Setting the Record Straight

No matter what type of Labrador Retriever enthusiast you are, the proud owner of a new puppy, long time breeder, avid bird hunter, or a or just a casual observer, you have no doubt come across many of the claims made against the Silver Labrador Retriever.  These claims, and so often those who perpetuate them, tend to come across quite negative and accusatory, causing some to doubt the purity of the Silver Labrador, and question the motives of those who support them.  Many of the positions taken by those who would
oppose the Silver Labrador are based on the ideas and claims of a select, but very vocal, few.  Unfortunately, it is these base claims that have led the Labrador Retriever Club of America to reverse their initial position regarding the Silver Labrador to one that is quite contrary; not to mention the chorus of naysayers who post derogatory comments on Internet forums.  This site takes to task these base claims and offers a researched and coherent rebuttal to them, exposing serious inaccuracies, conjecture, and flat out lies.  As you are researching the Silver Labrador, you are encouraged to consider both sides of this debate, research the facts yourself, check sources, and then draw your own conclusion.  If you do that with an open mind, willing to consider all angles, there is little doubt that you will come to recognize that there is much more evidence to support that the gene that causes "Silver" Labrador Retrievers (d gene) is inherent to the breed, than there is evidence against it.   But don't take my word for it, give it a try, Just the Facts!

Silver Labrador Theses

      Similar to the great reformist Martin Luther, the Theses presented here challenge what has become the egocentric practice of those that would claim to be the conservators of the Labrador Retriever breed.  These Theses point out facts that those who hate Silver Labradors choose to ignore or simply disbelieve, either through their own ignorance or unwillingness to do their own research into the Silver Lab.  The key is that they are facts, substantiated, researched, irrefutable facts.  
      When these Silver Lab haters spew their hatred, it behooves the reader/listener to ask for their facts in order to corroborate or disprove through their own research.  What facts do they have that can conclusively, or, even remotely, prove their claims of crossbreeding to Weimaraners?  Go ahead, ask them for their proof.  When you recognize that all they have if biased opinion and hatred, you will be left to decide for yourself whether or not you agree with their opinions (and even outright lies) or, if you will accept the substantiated, researchedirrefutable facts.

WigWag's Diatribe

     Foremost in the Anti-Silver crusade is an individual who uses the internet handle "WigWag," which is in reference to her own Labrador Retriever kennel.  It is the positions developed by her, and subsequently posted on public internet chat forums and websites, that are then re-posted and quoted by anyone who wishes to attempt to discredit the Silver Labrador.  It could be argued that this one individual is responsible for the majority of the hatred that most people who hate Silver Labradors express against the Silver Labrador, and those who support or breed the Silver Labrador.  Certainly, the arguments commonly use against Silver Labradors are based on her statements.  As such, one looking for the truth must examine her claims with a cautious eye, careful to check all her "facts."  
     She is a very studied individual, possessing a graduate degree in molecular biology and genetics.  She is routinely sought out by the LRC for opinions on topics such as the Silver Labrador.  She is a knowledgeable breeder of show-bred Labradors.  Her credentials alone have led to an almost automatic acceptance of all her statements about Silver Labradors.  Her credentials, however, come with the burden of credibility in her research.  

      Provided here is an in-depth examination of her most common claims, claims that are routinely regurgitated by anyone who wishes to take to task the purity of the Silver Labrador.  Take time to examine the topics, each claim and each rebuttal.  Seek out the source information yourself, just the facts, only then you will be able to determine if WigWag is indeed credible, or, if perhaps her claims are driven by a deeply held bias

Other Attacks

      When it comes to those few that have taken a very public stand against Silver Labradors, there is no question that the biased positions espoused by WigWag have played a significant role in their postings and websites. Some even directly quote WigWag...or at least claim to, since the quotes don't always match up with other statements made by WigWag. With this recognition, the vast majority of the claims made by the other vocal Silver Lab haters have already been addressed in the rebuttals to WigWag's Diatribe. As you review the comments made by these others, refer to the WigWag Diatribe for concise and factual rebuttals. There are, however, a couple different assertions made by these breeders, which will be addressed here.
      Of interest to note is that all these breeders, 5 counting WigWag, are Show Lab breeders. One does not find anything equal to these horrible attacks from the Field Lab community, nor does the vast, innumerable cohort of hobby breeders produce such venomous hatred. To say the Labrador Retriever Community is represented by these couple kennels, hell-bent on discrediting the Silver Labrador, would be a far-fetched stretch. No doubt there are some in each of these circles that oppose Silver Labs, but in truth, their opposition has been based on the outlandish claims of the 5 or so hard-core haters. The overwhelming majority of Labrador enthusiasts likely are indifferent, if not supportive of the Silver Labrador...most have never even seen on in person due to their present rarity.
      If you have previously opposed Silver Labs, you would do yourself a favor to carefully research the rebuttals made here and refocus your efforts to form your own personally informed opinion, rather than accepting the prejudiced claims of those with a personal vendetta against Silver Labs. Hear both sides, seek out the facts for yourself. If you do this honestly with yourself, you may be surprised as you discover that the Silver Lab Truth is much different than the haters want you to believe. 

Culo Interview

      The first Labrador breeder to produce modern Silver Labradors was Dean Crist of Crist Culo Kennels. Though evidence now suggests that Silver Labs occurred on occasion prior to the emergence of Culo's Silver Labs in the 1980s, they were apparently not bred for and evidently culled (euthanasia) by those that produced them in fear of potential accusations of mismating and subsequent ruin of ones reputation as a breeder. For supporters of Silver Labs, it can only be considered fortuitous that Silvers showed up in a litter of Dean Crist's. Not only did Dean posses an educational background in biology and genetics, but Dean is strong-willed and individualistic; not afraid of standing up for one's self and beliefs, even in the face of severe public ridicule, scrutiny, and personal attacks. Though he may have been beaten-up at times, he has never been beaten down. For decades he has stood strong in his convictions and has taken on battle after battle, and he has prevailed; he is still standing strong, and so too are the Silver Labs he so loves. 
      Just as the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury is revered as the founder and one of the fathers of the Labrador Retriever breed, without whose foresight as devotion we would not have the Lab as we know and celebrate it today, likewise Dean Crist is indisputably the Father of the modern magnificent silver Labrador Retriever; his foresight and absolute devotion has brought the Silver Lab out from obscurity and into the spotlight.


In the great Silver Labrador debate, the positions of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Labrador Retriever Club of America (LRC) are often cited by both supporters and detractors as to why these Labs should be generally accepted or not.  Quite often broad sweeping statements are made about these organizations that are not supported by the facts.  Some of these statements are intended to be misleading by those who make them, no doubt, but part of the reason for misrepresenting the positions of these organizations is that the LRC position has changed over time.  To better understand the reasons behind using the AKC or LRC position in the Silver Lab debate, we need to take a close look at their positions as well as the organizations themselves.  Why they exist, who fills their ranks, and how positions are established and changed.

Improvement Movement

      Over the last several years as some dedicated Silver Lab enthusiasts became new breeders, the recognition that there was significant need to improve the Silver Lab became clear.  The major focus of these improvement motivated breeders has been to address the physical conformation short comings that many Silver Labs possessed due to decades of more-or-less indiscriminate breeding with color as the main breeding objective.  The Silver Lab improvement breeders have forgone any preference for color and have concentrated their breeding plans on bringing in Champion linage, solid health heritage, and some are even titling their Labs.  These breeders work to improve the Genetics, Health, and Pedigree of the Silver Labrador.  Puppies produced from improvement breeders are often Silver-factored and have in some cases only 1/8 silver lines in the pedigree, the majority being lines that are appearing at weekend specialty shows, hunt tests, and field trials.  Indeed, the only thing that differentiates these Labs from the top Black, Yellow, or Chocolate Labs is the presence of the dilution gene in their genetic make up.  There is however a grand disparity between the breeders who truly improve and those that exclusively breed in the Silver lines.  Those breeders are breeding back to the same non-descript lines time and time again, unfortunately many do not do health clearances, and you'd be hard pressed to find one proving their Labs in any type of event.
      When seeking a puppy from a Silver Lab breeder, one must look to those breeders that truly breed for overall improvement.  Breeders who put their Labs before their profit.  Only then can you be confident that your Silver or Silver-Factored Labrador will be a capable, sound, and beautiful companion for life.
      How to identify a true Silver Lab improvement breeder is not too difficult.  The biggest criteria to look for is the colors of their breeding Labs.  If they are breeding all dilutes, don't waste your time.  You will save yourself the greater potential for heartache and pain by looking for breeder that regularly breed with Silver-Factored or non-Silver Labs.  Now that you have found an improved minded breeder, the next step is to take a more profound look at the dogs they are breeding.  Do they have health certifications, which ones?  What lines do they have, are they full of titled dogs from respected and proven Labrador lines, or are they generic back yard bred lines?  Finally, what are they doing with their dogs, are they competing in any type of event, AKC or otherwise?  The more involved a breeder is in improving the health, pedigree, and genetics of their dogs, the more you can be assured you have found a breeder that is part of the Improvement Movement who produces puppies that have much more than a unique color going for them.  By supporting the breeders of the Improvement Movement you are supporting the future of the Silver Labrador, ensuring it will be a healthy, beautiful and bright future...not one where color is king and little thought goes into the rest of the package.