Black, Yellow, Chocolate.

World-wide, The Labrador Retriever only comes in three colors: black, yellow, chocolate. There is no historical basis for any other solid color in the history of the breed. The Labrador Retriever, as we know it, was first developed, and recognized by the original standard, in Great Britain in 1916. The AKC adopted this same Standard in 1917. Labrador Clubs around the world generally follow the Standard put forth by the original Labrador Retriever Club in Great Britain. Nowhere in any Labrador Club mission statement is there any reference to a dilute (carrying one copy of the dilute gene , or “d”) or silver ( carrying two copies of the dilute gene, or “dd”) color other than to say that it does not exist, or is the product of a mixed breed and not allowable. There is no movement (except by some commercial “silver” breeders) to say that this color will be a recognized color, soon, in the future, or at any time.

Rather than rely on the erroneous information provided by commercial dilute breeders to promote their own agenda, please take the time to understand why reputable breeders find the pro-dilute position so incorrect and dangerous to the integrity of our wonderful breed. Here are a couple of “non-partisan” excerpts from scholarly works: Inheritance Of Coat Colors In The Labrador Retriever
Dr. Joe W. Templeton ( Associate Professor Texas A&M University) & Andrew P. Stewart (Research Assistant at NIH, National Institute of Health, breeder and AKC Judge of Labrador Retrievers)
Published in The Journal Of Heredity, Vol. 68:134-136, March-April, 1977, through courtesy of the publication of the American Genetics association, 818 Eighteenth St. N.W,. Washington, D.C. 20006, copyright 1985 by the American Genetics Association. This article is based on results of 2,634 puppies born in 405 litters of AKC registered Labrador retrievers, born in the Canine Breeding Colony at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, Portland Oregon. This Colony was started in 1961 under the direction of Dr. William S. Fletcher, professor at the University.

Some excerpts:
“The homozygous chocolate allele dog can only produce sperm or ova that carry the chocolate allele. These homozygous dogs will always breed true.”
“Chocolate dogs are always homozygous for their recessive allele and will breed true.”
“Two chocolate dogs mated will always produce only chocolate puppies. It would be a rare event called a mutation where the chocolate gene allele is changed by some force to the black allele. This could occur occasionally, but it would only be one in a million or so times.”
FMI: search – Inheritance Of Coat Colors In The Labrador Retriever The Journal of Heredity

The Labrador Breeders Handbook, ©2003
Debby Kay
“D Locus: D – intense pigmentation or richness of color. Labradors do not have d”

Both of these references are scholarly works including proper documentation and reference sources supporting the content. The consensus among the Parent Labrador Clubs around the world, and the breed standards which are considered to be the “blueprint” for breeders to follow when breeding their Labradors, is that there is no dilute gene in the breed, and no legitimate “silver” offspring of purebred Labrador Retrievers.

For more information, please read the following:

There is a written standard for every recognized breed. Reputable breeders breed in accordance with the standard for their breed. There is one indisputable fact regarding what makes a breeder reputable and that is : No reputable breeder deliberately breeds for a disqualifying fault.

Some interesting thoughts:
In 1931 there were 40 Labradors registered with the AKC.
The Weimeraner breed (a considerably taller dog than the Labrador whose unique coloration is based on the dilute gene, or “dd”), was recognized by the AKC in 1943. In the 1950s, the first “pointing” Labradors were developed by Kellogg Kennels who were known to mix their Labradors with pointing breeds, and register the mixed offspring as “Labrador”. Up until this time, universally, the height standard for the Labrador breed was a constant for dogs at 22 to 22.5 inches; bitches 21.5 to 22 inches. In 1956 the AKC height standard for Labradors jumped two inches, but remained the same in all other FCI countries, including Great Britain( the country of origin). In the late 1980’s the first “Silver” labrador made its appearance in the USA, prompting the AKC to limit registration of Labradors into only the three recognized colors: Black, Yellow, Chocolate.

It has only been within the past ten years that “silver” and dilute Labradors have made their appearance in the country of origin, Great Britain. It is interesting (to say the least), that these dogs ultimately came from the Kellogg line. Would you not think that, “IF”, as the silver proponents claim, the dilute gene has been in the breed from its original development, that silvers would have most certainly been born in the hundred some years of Labrador breeding in Great Britain? Also interesting, that it was only after the importation of Kellogg based dilute bloodlines from the USA, about ten years ago, that the first silver puppy was born in Great Britain, only some 20 odd years after the first “silver” made its appearance in the USA.

Here is a simple timeline:
1916 – Great Britain – original standard for Labrador Retrievers written – not written, but
the heights were “suggested” to be 22″ – 22.5″ for dogs and 21.5″ – 22″ for

1917 – USA – AKC standard for Labrador Retrievers virtually identical to GB standard

1928 – 23 Labradors registered with AKC

1929 – 1st pair of Weimeraners imported to USA

1931 – 40 Labradors registered with the AKC

1933 – 1st AKC Champion Labrador Retriever

1943 – AKC recognizes Weimeraners

1946 – 1736 Labradors registered with the AKC (During this time period, there was a
great deal of importation of British Labradors into the USA. Most, if not all of
the Labradors registered with the AKC were imported from, or bred from,
recently imported British Labradors who were subject to the standard of:
“height for dogs 22 to 22.5 inches; bitches 21.5 to 22 inches.”)

1950 – British Standard revised – states the “Desired height for dogs 22 to 22.5 inches; bitches 21.5 to 22 inches.”

1956 – AKC standard standard revised. Heights: 22.5 – 24.5 for dogs and 21.5 to 23.5 for bitches.

1985 – AKC registers first “Silver”, Spook Culo born 2/2/1985. However, there were “silvers” registered as chocolates for several generations before Spook Culo.

1987 – AKC limits Labrador registration to three recognized colors

2006 – 1st “silvers” born in the UK on June 8, 2006. Registered as “Non Recognized

Margaret Wilson
ShadowGlen Labradors, reg.


About Jack Vanderwyk

Hey! What am I like! :-)
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