Labrador Retriever

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Female yellow Labrador, sitting next to a ball.
Labradors exist in three colors: brown, black and yellow
A red variant (called red fox, or fox red) of the labrador. However, it is not considered a color by most kennel clubs.

The Labrador Retriever (or Lab and Labrador for short) is a breed of dog. It is a kind of gun dog. Labrador Retrievers are very gentle dogs with family-friendly personalities. They are the most popular breed of dogs for pets in Australia,[1] Canada,[2] New Zealand,[3] the United Kingdom,[4] and the United States.[5] They enjoy attention and exercise with their owner. They love to run around in big, open spaces, have a natural love of bringing things back, and learn to retrieve easily. They love to be active. They like the water no matter what temperature outside as their coat protects them. They are strong swimmers as they have webbing between the toes on their paws. They have coats that can be in any of three colors: black, yellow, and brown.

This tough, hardy breed of retriever is a great choice as a family pet. They are playful, easy to train, and naturally obedient. Labrador Retrievers do require regular amounts of daily exercise and are prone to obesity. As a pet, they can be demanding of attention and are best suited in a home where they can have a daily workout. They like water and have a unique otter-like tail, which they use like a rudder when they swim.

History[change | change source]

Labradors are descended from dogs bred on the island of Newfoundland, in Canada. Its ancestor is the St. John's water dog, a breed that developed through breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century. These dogs were trained to bring in the fishing nets from the icy waters for the fishermen. In the early 19th century, they were brought to Poole in Great Britain. These dogs had short strong legs and were good swimmers. Their coats were thick and they had a broad tail. Englishmen had many offers to buy them from fishermen because they were so attractive. The breed was instantly successful as a gun dog. The Earl of Malmesbury was interested and amazed by these dogs, and he started breeding them.[6] He bred them for duck shooting on his estate.[7] He established the new breed of retrievers, which he named Labrador.[8]

In 1903, the Labrador Retriever was recognized by the English Kennel Club (EKC). Then, a year later, was listed as a dog in the Gundog group. At this point, retrievers were not divided by breed (until 1905, when it was listed separately).

England's Royal Family has long been popular with the Labrador, as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II promoted them throughout their kennel.

Countess Howe is believed to be the first person to bring Labradors to the United States, shortly before World War One.[9]

To say, however, that the Labrador was popular immediately would be wrong. It was only recognized in 1917 by the AKC, and strangely, ten years later, there were only roughly 24 Labradors in the United States. They were still classed as "Retrievers" until the late 1920s. The first Labrador registered, was a black female.

At this point, only upper class people owned them. However, lots of the upper class enjoyed these dogs, and they would try to import them from the finest English kennels. It's important to see, that they were only imported for one reason, though.

The first Labrador Retriever club was formed in 1931 in New York City, and the first field trial was held in December of that year.

Unfortunately, during the Second World War, as with most dog breeds, numbers decreased. But, after 1945, they gained a strong popularity boost. Imports from the British kennel clubs, as earlier said, increased, and then after a while, their numbers began rising again. That is why, most of the British Labrador population, has roots in the United States.

Temperament[change | change source]

Labrador retrievers are gentle and loving. They make great family dogs. They are intelligent, agile, and kind dogs. They also are very energetic, and need exercise every day.

Labradors are very social, and therefore, are easy to train. They are happy to play in any activity you want to do with them, but the outgoing side of the Labrador does have a flip side. They crave attention, and, if not given it, can resort to destructive behaviour.

Fortunately, they are not only social but very versatile. The breed's generally sunny temperament, love of people, and willingness to learn make them star performers in many disciplines, e.g. therapy, guide dogs.

Appearance[change | change source]

Labrador retrievers come in black, yellow, and chocolate. Labradors have a short, dense coat, powerful jaws, a broad, steady back and friendly brown eyes. Labradors usually live from 10-12 years.

Health[change | change source]

Labradors usually die from cancer, and have issues with Hip Dysplasia, Laryngeal Paralysis, Arthritis Hypothyroidism, Elbow Dysplasia, and seizures.

Activities[change | change source]

Labradors are energetic, so they would love to play fetch, swim, go on walks, do obedience trials, and agility tests.

References[change | change source]

  1. "National Registration Statistics". Australian National Kennel Council. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  2. "The most popular 20 breeds of 2008" (PDF). The Canadian Kennel Club. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  3. "Most popular dog breeds in New Zealand". dogstuff.co.nz. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2007-09-26. "The Labrador Retriever remains New Zealand’s most popular dog...." - John Perfect, NZ Kennel Club President.
  4. "2006 Top 20 Breed Registrations". The Kennel Club. 2007-01-23. Archived from the original on 2013-07-07. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  5. "AKC Dog Registration Statistics". Akc.org. 2012-04-04. Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  6. Burrows, Richard T. (1997). "The Guide to Owning a Labrador Retriever". T.F.H. Publications, Inc.,. Retrieved 2007-09-13.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  7. "The Buccleuch Labrador". The Buccleuch Estates Limited. 2003. Archived from the original on January 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  8. Miller, Liza Lee; Cindy Tittle Moore (2004-01-07). "FAQ Labrador Retrievers". Puget Sound Labrador Rescue. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  9. Labrador Retrievers: Smart Owner's Guide. DogFancy. 2009. p. 31.