The Labrador Retriever, or just Labrador, is a breed of sporting dog.
The breed originated in Newfoundland in the 1500s.
The dogs continued to live exclusively in Newfoundland until 1830.
In the 1830s, the 10th Earl of Home and his nephews the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and Lord John Scott, had imported progenitors of the breed from Newfoundland to Europe for use as gundogs.
The first photograph of the breed was taken in 1856 (the Earl of Home’s dog “Nell”, described both as a Labrador and a St. Johns dog).
During the 1880s, the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch and the 12th Earl of Home collaborated to develop and establish the modern Labrador breed.
By 1903, Labradors were recognized by the English Kennel Club.
The first dog to appear on the cover of Life Magazine was a black Labrador Retriever called “Blind of Arden” in the December, 12th, 1938 issue.
Labradors are a medium-large breed.
Males are from 57 to 62 cm (22.5 to 24.5 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 29 and 36 kg (64 and 79 lbs).
Females are from 55 to 60 cm (21.5 to 23.5 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 25 and 32 kg (55 and 70.5 lbs).
The Labrador Retriever’s coat should be short and dense, but not wiry. The coat is water-resistant, so the dog does not get cold when taking to water in the winter. That means that the dog naturally has a slightly dry, oily coat.
Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colours: black (a solid black colour), yellow (considered from cream to fox-red), and chocolate (medium to dark brown).
Labradors are playful and intelligent, with a warm, friendly temperament that makes them ideal for first-time owners. When owning a Labrador, you’ll find they’re easy-going, rewarding pets with high energy levels, meaning they love extra attention and exercise.
Additionally, they are prized as sporting and hunting dogs.
Labradors’ sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it.
A favourite disability assistance breed in many countries, Labradors are frequently trained to aid those with blindness or autism and act as a therapy dog.
It also perform screening and detection work for law enforcement and other official agencies and is also used as a rescue dog.
The high intelligence, initiative and self-direction of Labradors in working roles is exemplified by dogs such as Endal, who is trained to, if need be, put his wheelchair-bound human in the recovery position, cover him with a blanket, and activate an emergency phone. A number of Labradors have also been taught to assist their owner in removing money and credit cards from ATMs with prior training.
Endal (13 December 1995 – 13 March 2009) was a male Labrador retriever in Britain whose abilities as a service dog and as an ambassador for service dog charitable work received worldwide news media coverage. Among other distinctions, Endal was described as “the most decorated dog in the world” (including “Dog of the Millennium” and the PDSA Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty, the highest award available to an animal) and possibly the most famous assistance dog in the UK. He was filmed by over 340 film crews from around the world, and had a number of world “firsts” as an assistance dog to his credit.
Marley is an American Labrador featured in Marley & Me, a best-selling book by John Grogan, and a subsequent film based on Grogan’s life and times with Marley.
Pharaoh, Isis, and Tiaa are yellow Labrador Retrievers in the television series Downton Abbey.
Because of their enthusiasm, leash-training early on is suggested to prevent pulling when full-grown.
Labradors like to eat, and they can become obese without proper exercise.