No To Silvers slide show on YouTube.
Improved version, with better pictures and better sound.
I would like to draw your attention to the situation in which the future of the Labrador Retriever breed is threatened by unethical breeders and Kennel Clubs who don’t do what they’re supposed to do. Let me start with a little history.
In 1825, the Buccleuchs and the Malmesburies started to import dogs from Canada, as a result of trade between Newfoundland and Poole Harbour. Later they would call these dogs “Labradors”.
In the 1830s the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury bred the Labradors for use in duck shooting on his estate at Heron Court on the south coast, particularly because of their acknowledged expertise in waterfowling, their ‘close coat which turns water off like oil’ and a tail ‘like an otter’. We can still see these features in purebred Labrador Retrievers.
Also in the 1830s, the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, Sir Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott, would take his imported dogs on to his estates in the Scottish Borders for use as gundogs because of their excellent retrieving capabilities.
In the early 1880s, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch and the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury met while shooting, and the first two entries in the Stud Book of the Duke of Buccleuch Labrador Retrievers were in fact the gifts made by Lord Malmesbury to the 6th Duke. When these dogs were mated with bitches carrying blood from those originally imported by the 5th Duke, a strong bloodline was developed beginning with Buccleuch Ned in 1882, whose parents were Malmesbury Sweep and Malmesbury Juno, and Buccleuch Avon in 1885, whose parents were Malmesbury Tramp and Malmesbury Juno. You will find these dogs in almost every pedigree of purebred Labrador Retrievers.
Breeding only from good stock of sound temperament, encouraging the breed of pure Labrador Retrievers, conserving the best type of dog, reputable Labrador breeders from the United Kingdom, the United States and the rest of the world, have made the Labrador Retriever the most popular dog in the world. When the stud books of the Labrador Retriever were closed almost seventy years ago, this meant that no new blood from other breeds could or should enter the Labrador breed. The Kennel Clubs, as Registrars, were meant to to establish in every way the general improvement of dogs and to carry out and control the registration of dogs, to make sure that the closed stud books stay closed. However, they failed.
One hundred and twenty years after the first Labradors were bred in the United Kingdom. Mayo Kellogg, the ‘founding father of the American pointing lab’ introduced the ‘pointing Lab’ in his South Dakota line as early as 1946 and set out, over the next 40 years, to show that a pointing retriever is superior to a retrieving pointer.
This is the way you do it. You breed excellent pointers, for instance Weimaraners, with working Labradors. From that moment on it’s a matter of selective breeding. You keep on breeding the dogs that are good pointers and look like Labradors, generation after generation. In this process it’s impossible NOT TO produce “silver” dogs. Also, you need to be good at fiddling the books, and/or to have a good relationship with the AKC representative in your area. After having produced several generations of “pointing Labs” — hyper, energetic hunting dogs which wear their owners out — the chocolate Labrador came into fashion, and the Kellogg family started to produce them. From then on it would have been easy to smuggle “silver pointing Labs” into chocolate litters, and have them registered as Labrador Retrievers. Back in the 1960s puppies and dogs were running free all over the Kellogg’s farm and record keeping was not as strict as today, so it was very easy for dogs to mix and breed. Kellogg thought nothing about segregating intact animals, and the Labs coming from his business displayed physical characteristics of these other breeds, including the Weimeraner characteristics and colour. A dog expert who visited Kellogg in the 1970s, specifically cited the place as being a“shambles” with chains, barrels, crowded runs with holes under the concrete, dead rats, etc…
A “silver”, “charcoal” or “champagne” “Labrador” is not a purebred Labrador. Labradors only come in wholly black, yellow or chocolate. Yellows range from light cream to red fox. A small white spot on the chest is permissible. Any “Labrador” carrying, or being affected by the dilute gene, which causes the non recognized colours mentioned above, is called a dilute.
Various expressions of the dilution gene have been noted. Some dogs with dilute color , display minimal or no health problems; other dogs experience hair loss and skin problems. These diseases cause recurrent skin inflammation and drying, bacterial infections of hair follicles and severe hair loss. Late 2013 a 12-week-old female silver Labrador Retriever was diagnosed with Malignant Uveal Schwannoma. Scientists believe that the dilute color mutation may contribute to the cause.
This is the October 2014 map of 403 dilute breeders in the United States of America. Most of them advertise their dilutes as “AKC registered purebred silver and charcoal Labradors”.
The most worrying part is that the American Kennel Club agrees with them. Yes, according to the AKC these dilutes are purebred Labrador Retrievers, and they expect foreign Kennel Clubs to accept them as such.
It’s very easy to check a dog’s DNA for the dilution gene. However, Kennel Clubs rather rely on the honesty of breeders. So, if they say it’s a “chocolate Labrador” it must be a chocolate Labrador. Case closed, time for a cup of tea.
In this time and age Kennel Clubs are commercial enterprises. The more dogs they register, the more money they get. One would expect that Kennel Clubs only register purebred Labradors, so that the pedigree of your dog is proof that you acquired a purebred dog, but that isn’t true. Some Kennel Clubs, like the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the British Kennel Club will register “silvers” as chocolates, “charcoals” as blacks, and “champagnes” as yellows.
If you want to be sure that your Labrador is purebred, you should examine the dog’s pedigree. We are able to help you with that. In the LabradorNet Database you will find some tools you could use.
Throughout the years, Labrador breeders have worked diligently to eliminate undesired traits and illnesses in the breed. Kennel clubs and breed clubs are expected to respect the breed standard and the closed character of the studbooks. No respect of the breed standard and the closed character of the studbooks is shown by the common practice of registering “silver” as chocolate, “charcoal” as black, and “champagne” as yellow. Labrador retriever breeders are equally expected to follow the breed standard as currently written, when selecting parents for future litters.
There are people who like these dilutes. They may even find themselves one without health problems and behavioural problems. But they shouldn’t be registered as Labrador Retrievers. The omission of the dilute gene in purebred Labradors, and thus the impossibility of the dilute gene resulting from a pure Labrador breeding, is certainly persuasive evidence that the silver Labrador is not a purebred.”