Here is a “Silver Labrador Retriever Battle 101” course for those of you who are not familiar with the history: The American Kennel Club is the registering body (in the United States) for our Labrador retrievers. The AKC registers dogs based on parentage alone. There are two types of registration options for puppies: Full and Limited. Full registration is sometimes referred to as “breeding rights”. Limited registration is also referred to as “pet registration“. In order to be eligible for registration, both of a puppy’s parents must have “full” registration. The type of registration (“full” or “limited”) depends on what the breeder decides to give to you. So, if your puppy came with “limited” registration, you can breed them, but AKC will not register the offspring. If you are unsure if you have “full” or “limited” registration, just take a look at the registration certificate you received from the AKC, upon submitting your registration application. If it has a purple border, you have “full” registration. An orange border indicates “limited” registration. The Labrador Retriever Club (also known as the “LRC”) is the parent club for the Labrador retriever breed. They reserve the right to decide which colors adhere to the standard, what size fits the standard, and which conformation qualities fit the standard. What’s a standard? Well, it’s sort of a “blueprint” of what they think the ideal Labrador retriever should be. And, regardless of what they will tell you, the standard has changed several times over the years, and it is generally thought that it is changed to fit the fancy of the current board members, and not necessarily to preserve the original function of the breed. In the early 1980s, a gentleman by the name of Dean Crist bred his chocolate Labrador retriever (they weren’t all that common back then) to a chocolate male he had located about 100 miles away. The breeding produced a litter that was comprised of 50% chocolate, 25% yellow, and 25% silver puppies. Being 100% certain a breeding error had not happened (and having a background in science and genetics) Crist realized he had stumbled upon the expression of a recessive trait. In a quest to prove to the AKC that he could reproduce the color, he developed a line breeding program. According to Crist, the American Kennel Club sent representatives to his kennel on 2 separate occasions to photograph the silver puppies, their parents, and their grandparents. According to information received from the AKC, in 1987 they (along with representatives from the LRC) conducted an investigation and concluded that the dogs did indeed appear to be purebred. However, since the LRC standard at the time did not include silver, the dogs should be registered as chocolate. At that time, the standard described chocolate as “ranging in shade from sedge to chocolate”. In the early 2000’s, silver labs really began to skyrocket in popularity. In my opinion, this aligns perfectly with the popularity of the Internet. Once popularity increased, so did the demand. And, with the increase in demand came the increase in price. In my opinion, if silver Labs had been quickly shuffled out the back door of a breeder’s establishment for ½ the price of black, yellow, or chocolate puppies, we would not be having the debate and the battle we see now. But, since silver Lab puppies in those days were easily fetching $1,500 and more, this rubbed some LRC fur the wrong way. In response, members of the LRC began vehemently bashing the dogs. Because Weimaraners are the only popular breed that exists only in dilute colors, the rumor naturally ensued that silver Labs were crossed with Weimaraners. To this day, there is not even a shred of evidence to support this claim. In fact, history (the same history that involved both LRC and AKC) actually disputes it. The LRC began pressuring the AKC to stop registering dilute Labrador retrievers and to consider them “mixed breeds”. The AKC held firm to their position that they registered dogs based on parentage and not on color. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) holds their own hatred toward dilute Labrador retrievers. A few years ago, they appointed the Genetics and Medical committee to investigate the issue. This committee concluded, and I quote “silver-colored Labrador retrievers can and should be registered as purebred”. Yes, that’s right. They supported the fact that dilute Labs are purebred. However, the other committees chose to ignore the science. In the last few years, the LRC has attempted (multiple times) to have the dilute colors eliminated from the registry. They even went so far as to contact breeders of dilute Labrador retrievers and offered to help them establish their own, separate breed. Luckily, hardly any breeders “bit” at this tainted bait. You may wonder what the formation of a new breed would involve? In order to file a petition to be recognized as a separate breed, a registry would need to be formed and commence operation. A breed club would need to be formed to write a standard. The petition would require the breed club to hold events (like conformation shows) for a certain number of years to prove their dedication to the project. It would take years. Once accomplished, the newly formed breed would not be allowed to breed to non-dilute Labrador retrievers, which would cause a reduction in the gene pool. Once a gene pool becomes limited, diseases begin to appear (remember, science has not yet identified a gene for every disease trait). It would be the end of the dilute Labrador retrievers. And this is exactly what the LRC is hoping. Recently, they published a link on the front page of their website which contains this information: “The Labrador Retriever Club has been working for years to resolve the spread of the “Silver Retriever” into our gene pool. Silvers have been approved by the AKC for almost 40 years. As we know, AKC registration is based on parentage and we could not disprove (at that time) that they were not purebred Labradors but now we have the Dilute Genetic Test. LRC Board Member and Delegate to AKC, Tony Emilio (Tonmar Labs), has been working to disallow these mixed breeds. His goal is to have over a thousand Dilute Test results from purebred Labs and as many Silvers results as can be obtained to present as evidence to push the AKC into action. The goal was to have these results for the September delegates meeting. Just as important as the clear dilute test results are the carrier test results and so if anyone has results showing carrier results please be sure and include them. If there are lines of communication with anyone you know that would share the results with a little nudging, please feel free to put them in contact with me (Barb Gilchrist at Blackthorn@Q.com). I have secured a Special Discounted Rate for our Labrador community. All results need to be sent to Tony in a timely fashion at Tony@majilly.com. Please take this opportunity to let your voices be heard!” We aren’t sure what they are up to since there is no scientific proof that the dilute gene wasn’t lurking in a small number of Labrador retrievers when the stud books were closed. However, I don’t trust them … not one little bit.