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  • Writer's pictureJordin @ NLL

Say NO to Silver Labradors

The Labrador Retriever Club (LRC) has stated that they do not recognize silver Labradors as purebred dogs.

“It is the opinion of the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., the AKC parent club for the breed, that a silver Labrador is not a purebred Labrador retriever. The pet owning public is being duped into believing that animals with this dilute coat color are desirable, purebred and rare and, therefore, warrant special notoriety or a premium purchase price.” - LRC

Silver Labradors are advertised as carrying a dilute gene referred to as gene dd. Breeders of silver Labs will claim that the dd gene is naturally occurring in labs and is the result of a dilute chocolate coloured coat. Coincidentally, the first silver Labs ever produced arose from kennels also involved in the Weimaraner breed. Although conclusive evidence is not available to prove that silver is not a naturally occurring gene in Labradors, historical scientific literature has never indicated the Labrador as having the dilute gene. The Weimaraner is the only known breed with the dd characteristic.

The Canadian Kennel Club indicates the standards for Labrador Retrievers and states permissible colours as:

“Wholly black, yellow, or chocolate. Small white spot-on chest permissible. Yellows range from light cream to fox red with variations in the shadings on ears, under parts, hocks, and down the back. Chocolates range from light to dark chocolate. Any other colour, combination of colours or diluted colour is a disqualification.”

Traditionally, silver Labradors were registered with CKC as chocolate in colour. As of 2022, the CKC now requires all silver Labradors to be registered as a “non-recognized” colour.

So, what’s the issue with silver Labradors?

Silver Labradors are being marketed by unethical breeders as “rare” to warrant a higher price tag. The issue with charging more for certain colours is that it encourages the breeder to continue producing that colour for financial gain. This often results in higher rates of line breeding (inbreeding) and reduces the genetic pool. Whenever the genetic pool is reduced, there is a higher risk for genetic diseases. Further, because silver is not a recognized colour by any reputable kennel club, they cannot be shown in sanctioned confirmation events. This means they have not obtained an objective opinion rendering them worthy of reproducing. Moreover, the vast majority of silver breeders do not perform important health testing such as OFA hips, elbows, eyes, and heart exams. The result are extremely expensive, poorly bred mutts with untitled parents that lack appropriate health testing.

Common red flags for silver breeders (or any breeder):

  • Silvers are priced higher than other colours.

  • Parents do not have FULL health testing (hips, elbows, eyes, heart, genetic panel). An Embark or Pawprint genetic panel is NOT enough. You should be able to look up the dog’s results on the OFA website.

  • Parents are not titled in any discipline. Canine Good Neighbor tests and Trick titles are not sufficient to render a dog worthy of breeding. They are beneficial titles to add onto a conformation, field, or hunt title, but should not stand alone.

  • Breeders should welcome site visits. If a breeder does not allow you to meet the parents or puppies before you take the puppy home, that is a red flag for a puppy mill.

Protect the Labrador Retriever and say NO to silver, charcoal, and champagne breeders.

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