Considered the most popular dog in the United States, the Labrador Retriever is a friendly, active, and loyal breed. It is famous for its sociable personality and athletic ability. Notably, it has been named as America’s top dog breed for 25 consecutive years by the American Kennel Club.
Here are top 5 facts about Labrador Retriever that might pique your interest.
1. The breed is not technically from Labrador
There are many breeds which take their name from the place of their origin, the Labrador is an exception here. In fact, it originated on the island of Newfoundland, a little south of Labrador in the 1700s. It was also known as St. John’s Dog, taking the name from the capital city of Newfoundland.
From Newfoundland, the breed gradually made its way to England, beginning with the second Earl of Malmesbury. He was the first to bring some St. John’s Dogs around the year 1830. It was the third Earl of Malmesbury who named them “Labradors”. Incidentally, the name stuck even when the breed gathered popularity in North America.
2. Universal hunting dogs
Labrador Retrievers were initially bred to be hunting dogs. Initially, this breed was used by fishermen for helping in hauling nets, catching loads of fish, and fetching ropes. They were great at gathering fish and fishnets that sprang loose from the hooks of fishermen. The dogs are built to be natural swimmers with lots of stamina and sturdy back legs for diving into water. When they were brought to England in the 19th century, breeding and training refined and trained them into a sporting dog for upland and waterfowl games.
3. Made for the water
As mentioned earlier, the “Lab” is practically built for swimming. It has a sleek, waterproof coat, along with semi-webbed feet and a rudder-like tail. When in water, they can swim as effortlessly as seals. Their double coat makes them suitable even for very cold water. The outer layer has long dense, straight hairs and the inner layer has soft fur that acts as an insulating layer. Its undercoat traps heat and helps keep the water out. It enables the dog’s natural oils to repel water, which makes the coat naturally waterproof.
4. Black, yellow and chocolate are not their only colors
The amazing Lab comes in three distinct colors, namely black, chocolate brown, and the always recognizable yellow. However, these are not the only colors. There are Silver Labradors, which are chocolate Labs with a dilution gene that results in their coat being of a slightly lighter color and different tint. Incidentally, black and yellow labs may also have these dilution genes. There is some controversy surrounding the Silver Lab as kennel clubs are reluctant to recognize them as an official color. But for those who care more about the dog’s disposition, the Silver has a great one to go with its unique color.
5. No demarcation among Labrador Retrievers
Essentially, there is no such thing as a “Real” English or American Lab. Though individuals can have various body shapes depending on the purpose for which they were bred, there is only one breed of Labrador Retriever. Those referred to as "English Labs" are also known as show Labs, while those referred to as "American Labs" are called field Labs. Those built to perform in the show ring have a stronger build while those bred to be working dogs in the field are sleeker and more agile. These factors are not related to location. The difference in their body shape sometimes becomes obviously apparent, but they belong to the same universal breed.
Given these factors, the Labrador Retriever is a great dog to own with incredible levels of energy. They are a loyal and hardworking breed fit for many difficult tasks and jobs. With its athletic build and loving, loyal disposition, the Lab can be considered the best all-around dog.
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