Explore the World of Silver Labs: The Rare and Beautiful Variant of Labrador Retrievers

Fall in Love with Silver Labs: A Stunning Variation of the Labrador Retriever

Silver Labs are becoming increasingly popular in North America. But as their popularity has grown, so has the drama, with many people saying that Silver Labs are mixes of Weimaraner and Lab.
So, what’s the truth about Silver Labs? Are they crossed with Weimaraners, or are they a rare color of Labrador Retriever?

Table of Contents

A Quick Lesson In Genetics

If you took high school biology, you may remember doing Punnett Squares to determine what genetic traits would be possible from pairing different types of pea plants using alleles. Offspring inherit one allele from each parent, so the alleles carried by the parents will affect what alleles the offspring carry.

When it comes to coat color in Labrador Retrievers, there are two important gene pairs to consider: the B and E genes, which determine the presence of black or brown pigment respectively, and their recessive counterparts, b and e. A Lab inherits one gene pair of each coat type from each parent. If a Lab has two recessive e alleles (ee), it will have a yellow coat. Chocolate Labs can result from either the homozygous recessive genotype (bb ee) or the heterozygous genotype (Bb ee). However, if a Lab is homozygous recessive for both the B and E genes (bb ee), it will have a chocolate coat.

Understand The Genetics Of Silver Labradors

Silver Labradors are a coat color variation of the Labrador Retriever breed. Unlike traditional yellow, black or chocolate Labradors, silver Labradors have a distinctive silver or gray coat. The genetics of silver Labradors is a subject of some controversy and debate within the dog breeding community, but it is generally believed to be the result of a dilution gene that affects the expression of the black coat color.

In order to understand the genetics of silver Labradors, it is helpful to have some basic knowledge of how coat color is inherited in dogs. Coat color is determined by a number of different genes, and each gene can have multiple variants, or alleles, that determine the specific trait that is expressed. In the case of Labradors, there are two main genes that control coat color: the B gene, which determines whether the coat is black or brown, and the E gene, which controls the distribution of pigment throughout the coat.

The silver coat color in Labradors is thought to be caused by a variant of the dilution gene, which is located on a different gene locus altogether than the B and E genes. This dilution gene causes a reduction in the amount of pigment that is produced by the melanin-producing cells in the skin and hair follicles. As a result, the black pigment in the coat of a silver Labrador is diluted to a gray or silver color.

The genetics of silver Labradors can be represented using Punnett squares, which are a visual tool for predicting the probability of offspring inheriting certain traits based on the genotypes of their parents. In the case of silver Labradors, the dilution gene is thought to be recessive, meaning that both parents must carry at least one copy of the variant allele in order for their offspring to express the silver coat color.

To create a Punnett square for a silver Labrador breeding, you would start by writing the genotypes of the parent dogs along the top and left-hand sides of the square. For example, let’s say that we are breeding a black Labrador that carries one copy of the dilution gene (BbDd) with a silver Labrador that is homozygous for the dilution gene (bbDD). The Punnett square for this breeding would look like this:


In this Punnett square, each box represents a possible genotype that could result from the breeding. The letters along the top and left-hand sides of the square represent the alleles that each parent carries for the B, D, and E genes. The resulting offspring would inherit one allele from each parent, and their genotype would be determined by the combination of these alleles.

In this example, we can see that there are four possible genotypes that could result from this breeding: BBDD (black), BbDD (black carrying the dilution gene), BBDd (black carrying one copy of the dilution gene and one copy of the brown gene), and BbDd (silver carrying one copy of the dilution gene and one copy of the brown gene). The probability of each genotype can be determined by counting the number of boxes that contain each combination of alleles.

Overall, understanding the genetics of silver Labradors can be a complex subject, but Punnett squares can be a helpful tool for predicting the likelihood of offspring inheriting certain traits based on the genotypes of their parents. It is important for breeders to have a solid understanding of genetics in order to make informed decisions about which dogs to breed and which traits to prioritize in their breeding programs.

DBBDD (black)BbDD (black carrying dilution)
dBBDd (black carrying dilution and brown)BbDd (silver carrying dilution and brown)

Each box in the table represents a possible offspring genotype resulting from the breeding between a black Labrador carrying one copy of the dilution gene (BbDd) and a silver Labrador homozygous for the dilution gene (bbDD). The probability of each genotype can be calculated by counting the number of boxes that contain each combination of alleles.

In this example, there is a 25% chance of producing a black Labrador that does not carry the dilution gene (BBDD), a 25% chance of producing a black Labrador that carries the dilution gene (BbDD), a 25% chance of producing a black Labrador that carries both the dilution and brown genes (BBDd), and a 25% chance of producing a silver Labrador that carries both the dilution and brown genes (BbDd).

Where Did The Dilution Gene Come From?

There was little to no mention of Silver Labs before the 1950s when Kellogg Kennels advertised a litter of “rare grey Labradors” in a gun dog magazine. So, where did the dilution gene to create Silver Labs come from?

There are a few different possibilities, including:

  • The dilution gene was in the Labrador gene pool all along, but off-color Labs were either culled or not mentioned anywhere.
  • A spontaneous genetic mutation could have added the dilution gene.
  • Weimaraners may have been bred with Labradors, either intentionally or unintentionally, and the offspring were deliberately bred to retain the dilution gene.

Since all Silver Labs seem to have originated from 2 kennels whose lines both trace back to Kellogg kennels, who also advertised “rare pointing labs,” it seems likely that Kellogg kennels introduced Weimaraners into the bloodlines of their Labrador Retrievers at some point.

So, Are Silver Labs Purebred?

Are Silver Labs Purebred

Generally, yes. There is no proof of whether silver labs were created by cross-breeding or not.
Silver Labs have a rare diluted Labrador gene. They might have inherited it from their parents. That means the Silver Labradors are purebred Labrador dogs.
If they did, one could say that the Silver Labrador is not different from any other purebred Labradors because it has the same genes.
No one had questions about what a silver lab was before the 1950s when Kellogg Kennels advertised a litter of “rare grey Labradors” in a gun dog magazine.

Silver Labs can be registered with the American Kennel Club as Chocolate Labs if they have proof of 3 generations of purebred Lab breeding.

With that being said, unscrupulous breeders could very well be breeding Weimaraners with Labs to produce “Silver Labs” without buying a pair of likely-expensive purebred Silver Labs.

While Silver Labs can be registered with the AKC, they are considered an undesirable color and can’t be shown.

The AKC only recognizes black, chocolate, and yellow as official colors, not the dilute forms of those colors.

Silver Labs Facts & Controversy

Silver Labs have been a topic of both fascination and controversy in the dog breeding world. While some people are drawn to their unique, silver-colored coat, others question their legitimacy as a purebred Labrador Retriever. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes them as a variation of the breed, but controversy arises when it comes to their breeding. Some breeders claim to have produced silver Labs through natural means, while others are accused of crossing Labradors with Weimaraners to create the silver color. Despite the controversy, Silver Labs continue to grow in popularity due to their stunning appearance and affectionate personality.

Weimaraner Silver Lab

Weimaraner Silver Lab
Weimaraner Silver Lab

A Weimaraner Silver Lab is not a recognized breed of dog. It is possible that someone may have crossbred a Weimaraner and a Silver Labrador Retriever to produce a dog that has characteristics of both breeds. However, it is important to note that intentional crossbreeding should always be done with care and consideration for the health and welfare of the animals involved. It is recommended to thoroughly research both breeds and speak with a reputable breeder or veterinarian before deciding to crossbreed.

Silver Lab Vs Weimaraner

Silver Labs and Weimaraners are both popular dog breeds that have similar features, such as their sleek and athletic build and their intelligence. However, there are some key differences between these two breeds, which we’ll explore below:

  1. Size and Weight: Weimaraners are larger than Silver Labs. On average, a Weimaraner stands 23-27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 55-90 pounds, while a Silver Lab is typically 21.5-24.5 inches tall and weighs between 55-80 pounds.
  2. Coat: Silver Labs have a short, dense, and shiny coat that is typically silver or gray in color, whereas Weimaraners have a short, sleek coat that is either solid silver-gray or blue-gray. Weimaraners’ coats tend to be coarser and longer than Silver Labs.
  3. Temperament: Weimaraners are known for their high energy and need for exercise, and can be stubborn and independent at times. They are also known to be good guard dogs. Silver Labs, on the other hand, are known for their friendly and outgoing temperament, and are more adaptable to different environments and lifestyles.
  4. Trainability: Both breeds are intelligent and eager to please their owners, but Silver Labs tend to be easier to train than Weimaraners, who can be more strong-willed and require consistent and firm training.
  5. Health: Weimaraners are prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, bloat, and skin allergies, while Silver Labs may be predisposed to genetic disorders such as exercise-induced collapse and progressive retinal atrophy.
  6. Purpose: Weimaraners were originally bred for hunting, specifically for tracking and retrieving game. Silver Labs were bred for companionship and as retrievers, and are often used for hunting as well.

Are Silver Labs inbred?

Inbreeding likely would have been required to perpetuate the silver color many generations ago, but there are now seven distinct bloodlines of Silver Labs, so breeding mothers to sons and fathers to daughters is no longer necessary and would be avoided by reputable breeders.


Silver Labs Dog

Silver Labs are just like any other Labrador, except they have a different color. Many say that their color is a brownish color. Others say their color is shiny and silver. Silver Labs can be all different shades of their colors depending on what parents they have and which genes they get from them. They also tend to have brown noses and light-yellow eyes before they are eight months old, but after this time period, their eyes turn light blue or pale yellow.

The male Silver Lab is 22.5-24.5 inches tall and weighs 65-80 pounds. Females are 21.5-23.5 inches tall and weigh 55-70 pounds. They have a cheerful expression, a strong muzzle, and a powerful neck, as well as an otter tail that is long and thick, which they use to steer themselves in the water.

Silver Labrador Temperament

The Silver Labrador is a friendly and sociable dog with a sweet and playful temperament. They are known for their loyalty and high energy levels, making them a great companion for active families or individuals. Here are some more details on the Silver Labrador temperament:

  1. Playful and Energetic: Silver Labs are known for their high energy levels and playful personalities. They love to run, play fetch, and enjoy any activity that involves being outdoors. They have a lot of stamina and require plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
  2. Loyal and Loving: Silver Labs are very loyal dogs and form strong bonds with their owners. They are affectionate and enjoy being around people. They are great with children and make excellent family pets.
  3. Good with Other Dogs: Silver Labs are generally good with other dogs, but like any breed, they may require socialization to ensure they get along well with others. With proper training and socialization, they can be a great addition to a multi-dog household.
  4. Prone to Playful Biting: Silver Labs can be a little prone to nipping or playful biting, especially when they are young. They may require some patience and consistent training to overcome this behavior.
  5. Puppy-Like Behavior: Silver Labs tend to maintain their puppy-like behavior well into adolescence, which means they can be bouncy and active as teenagers. They require plenty of exercise, training, and patience to help them mature into well-behaved adult dogs.

With proper care and attention, Silver Labs can be a wonderful addition to any family.

Silver Lab Puppies – Buying Guide

Silver Lab Puppies

If you’re looking to buy a Silver Lab puppy, we want you to be prepared.

Silver Labs are frequently more expensive than other purebred Labs. That’s because the breeders are putting a premium on the rare silver color. If you desperately want a Silver Lab, you will likely have to pay extra.

There are many breeders who are only interested in money rather than the health and longevity of their dogs.

You must do a lot of research to find a reputable breeder. Insist on seeing the parent dogs, ask for pedigree information for the parent dogs, and try to find a breeder that does health testing to ensure you aren’t buying a puppy from a line of dogs prone to a genetic problem like hip dysplasia.

You’ll also want to visit the kennel where you plan to purchase your puppy from so you can verify that there aren’t any Weimaraners hanging around.

All breeds of Labs are well known for being intelligent and well-behaved pets, with some well-structured dog training and a healthy puppy schedule you will be surprised by how calm and well-mannered this breed can be with a small effort on your part.

Now you know the truth about Silver Labs! The next time somebody tries to tell you that Silver Labs are just Weimaraner mixes, you can tell them the truth.

Caring for Your Silver Lab: Nutrition, Exercise, Grooming, and Healthcare

Silver Labs have a life expectancy

Silver Labs have a life expectancy of 10-14 years, with an average of 12.5 years, making them a great addition to any family seeking a unique, eager-to-please companion. They are known for their friendly, gentle personalities and ability to bond with multiple family members, as well as their patience and compatibility with children and other pets. Socialization from an early age is crucial to ensure they enjoy interacting with the whole family.

Proper care of your Silver Lab involves providing them with good nutrition, exercise, grooming, and healthcare. To ensure a healthy and happy pup, you should follow these tips:

  • Nutrition: Feed your Silver Lab a high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs, according to their age, size, and activity level. Avoid overfeeding them as they are prone to obesity.
  • Exercise: Give your Silver Lab at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily, which can include activities such as walking, running, playing fetch, and swimming.
  • Grooming: Brush your Silver Lab regularly to remove loose hair and prevent matting of their short, dense coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. They need occasional baths, and their ears should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections.
  • Healthcare: Regular veterinary check-ups are important to keep your Silver Lab healthy. Ensure that they receive all necessary vaccinations and preventative medications, such as flea and tick prevention. It is also essential to spay or neuter them to avoid unwanted litters and reduce the risk of certain health issues.
  • Training and socialization: Silver Labs are intelligent and eager to please, so positive reinforcement training methods work well with them. Socialize them from a young age to make them comfortable around people and other animals.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Silver Lab enjoys a long, healthy life as a beloved member of your family.

Silver Lab Health Issues

Silver Labs are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 10-14 years. However, like all dog breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. Here are some common health issues that Silver Labs may be at risk for:

  1. Color dilution alopecia (CDA): This condition is caused by a diluted coat color gene, which affects the hair follicles and can cause hair loss and skin problems. Silver Labs may be more prone to CDA than other Labrador colors.
  2. Ear infections: Silver Labs have floppy ears that can trap moisture and debris, which can lead to ear infections. It’s important to clean their ears regularly and keep them dry.
  3. Diabetes: Like all dogs, Silver Labs can develop diabetes, a condition where the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels properly. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lethargy.
  4. Hereditary myopathy: This is a muscle disease that can cause weakness, stiffness, and exercise intolerance. It is caused by a genetic mutation and can be diagnosed with a DNA test.
  5. Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat, this is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow. Large, deep-chested breeds like Silver Labs are more prone to GDV.
  6. Elbow and hip dysplasia: These are common joint problems that can cause pain and mobility issues. They are caused by an abnormal formation of the elbow or hip joint and can be diagnosed with X-rays.
  7. Exercise-induced collapse (EIC): This is a genetic condition that can cause a Silver Lab to collapse during or after intense exercise. It is caused by a mutation in the DNM1 gene and can be diagnosed with a DNA test.

Regular vet check-ups, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help prevent many of these health issues. It’s also important to work with a reputable breeder who screens their dogs for genetic health problems.


How much is a silver Lab?

Silver Labs are generally more expensive than other Labrador colors due to their rarity and limited availability. The price of a Silver Lab puppy can vary depending on various factors, such as the breeder’s reputation, the puppy’s pedigree, and the location. On average, a Silver Lab puppy can cost anywhere from $800 to $1500 from a reputable breeder.

It is essential to be cautious of breeders who sell Silver Labs at significantly lower prices, as they may not have proper breeding practices or provide appropriate care for the puppies. A responsible breeder will conduct health tests on the parents to ensure they are not carrying any genetic health issues that could be passed onto the puppies.

For those interested in adopting a Silver Lab, there are rescue organizations that specialize in Labrador Retrievers of all ages and coat colors. Adopting a Silver Lab from a rescue can be a more affordable option, and you also provide a loving home to a dog in need.

Are Silver Labs Good Family Dogs?

Yes, Silver Labs are known to be great family dogs. They have friendly and gentle personalities, are patient with children, and get along well with other pets when socialized from a young age. They are also very loyal and enjoy being around their human family. Additionally, they are active and love to play, which can make them great companions for families who enjoy outdoor activities. Overall, Silver Labs can be a wonderful addition to a family.

How Big Do Silver Labs Get?

Silver Labs, like other Labrador Retrievers, are medium to large-sized dogs. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standards, male Labs should stand 22.5 to 24.5 inches (57 to 62 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 65 to 80 pounds (29 to 36 kg). Female Labs, on the other hand, should stand 21.5 to 23.5 inches (55 to 60 cm) and weigh 55 to 70 pounds (25 to 32 kg).

However, it’s important to note that there can be some variation in size and weight within the breed, and individual dogs may be larger or smaller than these averages. Proper nutrition, exercise, and healthcare can also influence a Silver Lab’s growth and development.

Are Silver Labs Rare?

Silver Labs are relatively rare compared to other Labrador Retriever colors, such as black, yellow, and chocolate. This is because the silver color is not a recognized color by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is considered a disqualification in the show ring. However, silver Labs do exist and are still considered purebred Labrador Retrievers. The silver coloration is the result of a dilution gene that affects the pigmentation of the coat. While they may be rarer and more expensive than other Lab colors, they still make great pets and are loved by many owners.

Do Silver Labs Shed Bad?

Silver Labs have a short, dense coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. They shed more heavily during shedding seasons, which usually occur twice a year, in the spring and fall. However, with regular brushing, you can control the shedding and keep it to a minimum. It’s important to note that no dog breed is completely non-shedding, so if you have allergies or cannot tolerate any shedding, a Silver Lab may not be the best choice for you.

Do Silver Labs Shed Less Than Other Labs?

No, silver Labs do not shed less than other Labs. They have a short, dense coat that sheds moderately throughout the year, so regular brushing is required to control shedding. However, shedding can also depend on individual factors such as the dog’s diet and overall health. It’s important to note that no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic and all dogs will shed to some extent.

Are Silver Labs 100% Lab?

There has been much debate about the authenticity of Silver Labs and whether they are truly purebred Labradors. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has conducted full panel DNA testing on Silver Labs and concluded that they are indeed purebred Labradors. The only difference is that they carry a recessive dd gene, which gives them their distinctive silver coat color.

It’s important to note that the silver color is not recognized by the AKC as an acceptable color for show Labradors. However, this does not mean that Silver Labs are not purebred or cannot make great pets. They have the same friendly and affectionate temperament as other Labradors and are great with children and other pets.

In conclusion, Silver Labs are 100% Labrador Retrievers with a recessive dd gene that gives them their unique silver coat color. While they may not be recognized by the AKC for show purposes, they are still purebred Labradors and make wonderful family pets.

Do Silver Labs Smell?

All dogs have a natural odor, but with proper grooming and care, the odor can be minimized. Silver Labs, like all Labradors, have a short, dense coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and reduce shedding. Regular bathing, every 6-8 weeks, can also help to keep your Silver Lab clean and smelling fresh. It’s also important to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry to prevent infections, which can cause unpleasant odors. Overall, with proper care and hygiene, there’s no reason why a Silver Lab should have an unpleasant smell.

Do Silver Labs Eyes Stay Blue?

Silver Lab puppies are born with bright blue eyes that captivate their owners’ hearts. However, as they grow older, their eye color will change and darken. While their eyes won’t usually turn as dark as the eyes of other Labradors, they will eventually darken to a yellow-brown shade or even green.

This eye color change is a natural occurrence in most dog breeds, including Silver Labs, and is due to the amount of melanin produced in their irises. As they age, the melanin production increases, causing their eye color to darken.

Owners of Silver Labs should not be concerned if their pup’s eyes change color. It is a normal and expected process as they grow and mature. However, it is always important to keep an eye on your dog’s eyes and contact a veterinarian if you notice any sudden or abnormal changes in their appearance or behavior.

Overall, while Silver Labs may not keep their bright blue eyes forever, their loyal and loving personalities will continue to shine through and make them a beloved member of any family.

Do Silver Labs Bark A Lot?

Like most dog breeds, silver Labs can bark, but they are not known for excessive barking. They are generally considered to be moderate barkers and will bark to alert their owners of potential danger or strangers. However, if a silver Lab is left alone for long periods of time or not given enough exercise and mental stimulation, they may bark more than usual out of boredom or frustration. It’s important to provide silver Labs with enough exercise and attention to keep them mentally and physically healthy, which can help reduce excessive barking. Proper training and socialization can also play a role in controlling a silver Lab’s barking tendencies.

Do Silver Labs Have Anxiety?

Like all dogs, Silver Labs can experience anxiety, which can be triggered by various factors such as separation from their owner, loud noises, new environments, or experiences. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Silver Labs are more prone to anxiety than any other breed of dog.

As with any dog, early socialization, proper training, and a loving environment can help reduce anxiety in Silver Labs. It is also important to provide them with plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep their minds and bodies active and prevent boredom, which can contribute to anxiety.

If you have concerns about your Silver Lab’s behavior, including anxiety, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer who can offer advice and guidance on how to help your dog feel more comfortable and confident.

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Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with more than a decade of experience who is also passionate about working with cats and birds. Besides contributing pet content to The petdogplanet.com, she's a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes on writing and remote animal behavior consulting in addition to classes on how to deal with aggressive dogs and problems with litter boxes. In 2016, she got her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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  1. You just used 2000 words to say they might be a mix and ended with “now you know the truth”. 3 gens of registered parents don’t mean the 5 or 8th weren’t the mix. Also, this same breeder came up with the “pointing lab”. Coincidence?

    1. Are you stalking websites? Nothing you said is relevant to the true purpose of the article. I don’t own a silver lab so no bias here. I was just curious about them. Are you one of those breeders who are stuck in closed register breeding? One day that kind of breeding will bite someone in the butt at the dog’s expense.

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