What’s a Silver Labrador (TEMPERAMENT & EVERYTHING ELSE)

Since the Silver Lab is a variation of the beloved Labrador Retriever, the Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is just as sweet and lovable as any other Lab. Like most Labradors, the Silver Labrador is affectionate, loyal, joyful and energetic.

Photo of Silver Lab Sitting Min

The only thing different about this Lab is its unique and rare coat coloration. The Silver Labrador Retriever is a popular new designer Labrador. However, this new coloration is hotly debated. 

What Is a Silver Labrador Retriever?

Silver Labs are Labrador Retrievers with gray, silver coats and haunting grayish eyes.

Silver Labradors most likely developed from a recessive trait found in some Chocolate Labradors.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) registers them as Chocolate Labs.

However, there are many who believe that Silver Labradors are not true Labrador Retrievers at all. Instead, they believe that Silver Labs are a hybrid between a Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner.

Major breed clubs including the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. of USA and the National Labrador Breed Council of Australia have issued statements warning against the breeding and selling of Silver Labradors.

Frances O. Smith DVM, The Chair of the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. Genetics Committee wrote an article titled; “Buyer Beware! True Labrador Retrievers Are Black, Yellow, and Chocolate Only!”

This article will delve into the issues surrounding Silver Labs and also prepare you for what to expect if you own a Silver Labrador Retriever.

Silver Labrador Retriever Temperament: Are You Prepared For Silver Labrador Retriever Behaviors?

In this section, we will explore the most common Silver Labrador Retriever traits.

However, please note that not all Silver Labs will be identical to each other in terms of personality.

There will be differences between individual dogs.

Still, this list will give you a basic sense of what to expect from the Silver Labrador Retriever temperament.

Active Sporting Dogs

The Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is athletic and rugged.

Labrador Retrievers are part of the Sporting Group according to the AKC.

Sporting Dogs are bred to work in partnership with humans as hunting companions, pointers, flushers, and retrievers.

Therefore, these types of dogs thrive when they have a purpose or a job to do.

Silver Labrador Retrievers are very active dogs, especially when they are young.

They need an ample amount of daily exercise as well as mental enrichment.

If you leave an energetic lab pup home alone for hours on end, be prepared to come home to evidence of destructive behavior such as chewing or digging.

A young lab needs about an hour of vigorous exercise per day. If you are not able to provide that level of exercise, consider adopting an older Lab or Silver Lab mix.

Silver Labrador Retriever exercise can include activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, or romping at the dog park.

Doggie Daycare is another great way for Labradors to fulfill their daily exercise needs.

Attentive, Trainable

The Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is very trainable.

Labradors were bred to work in tandem with their human guardians out in the field.

Therefore, they are very attentive and eager to please.

They may not be quite as clever as some of the herding breeds such as the Border Collie or the Australian Shepherd, but they are still very smart.

They can be trained for all types of jobs including hunting, search and rescue, and police work.

Great Family Pets

The Silver Labrador Retriever temperament makes this breed an outstanding family pet.

Silver Labs tend to get along well with other animals and children, especially with proper socialization.

Of course, it is still advisable to supervise your Silver Labrador anytime he or she interacts with kids or other animals.

Inquisitive: Can Get Into Mischief

The Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is very curious.

Photo of Silver Lab Lying Min

These dogs are notorious for getting into mischief when left alone.

Crate training is highly recommended, especially for puppies and young labs.

Labradors are especially obsessed with finding food! Labs love to eat. Do not leave food accessible on countertops and make sure your trash can has a dog-proof lid.

Joyful, Goofy, Fun

One of the most beloved components of the Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is the joyful nature of this breed.

Labs are happy, silly, fun-loving dogs. They enjoy romping in the snow and swimming in the summertime.

Silver Labs love to play! They are especially fond of playing fetch with tennis balls for hours on end.

If you add a Lab to your home, your home will soon be filled with laughter!

Silver Labrador History: The Origin of the Silver Lab

Labrador Retrievers originated in Newfoundland, Canada.

They were bred to work alongside hunters and fishermen as water retrievers.

Their popularity began to soar in the 1800s as specimens spread to Europe and America.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Labrador Retriever breed in 1903. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1917.

Today, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States according to AKC registrations. The Lab has held the highest-ranking since 1991.

The American Kennel Club recognizes three color varieties: black, yellow and chocolate.

The Silver Coat Coloration

The silver coloration first appeared within the last few decades and has caused great controversy within the Labrador community. It is not recognized as a distinct coloration. Instead, Silver Labrador Retrievers are registered as Chocolate Labs by the AKC.

The silver color has become incredibly popular and desired because it is attractive and rare. Consumers are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for a silver lab puppy.

The Problem with Breeding for “Looks”

This is where the controversy comes into play.

Respected, responsible breeders discourage the practice of breeding specifically for a physical attribute.

They argue that a good breeder should always prioritize health, function, temperament, and the improvement of the breed.

When breeders are breeding solely for appearance, health and temperament are inevitably compromised.

Silver Labrador Retriever Size and Appearance

The Silver Lab has the same general appearance as any other Labrador, other than the color. They are the same size and shape as other Labs.

For example, the Silver Labrador Retriever weight range is between 55 and 80 lbs.

Likewise, the Silver Labrador Retriever height range is between 21 and 24 inches at the withers.

These measurements are the same for all coat colorations.

Silver Labrador Retriever colors are described as gray or silver. They have gray noses, nails, and gray pads on the paws of their feet.

The gray color occurs as the result of breeding two dogs that each carry a recessive gene for dilute coloration.

Silver Labrador Retriever Training

Similar to other Labradors, the Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is highly trainable.

In fact, Labrador Retrievers are trained to do many important jobs including drug detection, search and rescue, and therapy work. They are also commonly used as service dogs for people with disabilities.

There is no doubt that this is a very trainable dog.

However, like all dogs, training a Silver Lab takes patience, effort, and consistency.

A great way to start off is by signing up for a puppy socialization class or a beginner’s obedience class with a positive reinforcement trainer.

Make sure you find a trainer that uses modern, positive, force-free training methods.

Avoid trainers that use old school training techniques such as physical corrections or “dominance” theory. There is no need to use painful training devices such as shock collars, pinch collars or choke chains.

Instead, find a trainer that uses reward-based training. This type of training is more effective and more enjoyable for you and your pet.

Once you have mastered basic commands, you can look into more advanced activities such as canine sports. Silver Labs can excel at sports including flyball, dock jumping, water retrieving, agility, tracking, nosework, Frisbee and much more!

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Silver Labrador Retriever Grooming and Shedding

The Silver Labrador Retriever has a coat that is easy to maintain at home.

You will need to brush and bathe your Silver Labrador on a regular basis. However, professional grooming should not be necessary.

Labradors are moderate shedders, so be prepared for some dog fur in your house.

Are Silver Labrador Retrievers Hypoallergenic?

Labrador Retrievers (of all color varieties) are NOT hypoallergenic.

If you are looking for a breed that is hypoallergenic, check out this article for some possibilities.

Staying Healthy: Silver Labrador Retriever Health Issues

Before you bring home a Silver Labrador (or any breed) speak with your vet about possible health concerns.

Silver Labrador Retrievers are prone to certain genetic conditions, and your vet can give you an idea about what to expect in terms of care and financial cost.

For example, be on the watch for signs of the following conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Exercise-Induced Collapse
  • Heart Issues
  • Eye Disorders
  • Allergies
  • Cancer

Dogs that have dilute coats are also more prone to a coat condition called Color Dilution Alopecia.

To help keep your Silver Labrador as healthy as possible, bring him for a checkup with a veterinarian at least once per year.

Also, make sure that you keep him up to date on parasite prevention such as flea/tick control and heartworm protection at all times. Speak with your vet about the best products to purchase for your pet.

Spaying and neutering are highly encouraged to avoid adding to the existing pet overpopulation crisis. The simple procedure also has some health and behavior benefits.

Feed your Silver Lab a high-quality diet. Avoid filler ingredients such as corn or animal by-products. Your vet can advise you on the best nutrition for your Silver Labrador.

Silver Labrador Retriever Lifespan

With good care and nutrition, the Silver Labrador Retriever life expectancy is generally between 10 and 12 years.

Silver Labrador Retriever Rescue and Adoption

If you think the Silver Labrador Retriever temperament is right for you, it is time to look into options for bringing home your new pet.

Why Adoption?

Adoption is a great way to add a new pet to your family.

There are lots of Labradors of all ages and colors looking for loving homes.

When you adopt, the Silver Labrador Retriever cost will be drastically lower than the price from a breeder.

Adopting an adult dog is a great choice for families that do not have the time to train a young puppy or do not want to go through the destructive chewing stage!

Where to Find a Silver Labrador Retriever for Adoption?

Visit your local animal shelter or humane society to put an application on file. Labradors are fairly common in American animal shelters, so it should not take long for you to get a call.

You can also contact rescue groups that specialize in Labrador Retrievers. There are many such organizations around the country.

Most states have their own Labrador Rescue. Here is a link for a directory of Labrador Rescue groups.

You can find even more adoptable Labradors online through websites such as Facebook, Petfinder, Adoptapet, and Getyourpet.com, just to name a few.

Finding a Silver Labrador Retriever for Sale from a Reputable Breeder

If you decide to purchase a Silver Labrador Retriever puppy from a breeder, use care to make sure that you find a responsible breeder.

To avoid puppy mills and backyard breeders, never purchase Silver Labrador Retriever puppies over the internet or through a pet store.

Always make sure to visit a potential breeder in person.

Contact the National Labrador Retriever Club for references to recommended breeders in your area.

How much does a Silver Labrador Retriever cost?

If you purchase a puppy from a breeder, the Silver Lab price tag is pretty high.

The average cost for a Silver Labrador Retriever puppy is between $1000 and $1500.

If you find one for adoption, the cost will be lower. Typical adoption fees are between $100 and $300 depending on the organization. The adoption fee usually covers some basic vetting such as vaccines and spay/neuter.

Conclusion: Why the Silver Labrador Retriever?

The Silver Labrador Retriever temperament has all of the beloved qualities of a black, yellow or chocolate Lab.

The only major difference is the controversial coat coloration.

Do your research and talk with professionals to learn more about the pros and cons of owning a Silver Labrador Retriever.