Even those people who are more cat people than dog people know how to recognize a Labrador when they see one.
However, one version of this classic and beloved dog breed, the Silver Labrador, is far less well known and understood than the more classical black, brown and golden versions of the breed.
In many ways, it’s a shame – Silver Labs are every inch the friendly, intelligent and faithful friends their more colorful cousins can be.
Likewise, they are often misunderstood as a new breed of Lab, but that’s not really true – Silver Labs have been around longer than you might think!
The distinctive color of these dogs comes from their genetic makeup.
Originally, Silver Labs were seen quite scornfully by many breeders, because this fur color has come from a ‘dilution’ of genes over lots of generations of the dog.
However, nowadays you are far more likely to find people seeking Silver Labs out specifically, and they are known to be just like regular Labradors insofar as they are relatively easy to train and happy to adapt to different family structures.
So for example, while some breeds of dog would respond with jealousy and misbehaving when a new baby is born into the family, for example – because the pet is worried that they are no longer the cutest thing in the house! – a Silver Lab will be a protector and nurturing influence.
Likewise, people who are very stressed or who suffer from anxiety and depression are often recommended breeds such as the Silver Lab to help them overcome their feelings of apathy and malaise.
These dogs can help to soothe bad emotions and prove a constant companion to those who are lonely or lacking in confidence.
However, because they are such naturally upbeat and smart dogs, Silver Labs can also prove loyal through even the most trying of life’s circumstances.
With big hearts and big appetites, Silver Labs need to feel as though they are a valued and beloved member of the family to be at their best.
They are often long-lived and active well into their elder years, so those dog owners for whom an active lifestyle is the norm are going to be a good fit.
Silver Labs also make memorable friends to kids as they grow up, and your children are sure to make many happy memories growing alongside such a pet.
However, understanding that every dog is an individual is just as important as understanding the guidance and recommendations put forth in our article today.
And with that in mind, let’s explore some more specific tips on how to look after a Silver Lab dog.
Silver Lab Puppies – Before You Buy…
As you probably already know, any time you buy a puppy, you are buying a lifetime with a new animal friend.
Silver Labs are loyal and loving, so they will count on you and those around you to reciprocate their affection and support well beyond their cuter, smaller years.
Silver Labs are much smaller as puppies than they are when fully grown, so be sure to consider if your household can support a medium-sized dog as well as it does a puppy.
These are active animals who need lots of room to move about – they don’t like feeling cooped up.
By and large, common sense and experience in owning dogs can really help here – but the distinctive quirks of Silver Labs overall can mean that there are a few pointers it’s smart to keep in mind also.
What price are Silver Lab puppies?
Silver Labs, like many breeds of dogs whose popularity has increased in recent years, are accused by many dog experts of being overpriced in lots of circles.
However, shopping smart and working with decent dog breeders can improve your chances of getting a Silver Lab pup at a reasonable price, but not in a way that sacrifices the health and wellbeing of the animal.
With that in mind, you can expect to pay between $800 and $1600 for a Silver Lab puppy.
How to find reputable Silver Lab breeders?
Finding a reputable Silver Lab breeder, as with any dog breeder, is largely done by looking into background checks and internet reviews in the early stages.
From there, another good tip is to see if the breeder offers for you to come and meet the puppies personally.
If you are going solely off photographs and the promise of a pup being dropped off at your home, there’s more room for foul play and white lies to enter the discussion.
By contrast, seeing the puppies in person means the breeder has nothing to hide from you – and you can likewise use your intelligence to distinguish if the puppies are happy, healthy and being looked after.
You might be able to check on the health of the mother dog too, which is another good barometer.
3 Little-Known Facts About Silver Lab Puppies
Silver Lab dogs are very distinctive, and that’s as true of their history and quirks as it is their physical appearance.
These are dogs who have sometimes been seen as ‘just’ a result of diluted genetics, but nowadays are far more likely to be seen as fantastic pooches in their own right, with plenty of personality to match.
Here are a few ways in which Silver Labs really stand apart!
- They’re also known as Silver English Labradors
Silver Labs mostly began emerging in North America in the early 20th Century – reports go as far back as the 1920s and beyond.
However, those English nobles who visited Canada and areas like Boston and New England met and fell in love with Silver Labs, and often brought the puppies back to England with them to raise as family pets and hunting companions.
For this reason, the name of Silver English Lab arose over time, and the breed still has keen senses for hunting and scavenging even today.
- Silver Labs have surprisingly resilient stomachs
Dogs are much more sensitive to what they can and can’t eat than we sometimes give them credit for.
It’s become so normal to hand a few offcuts or table scraps to Fido that we forget just how different their digestive needs are.
However, Silver Labs have rock solid digestive systems that seem to take a fair bit more punishment than other more sensitive breeds. Coupled with their big appetites, this makes a lot of sense.
That doesn’t mean you necessarily should hand over toxic food for dogs, like onions or chocolate, to your Silver Lab.
But you can at least rest assured that if he or she scoffs some down accidentally, it’s unlikely to be an emergency!
- The debate is ongoing as to whether Silver Labs are a pedigree breed
Nobody is entirely sure if the silver and elegantly muted hues of the Silver Lab’s fur would have ever arisen naturally in the wild – that is to say if humankind had not domesticated and bred these dogs until the dilution of the genes.
Because of this, there is often disagreement if a pedigree classification for Silver Labs is apt or not, as it can’t be truly distinguished if this is a naturally occurring color or one that constant breeding has made to occur in a less natural way.
Physical Traits of the Silver Lab
Much like any Labrador, the Silver Labrador is a strong, healthy and active animal.
His or her eyes gleam with curiosity and intelligence, and you’ll notice that the dog is always keen to stand proudly by your side, ever a faithful friend and protector.
Silver Labs are medium-sized dogs who occasionally have pale blue or grey eyes. Similarly, their noses are often light brown or chocolate color.
They have toned and athletic builds, but their big appetites mean they can also get a bit of a wobbly tummy over time if they’re overfed!
How big is a full-grown Silver Lab?
Silver Labs grow fast from their puppy days, and by adulthood will be an average 22 inches from nose to tail.
They’re not as heavy as you might imagine, but definitely pack plenty of muscle into their lean frames. Adult Silver Labs weigh a good 60 to 80 pounds.
What is the life expectancy of the Silver Lab?
Silver Labs have the same average lifespans of most breeds of dog, assuming they are kept in good health and given regular exercise.
They stay active well into their adult and elder years in many cases, so certainly keep this in mind when welcoming one into your family.
You can expect your Silver Lab to be a happy member of your family for anywhere between 10 and 15 years.
Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Silver Lab
It’s certainly true that Silver Labs are very intelligent, and are often appreciated for being easy to train.
They are very motivated by food and treats, so you will find that steering their behavior is pretty simple – but that they might anticipate and begin expecting treats for the simplest things too!
Silver Labs are often keen to stay active, but the good news is that they are very adaptive to your lifestyle because of this.
They can be jogging buddies as much as guard dogs or sniffer dogs, and they likewise work well in being lifelong friends to your children as they grow up.
Silver Labs, on average, have a very even-tempered and direct personality. If you catch him or her acting out, your dog is likely to try and nuzzle against you to apologize.
Similarly, if you catch your Silver Lab eating things he or she shouldn’t, they won’t try and hide it.
Silver Labs rarely need to be more told more than once not to do something, which makes shaping their behavior nice and easy.
Silver Lab Diet
Silver Labs do well in enjoying diets rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals – but make no mistake when we say that these pooches are real foodies.
Perhaps to their endangerment and detriment, a Silver Lab will happily eat anything he or she is offered.
And will likely come back for seconds! These are dogs who often want to eat a little more than they actually ought to.
A good 1000 calories a day is all your Silver Lab needs to enjoy a healthy and happy lifestyle, but if your Silver Lab had their say, it’d be twice that.
Be sure to be firm but kind in making sure your Silver Lab knows his or her limits!
How much exercise does a Silver Lab need?
Silver Labs are very active animals, and you’ll find that one of the first words he or she learns to understand is ‘walk’ or ‘fetch’.
A good hour or two of exercise a day strikes a good balance between burning off excess energy and calories and keeping your dog in his or her best health.
Sometimes your Silver Lab might run themselves a bit ragged getting way too excited in the park at playtime, so it’s a good idea to keep freshwater by to ensure your pet is hydrated – particularly in very hot weather.
Silver Lab Health and Conditions
Silver Labs are largely healthy and hearty dogs, but they sometimes suffer a little for their distinctive fur coloring.
The lightness of the fur can make them occasionally sensitive to excessive sunlight. This is perhaps related to the condition many Silver Labs can contract, color dilution alopecia.
While painless, this condition makes fur very fine and also prone to fall out later in life.
Exposed skin on your animal is more likely to become prone to rashes, allergic reactions and sensitivity, so please do keep an eye on this.
My Final Thoughts on Silver Labs
Silver Labs are loyal, loving and rising in popularity across the world for their elegant colors and often pale, even mysterious eyes.
However, they are no different from other kinds of Labrador in terms of their loyalty, intelligence or strength.
Silver Labs can be expensive, but they are constant companions and very driven to be the best they can for their loving masters.
A Silver Lab need only make sure that his or her appetite isn’t indulged to excess – these can be gluttonous dogs if left to their own devices, to keep those garbage bags far from sight and scent!
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- Silver Lab Puppies – Before You Buy…
- Physical Traits of the Silver Lab
- Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Silver Lab
- Silver Lab Diet
- Silver Lab Health and Conditions