- Despite their name, they originated in Newfoundland, not Labrador.
- Developed from the “Lesser” Newfoundland-a medium-sized black dog that retrieved game and fish from cold waters, and even pulled small boats.
- Although they died out in Newfoundland, the Labs we see today are descended from those that were taken to England in the early 1800s.
- In England, they gained favor as upland game retrievers; by 1870, the name Labrador Retriever was common in England.
- Two Labs of the 1880s, Buccleuch Avon and Ned, are widely considered to be the ancestors of all modern Labs.
- In 1892, the first liver Labs were officially recorded, and in 1899, the first yellow Lab. However, yellow and chocolate dogs did exist before then.
- Labs came to America as Scottish-style shooting and gamekeeping became prestigious among upper class sportsmen.
- The breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1903, and the AKC in 1917.
- In 1938, a Lab became the first dog to appear on the cover of Life magazine, bringing the breed national attention. The Lab was also the first dog to be featured on a U.S. stamp, in 1959.
- Labs gradually replaced other breeds as the most popular guide dogs. They are also popular search and rescue dogs, assistance dogs and contraband detection dogs.
- Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed in America. It is also the most popular breed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
- U.S. President Bill Clinton owned a Labrador named Buddy, and Russian President Vladimir Putin owned a Labrador named Koni.
Labrador Retriever Behavior Concerns
- Makes a playful and trustworthy child’s companion.
- Eager to please, but can be oblivious to corrections.
- A happy dog, with a good old boy attitude; not easily bothered.
- Outgoing toward strangers.
- Gets along well with other pets and dogs.
- Loves to retrieve, to the point of seeming compulsive.
- Loves to swim.
- Quick to learn, but tends to pull when on leash.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or retrieving.
Labrador Retriever Suggested Exercises
- Can be a calm housedog if given adequate exercise.
- Needs daily walks, jogs, hikes or play sessions.
- Swimming and retrieving are favored methods of exercise.
- Also needs mental exercise in the form of training or games.
- Field-bred Labs are lighter built and more active than show-bred Labs, and will usually require more exercise.
- Labs enjoy hunting, and many owners compete in field events with them.
Labrador Retriever Grooming
- Coat is straight and thick, but fairly short.
- Colors are black, yellow and chocolate. No other colors are considered acceptable.
- Brushing once a week is adequate; more during shedding seasons.
- Shedding is average to above average.
Suggested Labrador Retriever Nutritional Needs
- Labradors have a tendency to become obese.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet that does not allow them to become overweight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This has been shown to decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.
>>> SEE ALSO: Know Your Pet