|Information About The
Dilute Colored Labradors
Silver, Charcoal & Champagne Labradors catch A LOT of attention!! They are considered
to be very unusual, extremely beautiful, and not very common when it comes to their
color. These Labradors have raised a lot of controversy among breeders of Labradors
and other breeds. While I am not a genetic specialist, nor do I know a lot about genetics,
this is what I have learned about 'how' you get a Lab to turn out Silver, Charcoal or
When a Labrador who carries the dilution gene (dd), also called being Silver-factored, is
bred with another Labrador who also carries the dilution gene (dd), puppies can be
produced in the litter that are either carriers of the dilution gene (dd), are not carriers of
the dilution gene (dd), or who are what is called a Dilute color, being Silver, Charcoal, and
Champagne. To put it in the simplest of terms, it's a 'gene thing'. I will be honest and tell
you up front that I do not understand genetics nor do I really want to. What I do know is
that the genetic make-up of both parents is what determines what the puppies will turn
out like and provides the possibilities for the different colors. It works the same in
animals as it does in humans. Our genetic make-up is what makes us who we are and
what we look like.
There is much negative talk going on about the Dilute colored Labradors, but be assured
that these dogs are as pure to the breed as the more common Black, Chocolate, and
Yellow Labradors. When it comes to registering a Dilute colored Labrador with AKC, UKC,
ACA, etc. they will be registered according to their 'foundation' genetic coloring being
either Black (Charcoals), Chocolate (Silvers), or Yellow (Champagnes). For example,
Silver Labradors are actually a Chocolate Labrador wearing a Light Silver coat due to the
fact that they have the dilution gene in their genetic make-up. Very similar to a
Red-headed baby that has Red hair yet neither parent has Red hair. If you look back at
the Grandparents (and sometimes further back), you find that is where the gene came
from for Red hair and it was carried by the babies parent, and has shown itself in the
babies hair coloring. My husband and I have 4 boys. He and I both have Dark Brown hair
and Brown eyes. We had 2 boys born with VERY Blond (nearly White) hair and Blue
eyes. With the 1st son born with these colors, I thought the hospital had switched my
baby with another and then, 2 1/2 years later, we had another one, the very same
features, Blond with Blue eyes. Our oldest and our youngest sons both have Brown hair
and Brown eyes. Once I looked at the Grandparents on both sides, it most definitely
showed itself as to where they boys got their coloring. It just so happened they got it
from both my Grandparents and their Dad's Grandparents.
Labrador Breeders have been accused of cross-breeding Chocolate Labradors with the
Weimaraner breed to achieve the Silver color which is completely untrue. I'm not sure
how their story explains the coloring of the Charcoals and Champagnes, but this is the
accusation for the Silver Labradors. Non-Silver breeders have been known to say that
this color comes from interbreeding which is also untrue. For example, when we first
started our kennel, we started with a Silver-factored Black (Jack) and a Silver-factored
Chocolate (Reesee). Together, they produced Silver, Charcoal, Silver-factored Black,
Silver-factored Chocolate. We did not even have a Silver or Charcoal Lab in our kennel,
much less a Weimaraner, yet produced both the Silver and Charcoal colors due to their
genetic make-up. Jack's mother was Black and his Father was Light Silver.
Silver Labs have been said to have been 'advertised' since the 1950's (I word it like this
because I have never personally seen any of these advertisements) and have also
appeared in other countries (especially the United Kingdom) before making their
appearance in the U.S.
The first U.S. kennel found to be breeding and producing Silver Labradors was
investigated thoroughly by the AKC. The AKC verified that the bloodlines of the Silver
Labradors born and bred by this kennel were in fact a pure Labrador Retriever, and the
breeder in question was not in any way connected to any other breed of dogs
(specifically the Weimaraner) in his kennel.
In fact, he put up some of his own money, thousands of dollars, for anyone willing to
prove that he was wrong when it came to how he achieved producing the Silver Labrador
and to this day all of his money is still in his pocket.
Personally, I don't think a Labrador can come in an unattractive and unique color. All of
the colors of this breed are amazing just as is the breed itself. While I do have these less
common colors in my Labrador family and absolutely love breeding and experimenting in
the area of coloring. I am most concerned with the temperament, build, health history, and
quality of the breed. This comes into play way before the coat color. This breed is not
called "America's #1 Breed" for no reason, and to breed only for a color is ethically wrong
as a responsible breeder. Just as some breeders and owners of Labradors love the
Black, Chocolate, or Yellow colors of the Labrador, I fell in love with the Silver color and
since producing the Charcoal color, have fallen for it just as much. They are beautiful
colors as you can see by looking at my dogs....not meaning to brag. *grin*
Q> Are Silver Charcoal, or Champagne Labradors like the traditional colored Labradors in behavioral traits?
A> Aside from their coat color, there is no difference in temperament, hunting abilities, health or other attributes between Dilute colored
Labradors v/s any other coat color in a Labrador.
Q> How are Silver, Charcoal, & Champagne Labradors registered with AKC?
A> Until 1987, AKC issued registration papers which listed Silver as a Labrador's registered color on both AKC registration certificates
and AKC color charts. AKC has since changed the Silver color to "A Shade Of Chocolate", "Diluted Chocolate", and this is still the
established policy of AKC. The same is true for Charcoal Labradors, being considered a "Smoky Black", and therefore being registered
as a Black Labrador. The Champagne color is registered as Yellow just as the White and Fox Red.
Q> Why are some breeders claiming there is no such thing as a Silver, Charcoal or Champagne Labrador?
A> Breeders of Black and Yellow Labradors saw their market share fall through the floor when Chocolate Labradors became popular in
the Labrador marketplace. These same breeders opposed the recognition of Chocolate Labradors by AKC for decades. These same
breeders claim their resentment is based on breeding ethics. Aside from the presence of a genetic combination which produces Silver,
Charcoal, and Champagne coats, these Labradors have the same genetic makeup as Labradors that do not carry the dd gene. Some
of these ethical breeders have openly admitted to killing these dilute colored puppies to protect the breed standards. In reality, the
puppies they kill have the same genetic makeup as the Blacks, Yellows, and Chocolates they allow to survive.
Q> How long have Silver Labradors been around?
A> Some K-9 geneticists speculate the Gray chromosome is in all K-9 species descendant from wolves. Labradors were originally the
product of several breeds of hunting dogs, contain a large percentage of Newfoundland breeding in their genetic background, and the
production of Gray Newfoundland pups is not uncommon in the Newfoundland breed. Literature on Labradors mentions the occasional
Gray puppy since people first began writing about Labradors. The problem was there was never a large enough gene pool of other
Grays to replicate the color. With the growth of Chocolate Labradors over recent years, the Labrador's gene pool now allows the
replication of Silver as does the Charcoal. The Champagne are still much less common than the Silver and Charcoal.
Q> What is a Charcoal Labrador?
A> Charcoal Labradors are a very interesting aspect of the "Great Silver Labrador Debate". Genetically speaking, Charcoal Labradors
are Silver-factored Black Labradors. In appearance, Charcoal Labradors look like Black Labradors yet are lighter in color, smoky, and
have a shimmer to their coat that is very characteristic of dilute colored Labradors, and for many decades Charcoal Labradors were
commonly referred to as "Smoky Blacks" by breeders. Charcoal Labradors can occur randomly in any Black Labrador/Labrador
breeding. They can also be intentionally produced by breeding a Silver-factored Black Labrador with a Silver Labrador. The existence
of Charcoal Labradors is a genetic aspect of Silver Labradors which proves the Silver genetics have been in Labrador lines for many
decades, if not centuries. If you research old books about Labrador Retrievers, you come across authors who refer to "Labrador
puppies being born Gray, and then turning Black as adults." This is exactly what happens when a Charcoal Labrador pup is born. For
the first few days the Charcoal puppies look darker Gray than the Light Silvers do, then turn "Smoky Black" as adults. Their coloring
doesn't change as much as their coat texture does and creates the Charcoal appearance in the coat. They stay Charcoal. They never
turn completely or purely Black. Clearly, these old books and their authors were referring to what is now called Charcoal Labradors.
Had any of these authors taken the time to breed a Smoky Black to another Smoky Black, the "Great Silver Labrador Debate" would
today not be plagued with the people/breeders who maintain the Silver genes have been introduced into the Labrador Retriever lines by
"Unscrupulous breeders" by mixing them with the Weimaraner. You don't have to understand genetics to know you can't mix breeds
and only get a color. You WILL get other characteristics as well. AKC records the DNA of breeding males and they too would have had
many flags thrown years ago if this was indeed the case.
Just for fun, I looked up Labrador/Weimaraner mixes on Google....not very attractive and definitely not what you find when looking
for a Silver, Charcoal, or Champagne Labrador to join your family. Feel free to make up your own mind though.
|You can visit any search engine and look at the pages and pages of photos of these mixes. That is what I did and that is where these
pictures have come from. Even someone with no knowledge of genetics knows the basics that you can't breed 2 different breeds
together and only get the color passed on to the puppies. Those puppies will get other characteristics as well such as a large White
crest on the chest, buggy eyes, excessively long ears, tall and stringy appearance, a whip-like tail instead of an otter tail and more.
Other than this, AKC requests that breeding males be DNA'd as they record by parentage. IF an outside breed were present, it would
have been caught years ago. It's never been proven that the Silver or Charcoal Labs are the result of mixing breeds.