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.