Facts about "Silver" Labradors
The official standard for each breed, and any revision thereof, originates with an AKC parent club, the national organization devoted to a particular breed. The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. is the parent club for the Labrador and will never recognize this color and HOTLRC stands with the LRC parent club. In an article posted in the Labrador Retriever Club News, Francis O Smith DVM PhD states:
“It is the opinion of the LRC that a silver Labrador is not a purebred Labrador . The pet owning public is being duped into believing that these animals are desirable, purebred, and rare and therefore warrant special notoriety or a premium purchase price.”
"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." — Labrador Retriever Club
Regardless of how silver Labs are obtained, something perspective buyers must be warned about when considering purchasing a silver Labrador are health issues. When dogs are purposely bred with coat color in mind, it is easy to forget about other vital factors such as behavior and health.
One issue common in certain dog breeds with diluted coat colors is a condition known as color dilution alopecia (CDA). This condition has a genetic basis and is commonly found in blue Great Danes, blue Yorkshire Terriers,and blue Doberman Pinschers. Silver Labrador retrievers are now added to the list. Also known as blue balding syndrome, color dilution alopecia is a skin condition known for causing hair loss. Indeed, alopecia is a medical term for hair loss. This condition arises because of a hereditary structural defect causing an abnormal distribution of melatonin in the dog's hair shafts.
Affected dogs develop hair loss over the diluted colored areas often starting at the topline and then spreading to the back. The coat may appear as dry and scaly and there may be several pustules. Puppies are not born with this condition, in other words, they are born with a normal haircoat. Therefore, they may not show signs right away; however, signs may show up later on once the puppies have left the breeder's home and are settling in their new homes with their new families. Generally, this condition is noticed between 6 months and 3 years of age. This skin condition does not typically cause any itching, but occasionally, opportunistic secondary pyoderma may set in and cause itching if widespread, explains veterinary dermatologist Dr. Michele Rosenbaum.
On top of skin problems, the National Labrador Retriever Breed Council of Australia warns about silver Labs and discusses high risks for inherited structural and health defects including neurological disorders, thyroid problems and joint problems deriving from the practice of breeders in failing to test their breeding stock.
No reputable breeder will breed for 'fad' colors. Please be sure you are only purchasing a Labrador in Black, Yellow or Chocolate.