Frequently Asked Questions
The Answers You Need
What is a Silver Lab?
Many people think that there are only three types of Labrador Retriever: black, yellow and chocolate. However, more color variations do exist. A Silver Labrador has a silver-grey-blue colored coat. The American Kennel Club recognizes them as pedigree, but they are listed as Chocolate Labs (more on this later). Due to the controversy about their pedigree, they cannot be show dogs but they can be working dogs like their ancestors were bred to be.
Some people argue that they should not be described as a pedigree Labrador. Silver Labs came out of nowhere when they were first bred in the 1950s. This led people to think that they were the result of outbreeding with Weimaraners. This is not the case!
Labradors were originally bred to work, mainly as gun dogs. These days they are used for a wide variety of tasks including service animals, show dogs, gun dogs, obedience dogs and sniffer dogs. Because they were bred to work, they are a high energy breed so will need an hour of exercise each day. They are not just limited to walking, once fully developed they can be great running pals!
Silver Labs? How did you get that color?
Silver Labs are just like any other type of Labrador: loving, intelligent and energetic! Of course, there is one big difference; they have a striking coat color. Their silver-grey-blue coat means they stand out from the usual crowd of Labs. The coat color is caused by two recessive genes that have only recently appeared in the Labrador gene pool.
The Silver Labs’ coat can vary between silver, grey and blue tones. This variation comes from the fact that their coat is a dilution of the usual chocolate color. This color is caused by the appearance of two recessive genes rather than the usual dominant-dominant or dominant-recessive combinations. The recessive gene is called the ‘dilution gene’ because it dilutes the coat color of the dog. For example, Chocolate Labs are usually a pure brown color. If a Chocolate Lab has two recessive genes, this dilutes the normally solid color into a lighter version. This produces a Silver Lab. Diluted Black Labs are called Charcoal Labradors and Yellow Labs are called Champagne Labradors.
About the Labrador Retriever
The sturdy, well-balanced Labrador Retriever can, depending on the sex, stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindliness, and the thick, tapering “otter tail” seems to be forever signaling the breed’s innate eagerness. Labs are famously friendly. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. But don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit.
The Labrador Retriever should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Lab has a thick, water-repellant double coat that sheds. Give occasional baths to keep them clean. As with all breeds, the Lab’s nails should be trimmed regularly and his teeth brushed frequently.
The Labrador Retriever is an exuberant, energetic breed that needs exercise every day. A Lab who doesn’t get enough exercise is likely to engage in hyperactive and/or destructive behavior to release pent-up energy. The breed’s favorite activities are retrieving and swimming. Labs also love to burn up energy on hunting trips or at field trials, as well as by participating in canine sports such as agility, obedience, tracking, and dock diving. Many Labs also work hard in important roles such as search-and-rescue, drug and bomb detection, and as service and assistance dogs.
With the Lab’s physical strength and high energy level, early socialization and puppy training classes are vital. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of 7 weeks and 4 months and beginning obedience training early on will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. Puppy training classes serve as part of the socialization process and help the owner learn to recognize and correct any bad habits that may be developing. Labs are devoted, intelligent, and enthusiastic companions who need to be included in family activities.