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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chocolate Lab, Silver Fur

During one of our normal one-on-one times, my hand smoothed out Dakota's fur around her face. It was then that I noticed a bump on her upper lip. She did not seem to be in pain or even give notice to the dime-sized bump so I decided to take a closer look. As it turns out, it is a group of dead skin right at the hair line. Rubbing it only makes the fur come out in chunks. Is this natural? Sadly, yes.

When a Labrador Retriever, or almost any dog for that matter, ends up getting a scab from something (say, a little doggy sister), they develop the scab right on top of the skin. This pushes the fur follicles up and out. The result? A giant bald spot that takes forever to grow in.

Given that our Labs are from a full chocolate line, the fur that grows in after one of these scabbing episodes is usually grey or silver in color. No, my girls are not silver labs! They are full chocolate with some brindle. However, because their line was never crossed with a black (which a breeder should do from time to time to keep the chocolate line pure and deep in color), this variation can occur. Were they born with silver fur? Nope! Not a one! However, Dakota now has a few silver hairs on her muzzle, back, and tail due to rough playing. Cheyenne has a couple on her shoulder as well and will probably have a line down her nose soon as Dakota took a chunk of fur when she grazed Cheyenne's muzzle with her tooth during a game of fetch.

Should one worry about this? Nope! Unless you show your Labs, this can happen and it doesn't mean that they are sick or may develop health issues. It is just like someone in their 20's having a patch of grey hair early.... it is just the genetics of hair color. Nothing more, nothing less.



Blogger Chris said...

Shannon - actually, we do keep the black in the line, Sam's mom was black, and Kiwi had three grandparents, one on top, two on the bottom who were black. Any color of lab can get the hair coming back from a cut in a weird color, our blacks who've had a tooth graze or a scratch from brush get white hair growth in those places. If it is a major concern for you, you can get a product called Furall at the farm store which when used on a wound will help prevent the hair coming back in the wrong color. Chris

March 25, 2007 3:02 PM  

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