Acquiring A Labrador Retriever – 9 Facts To Consider

If you plan to acquire a purebred Labrador Retriever, there are 9 facts to consider. 

  1.  There have been three primary color Labradors since the breed’s inception. About 40 – 50 years ago we started to see a dilution of those three colors being produced.  In either theory (See Origin Debate),  and with AKC’s registration of these Labradors they are by registry and by parentage full bred Labrador Retrievers.
  2. Labradors come in wholly black, yellow or liver/chocolate, as well as a Charcoal color, a Silver-ish color etc. Yellows range from light cream to red fox, and can carry the dilute gene in a hidden way sometimes visible on the nose of the Labrador. Small white spot on chest permissible. Any “Labrador” carrying, or being affected by the dilute gene (d) which causes the non standard colors mentioned above, is called a dilute. An affected’s DNA is dd, a carrier’s DNA is Dd. The dilute gene is now more common than ever to the Labrador Retriever breed, and is very common in several of the breeds that make up the Labrador’s beginnings.
  3. 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, and this is true. Several 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.
  4. Due to the fact that these dilute Labradors were bred well before DNA testing was available for k9’s and the generations of Labradors that came after, there was no way to establish if anyone had falsified parentage, and thus we take the original breeders at their word for seeing the dilute gene manifest when it did through parentage. They have been able to show the presence of the dilute gene in DNA since 2007, the Kennel Clubs just look at the phenotype of a Labrador, not at the genotype. So, a dilute who only carries the dilute gene without being affected by it, can be shown in conformation events, while a simple and inexpensive DNA test would show it’s a Dd which could allow for dd ( or fully silver or charcoal offspring).  Purebred Labradors can be dd(full dilute) Dd(dilute carrier) or DD (no dilution) present.
  5. If you acquire a dilute and you ask the AKC with which color you should register it, AKC will advise you to register it as black, chocolate, or yellow. Internationally, there is an agreement with FCI Kennel Clubs and the U.K. Kennel Club, which says that they can’t question the AKC’s export pedigrees. The Kennel Clubs know that the imported dog comes from any of these types of pedigrees and they knowingly then continue to register such a dilute as “black”, “chocolate” or “yellow”, when the AKC has registered it as such. Of course, the Kennel Clubs could cancel this agreement, but they don’t. The result is that any “silver”, “charcoal” or “champagne” registered by AKC as “chocolate”, “black” or “yellow”, will be registered by FCI and U.K. Kennel Clubs, without any restrictions. This means that AKC registers dogs which are purebred Labradors and thus it’s become acceptable around the world. Now other Kennel Clubs allow these dogs into the country, where they can produce dilute offspring as registered labs in their own country.  Now you can see the beauty of the dilute Labrador is spreading internationally.
  6. If you want to be sure that your Labrador carries the dilution gene, you could examine the dog’s pedigree. Also, you could aquire a DNA test which proves that the dog’s DNA is dd, Dd, or DD. Don’t hesitate to ask us for help.
  7. Reputable Labrador breeders don’t quibble about dilutes, although many have their strong opinions and preferences. A good Labrador breeder dilute breeder or not will not hesitate to show you the quality of their dogs through testing.
  8. There are a lot of false claims that dilutes are at risk for skin diseases and behavioral problems into the breed.  This is generally hyperbole, often used by people who are passionate about there being no dilutes in the breed.  The fact remains that some Labradors suffer from skin conditions, and it’s not isolated to the dilute gene but other genetic issues within the breed.   There are some breeds that suffer with CDA who carry the dilute gene however what is amazingly contradictory in the accusers who say that silver labs were bred with Weimaraners, is that Weimaraners have almost no cases of CDA within their breed.
  9. Some Labrador Clubs will accept you as a member when you own a dilute “Labrador”, however there are some people that unfortunately are very ugly when it comes to allowing these dilute colors to play with them. And unfortunately the AKC parent club has not seen fit for the dilute Labrador to be able to be shown in conformation events, however they are eligible to enter any other type of AKC event including hunt testing, and obedience competitions. When you walk your dilute, do so with pride they are not going anywhere.