Interesting Facts You Need to Know About the Silver Lab Retrievers

Silver Lab: Everything You Need to Know About The Silver Labrador Retriever

Silver Lab
cmcclave, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Silver Labrador: At a Glance

Labradors are a famous breed of dogs. They are intelligent, affectionate, and make great family dogs. They are famous for their yellow or chocolate-brown colored coat. But do you know you can find one in silver as well? Yes, that’s right. The Silver Lab dog is a retriever Labrador which scientists believe is an outcome of toned-down genes.  

Origin and History

Silver Lab dogs first came into the spotlight in the U.S. around the 1980s. The first kennel to produce a silver Labrador retriever was Crist Culo Kennels. A breeder named Dean Crist was the first one to produce silver lab puppies. Unfortunately, the Silver Labs are still not accepted as purebred dogs.

For instance, the American Kennel Club accepts the breed to register but would require the owner to register it in chocolate color. To back up their claims, they state that the Silver Lab is an altered type of chocolate-colored Labradors. The UK Kennel Club also doesn’t accept the Silver Labs as purebreds. They would register the Silver Lab as an uncategorized breed.

Physical Characteristics of a Silver Lab

The physical appearance of the Silver Lab is the same as other Labradors—except that they differ in color. Silver Lab, as the name implies, has a silver or toned-down brown color coat. Their eye color can be described as pale yellow, and their noses are brown. They have floppy ears with a broad skull and chest, and the coat is dense and short. The Silver Labs have a double coat, which makes them shed a lot.    

The Silver Lab adults weigh around 55 – 80 lbs. The females, however, are a tad bit smaller than the male dog. These Labradors are around 21 – 24 inches tall.

Silver Lab Personality

The personality of the Silver Labs can be best described as loyal and sociable. They are friendly towards children and love to please their masters. They love to be an active part of the family games and would enjoy splashing in the pool.

The Silver Lab is considered a highly intelligent and easily trainable breed. They are highly active dogs and require an extensive amount of physical training and exercise—preferably 60 minutes of physical activity every day. However, going for an hour-long walk wouldn’t serve the purpose.

They need high-intensity activities to release their pent-up energy. You can take them with you on a jog, play fetch with them, and do other interactive games. They also love water, so swimming can be another activity your Silver Lab will love engaging in. Because of their intelligence, they make excellent guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, and help in drug detection.

Grooming

Do silver labs shed? This is a commonly asked question by people interested in adopting a silver Labrador. The Silver Labs have a double coat, so they shed moderately throughout the year but heavily in the spring and fall.

You would need to brush their coats once or twice a week. Additionally, you will be required to bathe them once every month or in six weeks to keep their coat clean and smell fresh. If your dog suffers from Color Dilution Alopecia, you can ask your vet to prescribe special ointments or shampoos for him.    

Are Silver Labs Hypoallergenic?

Although Silver Labs shed moderately through much of the year, they do not fall in the category of hypoallergenic breeds. In fact, the entire Labrador breed is not considered hypoallergenic. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog, Silver Labs might not be a good option for you.

How Much Does a Silver Lab Cost?

The Silver Labs are a rare breed hence expensive. They are not bred frequently, which makes it difficult to find a Silver Lab from a reputable breeder. Buying a silver lab puppy can cost you about $1200 to $1500. As their gene pool is small, responsible breeders would not invest in making their female Lab produce more than four litters.

Pros and Cons of Having a Silver Lab

There are various advantages of owning a Silver Labrador Retriever, but you may also go through some difficulties in keeping one as a pet. Below, we will discuss the potential pros and cons of keeping a silver lab dog as a pet.

Pros
They are very energetic and active dogs, popular for their intelligence. Thus, you will be able to train them quickly. If you have a fast-paced lifestyle, then this dog is ideal for you.

Cons
The Silver Lab is not recognized officially by kennel clubs; you may not be able to enter your dog pal in registered hunting or competitions. Or you will have to register them as chocolate-colored Labrador, which may make it less desirable among people.
These dogs are costlier than other Labradors.
Due to their diluted color gene, they are at a high risk of developing Color Dilution Alopecia.

Silver Lab Health Issues

Silver Labs are known to go through the same health issues as other Labradors. Some common health issues include hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also prone to getting eye infections. Hip and elbow dysplasia occurs when a Labrador’s hip or elbow joints do not develop normally. If this abnormality in their joints is caught early on, it can be treated with the help of physical therapy and medication. Otherwise, your Lab may need corrective surgery.  So, if you are getting yourself a puppy, you should get his elbows, hips, and eyes checked beforehand.

As Silver Labs have a diluted color gene, they are at risk of developing a skin condition called Color Dilution Alopecia. It is a genetic disorder, which causes flaky and itchy skin along with hair loss. This can make their fur fall out in patches and may cause the hair follicles to get infected repeatedly. Due to their recessive gene, their hair may not grow back.

Additionally, the Labradors tend to become overweight, so it is better to keep an eye on their diet.

What to Feed Your Silver Lab?

It is important to feed your Silver Lab with healthy and nutritious food because they are very active and need a good amount of exercise. Daily, they need 1650 – 2400 calories of a high-quality and protein-rich diet. As they are known to be potential weight gainers, it is important to keep their diet in check.

How Much Exercise Does a Silver Lab Need?

As we have already discussed, the Silver Labs are highly active, and they require an hour-long exercise every day. But they also get bored easily, so you need to keep their exercise or training sessions short. With the help of small food treats, you can easily train them the basic commands like sit, stand, stay, go. Just be careful about the number of treats, so they don’t consume empty calories.

Silver Labs Around Children

This breed is famous for its affectionate and friendly nature. The Silver Labs make an ideal family dog and are very loving towards the children. Children above five years would perfectly match with the energy level of a Silver Lab. But the dog may like to play more with the older kids. Additionally, aged Silver Labs are calmer around toddlers.

Silver Lab Life Span

The life expectancy of the Silver Lab is lower than other Labrador breeds. Unfortunately, they have a life span of 10 – 12 years.

A Quick Summary Table

Silver Lab Characteristics

Height21 – 24 inches tall
Weight55 – 80 lbs
ColorSilver or toned down chocolate brown
CoatMedium length, dense, and double coat
Life Expectancy10 – 12 years
SheddingShed moderately throughout the year but shed more in the spring and fall
TemperamentThey are very playful, loyal, and affectionate dogs
SocializationFriendly towards other people, other pets, and also other dogs.
IntelligencePopular for their intelligence
Activity LevelsThey are very active and need approximately one hour of high-intensity exercise to release their pent-up energy and stay healthy

If you want to bring home a four-legged furry fellow, a Silver Lab can be the best choice for you—if you’re not prone to pet allergies. They are affectionate, loyal, and make good family dogs. Although they are expensive, Silver Labs are still worth every penny, and you will know why when you adopt one.

If you cannot afford to buy it from a reputable breeder, look for adopting one from a dog shelter. This way, you will save money, as well as a precious dog’s life.

Apart from some skin-related health issues due to their diluted genes, Silver Labs are overall healthy dogs. You wouldn’t need to worry much about their health and wellbeing. To match their activity level, however, you need to feed them healthy and nutritious food. They need around 1600 – 2400 calories in a day.

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