Silver Labradors are a rare color variant of the famous Labrador retriever breeds. These rare colored variants are extremely active and intelligent dogs that have caused a lot of controversies in the labrador community.
These Labrador color variants can be used for a whole variety of activities; sniffer dogs, gun dogs, service animals, obedience dogs, and many more.
They are also amazing pets, great retrievers, and good swimmers. Also ideal for families, especially ones with active children as they like to play and run around all day.
The history of Silver Labradors is a very complicated and controversial one. A group of people claims they are not pure breeds but a mix of Labradors and Weimaraners. Of course, there’s the other party that believes them to be pure breeds whose coat colors are a result of dilute chocolate-colored Labrador’s genes.
Anyway, the Silver lab was reported to have first appeared in the 1950s in the United States of America. Culo Silver Labs were one of the earliest kennels to produce this new silver color.
The controversies about their coat color is still going strong because some believe that the color comes from the Weimaraner breeds.
Although, there are a number of theories that can enlighten us about the appearance of this new color in a pure breed of long-established dogs. The two suggested theories are:
1. Spontaneous mutation; it is not rare or uncommon for genes to mutate. A quite plausible explanation for the presence of diluted genes in a pure breed is that perhaps over time, a spontaneous mutation of the chocolate-colored Labradors genes occurred to produce silver labs.
2. Hidden genes; The theory that rare genes can remain hidden for a long time isn’t new to scientists. This explanation is probably the most valid in comparison to the spontaneous mutation theory.
The silver color genes must have been dominated by the chocolate color genes and as such were hidden for all those years. Its appearance was not until dogs that contained hidden silver genes mated together and their offspring then inherited two copies of the silver color genes.
However, the silver lab is not recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) so they are registered as chocolate-colored Labradors.
Appearance And Size
Like their name, Silver Labradors have silver colored coats although their coat can vary between grey, blue and silver tones. They have broad skulls, hindquarters and chests with thick tails and floppy ears just like other Labradors.
Their coats are straight, dense, short, and hardy. They are also double coated which helps keep them warm in cold weather and also insulate them when in water.
On some occasions, they may have blue colored eyes but it is extremely rare and very beautiful. A silver lab may also have white patches around its muzzle, the tip of its ears, and underbellies.
Just like every other breed, the females are slightly smaller than the males. The females measure about 21.5 to 24.5 inches in height and around 55 to 70 pounds in weight while the males weigh about 65 to 80 pounds and measure anywhere between 22.5 to 25 inches tall.
Silver labs are heavy shedders, especially during the spring and fall seasons. It is essential to brush their coats daily during these seasons. During other seasons where they don’t shed as much, brushing twice a week is advised to keep their coat healthy.
They also need regular nail clipping to prevent their nails from growing too long. Brush your dog’s teeth every day with dental chews or finger toothbrushes to avoid dental problems. Other good practices are regular worming and flea treatments.
Since Silver Labradors love to swim frequently, they may be prone to ear infections so it is advisable to keep their ears clean and free of ear wax at all times.
Investing in quality shedding brushes and vacuum cleaners will definitely be beneficial if you own a silver lab. It is also important to take your pooch to a professional groomer as often as required.
Silver Labradors are friendly, playful, and intelligent dogs that love to interact with people and their environment. They can be pretty funny and silly.
They are generally not vocal dogs but are known to bark when they are extremely bored. When left with nothing to do, they can become quite mischievous and destructive in a bid to entertain themselves.
The silver lab does not like being alone for long periods of time but prefers to be around people. They are also not very particular about the person they get to spend time with as they are generally loving towards everyone. You don’t have to worry about them in doggy daycare as they love being around other dogs.
They are great with children, other animals, and people once well socialized as a pup. Silver labs are generally big eaters like other Labradors, so food or other edible things should be kept well out of their reach.
Generally, Labradors are quite healthy dogs and Silver Labradors are not left out from this quality. However, due to their unusual coat color, they may be prone to some skin diseases and infections.
They have a long lifespan as they live for about 10 to 14 years. Health-wise, they are not very different from other Labradors as they suffer from the same health issues as other colored Labradors.
Some of their known health problems are:
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that causes abnormal formation of their hip and elbow socket. Its severe form can cause arthritis and lameness of the joints.
Color dilution Alopecia is a specific type of alopecia that may not be fatal but causes their fur to fall out in patches when they are young. It could also cause them to have reoccurring infections in their hair follicles.
Patellar luxation is a condition that causes their kneecaps to move out of their normal position. It causes their knees to shorten rather than extending. Thankfully this condition can be treated successfully through surgery.
Some other health issues they may suffer from are eye problems, obesity, cancer, hair thinning, hair loss, flaking and itchy skin.
Training And Exercise
Silver Labradors are highly intelligent dog breeds and so their trainability level is very high. They are also very energetic and active dogs that require lots of exercises, especially if you want to watch their weight.
They need about an hour of walking preferably in two sessions, and time outside to run, play and explore new places. A silver lab also needs some swimming time though supervision is necessary during this activity.
They respond best to reward or treat based training. Since they love eating food, rewards will make them obediently do whatever you asked of them.
Owing to their intelligence, they can also be taught to run errands, pick stuff up and even use the latrine.
It is advisable to avoid using averse methods like smacking, punishment, scolding, or yanking on their leash to train them. These methods usually create exacerbated behavioral problems in dogs.
Food And Diet
Silver Labradors are medium-sized dogs and will need to be fed about one and a quarter cups of high-quality dry food. It is always preferable to divide this into two or three meals. Their meal can also be mixed with high-quality wet food to form a healthy and balanced diet which will add lots of nutrition to your dog’s diet.
It is important to note that Silver Labs lack the POMC genes that tell dogs when they are full so they will always continue eating as long as you keep giving them food. In order to prevent bloating or obesity, it is important to measure the food given to them at all times.
During dog food shopping, it is essential to check the food ingredients for beneficial ingredients so that they can be as healthy as possible. Their food should contain as high as 25% of protein.
Foods that contain dyes or coloring, wheat gluten, corn, and rendered fats should be avoided entirely. Snacks containing lots of sugar should be avoided.
Should You Get A Silver Lab?
There are different reasons that’ll make you consider a Silver Lab and some of them are:
1. The unique color of their coat is one of the major attractions of these dogs. Their coat color is extremely rare and if properly taken care of, gives off a shiny silvery appearance.
2. Their rare colored blue eyes, though rare, makes them very adorable and cute creatures.
3. They are energetic and active companions, whether you have kids or not. Their intelligence and high trainability also make them extremely useful around the house.
4. They are very sociable and empathetic. Silver Labs are not fussy about change and can adapt to any surrounding or weather just fine. Fortunately, they are also not very vocal dogs so you don’t have to worry about noises.
Buying A Silver Lab
Silver Labradors are extremely rare and as such can be really pricey. It is best to buy them from registered breeders as other unregistered breeders may use quack methods or sell fake dog breeds to you.
Silver Labs costs anywhere between $1000 to $1200 depending on their sizes and other physical appearances like a blue colored eye.
Silver Labradors are energetic and active dog breeds that are packed with beauty and uniqueness. They are not quite suitable to apartment life as they love to run around and play in the open.
These adorable creatures are also great pets as they are very considerate, loving, and affectionate towards everyone.
They are also highly intelligent and can be stimulated both mentally and physically during games, exercises, and training. Silver Labs are healthy dogs that do not have critical health issues compared to other breeds.
As part of the labrador breed, they are ranked number one in the list of the most popular dog breeds in the United States of America because of their charming character and personality.