Whether we are talking about cars, boats, guns, sports teams, or dogs, everyone seems to have their own opinion about which one is the best. Sometimes the opinions are based on fact and other times they are based on nothing more than mere personal preference. While I’m no expert in all of these areas, I do happen to know a thing or two about Labrador retrievers. The question I will be addressing is one that I have been asked several times here lately. What exactly is the “deal” with silver Labradors? First off, it is important to note that as far as the American Kennel Club is concerned, there is no such thing as “silver” Labradors. However, before you start jumping to conclusions, they also do not recognize white, cream, or fox red Labradors.
When it comes to registering a Labrador with the AKC, you get three choices…. black, yellow, or chocolate. White, cream, and fox red colored Labs are generally registered as yellows and “silver Labradors” are registered as chocolate. So where exactly did the silver color come from and why is the texture of the coat sometimes different from other Labs? Well….that depends on who you ask or more importantly who you believe. I have read plenty of articles from the “experts” who state the silver color comes from a Weimaraner being introduced into the blood line years ago. Others say it is genetically recessive gene that although rare, when bred with other dogs that carry this same gene a silver is produced. Which one is 100% true? To be completely honest I would have to admit I’m not much of a canine genetics expert and I truly don’t know!
I have also heard that silver dogs are more prone to cancer and other disease. Is this true? Who knows for sure, but I can tell you that I have seen all colors and all breeds of dogs develop various diseases with no regard to the color of their skin. So right about now you might be thinking… “for this guy to be writing an article about silver Labs, he sure doesn’t know much!” Let me tell you what I do know with 100% certainty: I have trained thousands of Labs (and other breeds) in my career. I have trained British Labs, American Labs, chocolate, black, yellow, white, cream, fox red, silver, and even some cross bred labs like the Labradoodle. Here is what I have found to be true concerning the silver Labradors that I have trained.
Some of them are not very good, others are pretty good, and a few are great! In fact, I can say the same thing about every color dog I have ever trained! When it comes to great retrievers, there are so many more things to consider than just the color. If you are looking for a great duck hunting dog, then I recommend that whatever color you choose, be sure to check out the parents before making your purchase. Remember the old saying “the apple don’t fall far from the tree”. If the parents behave how you like and have the traits and trainability that you are searching for, then there are good odds their offspring will be similar…not an absolute certainty though. In conclusion, with the risk of being too cliche, I would say you can’t judge a dog by his color! By the way the gorgeous male silver Labrador in the photo has been easy to train, is eager to please, and is what I would consider a great dog!