Silver Labs make you turn your head twice.
But despite their eye-catching coat…
They have their fair share of controversies.
So, people are saying no to Silver Labradors.
And I’m here to tell you why.
Continue reading to discover:
- 3 surprising reasons why Silver Labradors are controversial.
- 3 standard colors of Labrador Retrievers (according to AKC).
- If you can register a Silver Labrador to major kennel clubs (despite controversies).
- And much, much, more…
Table of contents
The Silver Lab controversy
The Silver Lab controversy is mainly about the variation’s origin and genetic makeup. Moreover, breeders sell these Labs for a high price. That’s despite the speculation that Silver Labs aren’t purebred.
To understand all that, let’s start by introducing these Labradors:
What’s a Silver Labrador
A Silver Labrador is a variant of a chocolate Labrador Retriever. However, they appear grayish or blueish because they carry a dilute gene. And that makes their coat color appear “watered-down” from a chocolate coat.
The AKC’s Labrador Retriever coat color standards
According to AKC’s breed standards, Labrador Retrievers only come in 3 colors:
For the yellow coat color, AKC accepts different ranges of its hue. From fox-red to light cream.
On the other hand, AKC considers varying shades of chocolate coats as well. It can range from light (liver) to dark.
That said, there are no mentions of a Silver Labrador in the breed standards…
Which makes most people ask:
“Can I register a Silver Labrador in the AKC?”
You can register your Silver Labrador in the AKC.
They’ll accept the pooch as a light-shaded version of the chocolate color.
But they might need proof of at least 3 generations of purebred Labrador breeding.
Note: Coat color is a harmless factor when choosing your preferred dog. The canine’s health and temperament are still your priority. Regardless, the Kennel Club recommends picking a dog that meets the breed standards.
Now, since Silver Labs don’t fit the breed standards in terms of color…
They’re automatically disqualified from dog shows and contests.
However, that’s only a small part of a larger controversy.
So, it’s time to be specific. Here are:
3 reasons why Silver Labradors are controversial
#1: The diluted gene they carry is questionable
As I mentioned, you can register a Silver Labrador in AKC.
Despite their non-breed standard coat color…
They’re still considered purebred Labradors.
And here comes the debate with these Silver Labs:
Their coat color says the opposite about being a purebred Labrador.
To understand, I need to take you on a quick trip back to high school biology:
Purebred Labradors have 2 dominant D alleles (DD)
According to vets, a D allele is a code for normal coat color development.
It determines whether the dog’s base coat color will appear full (non-dilute) or diluted.
For full color, it’s represented by the dominant allele, D.
As for a diluted coat appearance, its allele is recessive, d.
So, the code variations are:
Now, purebred Labradors must have 2 dominant D alleles (DD). Which makes their base coat color non-dilute.
And when 2 parent Labs pass down their genes to their offspring…
The purebred pups will have the same DD code.
Here’s a table that can help you visualize how their puppies get their genes:
With that, all of the purebred puppies get the same DD code.
So, they’ll have a full base coat color. Which they’ll also pass down to the next generations.
Now, the problem is:
Silver Labradors have a diluted variation of the base coat color, chocolate.
Silver Labradors carry 2 recessive d alleles (dd)
The code that they have, dd, waters down their base coat color.
And there’s no way 2 purebred Labs (DD) can make offspring with diluted color (dd).
As you saw in the previous table, no recessive d alleles are present.
So, to have a Silver Labrador with a dd code is suspicious.
And this makes people assume:
Silver Labradors aren’t purebred Labs
This drives purists to disagree with major kennel clubs.
For them, Silver Labs don’t deserve purebred recognition.
Thus, drawing controversy to the breed variation.
However, there’s not enough proof to confirm whether Silver Labs isn’t purebred.
Their coat appearance is only a small part of their entire genetic makeup.
So it can be more complicated than that…
But no one has looked under a microscope and scrutinized a Silver Lab’s entire DNA.
With that, current evidence isn’t enough to jump to conclusions.
Moreover, in defense of the Silver Labradors…
Color is the only non-breed standard that draws attention to them.
Other than that, their temperament, size, and shape are all Lab-like.
#2: Silver Labs appeared out of nowhere
Labrador Retrievers emerged in Canada in the 1800s.
In 1903, The Kennel Club from the UK recognized the breed.
Then, AKC set the standards for Labrador Retrievers in 1917.
Right then and there, only the 3 coat colors of the breed were spotted and recognized.
As for Silver Labradors, they were simply unheard of.
That’s why it shocked many enthusiasts and experts when they emerged in the 1950s.
Because if there were records of a variant as majestic as Silver Labs…
The pooches would’ve been the talk of the town.
And they would’ve been included in the breed standards.
Moreover, magazines will surely feature them. Even noblemen might walk alongside them.
But up to this day, no one can exactly pinpoint the Silver Lab’s origin…
Some say they got a diluted coat because of a spontaneous gene mutation.
Others suspect it’s always been a hidden gene in Labradors.
#3: They look like a Weimaraner hybrid
Weimaraners and Labrador Retrievers look similar.
The former is like a slimmer version of the latter.
With that, some people mistake Weis for skinny Labradors.
Here, I challenge you to figure out which is the Wei and the Lab in this funny video:
That aside, the way these 2 breeds look alike fired up the controversy with Silver Labs.
Some people theorize that Silver Labradors are Weimaraner hybrids.
Moreover, among all the dog breeds…
Weimaraners are 1 of the only 2 canine breeds that carry a diluted gene (dd).
That’s why their colors only vary from:
With that, people use this logic to prove Silver Labs aren’t purebred.
You might also want to know: 9 Real Reasons Why Labradors Are The Worst Dogs
Why people are saying “no to Silver Labradors”
People are saying “no to Silver Labradors” because of their expensiveness amidst controversies.
Breeders who produce Silver Labs claim the canines are rare.
That’s why they charge so high for it.
And with the debates involving the purity of the dog’s breed…
Most people advise others not to buy Silver Labradors.
Even the chairman of the Labrador Retriever Club (LRC) issued a statement:
In the club’s opinion, there are only 3 colors of a Labrador Retriever. Which are listed in the AKC’s standards.
So, the LRC doesn’t recognize Silver Labradors as purebred.
And they warn potential dog parents:
Most Silver Lab breeders create an imaginary demand for these pooches.
They trick future Lab parents into thinking silver variants are pure and rare…
So, they charge a premium for the Silver Labradors.
However, there’s still no evidence for their claims of purity and rarity.