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Originally Posted On: https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/silver-lab-puppies-the-411/
There is no denying that Labradors have long been one of the most popular dog breeds. There are a number of different varieties of Labradors, including the classic Black Lab, Chocolate Lab, Yellow Lab, and of course, the Silver Lab. In this guide, we are going to reveal everything you need to know about Silver Lab puppies.
Just like traditional Labradors, these dogs are adored for their outgoing and friendly personalities. They are lovable, sociable, loyal, and energetic. The only real difference is their unique grayish-blue color, which is adorable, to say the least. A well bred silver lab who comes from breeding stock where the parents have been hip, elbow and eye tested and also cleared from being affected by any common genetic disease can run between $2000 and $3500. Stay away from any back yard breeder who is simply mating untested dogs as you won’t want the health trouble that can cause you over the next 12-15 years. For the price of our silver labs contact us at the bottom of this page here.
You may be wondering how we have ended up with Silver Labs, and why they are the perfect family companion. So, let’s take a look.
Silver Labs at a glance
Before we delve deeper into Silver Labradors, let’s start off by giving you some quick information on this breed.
Silver Labs make great playmates for children
More costly than other colored labs
They get along with everyone
Difficult and rare to find in this color
Incredibly family-oriented and friendly
As a ‘dilute’ version of a standard Chocolate Labrador, a lot of Silver Labs look just like any other Lab, albeit for their distinctive coat color.
‘Dilute’ is a term that is commonly used when it comes to the different variations in animal fur color. It is a reference to a certain gene that results in the color of an animal showing in a ‘watered down’ or lightened variation.
Another feature of a dilute dog is the color of the eyes and the nose.
The dilute gene is something that you will find in a lot of different dog breeds. Nevertheless, it has only appeared in Labrador Retrievers quite recently.
The dilute gene and coat color
The American Kennel Club recognizes three different Labrador colors: chocolate, black, and yellow. You will notice that three colors are missing from the list: champagne, charcoal, and of course, silver.
Just like silver is considered a diluted version of chocolate, champagne is a diluted version of yellow, and charcoal is a diluted version of black.
The way the dilute gene works
A set of genes controls the coat color a Labrador has. When it comes to the silver color, it is the D gene that is at play here, acting as a type of switch.
In basic terms, genes come in pairs, and so you have ‘little d’ that switches it to dilute, and you have ‘big D’ that switches the coat color to full strength.
There are three possible combinations of the D gene that a Chocolate Lab can have:
- DD – Chocolate Lab
- Dd – Chocolate Lab
- dd – Silver Lab
As you can see from the pairings above, the big D will always override the little d. This means that a Labrador is going to require two copies of the dilute gene to have dilute fur. This means that a silver coat can only be produced with the final combination.
Unless one little d is paired with another little d, it is not going to have any impact.
There are some dog breeds whereby all of the individuals will have two little d genes, with Weimaraners being a prime example.
Where do we get Silver Labs from?
In the United States, reports of Silver Labradors were first seen from around the 1950s. One of the earliest kennels to produce Labs in this new silver color was Culo Silver Labs.
Precisely how this new color came to be is a question that a lot of people debate, with a number of different opinions on the subject. So, let’s take a look at how the dilute gene ended up in Labradors.
How did Labradors end up with the dilute gene?
There are a number of different options that can explain the appearance of a new gene in a purebred dog. This includes the following:
- Hidden genes
- Spontaneous mutation
- Mixed breeding
The first and most obvious explanation is that there was a cross between a Labrador and a breed of dog that carries the dilute gene at some point.
Let’s start off with the first possible explanation for Silver Labradors: hidden genes. The capacity of a rare gene to stay hidden for an extended time period is a phenomenon that the majority of scientists are aware of.
The explanation for the appearance of the Silver Labrador in the 1950s is arguably the most valid alternative to the theory of cross-breeding. We know that some genes are more dominant than others, and can hide or mask them. These are known as recessive genes.
A lot of diseases happen as a consequence of recessive genes, and they only appear when the unfortunate individual inherits two copies. Rare diseases that are carried by genes can actually remain hidden for years and years and years, only to appear when dogs that are closely related end up mating together. This is something that happens more regularly when the gene pools are small, as is the case in pedigree dog populations.
Colors can be recessive or dominant as well
The B color gene is one that determines whether or not a Labrador is brown or black, with black dogs being favored.
Brown is a recessive color, and a Labrador is going to require two copies of the little b brown gene in order to end up with a coat that is brown in color. Brown Labs only became popular when breeders intentionally set about mating them to each other.
Some people believe that the rare dilute gene has been present in Labs all along and that it only appeared when two dogs that were closely related were bred – as some rare diseases end up doing.
It was not until 1917 that the AKC registered the first Labs. before then, there would have been frequent outcrossing with other similar breeds. This includes the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, which is a breed that does have the dilute gene.
So, it is completely plausible that the little d gene has been passed from Chesapeakes into one or two Labradors, before the Lab pedigree registers were closed, and remained hidden in the breed only to reappear during the ‘50s when the demand for Chocolates started to increase.
Another theory to consider is spontaneous mutation. It is not uncommon for genes to mutate. This is another way that an unusual or rare characteristic can appear in a family of dogs that were not affected by it previously.
This is a theory that is not overly popular for the appearance of the dilute gene in the Silver Lab. The reason for this partly comes down to the fact that hidden genes are such a plausible explanation.
For a mutation to be identical to a gene that exists already for unusual coat color in a different breed would be a coincidence. A lot of people feel that the spontaneous appearance of the dd dilution gene in the Silver Labrador Retriever gene pool is, to say the least, unlikely. However, this is not something that we can rule out.
A lot of people believe that the first Silver Labrador were, in fact, crossbreeds. This is a theory that is plausible, and there are evident motivates for dog breeders wanting to create a new color variation of an existing breed.
Motives can include the allure of creating something new and the financial gain, although they may not have realized that Silver Labradors would be so popular.
A lot of people that believe mixed breeding is at play here believe that Labradors were mixed with Weimaraners, creating a cross.
However, it is worth pointing out that this theory has lost a bit of credibility as of late because of the genetic testing of Silver Labrador, which has not shown any connection to Weimaraners.
The appearance of a Silver Lab
Of course, the stunning silver coat is the first thing that people tend to notice about a Silver Labrador. This smooth, double coat appears almost like it is velvet, and it tends to be a faded brown or a slate grey shade.
Just like other Labradors, they have a lean runner’s body, which is incredibly strong, and they have gentle dark eyes and long floppy ears.
Another one of the defining features is their straight otter tail, which enables the dog to move through the water safely. They are built for both water and land, and they have long, muscular legs, which are made to suit swimming and running.
The Silver Labrador can come in a number of different shades. Typically, it is a bluish-grey or slate, yet, faded brown is another possibility. The coat is incredibly smooth, and when you stroke a Silver Labrador, it feels a lot like plush velvet!
A Silver Labrador’s coat is also waterproof, ensuring they are protected from the cold.
One thing to note is that all Silver Labradors need to be registered as Chocolate Labradors so that they can get AKC or CKC recognition.
Once a Silver Labrador has fully grown, the girls are going to be between 21 and 23 inches tall, and the boys are going to stand between 22 and 24 inches tall.
The females are between 55 and 70 pounds while the males are between 65 and 80 pounds.
Silver Labrador longevity and health
Silver Labradors suffer from the same health problems that other purebred Labs can experience, including over-eating and a predisposition to joint issues.
Two studies that have been carried out record the lifespan for a Labrador at between 11 and 12 years of age, and Labs also have a higher cancer rate when compared with other breeds, i.e. 31 percent of all deaths.
On the balance, though, Labradors are a breed that is well-constructed and healthy, free from some of the different disabilities that plague a lot of other purebred dogs. However, this is a possible medical issue linked with the coat color dilution gene that you need to be aware of.
Color dilution alopecia
The color dilution gene – the dd gene that we have been referring to that causes the beautiful silvery coat – is sometimes linked with coat issues. Particularly, it may be connected to a type of hair loss. This issue is identified as ‘color dilution alopecia’ and is more common in dogs that have the color dilution gene, dogs like Weimaraners, and now, Silver Labradors.
It is not typically a condition that is life-threatening, but it also is not curable either. It can result in progressive hair loss in young dogs and could cause a recurrent infection in the hair follicles.
Coat dilution does not always result in skin issues. Not all dogs that have the dd gene are going to have the faulty alopecia variant. And, you will find that the majority of Silver Labradors do not have alopecia. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that this can be an issue. To date we have not seen it in our bloodline.
In a lot of respects, therefore, the health of a Silver Labrador is a lot like any other type of purebred Lab.
Silver Lab training and temperament
No matter the origin of the Silver Labrador, the Silver Labs we see today are very much Labrador in both conformation and temperament. Training a Silver Lab puppy can be a great deal of fun.
Of course, it will take a little bit of patience and time, as Labs can be a bit nippy when they are small, and rather bouncy when they grow into their teens. So, you are going to need to make sure you have a little bit of time every day for training.
Looking after your Silver Labrado
A Silver Labrador is never going to ask for too much. As long as you are able to handle the high energy that your Silver Lab has, you should not have too much trouble.
Aside from the need for mental stimulation and high activity level, the requirements that a Silver Labrador has are very basic, even kids can learn to care for one.
Grooming, training, and feeding do not need to go far beyond the needs of other dogs to be happy and healthy. It is not going to take too long for your friendly Silver Labrador to fit right in.
Chocolate and Silver Labradors are more likely to suffer from skin diseases and ear infections when compared with other fur colors. Otitis externa, otherwise known as swimmer’s ear, is one of the most common ear problems these dogs experience.
Your dog’s adorable floppy ears can catch a considerable amount of water while they are swimming. This dirty water can remain in their ears, which can result in an infection. There are a number of different symptoms that can arise, including crust and itching around the ear, and darkening and redness of the ear canal.
Ear drops and topical creams can be administered if the swimmer’s ear is mild. For cases that are more severe, it is recommended that your dog has a few weeks’ worth of anti-inflammatory medication. Of course, your vet will be able to advise you.
With Silver Labradors, you also need to be on the lookout for painful skin lesions that are known as a hot spot. These sorts of lesions happen when a dog picks or licks a spot of the skin that is injured. Sunburn, insect bites, and regular injuries can all form hot spots. They tend to be visible on the Silver Labrador’s skin, and they can be noticed if your dog is biting or licking the spot in question.
For problems like this, anti-inflammatory medication tends to clear up the issue, yet you may need to place a cone on your dog to prevent him or her from picking at it.
Another important factor to consider when it comes to Silver Labs is that their nutritional requirements are different at different points within their lives. Once your dog has grown fully, it is going to require between 800 and 1,200 calories each day.
In terms of what you feed them, any premium quality kibble is going to be suitable. Or, if you want to give your Silver Labrador raw or wet food then you can replace one of your dog’s daily cups of kibble with a raw cut of turkey or chicken or some wet food. Never feed raw pork or beef to a dog.
When it comes to your Silver Labrador’s diet, the number one ingredient should always be protein. Healthy fats are next on the list. The last thing should be carbs. It is important to make sure that all of the ingredients are derived from natural sources instead of artificial fillers.
Expected growth for your Silver Lab
It is important to know about the growth stages for your Silver Labrador. Your puppy should weigh between 10 and 22 pounds when they are seven to 12 weeks old. When your dog is between 12 weeks and six months, it should be around 40 pounds, which is half of its adult weight.
Between six and nine months of age, your puppy should be around three-quarters of his or her way onto the adult size. Puppies when they are this age tend to weigh between 50 and 65 pounds. Finally, your dog is going to be their full weight once they reach one year of age. This is between 55 and 80 pounds.
Despite the fact that a Silver Labrador has short fur, they are not deemed a breed with low shed. If you do bring a Silver Lab into your home, you should expect to see a few of their silver hairs on the carpet and the couch.
The dog will shed throughout the year moderately, and you will need to brush it at least once per week.
Throughout the spring months, your Silver Labrador will drop a lot more hair than usual. The same goes for the fall, as they prepare for their seasonal coat. Throughout the shedding season, you are going to need to add an extra day of brushing so that your dog’s fur looks clean and neat.
If your dog is active, you are generally not going to need to cut its nails. Just be sure to check their nails every fortnight. You should only trim your Silver Labrador’s nails back if they start curling.
Last but not least, you should pay attention to your Silver Labrador’s teeth, as dental care tends to be an element of dog grooming that is overlooked a lot. You need to make sure that your dog’s teeth are brushed a minimum of once per week, and you can motivate them with a toothpaste that tastes nice.
Silver Labrador exercise
The Silver Labrador is a breed that has a lot of energy and will spend most of the day on its feet. They will want to jump and run for most of their waking hours. This is why it is critical to make sure they have a minimum of one full hour of physical activity each day.
Swimming and fetching are any Labrador’s favorite ways to play. A game of fetch in the pool with your Silver Labrador can be heaps of fun.
They can also enjoy games of chase, and you can even play tag with your fluffy friend.
We would rank their activity level as a four out of five, and your Silver Labrador will need to have at least 60 minutes of activity on a daily basis.
Some helpful tips on buying Silver Labs
If you are thinking about buying a Silver Lab, we have a number of different tips and snippets of information that can assist you with your purchase:
- Make sure that your property has sufficient space to accommodate a Silver Labrador, as this is a breed that is very active. If you do not have your own garden, you are going to need to take your dog to the park for at least an hour per day so that they can let out their energy.
- An energetic and large dog like this can eat a lot of food, with the typical cost of food per month being anywhere from $35 to $60.
- Even it means paying a little bit more, it is important to be sure that you receive the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) certification for the puppy. You want to be certain that your puppy is what you expect, and that they have been cared for properly as a youngster.
- A Silver Labrador can be more costly when compared with other common colors, so it is imperative that you budget effectively. There is often a waiting list that you will have to get onto and wait for your puppy. Established breeders have a greater demand for their dogs because of the quality of puppy they breed.
Final words on Silver Labs
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about Silver Labradors and the characteristics associated with this breed of dog.
We hope that this guide has helped you to get a better understanding of Silver Labs, and why they make such good pets.
If you are looking for a friendly, lovable, and unique dog to bring into your family, a Silver Labrador Retriever is well worth considering.
In the end, the color of coat of any dog should not make a difference unless you plan to show it. Rather it should be evaluated based on it’s health, intelligence and temperament. Just like in humans where there is current controversy over color of skin, why should a dog’s color of hair influence whether or not it is a good dog. Remember, a silver lab is a chocolate lab with only 1 more copy of the dilute gene. How could this make them unsuitable as a pet?
So, our suggestion is as it always has been. Love your dogs not based on a superficial quality such as color of coat, love them because they love you unconditionally and will serve you until their final breath.
FAQ about Silver Labs
We are going to finish by answering some of the most common questions we receive about Silver Labradors, so you can get a better understanding of this breed.
Are Silver Labradors rare?
In some countries, Silver Labs are rare, as this is deemed a relatively new color variation. This is partly to do with the fact that registering silver puppies is not widely permitted.
In the likes of the USA, Silver Labradors are no longer considered particularly rare. This type of Lab is registered under the color Chocolate in the USA.
Although these sorts of dogs are not considered rare, Silver Labs are more unusual when compared with the likes of Brown, Yellow, or Black Labradors.
How big do Silver Labradors get?
The recommended breed typical height for a labrador is up to 23 inches and a half for females and 24 inches and a half for males. Nevertheless, individuals can vary a couple of inches to either side of this.
With regard to body weight, the variations can be even more diverse, and a lot of this is going to depend on which of the two groups the Silver Lab falls into, i.e. English or American.
Female Labs tend to reach about 60lbs in weight. Male Labs will often reach approximately 70lbs in weight. However, there can be a difference of around 20lbs to either side of that.
American Labrador Breds, which are used for retrieving and hunting, tend to be taller and slimmer, and so they are often lighter than the chunkier English type, which you would see in a show ring.
Do Silver Labs make good family dogs?
Yes, Silver Labs are known as excellent family dogs. Ideally, a Silver Labrador Retriever is going to be suitable to an outdoor-loving, active family, with children over the age of five years old.
As Labradors can be bouncy dogs when they are young, a Silver Lab puppy is not always the best choice if you have toddlers in your household or anyone who is unsteady on their feet.
However, a calmer, older Lab can be ideal if you have a household with younger children.
Labradors, no matter their color, are incredibly sociable. They are happy when they are in a family environment whereby there are people at home for at least some of the day, if not most of it.
How much do Silver Labs cost?
You may be wondering how much it will cost for you to add an adorable Silver Labrador to your family. You will typically be expected to pay in excess of $2,500 for a well bred, genetically screened, hip/elbow/organ guaranteed puppy. We always suggest to find the best quality puppy you can find, not the cheapest. An investment into the health of a well bred silver pup is something that will follow. For more on what a quality Lab puppy looks like visit this page.
The rarity of this breed of Labrador has pushed the price up. If you were to go for a classic Black Labrador or a Yellow Lab, you would not need to pay as much. Of course, it is all about finding the perfect companion for your family.