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Update by user Jan 29, 2012

Approximately one year ago I paid a hefty price for a silver lab puppy from Patrick Wickliffe in Springfield,OH. Recently, my lab developed significant hair loss accompanied by lesions and sores. After several painful skin scrapes and two biopsies it was determined that she suffers from color dilution...

Original review posted by user Jan 29, 2012

alopecia, a genetic disorder directly caused by breeding these dogs for their color.I approached the breeder via email to no avail.

However, he quickly updated his website to include that "alpaca"(I assume he means alopecia) can occur but is not covered by the health warranty. Luckily, my dog does not suffer from alpaca!! I sent a second email andApproximately one year ago I paid a hefty price for a silver lab puppy from Patrick Wickliffe in Springfield,OH. Recently, my lab developed significant hair loss accompanied by lesions and sores.

After several painful skin scrapes and two biopsies it was determined that she suffers from color dilution he finally responded by copying and pasting the health warranty, alpaca included. When I was buying a pup from him he always responded to my emails. He must think I want my money back which I don't. I wanted him to know that my beloved pet suffers from a rare genetic disorder that inflicts pain for which there is no cure.

I also wanted him to know that the dermatologic veternarian,after receiving the pathology report(regarding skin biopsies) from the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab Center for Veterinary Health Sciences from Oklahoma State University,recommended that my dog should never be bred. Additionally, she recommends "against further breeding of either the sire or the dam" from which my dog was produced. My concern is that there are other people out there buying this "fad" color without realizing the issues that accompany it.

I would hope that Mr.Wickliffe would stop breeding the dam and sire after I provided him with this information.

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Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, United States #1260532

I am sorry you are having troubles with your pup. Unfortunately the dilute gene that makes your dog silver is the reason for the disease. Dilute Labradors should not be bred


Hello my husband and I paid 900 for a silver lab and have been searching for the answer to her hair loss.Our vet told us it was a food allergy.

Problem is no matter what food we give her she still looses her coat. I was so happy (not happy for the poor dogs) to see your post saying what I asked the vet already hundreds of dollars ago. I think these breeders should be stopped and NOT allowed AKC reg. They are only hurting the breeds and breeding for color or to combine breeds for new ones without any concern about what it does to these poor animals (owners too).

Thank you so very much. Now we come to our vet it's quite possible he is just a small town vet only wanting to make money, we pay a lot of money for her to see him and the special diet he sells us because of her food allergy. If its ok with you I will show both the vet and the breeder your article.

Thank you again.Oh ya time for a new vet too!

El Paso, Texas, United States #992605

This is what happens when you want some "designer" dog that was never meant to be ..


your dog's medical issues are your fault because it's people like you who create the demand for breeding.Adopt don't shop!

to Anonymous #1252599

The dogs already exist, *** hat.


You should report this breeder to the proper authorities. Puppy Mills & people that buy from them really need to think about what they are doing.

Not all breeders are liars & thief's but the ones that are need to be shut down.

Gainesville, Florida, United States #958616

I will never feel bad for someone who paid $1000 for a puppy... There is something really wrong with that


Anonymous -- you couldn't be more wrong.Please do NOT lump all breeders into one category.

There is a small percentage of breeders out there doing things right. Improving the health and structure of the breed.

Not sure if you are aware -- that most dogs in shelters end up there due to behavioral issues. Granted, temperament is about 90% genetic.

REAL breeders know this.

I volunteer for a rescue organization and have seen this first hand. The early spay/neuter program has done its job, but is now killing our dogs. We now need to promote TRAINING!

In regards to the "Pissed Consumer".

You purchased a Labrador with a disqualifying fault. I am so sorry you were taken in by this person -- however, the first sign that something was wrong was that this "money grubbing puppy miller" was breeding a "silver" Labrador. There is no such thing as a "silver". In the early 20th century another less than reputable breeder crossed a Labrador with a Weimaraner and then registered the litter as purebred Labs with the AKC.

Unfortunately that was so many generations ago that it is impossible to prove with DNA at this point; however, you need to only look at the dog to see the Weimaraner characteristics.

Education is power.

to Re***ble Breeders Only #1033203

Most dogs end up in shelters due to irresponsible owners.They don't spay, neuter, socialize or train them.

They think they are suppose to magically learn manners.Once they are not a cute puppy or are inconvenient they dump them.

Cranford, New Jersey, United States #905420

Puppy mills should be abolished!


I have to comment because people who buy dogs from breeders should expect some kind of problem. Breeders in breed which causes all sorts of genetic problems as well as breed specific problems. With so many healthy unwanted animals in the world I wonder why anyone would pay alot for any pet

to Anonymous Cranford, New Jersey, United States #905425

People want "designer pets". Mutts are healthier and better balanced than in-bred pure-breeds AND, you're saving an innocent from a death sentence!

Columbus, Ohio, United States #784561

Alopecia (at least in humans) is treatable with steroids. I know, I had it as a child and they gave me hundreds of steroid injections.


Be careful when reading issues of alopecia in silver or dilute labs.Not all silvers or dilutes have this problem, in fact, most do not.

If you are thinking of getting a silver or dilute puppy, be sure the breeder from whom you are buying breeds back to the dominant gene. In other words your risk is greatest if a silver is bred to another silver -- very bad breeding indeed. On the other hand the best combination is a silver-factored black or chocolate bred to a silver or another silver factored black.

Breeding for strength, rather than weakness (recessive) is best.Alopecia risk is reduced considerably by breeding back to a dominant color.


Mr.Wickliffe's "illness" had nothing to do with the genetically defective dogs he peddled.

He knew what he was doing, selling dogs that carried the gene for CDA. You profess that he wasn't able to communicate with us, however he was able to banter back on "public forums" with dissatisfied customers. If his illness precluded him from conducting his business affairs, he should have appointed someone to carry out his responsibilities. Yes, he had a responsibility to breed sound dogs and honor his breeding practices by following his warranty.

He didn't provide buyers with sound dogs.So take your "illness card" and play it somewhere else.

to Play it Somewhere else Kingston, Pennsylvania, United States #865736

Almost all dogs carry the gene, breeding for color and breading a "dd" in a breed that normally doesn't have the genetic variation causes the CDA.


Sick and absolutely discussed in reading this!Pat was an amazing man and loved his dogs cows horses and every living thing he came in contact with!

Maybe had you further investigated instead of throwing accusations on a public forum you would have found the reason why pay never responded is because he became very ill and is no longer with us!

Maybe in knowing this you will think before you open your fat mouth in the future!I'm sure pat is smiling down and praying for the health of all of his animals especially his very own that had to be so sadly rehomed!

Monroe, Michigan, United States #708628

The lab that we bought from Wick's Silver Labs had CDA.CDA was not an excluded condition in our contract.

Our pup started showing signs of CDA five days after bringer her home. Pat Wickliffe made every excuse and effort to not take responsibility and replace our pup per our contract. He changed his contract wording to exclude CDA as a exchangeable genetic defect shortly after we made contact with him. Our pup was subsequently diagnosed at Michigan State University Veterinary Hospital with CDA.

Pat Wickliffe refused to replace our pup or give us a partial refund. I am a nurse and experienced dog owner. I understand that many health issue can arise. However,if a supposed reputable breeder knows that they have a genetic condition in their breeding line, they should stop breeding those dogs.

The breeder should also be more than willing to honor the contract and provide a replacement pup which he would not do. Continuing to breed dogs that carry any defective gene is just irresponsible and wrong. It is also greedy. In our opinion Pat Wickliffe was (he has since passed away) breeding for the money and not for the quality of the breed .

Pat Wickliffe's partner is continuing to breed silver labs under Wick's Silver Labs. We do not know if he is using the same dogs to breed, but we suspect that he is. No one wants to pay $1000 for a bald dog. When I went to pick her up at Mr.

Wickliffe's house he had a *** that had a very sparse coat. I asked him about her and he told me "she always blows her coat after a litter". I have had 2 litters with my chocolate lab, she has lost some fur after a litter but never to the extent that his female did. We firmly believe that she also has CDA.

I agree that to replace a pup is far better than bad publicity. Unfortunately he did not see it that way. Other people have had the same issue CDA in their dogs from Wick's Silver Labs. Our pup had to be put down, under the advice of our vet, due to extremely aggressive behaviors.

Even with behavioral therapy, there was no real improvement.

Not only did she have CDA, her temperament was not that of a Labrador retriever either.

to Gottaken2 #1252604

You wanted a replacement dog? How sad. All for the design I see.

Kaufman, Texas, United States #697545

I realize this is an old post but here's what I wanted to add.I'm a breeder of labs and have a Master's in genetics/animal science.

Alopecia can occur in dilutes and you can have litter mates where one has it and one doesn't. The standard health guarantee most lab breeders have includes hips, elbows and eyes and usually CNM and EIC. There are over 100 genetic diseases in labs, most of which can't be tested for. If alopecia isn't specifically covered in the contract, there's not much recourse.

I think if the breeder is having puppies that have the condition he needs to stop breeding the parents immediately because they aren't matching well. As a breeder, I would have provided a replacement simply because bad publicity isn't worth a puppy. As for silvers being real labs, coming from a genetics standpoint I will say it's entirely possible the gene was hidden within the breed. The lab is a relatively new breed (originated in late 1800's.

First chocolates came in 1930's so dilutes coming in 1980's isn't out of the question). It's also possible that a lab was bred to a weim 30+ years ago but after being back to labs after this long it really doesn't matter. Labs and Weimaraner's share 99.9% of their anyway and the dogs are registered AKC. There's no way to prove either side is right.

I do have an issue with a lot of silver breeders not getting OFAs and CERFs on their dogs or competing in hunt tests to prove their dogs can perform.No one should breed for just 1 trait and if the breeder is just doing it for $$ maybe this should be a wake up call.


I have a charcoal lab not by this breeder ?I also have a yellow, a black and a chocolate.

My charcoal has skin issues and it's Llergies...plain and simple. He is on a salmon food alone with omega supplements and I bathe him once. Week. I would never do skin pinch biopsies without at least months of trying to work with diet and other skin supplements to see if that helps.

Anything can happen to the best of dog breeders and with Labradors I have had my share with inter digital cysts due to allergies and lets not for get ears! There is and always will be care just like a child. Skin biopsies to me sounds so desperate and brash on such a young baby. Fir sure it doesn't sound like any testing was done on allergies etc.

just my two cents. PS.

I've rescued my chocolate due to his coat not being the best and of not bein show quality you should see him now!Omegas and try ostrich meat or salmon diet before skin punches..geez!

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