Silver Lab vs Weimaraner: Which is a Better Family Dog?

Last Updated on April 25, 2023

Dogs come in many colors, including white, black, brown, red, cream, tan, and many variations thereof. However, silver-coated dogs are something exceptional.

Both the Weimaraner and Silver Lab are known for their gorgeous shiny, gray coats, resulting in these two dog breeds often getting confused with one another.

A close-up image of a Silver Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner
A Silver Labrador Retriever (Source: @lukeythelabrador  / IG) and a Weimaraner

And while they may be distantly related, the Silver Lab and the Weimaraner are entirely different dogs.

Keep reading to discover all you need to know about these two beautiful silver dogs and which might be better suited to your home and family. 

Breed Comparison: A Quick Overview

Both the Silver Lab and Weimaraner boast a beautiful gray, silver coat; however, for the Weimaraner, this coat is the characteristic color of this breed.

On the other hand, for the Labrador Retriever, this is simply a genetic abnormality with Labradors most commonly found in chocolate, black, or yellow. 

Here’s a quick comparison of these two dog breeds:

  Silver Labrador (Silver Lab) Weimaraner
Average Height 22 inches (55.8 cm) 25 inches (63.5 cm)
Average Weight 68 lbs (30.8 kg) 73 lbs (33.1 kg)
Average Lifespan 11 years 12 years
Exercise Needs 1 hour/day 2 hours/day
Grooming Needs Weekly brushing Weekly brushing
Family Friendly Yes, very Yes
Dog Friendly Yes Yes
Trainability Easy Moderate

Do Silver Labs have Weimaraner in Them?

The Silver Labrador Retriever and the Weimaraner
The Silver Lab and the Weim: Look-alikes with different histories

Labrador Retrievers were first developed in Newfoundland, Canada, as water retrieval dogs for duck hunters.

They were then refined in the United Kingdom and the United States and typically come in black, chocolate, or yellow.

The Silver Lab occurs to the presence of a recessive gene responsible for the silver coat color. This gene needs to be inherited from both parents. 

It is unclear exactly how this gene came to be, but it is thought to have developed around the 1950s.

It could be a simple mutation or the result of crossbreeding these dogs with other breeds, such as the Weimaraner. 

On the other hand, Weimaraners originated in Germany in the town of Weimar, where they were also bred as hunting dogs.

Originally these dogs were used for hunting large game such as bears and wolves before being used as hunting companions to retrieve wild birds. 

Why are Silver Labs controversial?

Dogs that carry two recessive genes, such as the Silver Lab, are prone to a condition known as color dilution alopecia.

Although this is not a life-threatening condition, it can leave your dog with dry, itchy, irritable skin and lead to significant hair loss. 

This is also a controversial breed because some Labrador Retriever enthusiasts say that the Silver Lab threatens the purity of the breed.

Silver Lab puppies can also be quite expensive, leading to some unscrupulous breeders trying to breed dogs simply to get this rare color without giving much care to the health and wellbeing of the puppies.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Weimaraner and a Silver Lab?

Sitting Silver Labrador Retriever and Weimaraner
The gorgeous Silver Lab (Source: @captain.the.silver.lab / IG) and Weimaraner breeds

Despite the similarities in their coat color, it’s pretty easy to tell the Weimaraner apart from the Silver Lab.

Silver Labradors are sturdier, more well-built dogs with a thicker, stockier body when compared to the Weimaraner’s agile, athletic form. 

Weimaraners, on the other hand, have a proud posture with slender limbs with muscular hindquarters, a deep chest, and a small head with large, floppy ears.

Their tail is also long and slender, although docking is standard practice with this breed and even required by the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard. 

The nose color of the Silver Lab and the Weimaraner are also distinguishing factors between these two dogs.

The eyes of the Weimaraner will be gray, blue-gray, or amber, while the Silver Lab will typically have blue eyes. 

Temperament and Personality

Silver Labrador Retriever and Weimaraner temperament
The friendly Silver Lab (Source: @slaterthesilverlab ) and the independent Weim

Silver Labs are loved for their outgoing, friendly demeanors. This very loyal breed will want to be included in all of your daily activities.

Weimaraners, on the other hand, are quite an independent breed, although they too are very loyal, often suffering from separation anxiety if left apart from their owners for long periods. 

Is the Silver Lab stronger than the Weimaraner?

No, the Weimaraner is generally the stronger dog of these two breeds.

These large-sized dogs stand on average 25 inches (63.5 cm) tall and weigh around 73 pounds (33.1 kg).

On the other hand, Labrador Retrievers average 22 inches (55.8 cm) in height and 68 pounds (30.8 kg) in weight. 

The body of the Weimaraner is built to work. They are strong, streamlined, and able to run and exercise with an impressive endurance level.

Which dog is more aggressive?

Weimaraners can be quite a territorial and, thus, sometimes aggressive breed, mainly if they sense danger.

These dogs are very wary of strangers and thus will need plenty of socialization from a young age to ensure that they get along well with others.

The Labrador Retriever, on the other hand, is much more welcoming and friendly to other animals and people.

Which breed is the perfect family dog?

Both the Weimaraner and the Silver Lab can be fantastic family companions. Due to its hunting history, the Weimaraner can tend to chase down smaller animals and even kids. 

The Labrador Retriever, on the other hand, is known as a loving, friendly, playful dog that makes the perfect family pet.

These dogs thrive in the company of their humans and are not known to pick favorites; they will love whoever pays them attention. 

Silver Labs can get bored quickly, which means that they will love playing with children and want to be around their family as much as they can.

Is a Silver Labrador Smarter than Weimaraner?

A Silver Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner outdoors
A Silver Lab (Source: @axelthesilverlab_  and a Weim training outdoors (Source: @bailey_the__weimaraner)

The Silver Labrador and the Weimaraner are highly intelligent breeds, with the Silver Lab likely being the easier to train of the two breeds.

Weimaraners are known to not just blindly obey the orders that you give them. 

Despite both breeds being sociable, friendly dogs, they should still undergo obedience training as puppies to ensure they grow up as well-adjusted pets.

This is especially the case with the Weimaraner, which needs consistent training that is also interesting and exciting to keep this intelligent dog engaged. 

Which Dog Breed Has Higher Maintenance?

Silver Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner exercising
The outdoorsy Silver Lab (Source: @kingotisthelabrador) and Weimaraner (Source: @travistucker74)

The Silver Lab and the Weimaraner have moderate maintenance needs, requiring regular brushing and exercise to ensure that they don’t get bored.

Although both dogs require a fair about of exercise, the Weimaraner is more demanding. 

Which dog is more energetic?

Due to the breed’s history as a hunting companion, Labrador Retrievers love to spend time outdoors. These dogs participate well in canine sports and may also love to swim. 

That said, if you’re looking for a dog with plenty of energy, then the Weimaraner is the way to go.

These dogs require plenty of physical and mental stimulation and will enjoy running, playing frisbee, participating in dog sports, and being given puzzles to do.

These dogs definitely won’t be satisfied just sitting around inside all day. 

Which dog sheds more?

Like other Labrador Retrievers, the Silver Lab has a thick, water-resistant coat that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.

Although the coat will shed, weekly brushing will help keep a handle on loose fur and keep your dog’s coat looking beautiful and shiny.

In times of heavier shedding during the changing of the seasons, you may want to brush your dog more regularly.

The Silver Lab is also known to shed more than a regular Labrador Retriever due to the condition known as color dilution alopecia mentioned previously Weimaraner’s coat is slightly shorter than the Silver Labs but will also shed seasonally.

The floppy ears of this breed should also be cleaned regularly, while their nails will need to be trimmed often to ensure that they don’t cause any pain or tears when exercising. 

Both these dogs are not suitable for pet owners with allergies.

Nutritional needs

As high-energy dogs, Weimaraners need high-quality dog food that contains plenty of protein that can support their muscles.

That said, be sure not to overfeed them, sticking to the recommended feeding allowance on the bag. Silver Labs too, should not be overfed.

This breed particularly loves its food, and they will gobble down anything if given half the chance.

One and a quarter to two daily cups of dry dog food divided into two equal meals should be sufficient for the Silver Lab.

Remember to consider any treats you give your dog when working out his calorie intake. 

Average Lifespan

Weimaraner and Silver Labrador Retriever lying down
A Weim (Source: @bluetheweimi) and a Silver Lab (Source: @remydogmillionaire) resting

Both the Weimaraner and the Silver Lab have a life span of between 10 and 12 years.

Labrador Retrievers are prone to developing obesity which can cause several health problems during their lives, such as diabetes and mobility issues.

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise regime is essential for keeping your Silver Lab in top shape throughout his life.

Other health problems that can plague Silver Labs during their lifetime include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, bloat, and cancer.

However, reputable breeders will be able to run health checks on their dogs to ensure that the puppies are free from any genetic diseases.

Weimaraners are also subject to bloat and hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and heart disease.

Sometimes this breed can also develop a disease known as hypertrophic osteodystrophy, which affects the bones.

Puppy Cost and Price

Silver Labrador Retriever and Weimaraner puppies
The cute Silver Lab and Weim pups

Weimaraner puppies typically fetch between $700 and $2,600.

This is quite similar to the price of the Labrador Retriever, which goes for between $800 and $2,000, although Silver Labs can be more expensive than the average Labrador due to their rarity.

The breeder’s location, the parent dogs, lineage, and breeder reputation will also influence the final price of a puppy.

Meet some adorable eight-week-old Weimaraner puppies in this video:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Silver Labrador Retriever and Weimaraner looking up
The popular Silver Lab (Source: @silber_labrador_mailo) and Weimaraner breeds (Source: @simba_and_inka)

Which is more popular?

The Labrador Retriever and the Weimaraner are both popular dogs, both as working breeds and family companions.

The Weimaraner ranks 36 of 196 dog breeds in terms of popularity by the American Kennel Club, whereas the Labrador Retriever is the most popular family dog in the United States. 

Do these two breeds get along?

Both Silver Labs and Weimaraners can be friendly dogs that get along well with other canine companions if properly socialized and trained.

Of the two, the Silver Lab is more likely to welcome other pets.

At the same time, the Weimaraner may need socialization training to ensure that any aggressive tendencies do not creep in.

Which is Better, Silver Lab or the Weimaraner?

As you can see, there are some big differences between the Silver Lab and the Weimaraner.

The Weimaraner is the more energetic of these two dog breeds requiring plenty of exercise and time devoted to training.

And while that doesn’t mean the Silver Lab will be content to lay around on the sofa all day, he can make a better companion for a relaxed family home.

And while Labrador Retrievers may be the more popular of these two breeds, the Silver Lab can be more expensive and difficult to find due to the rarity of this color as a recessive gene causes it.

The Weimaraner, on the other hand, will always boast a beautiful silver-gray color as this is the breed standard for this dog.

Do you have a Weimaraner or Silver Lab at home? We would love to know more about your dog. Please share the stories of your pet in the comments below.

Further reading: Other Dog Breed Comparison

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