It’s not often that a dog’s most praised feature is its trainability but this is without a doubt what best describes a Silver Lab. These dogs are naturally inclined to not only pay close attention to their owners but to also obey most of the commands they understand. This makes the Silver Lab fairly rare among dog breeds and perfectly explains why these dogs are so sought-after.
As you may have already heard, there is a bit of controversy about the dog’s pedigree and whatnot, but as far as physical health goes, the Silver Lab is a very healthy dog overall. Not just that but they are also uniquely gorgeous, more so than regular labs or pretty much any other dog in this category.
Now, the silver coat is indeed caused by two recessive genes that have only recently become an addition to the breed, genes that give the lab its unique color. Other than that, these dogs are fairly resilient and healthy, sharing many of the physiological and mental characteristics of most labs.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Silver Lab?
- Silver Labrador Personality & Temperament
- Caring For A Silver Lab
- Silver Lab Characteristics Table
What Is A Silver Lab?
First bred in the 1950s, Silver Labs were originally intended to be work dogs, which is why these dogs have such high energy levels. It is of no surprise then, that these dogs are used a lot as service animals and sniffer dogs.
You should know that Silver Labs are the center of a bit of controversy between breeders in regard to their exact origin and pedigree. To be more precise, there are some who argue that they are the result of outbreeding with Weimaraners, but these allegations have yet to gain substantial grounds.
One thing’s for certain, they are classified by the American Kennel Club as Chocolate Labs, and as such, their pedigree is formally recognized. Even so, the mere existence of the controversy is enough to ensure that Silver Labs cannot be used as show dogs in most competitions.
As the name would suggest, these dogs stand out through their silver coat, which is pretty much the only thing that makes them different than any other Labrador. Like most labs, the Silver Lab has floppy ears, a thick tail, a broad chest, and hindquarters.
These dogs also have short and dense coats of a brimming silver color. They actually draw their names from that along with the straight and hardy fur. Interestingly enough, these dogs have a double coat, thus you can expect them to shed quite a lot every spring and fall.
On occasion, Silver Labradors can also have blue eyes, which needless to say, is quite a sight to behold. Do not expect most pups to have blue eyes, however, because most of them have brown eyes like a big majority of labs regardless of type and breeding.
Height & Weight
You can expect a Silver Lab adult to grow up to 24 inches tall, with an average of around 21 inches in height. In this regard, males are usually taller than females, although it sometimes comes down to genetics, diet, and exercise.
The average weight for a Silver Lab is around 55 lbs, but some of these dogs can get as heavy as 80 lbs in some cases. As with the height, the males usually grow bigger than the females, but this also, unfortunately, means that they are more prone to being overweight.
Coat & Colors
You should know that most labradors have straight, dense, and hardy coats and that the Silver Lab is no different on that front. As we said, they have double coats that increase their overall shedding, a double coat that keeps them warm during the winter.
Needless to say, the coat color is silver, although it can vary every so slightly between silver, grey, and blue tones on rare occasions. This is the result of a happy mishap in their original breeding that caused their light brown coat to get diluted.
Silver Labrador Personality & Temperament
Like most labs, the Silver Labrador is a friendly, loving, playful, and clumsy dog that loves to make a fool of itself to please its owners. One should not mistake their jolly nature for actual foolishness, however, because labs are known to be quite intelligent by most standards.
It is common for labs to be playful and tolerant, to the point that they’ll allow you to do anything to them or place them in any awkward imposition just as long as they get to spend time with you. This, in many ways, is the trademark of a very good dog as I’m sure you’ll agree.
That said, a Silver Lab doesn’t like being left alone for too long. Doing so will most likely cause the dog to misbehave and even showcase signs of stress and depression over time. In other words, a Silver Lab needs to be engaged by the owners on a daily basis to maintain healthy and balanced behavior.
Silver Lab Behavior
It would be fair to warn anyone who’s thinking about getting a Silver Lab that these dogs eat anything and everything. This isn’t specific to Silver Labs, mind you, because most labs are like this. It is in fact because of their insatiable appetite that they so often get overweight.
They also showcase a tendency to scavage every time they find themselves outdoors. A good way to satiate their scavaging needs is to integrate such a practice in their regular playtime and/or exercise routine provided that you have the time and space for it.
Other than that, bear in mind that Silver Labs are not exactly vocal but have been known to get into barking fits whenever they are bored; which unfortunately happens quite often with labs. If you do manage to stimulate the dog’s entertainment needs, the barking shouldn’t really be an issue long-term.
Silver Lab Temperament
Much like most labs, the Silver Lab is a very tolerant and mellow dog by most accounts. They are great around people and especially children, which is definitely why so many people own labs, to begin with. Then again, it still comes down to the dog’s upbringing if it resorts to biting whenever challenged.
As we already pointed out, these dogs tend to get easily bored, so figure out a way to keep the dog entertained throughout the day. People sometimes make use of doggy daycare facilities for this purpose, and maybe you should consider the possibility yourself if you have one around where you live.
When properly socialized, they will tolerate most dogs, even the more annoying ones. As a matter of fact, they are some of the most mellow and tolerant dogs out there, the type of dogs that rarely get into a scuffle with irate dogs at the dog park.
Is A Silver Lab A Good Family Dog?
Considering the fact that they are labs first and foremost, definitely yes. You see, Silver Labs are just like other labradors in the sense that they are loving and loyal dogs. Due to how patient and mellow they are, they make perfect pets for families with small children.
To expand a little, keep in mind that labs are among the dogs with the fewest recorded bites on family members. So not only are these dogs tolerant and patient by default, but you can hardly go wrong with training them in regards to aggression and impulsivity.
Caring For A Silver Lab
If you’re gonna get yourself a Silver Lab you should, first of all, ensure that you have the means to look after one. Not to say that these dogs are high-maintenance in any meaningful way, but they do have needs and requirements that surpass those of other similarly sized dogs.
For the most part, the Silver Lab needs a fair amount of care that should involve at least an hour of exercise every day. Seeing how these dogs love to explore and scavage, try to take them out for walks in areas where they can discover something new each day.
It is also important to acknowledge that Silver Labs have basic grooming needs and that they are a lot easier to care for than other dogs. This includes brushing, worming, nail clipping, and flea treatments along with a substantial need for teeth brushing.
These highly energetic dogs require a fair amount of exercise on a daily basis so make sure that you can live with that before getting a pup. You should take a Silver Lab out for walks for about an hour each time, preferably about two times a day.
Now, seeing how these dogs love to explore and scavage, they are better suited for roaming through a backyard of sorts rather than staying inside an apartment all day long. Not to say that you should change your residence on account of the dog, but you should know that these dogs have a lot of energy and need a way to spend it.
Another thing to consider is that labradors, in general, are quite intelligent and that as such, they require constant stimulation. You simply cannot provide that for them if you keep them locked inside an apartment all day long.
Grooming & Shedding
Silver Labs have a double coat and shed twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. In other words, Silver Labs shed quite a lot compared to other dogs, so be prepared to deal with having hair around the house all the time.
If you get yourself a Silver Lab, you will need to brush the dog at least twice a week to maintain a healthy coat, or even more than twice once the heavy shedding starts. Either way, you will have to deal with a lot of hair whether you want it or not.
Other than that, the Silver Lab lab requires roughly the same grooming as other labs. In principle, you want to clip the nails from time to time, regular teeth brushing, and if you can, find the time to take the dog to a groomer.
Feeding & Diet
For the most part, you can feed a Silver Lab the same food you would feed any medium-size dog. This usually involves both dry or wet food depending on your dog’s appetite. Ration-wise, labs usually eat around 1.2 cups of dry food twice a day.
One thing to remember when buying food for your Silver Lab is to get food high in protein. In fact, about a quarter of the dog’s diet should consist of protein for a balanced diet. Do your best to avoid foods that contain dyes of any kind.
Also worth mentioning is that Silver Labs are prone to obesity like most labs, which means that you should refrain from giving them too many snacks. While you’re at it, avoid foods with rendered fats, corn, or wheat gluten.
Known Health Problems
Apart from the obesity we talked about, Silver Labs can also be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Some of these dogs will also suffer from eye problems and there doesn’t seem to be a universal cause for these issues to speak of.
Because of their silver coat, these dogs can also develop a condition called ‘color dilution alopecia‘ which is a rare form of alopecia. Although not fatal, it does cause the dog to lose its fur in patches when they’re young, which can be followed by hair follicle infections.
How To Train A Silver Lab
Quite intelligent, Silver Labs tend to enjoy their training sessions on account of their problem-solving skills. When training your dog, employ consistency and repetition as often as you can to ensure that the dog picks up on specific patterns.
Keep in mind that they also get bored easily and tend to ignore their training afterward. To avoid this, try to stimulate the dog’s inquisitive nature early on. You do that by keeping the dog occupied why teaching it valuable skills.
Try to employ the use of toys (preferably chewable) in your training routine. Seeing how labradors are friendly dogs, they are guaranteed to respond well to any attempt you make to engage them in a playful manner, which in turn, can help a lot with your training.
Silver Lab Characteristics Table
|Size||21 to 24 inches in height|
|Weight||55 – 80 lbs in weight|
|Lifespan||Between 10 to 14 years|
|Color||Silver, grey, blue|
|Coat||Double coat, medium length|
|Shedding & Grooming||Regular hair brushing, often during shedding periods|
|Temperament||Friendly, patient, and caring|
|With Other Pets||Great with other pets|
|People Skills||They love to be around people|
|With Children||Great with children of all ages|
|Exercise Needs||Twice a day for 60 minutes each time|
|Food||Either dry or wet food depending on the dog’s appetite|
|Known Health Problems||Obesity, eye problems, hip & elbow dysplasia|
All Things Considered
In many ways, Silver Labs are just like any other Labradors in that they enjoy being around people, they are very caring, patient, and guaranteed to love you back if you care for it. They are very friendly and have plenty of energy to spare, which makes them great for people who live an active lifestyle.
Because these are high-energy dogs, they require a lot of exercise on a daily basis, so be prepared to go out of your way to keep up with their needs if you want them to be healthy and happy. While you’re at it, try not to neglect the dog’s grooming needs.
All in all, the Silver Lab is a perfect dog for any family with children and/or other pets. These dogs are friendly, caring, loyal, and guaranteed to get along well with anyone that shows them any attention.