver Labs. We did our research and found a reputable breeder. We got our first baby- Charlie and told the breeder that we would love another later on. A year later, the breeder called and told us that Charlie’s mom and dad were having their last liter as they do not over breed their babies. We were hoping to get a little brother and we did! We have the BEST, most handsome, sweetest, smartest, most loyal dogs we have ever had the privilege to know. We are so excited to see what they are becoming right before our eyes. Our oldest Charlie is the sweetest, he will look at you and you can tell he is “reading” your emotions so that he can help and please you. Every time we walk into a room, he will grab one of his toys to present to you to obviously to make you happy. Then there is our Max! He smiles…he looks like he is going to eat your face! It is the most adorable trait. He is so happy and full of love, that he talks and wags his whole body while snarling/smiling! He will then curl up as close as possible and snuggle in on your lap, even though he is 65 pounds! They are hands down, the best dogs we have ever ever had!!! We have had a couple people make comments about them being “dirty”. We just ignore them and will take our amazing boys away so that those hateful people are not allowed to enjoy our babies! Their loss!
We have a 7 year old Silver. Got him as an 8 week old pup. Great dog! Handsome, smart and 74lb healthy animal. Compliments galore on his coloring and temperament. We had a chocolate for 14 years before him and loved him dearly also. Sometimes I feel the Silver is a reincarnation!!
Thank you for an interesting article. It seems entirely plausible that the dilute gene can have produced this silver colour when you consider that as I understand it the three main colours of labs appeared to have been black, chocolate and red. The appearance of the ‘yellow’ lab, in some very different shades which then became hugely popular, would then appear to be a product of the dd gene? It would be interesting to know if this is the case. (my labrador had a litter of 12 with two almost white and two sandy coloured along with 6 black, from a very sandy coloured yellow sire and black dam) Many people in the uk consider that the Red Fox colour lab is new but it would appear that this was one of the original colours that lost out to the more popular yellow, in all its different shades, though the Red Fox colour is seeing a huge resurgence of popularity in the uk now.
We have a 7 and a half month old Silver Lab that we unintentionally bought from a puppy store. I took my son in to look at the different types of breeds, so he could see what each was like in person, including temperament. And, of course, after meeting this lab puppy we fell in love. I don’t like to support puppy stores as I know they have a reputation for buying puppy mill dogs, but these dogs need homes too. It turns out ours has pretty bad hip dysplasia, so there’s another warning to avoid purchasing puppies from a pet store and not a reputable breeder. But, we knew the risks and as such are comforted in the fact that he ended up in the best home as we’re prepared to do what we have to in order to give him the best possible life. Who knows what might have happened to him had we not found him. He has the best personality. He loves absolutely everyone he meets, it’s a challenge to teach him not to jump up and lick faces. He’s very smart, though a bit stubborn. He’s great with our kids and other dog. He loves his walks with me every day. He potty trained easily, doesn’t chew on furniture, and brings his water bowl to us when it’s empty. LOL He’s just a great dog and we love him dearly. So far, people are fascinated by him and comment about how they’ve never seen a Silver Lab in person and that he’s beautiful. I know people are going to have their opinions as they do with everything, and that’s fine. I have mine as well, but I will always be respectful to others. I just hope for the same in return.
I adopted a female Charcoal Lab 2 years ago when she was 8 months old. I am her third (and final) home. I have a Golden Retriever and a Westie that both love her. We were able to overcome a laundry list of behavior issues with a lot of training and exercise. The only 2 problems I have had trouble with are counter surfing and barking when she gets bored. She has turned into a wonderful dog that gets along with other dogs and LOVES kids. My Golden had a litter of 9 pups this past spring and my Charcoal girl helped with the pups from day one. If you visit my home you will not find a thing on my counter tops due to counter surfing and of course plenty of dog hair everywhere. I find no difference between the dilution coat and the traditional Black, Chocolate and Yellow Labs. They are all great dogs!
Any breakers in Western Australia as would live one
I cannot say how much Jax our now one year old pup has changed our lives! Our children are grown up on their own blessings us with six grandchildren of which they all are loved and protected by Jax. This silver beautiful dog is called spoiled with manners and adored by many wiping his feet closing his door and high fives shakes fetch you name it. Our youngest granddaughter says it’s time to saddle him up so I can ride him😂 85 lbs of ❤️
I can’t say enough praise about our 5 year old silver lab, Hunt. My husband really wanted this breed. We got him from a family, first time dog owners with a lot of little kids who did not play with Hunt as much as they thought the kids would. And he sheds more than the mom of a lot of little kids could handle. He chewed up a lot of their backyard as a bored puppy. Hunt was nine months old when they made the difficult decision to rehome him. They previously spent $3,000 on training Hunt. He has the most loving temperament with all dogs and with people once he realizes they are not a threat. He used to be protective around men when I hike with him, but not so when my husband hikes with him. I hike with Hunt twice a day and he knows when it’s about time for our hike. If I am distracted, he will come up to me and just look at me like, isn’t it time for our hike? Other than that, he lays around the house all day, always ready for any adventure, but content to just be near us. He is so great with our 3 pound Yorkie and 10 pound Chorkie. He is great with all dogs we meet on our hikes, he is kind and gives space to the anxious dogs and ignores the aggressive dogs. He loves meeting new people and especially loves kids. He walks under people’s legs to show affection and leans up against them pressing his head on them if they show any inclination that they like him. It is so endearing. He ignores people that don’t pay attention to him. He is afraid of the garden hose and he hates baths. I am guessing that when he was captured in his kennel in the backyard of his former home, the kids used to spray him for fun when they went out to fill his water dish. Hunt also used to gorge on his water until he threw it up. I think they forgot to give him water sometimes. He doesn’t do that anymore. Hunt is the best companion, always trying to please and do the right thing. I can’t say enough positives about his temperament. He is so great, the shedding doesn’t bother me, which initially it did. He is not food aggressive in the least bit and often lets the little dogs eat first from his dish or drink first and even lets them take his bones for a bit. We can take his toys from him easily and give them back. I can’t think of a better family dog with a better temperament than our silver lab, Hunt.
We absolutely love our Silver Lab, Bo. He is the best dog we’ve ever had. He is very sweet, gentle, and intelligent. He’s basically a big teddy bear. We get so many compliments on how beautiful he is, and people are intrigued by his color. He is 4 now, and the only thing I would do differently, is send him to obedience training as a puppy bc he barks and goes a little crazy whenever the doorbell rings or company comes over. Other than that, he’s perfect. He is the best dog we’ve ever owned!
That was a great article. I was given a Silver as a surprise. I hunt quite a bit and did not have my own dog. He was a little over a year old last year when hunting season opened. He did amazing. Pheasant, Quail and Chukar. If the Weimaraner gene was mixed in there somewhere, good. If thing keep progressing the way I hope, he will be the best dog I have ever hunted behind and that is a lot of dogs. In addition to this he is an extremely well mannered dog at home and about. I couldn’t have a better companion. The other Silvers I have run into have been really nice dogs.
IMO “silver labs” are awesome. Dozer is absolutely one of the best dogs I’ve ever owned. Excellent temperment very smart and always happy go lucky playful dog. He is AKC registered as a Chocolate and his silver blood lines go back many many generations according to his pedigree. He just turned 11 months and has been a pleasure to train and have as a companion. At this point he goes about 95 lbs. and has a very sleek and muscular stance. They are truly beautiful dogs and should be a welcome addition to the breed. My “Dozer” has not only the natural bred hunting instincts of the Lab family he also is a natural scent and tracker dog. Haven’t done any specific training in either sport and he just does it without thought. So far he has been a great part of our family and one of the most loveable animals, he even likes our cats which he plays and hangs out with daily. Breed argument aside these are fantastic animals and act like any Labrador Retriever should. Truly a compliment to the breed and should be allowed in or recognized as Silver Labrador Retriever by AKC and other kennel clubs.
This isn’t related to Silver labs directly, I have a question about ‘low/non shedding’ labs. I’ve owned two black labs and have now discovered people are breeding low shedding. Personally, I don’t agree with messing with Gene’s, can you tell me more about these dogs. Are they AKC registered. Are they purebred English labs? Thanks
Can you have a dD? And if you can I assume it would still be Chocolate?
dD would be the same as Dd. the dominant gene is always listed first. in this case, the three possible combinations are DD (chocolate), Dd (chocolate), and dd (silver).
I have a 5 yr old silver who is the best companion! He has recently started with alopecia along his sides and stomach. Does anyone have recommendations on what to use to protecting the skin in the hair loss areas?
We rescued a year old silver with hair loss along both sides and belly down to genital area. He just turned 5 and we read that melatonin MIGHT help. He was getting sunburned in the summer and had to wear a uv shirt. The vet tried the melatonin 3 mg twice a day. It’s been 3 months and he is getting fur growth. It’s soft, lighter puppy fur on his sides but his underside is actual adult fur. He’s two-toned and we love his individuality.
Look up Weimaraner. A silver dog (or darker) with a cropped tail. It’s not a Labrador. Weimaraner is a beautiful breed & loving loyal dog.
We rescued a our Silver Lab after she was dumped with a couple others on a back road near a friend’s house. Our friend actually saw her being dumped. She had just had puppies too. Our vet said she had likely had several litters and was done with her “quality puppy” life cycle. She is the best dog! So smart and learns very quickly. She is likely 8 now. We have a neighbor who has 2 male very ill-behaved Yellow Labs. Anytime we’re all around each other, if anyone asks about her (everyone does because she’s so beautiful and well behaved) he loves to beat me to the punch and tell people “Oh she’s a Lab/Weimaraner mix.” Hater.
We have a Silver Lab Misty who is now 11. We also have a 4 yr old Yellow named Ruger. Misty is the best dog we have and so smart! She has been a great leader for Misty. Although I have to say, she recently was diagnosed with Diabetes and Cushing Disease. She is doing well on meds and will get another Silver in the future!
I have a Silver Labrador Retriever! Register as a Chocolate Labrador with AKC. He is 2 years old. His name is Sterling and he is the sweetest dog ever! A dog has bit him before and all Sterling did was try to lick him. Not a mean bone in his body! My Mom says it is a “God Thing” that I got Sterling Shadow. At about 6 months I notice he started running into furniture and being super clumsy. I took him to my local Veterinarian who then made an appointment with a Veterinary ophthalmologist. The Ophthalmologist was in Covington, La (about 4 hours from Monroe, La where we live) and tested his eyes. He told us he had Cataracts and Detached Retinas. If he just would have had the cataracts, the doctor could have fixed his vision. Sterling sees light and shadows. I literally cried the whole way home. Devastated that my dog was blind. On the brighter side, Sterling is super spoiled! I love him no matter what. He is brilliant and can walk our whole neighborhood with out running into anything!! It’s so impressive to me! I have know found out that there is a Retinal Transplant Surgery that dogs can have, it’s just expensive. Ive looked for College’s to take on his case and messaged Doctors that would like to help him. He’s just so young I wish I could do something more to help him! Let me know if anyone else is going through this!
Thanks so much!
Haley and Sterling
Does anyone have a Uk reputable silver Labrador breeder recommendation please
As we approach the end of Mandalorian season 2, I have decided the my ~5yr old Graycee is also probably 75% Beskar steel…she’s so shiny! She’s definitely about the smartest and prettiest of the now 5 labs I’ve had. I will definitely end up with more silvers! Agree with others here, personal dislike is no reason to wage war against their existence. Save your frustration for when they are a recognized new color. 🙂
We have two Silvers and have definitely felt the snobbish opposition to silvers. So sad! We were told would have skin issues by a prior vet, but that has not been the case. Best dogs ever. I would say as with any lab, they calm significantly after second year. I never expected to connect with and love a dog like I do our silvers. Glad they are part of our pack!
I totally feel you on this!! My Silver is my favorite dog yet, his personality is contagious!! :))
I’m a very proud to say I have a 1 yr old silver/ charcoal lab … I’ve had labs for years and I have always had yellow . Sadly 3 weeks ago I had to put down my old 13 yr old yellow hunting buddy 🙁 .. my sister showed up a few months ago w a little male silver and he bonded instantly w me … I wish I knew more about where he came from and genetics but she actually saved him and his brother from going to pound as they were abandoned in a house after some family issues the people couldn’t keep them … so I of corse took my now best buddy “Titan” as a 3 moth old then … he is literally or of the best tempered , smart , handsome dogs I have ever had !! I don’t have any papers or anything on him but I really don’t care best dog ever I don’t know how I got so lucky !!! He has a great home , a 13 boy , he swims , hunts , not afraid of guns , and does everything any of my other “pure bred” labs have done and Is BY FAR … the mellowest pup lab I’ve ever seen !!
So I don’t care what anyone says about coat color he could be purple for all I care best dog I’ve had for many years right from a a young pup to now and he’s only 1 .. he would pass most service dog training classes w ease at 6 months old without any training at all ! Very happy dad !! Look forward to many good hunts and family time w this dog ! Couldn’t be happier ! And he was FREE!!😉👍.. I couldn’t put a price on this dog if I knew how he was going to be I would have paid 5k or more for this dog !
Everything you could possibly ask for in a lab this dog has ! Just thought I’d share if I could post pics and vid I would have to prove my story even more 🙂
Hey there! Proud owners of a 10 week old Champagne Lab from Kentucky Labs. He is absolutely adorable, incredibly friendly, so stinkin’ smart, and the absolute best dog we’ve ever had the pleasure to call our own. I can see why pedigree breeders would be hesitant and/or downright unhappy with something “different”, but IMO, since there’s no scientific evidence that links them to the Weimaraner (or any other dog), it should be dropped. Thank you Pippa for your amazing advice and for providing this open-minded and factual article. You rock!
I am the very proud owner of a silver lab. I didn’t want a dog when I came across her breeder. But I stopped by to see the puppies, because who doesn’t love puppies, and once I held her I just had to have her. Her breeder saw how she responded to me and immediately offered me to pay half price. I stood in a snow storm for three hours to get her. I don’t regret one minute of it. She is a pampered princess indeed.
She has lots of energy and her best friend is a gray tabby cat. She is happy to see anyone in the family but make no mistake she is very much my dog. She follows me everywhere. I work from home and when I tell her to go to work she goes straight into my office to her bed and blanket. She has tons of toys and carry’s them in her mouth most of the day.
She is absolutely loving and playful. She is in tune with me and can sense when I’m not having a good day. She even lays in the bathroom while I take a bubble bath.
Her temperament is gentle and kind, but she shows every sign that if I were in trouble she would protect me. She enjoys kids of every age. Gypsie is not too fond of strangers and comes to me for reassurance when new people are around. She likes to ride beside me in the passenger seat of my mustang with the top down. She can’t get enough sniffing the air as we cruise down the road.
We have been training her to flush birds and retrieve birds for hunting with my husband. Goofy about it is one way to say how that’s going. While she has all of the standard characteristics of a Labrador, I find she is kind and a lot more loving than other labs I’ve owned.
My baby girl is a once in a lifetime kind of dog for sure! Crossbred, dilute gene, whatever the reason silver labs exist means nothing to us.
If ever anyone was considering a silver lane, go for it. They will enrich your life for sure. If you are wanting a lifetime dedicated companion, the silver lab is where it’s at. My silver lab is the best dog I’ve ever owned. She is my princess and it shows lol.
I have had labs for 55 years now. Love all breeds but I’m a lab man. I’ve had less luck out of yellow labs than any other colors. Not sure why but that has been my luck. Own a chocolate 5 yr old and a black 15 month old. That black dog is the best looking dog I have ever laid eyes on and man does he have a motor.
All that to say people that question silvers are just snobs. They are gorgeous animals. If my wife relents I fully intend to buy one tomorrow!
Ripley is an amazing 7 mo. old silver Lab. I came across him when I was leaving work and witnessed a car dumping him onto a busy street 2 months ago. Took him home that night and decided to foster him till I could get to our vet 3 days later. Found out at the vet he had Parvo. We decided to keep him and have him treated. He kicked it in 5 days. Best decision we could have made!! He is rambunctious and has loads of energy, but is eager to please and easily trained. He loves to give hugs and cuddle up with you. I can’t wait to see what adventures await for us in the future!
We have had Black Labs for many generations on our ranch and now as my Wife and I are retired we are considering a silver Lab. Thank you so much for the wonderful and inciteful work you have done!! On helping us on our search for a new Family Member!
Ron and Joyce Blair
I have had black, yellow, white & cross breeds. But, the one I have now is silver. King is 12 years old and I inherited him from my son (who got him my our neighbor). I’ve been familiar with King all his life. My daughter bought his parents’ as puppies. I received a puppy from their first litter. The puppy’s name was Boone. He passed away when he was 5. They were/are as silver as one could be. They were/are loving, passive and sweet labs. They will make anyone fine pets. I encourage you to obtain one!
I’m a proud mom of two silver boys, both around 2 yrs. Our first came from a breeder in MO (found on FB) and the second we got from a rescue group after he was surrendered to the NHS (we confirmed that he was originally from Viking Silver Labs in MN).
I grew up with 2 chocolates and a black lab and can say that I haven’t seen any differences in temperament, coat, etc.
My boys are very socialized with other dogs, as I take them to a leash-free park daily. I’ve heard a lot of different opinions and questions from other dog owners that we run into about their origin and if they have any health problems (which we have not experienced). This article was a good look into their history and comparison to other Labrador’s.
If someone has a problem with the color of a Labrador, they should probably reconsider a few things 😂 If you don’t like the color, then don’t own them. I’ll take all of the silvers ❤️
It is not the color for me, the Breed Standard is Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Maybe work to get it registered as a new Breed with AKC/CKC. Registering a Silver dog as a Chocolate defeats the purpose of having a unique Breed. I would certainly support that.
Are you aware that the original breed standard allowed silvers? Enthusiasts of silver aren’t changing the breed. The hypocrites who write the breed standard are trying to practice revisionist history. Not doing a very competent job of it, either.