First of all let me say this. All dog owners of all dog types are welcome on this forum and I will not tolerate any bashing or harassing of members regarding dog types, colours or anything else.
That being said the topic of Silver Labrador Retrievers is a hot one and usually leads to closed threads and infighting. So here is a post originally posted by a member which provides some great information on the subject.
1. Where do silver Labradors come from?
Well that's an interesting question and although we will never know "for sure" we do have some facts in history and can thus form a very strong hypothesis. In the 70's two breeders in the midwest began breeding silver Labradors - Culo and Beavercreek. They somehow stumbled upon the color in a litter of hunting Labradors from chocolate lines. They assumed the color was a mutation and began to select for it and produce more puppies. They could not breed a silver to a random chocolate and get silvers - they only got all chocolates. So they had to breed close relatives that were known to produce silvers. They bred mother to son, father to daughter, full brothers and sisters and thus produced and sold silvers. Now there are so many with a silver background that this is not necessary. Here is a link to pedigrees from about 15 years ago:
So both Culo and Beavercreek lines can be traced directly back to Kellogg kennels which has been in existence since the 20's breeding hunting Labradors and many other retrievers and pointers and guess what? Yes Weimeraners. I know of one long timer who visited back in the 60's and said that puppies and dogs were running all over the farm and record keeping was not as strict as today so it would have been very easy for dogs to mix and breed. If a chocolate Labrador bred with a Weimeraner then her resulting all chocolate puppies would look like field type Labradors and would then be registered as Labradors. Another long timer remembers ads in Gun Dog magazine from the 50's advertising "gray Labradors" from Kellogg kennels.
2. Are silvers found all over the world?
No they are not. They are only found in the United States. Early members of the Labrador breed were exported from Newfoundland to England where the breed was cultivated and truly formed and then imported by the United States. Labradors are very popular in Europe and all over the world and they have never produced silvers. It is a fact that silver originated here in the states and is further evidence of the above hypothesis.
There has never been a silver produced anywhere except the U.S. and no show and no field breeder no already associated with silvers in the U.S. has produced one over the years either. Silver breeders lie about breeders killing them at birth or that some were mentioned by Mary Roslin- Williams who talks about "gray puppies" which are blacks with a very plush coat and NOT true silvers.
3. Are silvers mutated chocolates?
No they are not. Back in the 70's coat color genetics in dogs was not fully understood. The odd silver coloring was simply assumed as being a mutated chocolate. Now we know for fact (research done by Dr. Sheila Schmutz of the University of Saskachewan -http://homepage.usask.ca/~schmutz/dilutions.html) that the silver Labrador is nothing more than a diluted chocolate. "Dilution genes" are carried by all dogs but they are found in the dominant form in most breeds including the general population of Labradors. Only through selected breeding have some breeds come to have the dilution genes "turned on" and thus in the recessive form. Weimeraners always have two recessive copies - they are liver (chocolate) dogs that are diluted.
We know also now that the dilution genes can work on black and yes yellow as well. "Charcoal" Labradors are a darker slate gray and are simply blue dogs just like any other blue dog like a blue Chow Chow. A yellow diluted is a fawn/yellow color with a sheen to the coat - silver breeders call them "Platinum".
4. Why are they all fieldy looking or look like Weimeraners?
Well because they started from hunting stock and are perpetuated that way. Many of the pet bred Labradors I have seen also are houndy in appearance - long snipey muzzle, long houndy ears, lanky body, short thin coat, long curled tail. If they were gray they too would look like a Weimeraner.
5. Are they purebred?
Yes they are purebreds. Their parents and grandparents, etc are all AKC registered Labradors. They are a result of mixed breeding way back when but our dogs are as well - mine included yes. Mixed breeding in show Labradors occurred as late as the 40's and maybe 50's in Europe bringing in Flat Coats to improve coat and Rottwielers to give muscle and bulk.
6. Will AKC ever accept them?
No AKC does not change breed standards at all. They are simply a registering body and will accept anyone's money! The breed clubs set up standards and abide by them and they don't change standards that often and I have not known one standard that has included a previously disqualified color. Standards are steeped in history and breed enthusiasts want to keep it that way - why change what works? The Labrador standard calls for three colors and three colors only.
7. What's wrong with breeding silvers?
Well it's "wrong" to select for any disqualification in a breed. What's next different sizes of Labradors? Spotted Labradors? A Labrador is a Labrador because of the standard.
8. Why shouldn't someone purchase one?
The vast majority of silver breeders do not perform necessary health clearances (OFA hip AND elbow, CERF on eyes, heart exams) and they don't compete in anything to obtain an objective opinion on whether or not their dogs are breeding quality. They also charge a lot of money simply because of the color.
Any time someone breeds based on one quality (in this case color) they are not properly selecting breeding stock and not producing superior puppies.
9. Can I show my silver?
In conformation - no since they are disqualification.
10. Did UC Berkely or AKC run DNA tests on silver?
NO NO NO. This is a common LIE that some silver breeders boast. There was a Mark Davis at UC Berkely researching the dilution gene as part of his phD thesis but at no point did he conduct DNA mapping on silvers or "prove" they are purebred. AKC does not run "breed tests". They can keep on record a sequence of DNA from dogs to prove parentage only (sire and dam).
Back in 1987 the AKC and LRC visited Culo kennels and inspected his breeding records and instructed him to register the dogs as chocolate. Why? Because they thought they were small potatoes and would just go away. They dropped the ball big time in my opinion right then and there. What's done and is done and silvers are now here to stay.
But buyer beware the dilute coat is highly associated with allergies and other skin disorders (in any dilute breed not just Labradors) and many silvers have other health and behavior problems due to poor breeding practices. There are a few newer silver breeders that are running health screens on all their dogs and they are trying to breed in a "show type" look. If you really want a silver I would recommend finding one of them instead of the "run of the mill" silver breeder doing nothing but breed to sell puppies.
I thought I would include the link the parent club's statement on silver:
Silver Labradors - The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.
And below is the recent statement by the UKC sent out to those inquiring about the color:
Labrador Coloration and the United Kennel Club
Occasionally, topics arise regarding specific breeds and breed standards. We take these issues very seriously and make our decisions based on our interpretation of the information and research as it relates specifically to the UKC philosophy. Again, we understand, accept, and appreciate that there will not always be universal agreement with our decisions.
A current topic of interest among some exhibitors, breeders and judges is Labrador Retriever color. The UKC standard is clear. Any color or combination of colors other than yellow, black, or chocolate is a disqualification. UKC does not recognize any form of silver coloration as a variation of the chocolate color and UKC does not and has not knowingly accepted registrations for Labradors that have a silver coat coloring.
Because it is obviously logistically impossible for dog registries to personally examine each registered dog, dog shows and events have served for over a century as a venue for determining and reporting disqualifying faults. Accordingly, it is imperative that every judge that accepts a UKC assignment uses UKC breed standards to disqualify any and all dogs that have disqualifying faults listed in the UKC standards.
The established UKC process of marking disqualifying faults in the judge’s book serves as a report to the UKC offices for appropriate action. UKC also has proprietary internal methodologies in place to monitor and identify dogs being registered that have disqualifying faults. Unlike other registries, UKC reserves the right to remove any dog from the registry that is properly identified and reported to have disqualifying faults.
When participating in UKC events, exhibitors, breeders and judges must adhere to UKC breed standards and comply with all of UKC rules for registration and the events in which they participate. Each dog registry has its own set of breed standards, philosophies, and rules. Breeders and judges may choose the registries in which they participate by determining which breed standards and events best align with their individual ideals.
UKC understands, accepts, and appreciates that the world of dog events has options and choices and that each dog registry is unique. We hope that our exhibitors, breeders and judges continue to be actively involved in promoting UKC and its ideals so that we can all move toward the betterment of all of the dogs within our registry.
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