They’re NOT from Labrador – Okay, do, did you know that Labrador’s are initially from Canada? No? Well, you do now! Whilst there is a Labrador in Canada, this breed isn’t actually from there, they’re from Newfoundland (which is another Canadian breed…), working with fisherman off the coast of Canada.
They were initially called St John’s Water Dog and were bred with British hunting dogs to create what has now become known as the Labrador Retriever.
Speaking of Water… - As stated before, Labradors were bred to be the perfect water dogs, aiding fishermen in pulling nets, ropes, boats and retrieving escaped fish!
This breed is perfect for these jobs too, they have water-resistant double coats that provide insulation, and their short fur keeps them warm but doesn’t drag them down when it gets wet. Labrador retrievers are known for the webbed-feet it uses to swim with. Though most have some degree of webbed feet what makes the Labrador's feet unique is significant amounts of webbing combined with their big feet.
They also use their flattened, otter-like tail for balance and to steer while swimming.
They Nearly Went Extinct! – This seems to be a common fact when it comes to specific breeds, but somehow seems surprising for such a popular breed as the Labrador Retriever. But it’s true!
It’s hard to believe that this breed almost went extinct, but that’s exactly what happened. In the 1800s in Newfoundland families had to pay a tax if they owned a dog. And they were only allowed to own one dog. Female dogs were taxed higher, so many breeders got rid of female puppies because the tax on them cost more.
This combination of taxes on dogs in Canada and a quarantine of animals imported into England caused the sale of St. John’s water dogs there to come to a screeching halt. Eventually, these original labs went extinct in Canada; the breed survived in Great Britain thanks to kennels in Scotland. Labs were finally recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1903.
One Litter All Colours – Labrador Retrievers mostly come in three main colours – Golden, Chocolate and Black. Because of the genetic makeup of the Labrador breed it really doesn’t matter what the colour of the parents are. Puppies in the same litter can be Black, Chocolate or Yellow.
There are two genes that cause the pigmentation of the coat, so the variation can be just as common as different hair colours in a human family.
Labradors also come in Silver, but this colour won’t turn up randomly in a litter like chocolate, golden and black puppies.
Popular Guide Dogs - As many as 90% of the guide dogs that are trained to help the blind and the deaf are Labradors. There are several reasons why Labs make the best guard dogs. They have a great easy going personality, and they like to work.
Labs are found to be the best breed for the job, thanks to their strong desire to please. They’re also the right size, easily adaptable, and easily trained.
They’re The Same Across the Pond – There is only one breed of Labrador retriever, though individuals can have different body shapes based on their purpose.
“English Labs” aren’t really just from England. That simply means they have the right body type to be show dogs. “American Labs” aren’t just from America either. That simply means that they have the right body type to be working dogs and wouldn’t be much good in the show ring.
English Labradors have a stockier build, heavier bones, broader skulls with shorter muzzles, and thick, otter-like tails. American Labs longer legs have narrow, more pointed muzzles, and an athletic body; American Labradors look like a different breed. They also tend to be more energetic than English Labradors. Both types are available in England as well as North America.
They’re Fast – If you’ve ever owned a Labrador and been in the situation, they’ve rolled in something nasty or found something mysterious to eat, you’ll know that they’re fast!
Labradors are made to sprint. That’s one of the qualities that makes them fantastic hunting and working dogs. They may not be the fastest dog breed on the planet, but they're relatively fast anyway and can reach a speed of 12 miles per hour in just three seconds.