As I am sure you have discovered by now, the dilute Labrador retrievers are met with some controversy from what we have dubbed the "BYC (Black Yellow Chocolate) Purists". I think the best way to explain these beautiful dogs is to give a brief lesson on the genetics behind them:
There are three colors of pigment in the Labrador retriever breed; black, yellow and chocolate. However, another gene known as the dilute gene, can affect the color or shade of the dog. The dilute gene exists in nearly every dog breed in the world. If a dog has no dilute gene, the genetic code is "DD". If a dog has one copy of the dilute gene, the code is "Dd". This dog will not express or show a dilute color. However, it will carry the recessive gene and is able to pass it on to offspring. If a dog receives two copies of a dilute gene, the code is "dd". This dog will express a dilute color and will always pass a dilute gene to any offspring. When a dog receives two copies of a dilute gene, the gene causes the pigment in the hair shaft to bind differently. Coupled with light refraction, this makes the dog appear to be a different color. A chocolate Lab with two copies of the dilute gene will appear silver. A black Lab with two copies of the dilute gene will appear charcoal. The dilute gene can also affect the eye color of the dog. Thus, dilute Labs often have eyes that are a lighter shade. There is some suspicion that dogs with the silver coloration may have a higher incidence of skin/coat issues. Currently, there is a group of breeders/interested parties working toward the identification of a potential gene that controls the issue. Until such time that a gene is identified, I will no longer be offering silver Labrador retriever puppies for sale. Because the potential issue doesn't appear to affect charcoal or champagne Labrador retrievers, we may occasionally produce puppies of these colors. If you have your heart set on a silver puppy, don't hesitate to contact me. I may be able to refer you to a reputable breeder.
There is much debate over the origin of the dilution gene in the Labrador retriever breed. Some people believe it was introduced into the lines through an outcross pairing to another breed, such as a Weimaraner. Others believe it was brought into the lines through the outcrossing of other breed(s) during the development of the Labrador retriever, such as Newfoundland or Chesapeake Bay retriever (both breeds are known to have the dilute gene). Still yet others believe it may have entered the lines through a spontaneous mutation of the gene. The truth is, at this point, we have no way of knowing for sure. In 1986, the American Kennel Club and the Labrador Retriever Club launched an investigation into the kennel that first produced and registered the shades. It was determined that, in no way, was there reason to suspect the dogs were not purebred. However, since the breed standard (established by the Labrador Retriever Club) did not include a classification for these colors, it was decided that silver dogs should be registered as "chocolate". The American Kennel Club (AKC) still advises owners of silver Labrador retrievers to register them as chocolate. In addition, they direct owners of charcoal Labs to register them as "black" and champagnes to be registered as "yellow". You may have heard the erroneous rumor that AKC does not register silver Labrador retrievers. In truth, this is just an attempt at a misleading play of words. AKC does in fact register silver Labrador retrievers. However, they are not registered as "silver". They are registered as "chocolate".
You may be wondering if dilute Labrador retrievers can compete in AKC events. The truth is, dilute Labrador retrievers are welcome (and usually embraced) at every AKC event, with the exception of the conformation ring (sometimes called the "show ring"). There are lots of silver Labrador retrievers competing and excelling in a number of events, such as hunt tests, dock diving, rally, agility and nosework. I also know of one silver Labrador retriever who is a full time service dog.
If you would like to learn more, please visit: truthaboutsilverlabs.com