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Rare Silver Labradors Are Causing a Frenzy in Dog Media Circles: Can You Tell What You See?

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Yuliss has worked with sheltered dogs, training them to be adoptable to good homes. She has had her own dogs and now has 4 human children!

Rare Silver Labrador

This is a rare Silver Labrador.  Note the wide head, relaxed stance, full body type and grey-silver colored coat.

This is a rare Silver Labrador. Note the wide head, relaxed stance, full body type and grey-silver colored coat.

Weimaraner, Although Once Rare is More Common Now

Our Weimaraner Titan.  Note the rounded, slender head, alert stance, lean body type and taupe-colored coat.

Our Weimaraner Titan. Note the rounded, slender head, alert stance, lean body type and taupe-colored coat.

Silver Labradors blew up as the latest fad in spring this year. Although the Labrador breed has been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 1903, there have been reports of a "Silver" lab since as early as 1920, however, the AKC only recognizes the typical yellow, black and brown colors. There is documented evidence in 1920-1950 regarding the rarity of the silver or grey colored Labradors and that they were not seen as ideal for breed standard.

Rumors in Dog Media Circles

People are in a frenzy about this "new" style of Labrador. So let's look at some of the rumors - people need facts:

  • Silver Labs were bred with Weimaraners - Wrong! Although this is still a very active rumor, scientifically the evidence does not stand. Labradors are sporting dogs. They were bred to retrieve, to work by assisting fisherman. Labs are mild tempered, medium energy and more settled by nature. Weimaraners are also sporting dogs, but they were bred to hunt medium sized game, they are high energy, very active, and high strung. The two breed temperaments and purpose are very different. When 2 breeds are bred together it is to enhance specific favorable traits. These 2 different dogs have already been selectively bred for their specific favorable traits.

What really happened with the silver lab is recessive gene selection. You see, if you remember a little bit of high school biology, you may remember the different gene variations in the box. Various genes come together represented by an upper case letter and a lower case letter.

Simplified Genetics Table

"L" represents any other color of lab BUT SILVER, and let's say "s" (lower case "s") represents the silver, recessive gene. ( This is over simplified, so if you are a geneticist you can skip this part!)

Ls

LL

LS

ss

So 3 of these dogs according to genetic code could be traditional , yellow, brown or black coat. The "Ls", carries the recessive gene for silver but does not express it, or show it, because it is recessive or less dominant. "Ls" recessive gene plays a bigger role during reproduction. Where the recessive gene "s" has a chance to be passed down to the next generation and depending on the variation from the second parent , will determine which genetic code is more expressed. If both parents provide recessive genes for coat color "ss" which is rare, the puppy will have the silver coat. Anytime you have 2 recessive genes together, the viability is limited, therefore adding to the rarity before even being born.

What made you read this today?

Silver Labrador Rumors Regarding Eye Color and Purchasing Costs

  • Silver Labs have blue eyes - Silver labs and Weimaraner may typically have blue eyes as puppies. Also due to recessive genes. But usually this color changes as the dog matures, same as the eyes of human babies. Silver Labrador eye color usually becomes amber and Weimaraners usually get a variation of light amber, or green or blue.


  • Silver Labradors are being sold for 1000$+ and this is overpriced - Not necessarily, generally they sell for 1000-1200$, I would say this is a fair price. Especially amidst a global pandemic where dogs are in demand for comfort and companionship during loneliness. Large breed dogs are more expensive to buy simply - because you are getting more dog! Get to know the seller or breeder as long as they are reputable, it's fair.

Silver Labradors Being Sold as Impostors And Are Not Recognized By The AKC

  • Silver Labradors are being sold as impostors - It's possible. Unfortunately, anywhere there is opportunity, sometimes some people may take advantage. Silver labs may be sold at much higher prices due to their "rarity" or being pawned to buyers as other types of dogs altogether that are more expensive than labs. They may be pawned off as being a high quality show dog for high price. Know you bred, know your breeder. Research before you buy.


  • Silver Labradors are not recognized by the AKC - True! As of today, the silver coated Labrador is still under review for acceptance by the AKC, although the traditional coated labs have been recognized since 1903. To me, this really speaks to the sudden trend of this breed. Now that the public has decided this silver color is amazing, they are questioning why it is not accepted by the AKC. The AKC bases their standards on breed reputation, character traits, appearance and reproduciblity. It is challenging to trace these attributes in a breed that was not considered viable up until now.

What this means for potential new Silver Lab owners is that your lab can not compete in AKC dog shows at this time and can not be bred as a Silver Lab backed by AKC show breed standards. But you can have a Silver Lab as a family dog, as long as you are happy with pet-stock standards which many people are.

Spot The Difference: How Well Do You Know Lab Versus Weimar?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Which silver-coated dog has a broad, wide face?
    • Silver Labrador
    • Weimaraner
  2. Which silver-coated dog is a compulsive chewer?
    • Silver Labrador
    • Weimaraner
  3. Which silver-coated dog is also known as grey-ghost?
    • Silver Labrador
    • Weimaraner
  4. Which silver-coated dog is in the sporting breed category?
    • Silver Labrador
    • Weimaraner
    • Both
  5. This silver-coated dog loves water?
    • Silver Labrador
    • Weimaraner
    • Both
  6. Which silver coated dog was initially bred to help fisherman?
    • Silver Labrador
    • Weimaraner

Answer Key

  1. Silver Labrador
  2. Weimaraner
  3. Weimaraner
  4. Both
  5. Both
  6. Silver Labrador

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: You did okay, but if you are considering getting a Silver Labrador or Weimaraner for your family, please continue to research before deciding which dog is the best fit for you.

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: Good job! You are starting to notice fine details to determine which breed is which.

If you got 4 correct answers: Can not trick you! You spotted most of the differences between both breeds.

If you got 5 correct answers: You did great! You must have owned a Labrador or Weimaraner before?!

If you got 6 correct answers: You are an expert in spotting the differences between the Silver Labrador and the Weimaraner, if you are considering one or the other, I am confident that you will make the right choice!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Yuliss

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