The Silver Labrador: A Shiny New Star Among Dog Breeds
Silver Labrador Retrievers are an increasingly popular choice among families in the United States. These gentle dogs make great additions to any home but they come with controversy. These dogs have made waves in the Labrador community!
If you're interested in Silver Lab puppies but have questions, read on. In this article, we will look at these beautiful Labrador puppies and the differences with yellow Labradors and white Labradors and help you decide whether they are right for you.
WHAT ARE SILVER LABRADOR RETRIEVERS?
Silver Labs are a color variation of the Labrador Retriever. This breed has long been a family favorite because of their loving personality.
Labradors were developed during the 1830s by the 10th Earl of Home. They began as a cross of a popular hunting dog of the time and a St. John's Water Dog. The puppies from this original litter were then crossbred with other breeds to try and capture the best of all of them.
Over the course of 50 years, breeders toyed with the genetics of the breed. By the 1880s, they had developed the modern Labrador Retriever.
For 70 years, the dogs only came in three colors: Chocolate, Black, and Yellow. Some variation did emerge within the Yellow category. Over time, though, this variation was accepted. This is why "Yellow" Labs can range from a creamy white to a dark butterscotch color.
However, within the Chocolate and Black categories, there was almost no variation. That is until the Silver Lab emerged in the 1950s.
The Silver Lab seemingly came out of nowhere. Before an advertisement featured these gray-colored dogs, there was no documentation of this coat. This is surprising since breeders typically kept precise records of their litters.
Once the Silver Lab debuted, there was no turning back. The captivating dogs captured the imaginations of many. These charcoal Labradors are currently gaining in popularity in both the U.S. and the U.K., though are not yet accepted by the British or American Kennel Club as a “true” breed.
WHY ARE SILVER LABS SILVER?
The reason for this silver coat is hotly debated. Some breeders suggest that a Labrador was cross-bred with a Weimaraner. Lab purists point to this as a reason that the dog should not be considered a Labrador.
But the reason for the gray coat is most likely genetic. In the same way that there is variation within the "Yellow" category, the Silver Lab might be a different shade of Black or Chocolate.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
In short, there are a few different genetic combinations that create a Black, Yellow or Chocolate coat. It is much like eye color in humans. DNA information from both parents affects the color.
However, you might remember learning about dominant and recessive genes in school. Dominant genes are the more "powerful" of the two. They will express themselves no matter what, even if partnered with a recessive gene.
Recessive genes, on the other hand, are weaker. They can only express themselves if they partner with another recessive gene.
In humans, the most famous example of a recessive gene is blue eyes. A person can only have blue eyes in one of two ways:
- Both of their parents have blue eyes.
- Both of their parents carry the recessive gene, regardless of their eye color.
This means that two brown-eyed parents can potentially have a blue-eyed child. As long as they both carry the recessive gene for blue eyes, they have a 1 in 4 chance.
The Silver Lab's coat is likely caused by a recessive gene expression. Just like blue eyes, if two Labrador parents have a "d" gene, they can produce a Silver Lab.
This "d" gene won't create an entirely new dog color. Instead, it just dilutes the existing color. This means that you can technically have this "silver" characteristic across all three colors:
- A diluted Yellow Lab is called a "Champagne Lab"
- A diluted Black Lab is called a "Charcoal Lab"
- A diluted Chocolate Lab is called a "Silver Lab"
So, some of the variations that we see in the Yellow category might be because of this dilution. The distinctive silver-colored coat might be this same phenomenon in the other color categories.
HOW DOES A SILVER LAB COMPARE TO OTHER LABS?
Because the silver is simply a difference in color, these dogs are the same as other Labs in all ways.
Your Silver Labrador puppy will grow into a 55– 80-pound adult, depending on the sex of the animal. It will measure in anywhere from 21–24 inches. You can expect these dogs to live for 10–14 years.
Silver labs can vary in coloration. If they are a diluted Chocolate dog, they might look more silvery. These dogs might keep a bit of their red pigmentation, though.
Dilutions of Black Labs will be darker than the diluted Chocolate. They also won't have this reddish undertone.
Regardless of which silver you choose, your dog will be striking. This coloration is still not widespread so you are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.
SHOULD I GET A SILVER LAB PUPPY?
Silver Labs or Charcoal Lab puppies are perfect for just about any family. Whether you are living alone or have a family of six, they can adapt well to many environments.
Silver Labs need plenty of exercise. This means about an hour a day. Whether it is a long walk or a vigorous game of fetch, make sure they get outside every day.
Labs can be more difficult than other retrievers to train. This is because they can get bored easily. If you keep training sessions short and interactive though, your dog can learn some advanced tricks. Labs are commonly used as disability assistance dogs because of their intelligence. They can open doors, protect their owners, and retrieve just about anything.
No matter what, your dog will want love. Though labs can be independent, they do also love attention. If you can't give your dog some devoted time each day, this might not be the breed for you.
Silver Labradors are a beautiful and striking addition to the Labrador family tree. These dogs are smart and fun and they are guaranteed to make your family happy.