The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed of dog in the United States since 1990. These gentle, intelligent dogs make ideal family companions. They are easy to train and they love children. Here’s a few things you may not know about this popular breed.
This breed of dog so often associated with the American family is really a Canadian import. Labradors originated in Newfoundland, Canada, where they were originally used to help fishermen pull in nets and catch fish that escaped from the lines. Small local water dogs were bred with Newfoundlands to produce these early Labradors. At that time they were called the St. John’s Water Dog.
It wasn’t until a little extra breeding was done to cross these water dogs with Setters, Spaniels and other Retrievers that the Labrador Retriever we have today was created.
Today’s Labradors can trace their pedigrees back to 1878. The Labrador was recognized as a breed by the Kennel Club in Britain in 1903. They were first registered by the AKC in 1917. The breed was first imported into the United States in great numbers from Britain following World War I.
Labrador Retrievers have a water and weather-resistant coat. It tends to be somewhat oily. This helps the dog when he works in the water. It protects his skin from constant contact with the water and keeps his coat from becoming drenched. A few quick shakes and the Lab is virtually dry.
Labs also have an “otter” tail — it’s relatively thick and acts like a rudder in the water to help them in swimming.
Labrador Retrievers come in yellow, chocolate and black colors. They do not come in white but their yellow color can be pale enough to be mistaken for cream or white.
There are no longhaired Labrador Retrievers and there is no Golden Labrador Retriever. The Golden Retriever is a separate breed. A longhaired retriever is not a Labrador Retriever. It is some other breed or mix.
The dog in Marley & Me was a yellow Labrador Retriever. Actually, 25 different Labrador Retrievers were used in the making of the film, at different ages. Most of them were used to film the puppy scenes. Not to worry: all of the puppies and dogs used in the film either already had owners or were adopted by cast and crew.
In England no Labrador Retriever can become a bench (or show) champion unless it can also has a working certificate showing that it is capable of field work.
Labrador Retrievers today are one of the most sought-after dogs for search and rescue work.
At least one organization, Guide Dogs for the Blind, breeds Labrador Retrievers for their own guide dog program.
A Labrador’s color has no nothing to do with his temperament . Black Labs, Yellow Labs and Chocolate Labs are equally sweet and loving.
Labrador Retrievers are generally considered low maintenance dogs. However, Labs do have a dense double coat that is prone to shedding. Contrary to popular belief, shortcoated dogs do not shed less than longcoated dogs. In fact, it’s necessary to brush a Labrador frequently so that his hair won’t shed all over your house.
There is constant debate about whether males or females make better pets. Some people feel that males are more affectionate and loving while females are more independent. You’ll find other people who feel the opposite way. It’s always best to choose the individual puppy or dog who suits you rather than make too many generalities when it comes to gender.