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D-locus (dilute) genetic testing 

Why is it important?

The modern Labrador Retriever originated from the St. John’s Dog in Newfoundland Canada. They were imported as a sporting breed to the UK. The colours produced were limited to black, yellow and chocolate/liver. The Labrador was registered as a UK breed in 1903.

 Contrary to certain breeder’s beliefs there is no record of any other colours, markings or dilute variants in any of the whelping logs or breeding records kept from this time. Furthermore, there has not been any record of dilute variants in any of the other retrieving breeds descending from the original St. John’s lineage. The first ‘silver’ Labrador puppy wasn’t registered in the UK until 2006, 103 years since the breed was registered…

This information suggests that the development of the dilute gene in the Labrador gene pool is due to an outcross to another breed most likely the Weimaraner which is known to carry the dilute gene. This was due to imports from US of dilute affected dogs.  Therefore, breeders advertising silver, charcoal, champagne etc. Labradors have dogs that carry this ‘new’ gene and are capitalising on it by producing so-called ‘rare’ colours which are sold for £1k-£2.5K a puppy. Dilute adults are also known to be imported from the USA for breeding and can fetch far higher prices. 

Finally, ethically and morally the damage to the breed as we know it will be catastrophic, with bloodlines developed over the last century being lost, along with the well-known Labrador temperament, innate skills and versatility, not to mention reports of skin problems usually only found in Weimaraner’s being added to the gene pool.

How do I test my dogs?

Simply request a D-locus gene test from either Animal Genetics UK (£25 with code LAB25) or Animal DNA diagnostics (£27) Both will send swabs which are then wiped on the inside of your dogs’ cheek and returned, following the instructions on the package. Alternatively, if you are purchasing a dna panel simple add it on to your order usually at a discounted rate e.g. PawPrint Genetics cost $22 for an add-on test.

Finally, when you get your result, please visit Pure Bred Labradors website. There is a one-off payment of £5 to register, allowing you to add as many dogs as you wish. Please also have your certificates ready to send as proof of testing!  The list of clear dogs is available via the link below '

 Useful Links: 

Thanks to Lesley Dantinnes for letting us share her wonderful work. 

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