American Labrador Retriever — A New Breed?

silvers1a No, these dogs are not Weimaraner mixes, at least not according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). These dogs have pedigrees from the American Kennel Club, stating that they are purebred chocolate Labrador Retrievers. “We register Silver Labradors as chocolate Labradors if both the sire and the dam are registered with the AKC,” says the AKC.

We, the people who love and value the Labrador Retriever breed as we know it from Boothgates, Sandylands, Stormley, Fabracken, Foulby, Mardas, Kupros, Donalbain, Lindall, Poolstead, Ballyduff, Beechcroft, Dickendall, Jayncourt, Lobuff, Chablais, Tormentil, Tabatha, etc., are expecting a quite different dog when we think of Labrador Retrievers. We expect to see a Labrador that looks like a Labrador, a Labrador that’s black if its pedigree says it’s black; a Labrador that’s yellow if its pedigree says it’s yellow; a Labrador that’s chocolate if its pedigree says it’s chocolate. The dilution gene (dd) is alien to the Labrador Retriever breed, so diluted dogs, “silver”, “charcoal”, or “champagne”, cannot be purebred Labradors. The American Kennel Club (AKC) however begs to differ.


The American Kennel Club (AKC) has registered diluted dogs as Labrador Retrievers since many decades. They have already stated that this is not going to change: every offspring from dogs that are registered with them as a Labrador Retrievers, will be registered as Labrador Retrievers. By entering dilutes in the registration, the AKC have in fact opened the studbooks which were long closed.

This causes a significant problem, not just to the reputable breeders of Labradors in the United States of America, but to every reputable Labrador breeder in the world, and to every Kennel Club in the world which have valued the cooperation with the AKC until now.

With the import of AKC registered dilutes into their countries, the Kennel Clubs of the world are in fact opening their closed studbooks. This should not happen, and where it has happened, it should be reversed. People who buy a Labrador Retriever with an official pedigree from the Kennel Club, should be sure that they acquired a purebred Labrador Retriever, even if the ancestors of this dog were registered by the AKC.

Since the AKC are obviously not going to change their policies, the British Kennel Club and the FCI have to act quickly. There are several things they can do regarding imported Labradors from the USA:

  1. Demand a DNA-test which proves that the imported dog does not carry the dilution (dd) gene.
  2. Refuse registration of any imported “Labrador” that carries the dilution (dd) gene.
  3. Refuse registration of any offspring of an imported “Labrador” that carries the dilution (dd) gene and demand a DNA-test of such offspring that have been born before the new rules were applied.
  4. Recognize the American Labrador Retriever as a separate breed. Since the AKC don’t respect the original British breed standard of the Labrador Retriever and rather create their own, we have in fact two different breed standards, so two different breeds.

I can hear the objections from reputable American breeders of the Labrador Retriever. They want to export their dogs to the United Kingdom and the FCI countries. Also, people in the United Kingdom and the FCI countries want to import Labrador Retrievers from respected American breeders. What would the new rules mean to them?

I’m sure it wouldn’t be any problem if the American Labrador Retrievers would be free of the dilution (dd) gene and in any other way would fit the original British breed standard of the Labrador Retriever.

It would also create clarity: with a Labrador Retriever bred according to the British breed standard and the British rules, you can expect a purebred Labrador. With an American Labrador Retriever you can expect anything, including a diluted mutt with a completely worthless pedigree certificate.

Jack Vanderwyk,
February, 2014

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About Jack Vanderwyk

Hey! What am I like! :-)
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