The Issue of the Silver Labrador
Frances O Smith, DVM, PhD Chair, Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. Genetics Committee
“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.
Over the past few years a limited number of breeders have advertised and sold dogs they represent to be purebred Labrador Retrievers with a dilute or gray coat color—hence the term “silver labs.” The AKC has accepted some of these “silver labs” for registration. Apparently, the rationale for this decision is that the silver coat color is a shade of chocolate. Interestingly, the original breeders of “silver” Labradors were also involved in the Weimaraner breed.
Although we cannot conclusively prove that the silver Labrador is a product of crossbreeding the Weimaraner to a Labrador, there is good evidence in scientific literature indicating that the Labrador has never been identified as carrying the dilute gene dd. The Weimaraner is the only known breed in which the universality of dd is a characteristic.
Recognized coat colors for purebred Labradors are black, yellow and chocolate. No shadings of coat color are recognized for black or chocolate Labradors in either the Labrador Standard or the current research into genetic coat colors. The shadings recognized in yellow Labrador Retrievers do not depend on the presence of the dilute gene dd, but are modifiers acting on the ee gene. ”
The Canadian Kennel Club only registers Labrador Retrievers as follows: black, yellow and chocolate. From the standard: “Wholly black, yellow or chocolate. Small white spot on chest permissible.Yellows range from light cream to fox red with variations in the shading on ears, under parts, hocks and down the back. Chocolate range from light sedge to dark chocolate.”
The Canadian Kennel Club cannot control how someone describes and markets a colour to the pet buying public, but the actual registration papers will show the dog as officially being chocolate. Example: sold as silver, registration papers list ‘chocolate’. The Labrador Retriever Club of Canada Inc, has been advised by the Right Honourable Minister of Agriculture Mr. Gerry Ritz, PC, MP that we should be enhancing our By-Laws to include DNA colour testing prior to the CKC granting registration. This is order to weed out non official colour breeding and what we believe to be not actual purebred ‘pure’ Labrador Retrievers. The LRCC, Inc is currently amending their By-Laws.