If there’s a constant that seems to follow Silver Labs around is their bad reputation. On top of their dubious pedigree, some experts are even convinced they are more dangerous than other labs.
In reality, we have no proof that silver labs are any more or less aggressive than any other labrador retriever. However, as a highly energetic breed, any Labrador can turn violent if they don’t exercise enough, which is most likely the biological reason behind their reputation.
Our silver labs more aggressive than the rest of their kin? Probably not, but we must explain how this reputation came to be. So today, we’ll go over key details of the Silver Labrador history so we can offer a more thorough look at the factors that make this pup unique.
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Is A Silver Lab a Real Lab?
Even before getting into the idea of any perceived aggression, we need to address the elephant in the room. The simple truth is that Silver Labradors don’t have many fans or supporters in the grooming or pedigree circles.
In fact, most experts agree that there is no such thing as a Silver Labrador Retriever, but rather that there is a silver dog breed that happens to resemble Labradors strongly.
While the above might sound like nonsense, it mostly comes down to the idea of purity. A purebred Labrador puppy won’t naturally have a silver coat, or at the very least, this hasn’t been a trait of the breed since they were first introduced.
Labrador color genetics is a rather complex topic, but looking at it reveals that Black is the dominant color Gene, with the only variations being Yellow and Chocolate.
Due to this situation, breeders agree that “Silver Labradors” must be a crossbreed that involves a Labrador and another silver-colored species.
And this is a really sensitive topic for breeders or owners who are particular about the purity of their puppy and family line. This is such a sensitive topic that some people consider Silver Labs to be a spin-off breed like Labradoodles.
This means that Silver Labs have an underlying bias before we go into any specific topic of their behavior, which colors certain expectations and beliefs about them.
Where Did Silver Labs Originate?
Now that’s the million-dollar question. While we would like to offer a clear answer to the question, we can speculate the only thing we can do. The Silver Labrador first appeared in the 1950s, with no real explanation or fanfare behind it.
The first record we have of Silver Labs mentioned in America comes from a dog magazine out of all places. Kellog Kennels paid for a small advertisement in a gun dog magazine to offer their litter of “rare grey Labrador puppies.”
Since then, that family line is considered the official source of purebred Silver Labradors, at least for those who consider them purebred dogs.
A labrador puppy that was bred properly can be traced back to this original batch. However, there are other ways to breed “silver labs” if one so chooses.
To explain how these original Silver Labs came to be, we have to offer the three most likely explanations for this phenomenon.
The first possibility is that the gene for the diluted chocolate color we call “Silver” was always present in Labrador’s gene pool.
If this were the case, that’d mean that Silver Labs were always a possible color for the breed, but they were either intentionally culled or hadn’t happened naturally before that point.
Another explanation for Silver Labs is that they resulted from a genetic mutation that added the diluted coat gene to the breed. While this might sound fantastic to some, mutations are inf act very common in crossbreeds.
And while the Labrador is now recognized as a purebred dog, we can’t forget that it originally came to be due to crossbreeding, which means that a mutation is not an impossible feat for Labradors.
However, the third explanation offers a far simpler alternative to how Silver Labs came: They were crossbred with Weimaraners.
Weimaraners are already very similar to Labradors, to begin with, and they have that distinct “Silver” color that has been identified with the breed.
This is the most popular explanation for the breed and the one that causes the rejection of Silver Labs in purebred circles.
If this were the case, it would mean that Kellog Kennels bred Labs and Weimaraners together to create a “rare” breed and raise sales.
Not only is this the alternative with the simplest explanation, but it also rings true with other similar adverts of rare Labradors that Kellog Kennels showed at the time.
Perhaps the final nail on the coffin is the fact that if you were to breed a Labrador and a Weimaraner on your own. The resulting puppy would look identical to Silver Labradors. So while there’s no definitive proof of this cross, it’s by far the most likely explanation.
Do These New Genes Affect Labradors Negatively?
If we operate under the principle that Silver Labs are crossbred with Weimaraners, we can understand why purebred enthusiasts are so dissatisfied with them.
But does this combination have any real effect on the temperament of Silver Labradors? Are Silver Labs more aggressive after all?
Not really, no. If anything, the temperament of the Weimaraner is similar to that of Labradors, so the resulting species shouldn’t be any different.
Weimaraners are also hunting dogs like Labradors, and while they were masters of the plains, unlike the water-oriented Labradors, the two species had very similar roles.
Overall any potential advice or warnings we could offer for Weimaraner already applies to Labradors, so the combination shouldn’t have any serious effect on the species.
If there’s one key difference between both kind of dogs is that Weimaraners are overall more vigilant of other animals. Labradors are more likely to be relaxed around new animals than their gray cousins, which could trigger some owners.
That said, this trait shouldn’t evolve into aggression if your dog is exercising enough, which is the main point we want to cover next.
How Much Exercise Does My Silver Labrador Need?
Any owner or potential owner knows full well how important is it to exercise with their pet dog. Exercise is perhaps the single most important activity you need to keep in mind when raising a pet dog. It keeps them happy, in shape and helps prevent injuries and other diseases when they are older.
However, we should also keep in mind that we can’t apply the same exercise routine to all dogs. Smaller breeds need to have shorter bouts of exercise to avoid injury, for example, and some of the most challenging tasks are well out of their reach.
Ont the other hand, larger breeds need proportionally longer sessions to stay in shape, which makes sense as they eat much more due to their size.
However, labradors, regardless of their color, have a double duty to fulfill when it comes to exercise. As they are not only large dogs, but they are also incredibly energetic dogs. This means that a labrador wants to stay in shape and wants to tire itself out.
Think about it; Labradors were hunting dogs which means that they are ready for a lot of running if they need to. As such, your exercising sessions need to be far more intensive if you own a Labrador.
Experts recommend that you walk a Labrador for roughly 60 minutes every day, and if the activity involves jogging or short runs, it’s even better.
This might seem like a large number, and at the end of it, both you and your dog will be tired out. But this is key to ensure your dog remains friendly and calm.
The issue with dogs that have a lot of energy is that they can’t deal with it independently. If your Labrador still feels energetic, it won’t simply sit down and ignore his instincts. It will make sure to get rid of it.
This means that a Labrador that isn’t getting enough physical activity will start building up frustration and tension, which can lead to aggressive behavior.
Usually, this will mostly show up in the form of furniture destruction. If your Lab is starting to thrash around at home and is taking it out on your house, then it needs more exercise.
While training can help alleviate this somehow, there is still a definitive biological element at play. So you can’t sum it all up to “bad behavior”; being energetic is part of their genes.
This trait of Labradors is the main reason why Silver Labs are seen as an aggressive breed by some circles. Any effect that their gene variation offers is likely too small to consider. However, they keep the super energetic Labrador disposition, and if poorly handled, your dog will suffer for it.
Silver Labs aren’t any more aggressive than any other breed. Any complaint you hear is most likely tied to the bias against them. But they are still a healthy Lab breed, so you need to take care of them properly. That’s all the trick there is to it.
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