Labrador Retrievers come in many colours. But, have you ever had an encounter with a Silver Labrador? The rarest of the Labrador kind is a talk of the town due to the controversies it has embroiled itself into. They are very beautiful, slate grey Labrador Retrievers that are famous worldwide for their sociable, lovable, and loyal personalities.
The only difference that a Silver Labrador has from a regular labrador is their blue greyish-silver coat. Though, thanks to the rarity of these dogs, the ownership guide to a Silver Lab is a zone of confusion for most people. Let’s find out more about these rare pooches than the colour of their coats.
The origin of the Silver Labs
Silver Labs came up so suddenly in the canine world in the 1900s. They were formalized by the UK kennel club in 1903 and by the US kennel club in 1917. Before this, there was no record of a Silver Lab ever being bred by a breeder. Their sudden appearance, which was not witnessed before, led many to believe that theirs is not a natural birth. Rather, they are a result of a crossbreeding between a Labrador and a Weimaraner.
While no definite proof can be found of the claim, it is a possibility that many believe is true. They were employed as regular labradors, in the beginning, working as work dogs or gun dogs but later in life, they were employed for a wide variety of tasks. Today, they work as service dogs and sniffer dogs, accompanying cops.
Unfortunately, the dear innocent canine finds itself in the middle of hot canine controversy. The reason? Strong claims believe that Silver Labradors are not purebred Labradors at all. Rather, they are a crossbreed between a Labrador and a Weimaraner. Though, whatever you want to believe about their pedigree status, Silver Labs make wonderful pets.
For many years, they were held in scorn by the breeders and experts for being considered as Labradors as that spoils the purity of the breed. However, four decades later, in the 1950s, this breed found a place as an advertisement in the gun dog magazine. That starts the journey of recognition of the breed.
Silver Labradors are just like other Labradors with loving, loyal, and energetic personalities. Their strange coloured coats, which are silver-blue-grey, make them stand out in the labrador crowd. The strange colour of their coats springs from the recessive traits that have only recently sprung up in labrador genetics.
Do Silver Labrador Retrievers find recognition as a pure breed?
There is a hot debate on the topic of whether a Silver Lab is a pure breed or just a colour of the regular Labrador Retriever. Many nations allow the registration of a Silver Lab as a separate breed. However, many people worldwide hold the Silver Lab breeders in scorn.
The kennel club in the USA recognizes these breeds with the name of chocolate. On the other hand, the UK kennel club allows recognition of the breed, but they register them as non-recognized.
What are they?
In most of the countries, official data believe that there are only three types of Labrador Retrievers – Black, yellow, and chocolate. The practicality, however, shows that different colour variations exist.
The silver labs’ coat shows variation between silver, grey and blue shades, and different dogs may exhibit lighter and darker shades of these colours. This variation results from their coat being a dilution of the chocolate colour. The colour variation is the result of a recessive gene.
Usually, a dominant-dominant or a dominant-recessive gene displays itself in a dog. However, in Silver Labs, a recessive-recessive gene, also called a dilution gene, dominates. Chocolate labs usually possess a chocolate brown colour. If, however, a recessive gene starts dominating, the colour of the coat will dilute towards a lighter version, hence giving birth to a Silver Lab.
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Dilution is shown by Black and Yellow Labradors too. A diluted Black Lab is called a Charcoal Labrador, and a diluted Yellow Lab is called a Champagne Labrador. The silver lab, however, became too famous due to its striking silver appearance. Only certified responsible breeders with strict adherence to the bloodlines of a labrador are allowed to breed these dogs.
What do they look like?
The silver labrador is a gorgeous doggy with the looks and body type of a Labrador but a shimmery silver colour adding a shiny twist to the canine. When you look at these pooches, the first thing that strikes you is – God, that’s silver.
Labradors have a dense and hard coat that is straight and coarse. They have a double coat that helps them survive cold weather. Their double coats provide them with water resistance, cold resistance, and any other extremity resistance.
Their smooth coats almost give you a feel of velvet. The colour varies from sheer slate grey to a faded brown. The body structure of a Silver Labrador is just like a regular labrador with a sleek and strong body of an athlete, long floppy ears, and dark penetrating eyes. Occasionally, you would find a Silver Lab with blue eyes. That is quite rare and very beautiful.
They possess a broad skull, chest, and hindquarters. The interesting feature of their body is an exceptionally straight tail. Their straight tails are a great help to them to manoeuvre through the water.
Personality and Temperament
- The Silver Labradors are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. They make it their purpose to please and serve their masters. They are hopelessly curious and playful dogs and would often wander off in search of adventures springing from their curiosity. Sounds like a perfect Hodophile, no?
- These canines are so good-natured that one would almost never witness them losing their tempers. Their sweet temperament and loyal nature make them ideal family companions. They are so silly and playful sometimes that they would leave people laughing at their silliness.
- They are not excessively noisy. However, you can witness them barking if they are bored or they want attention. They always want to be occupied with something and do not like to be left to themselves. If you don’t give them anything, they will chew their way into entertainment.
- Silver Labs do not like being alone. If you work outside for a long time, leaving them alone at home, they would not take it kindly. You can leave them with just anyone; they love everybody. But please, not alone. You can get them to a doggy-day-care center if you have to be out for a long time.
With other pets
Silver labs are loving creatures and love to be around people and animals. They thrive at dog-day-care centers as they make friends very fast. They love to be with other pets, children, people, things, they are just happy to be alive, and you can tell that. You need to take care to expose them to socialisation at a young age.
You would not witness your Silver Lab dog having issues with other pets. Though, they are great eaters. They want to eat all the time. This may lead them into scuffles with other animals who compete with them for food. Take care to keep the food out of their reach. Organize pet parties to help them socialise, and then, you can relax.
All in all, they take it a pleasure to be around just anyone. They are full of love and affection and want to express it all the time. You can always rely on them acting as mediators in pet fights.
Height and Weight
An adult Silver Labrador dog weighs from around 55 to 80 lbs. Their heights vary from 21 to 24 inches. Female Silver Labs are inconsiderably shorter than males, though you can’t notice that straight up.
As we know by now, Silver Labradors find employment as work dogs. This points towards their physical fitness and athletic bodies. They need to stay active all the time. For that, they require at least an hour of exercise each day. They are high-energy canines that require intense exercise.
The exercise should not only involve walking; they need running and jumping tasks and excel in them. They are great workout companions, accompanying their humans on long-running tracks. Labradors enjoy their training sessions very much. You may get two sessions of exercise each day too. Whether agility or strength, they love all sorts of exercises.
A backyard is highly recommended where your pooch can work out comfortably and seriously without distractions. If you have an apartment, that might turn out to be a problem for a Silver Lab as they require large spaces to play. Also, they thrive in water so, taking them out swimming would be a nice idea.
How to train?
For any training to be successful, one requires consistency. You need to dedicate time and effort to their training. Labradors are prone to boredom. Training and exercise help prevent that. You can use toys and treats to encourage them.
The best training game is fetching. If you do not have ample space to train your dog, this game is perfect for you. You can play it with them in your back garden or in an enclosed space too. Also, if you are not very eager to put in physical effort, this game requires minimal effort from you and helps your dog burn a lot of calories.
Take care of your dog’s behavior when they are unleashed. Although a labrador is very friendly around people, you need to keep a keen eye on their socialisation first before letting them take liberties. They love adventure and exploring new places and would often find themselves lost.
- The Silver Labrador is generally a healthy, energetic dog with a lifespan of 10-14 years. Though, if you have made up your mind about choosing a Silver Lab as your companion, you need to be aware of the possible health concerns they may face.
- Silver Labradors tend to get overweight. They are vulnerable to obesity. That serves as a warning to the owner to keep a close eye on their diet and exercise patterns.
- Silver labs face the same health issues as regular labradors. They may include Colour dilution alopecia, exercise-induced collapse, and hip and elbow dysplasia. They are prone to eye problems too. Before getting your puppy from a breeder, take care to ask their hip and elbow scores and get an eye checkup.
- The colour dilution alopecia may be faced by Silver Labs due to their unusual coats. This may not be fatal, but their fur will fall out in patches at a young age. They may face infection in their hair follicles too.
Grooming and shedding
These dogs come with a whole package of coats to protect them from cold. They are double-coated that are water and ice resistant. A silver lab can stay in the water for a long duration without getting ill. Their outer coat is coarse and short of protecting the inner coat.
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You can’t call them hypoallergenic as they shed a moderate to heavy amount, especially during spring and fall. This leads to the need for brushing once or twice a day even. Advice – You might want to buy a vacuum cleaner if you want to keep your house fur-free.
Also, you would need to bathe them once a month or, at most, once in 6 weeks. You would need no other encouragement than their muddy coats; they love to get themselves muddy.
They require regular nail clipping, worming, and a flea treatment. You need to administer dental cleaning to them twice a week with either a toothbrush or dental chews. Their love for water leads them to spend more time there and may lead to ear infections. This gives you a job of keeping their ears clean.
Are they good family companions?
You might have seen many families preferring labradors as family companions. That is because Labradors have a loving nature that makes them natural family dogs. The same things hold for Silver Labradors too. They are very patient family pets who are rarely offended.
The way they behave with children is adorable. They act as their protectors and fun companions. Also, they seem to know what children are like and behave very maturely around them. However, that is only when they get training at a young age.
Positive reinforcement training and encouragement by treats on good behaviour is required for them to develop a positive demeanor. They love treats as rewards because they have a huge appetite.
Caring for a silver lab
Labradors require an ample amount of care. However, every bit of effort you put into these pooches will give you multiplied results. You can’t afford carelessness in their daily hour of exercise. Whether you divide it into two sessions of half-hour each or a full one-hour session, it is up to you.
Regular training is something they mandatorily need, or they will forget all they learned last time. However, as they grow old, you may exercise lax in their training. You would have to take the responsibility of their socialisation with their kind and humankind.
Silver labs are most suitable for families with a backyard, where there are many people to play and cuddle with them.
Labradors are medium size canines. This makes one and a quarter cups of good-quality dry food twice daily as an appropriate diet for them. You can mix it with good-quality wet food too to make the diet balanced. A dog’s diet should necessarily consist of 25% of protein. That requires you to keep an eye on the protein content while buying food for your pooch.
Also, avoid food that contains colours or dyes, gluten, or excess fats. Labradors are prone to gaining weight and getting obese. So, don’t fall for the puppy’s face by giving them all the food they want.
Whenever you go out to buy a puppy, always take care to buy it from a reputable breeder, someone who holds a history of breeding healthy pups. With silver labs, it is often observed that the task to find a good breeder becomes quite difficult as they are a rare breed. You may, however, find a breeder with a healthy silver lab available for adoption.
- Try to interact with the puppy’s parents. This might help you understand the temperament the puppy might have inherited.
- Be sure to ask for documentation related to the legality of breeding.
- Don’t shy away from asking a lot of questions about your puppy, as the breeder won’t shy away. They would like to know where their puppies are going.
- Get complete information about the puppy’s overall care.
How much do they cost?
Considering this pup is a rare breed, it might cost you a bit more than a normal puppy. Buying a silver lab costs around 1200 dollars at least. However, costs vary based on various factors like age and season. Don’t go after buying a cheap puppy. This might lead you into buying a poorly bred pup. You may also be conned into buying a different dog impersonating a silver lab.
A silver lab is the best choice for you if you have the intention, love, time, and space to give to the puppy. Though these adorable creatures would want someone around all the time, they won’t be choosy with who it is. After a few days of living with a Silver Labrador, you would realize how much fun they are to be around due to their energetic and playful nature.
If you are someone who doesn’t care if some people give you a word on how your pup is destroying the labrador breed, you might want to own a puppy who is just as innocent and faultless as a child.
These loving companions won’t bother you with jealousy with other pets, won’t tease you with being stubborn. They have love to give, and if you know how to give it back, you have got yourself a lifetime four-legged partner.
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