Many breeds are named after the place of their origin, but that’s not the case with Labradors. The breed originated in the 1700s on the island of Newfoundland. It was known as the St. John’s dog, named after the capital city of Newfoundland. The breed spread to England, with the second Earl of Malmesbury who brought some of the first St. John’s dogs around 1830. The third Earl of Malmesbury was the first person to call the dogs Labradors.
Known for its pleasant nature, loyal and helpful disposition, ideal size and strength the Labrador is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world today. Here are some interesting facts about Labradors that’ll give you an insight into their popularity…
Labradors have webbed toes and are therefore great swimmers. This webbing can also effectively act as a snowshoe in colder climates, as it keeps snow from collecting between their toes.
Fishermen used the dogs to bring in nets, pull ropes between boats, and recover escaped fish.
Their coat has two layers: a short, thick topcoat and a relatively water-resistant undercoat. This two-layer coat protects them from cold and wet weather.
They are the most commonly used breed for guide dogs. They are intelligent, easy to train, eager to please, and have a gentle temperament.
Labradors are the most popular dog breed in America & the UK.
This breed loves to be around people and needs a lot of affection, as well as plenty of exercises to burn off all that energy!
Labradors have working roles in all sorts of sectors including search and rescue, therapy, hunting, assisting the disabled, and tracking.
The PDSAGold Medal (an animal bravery award) was awarded to a Labrador named Endal in 2002. Endal’s disabled owner fell unconscious, so he pulled him into the recovery position, covered him with a blanket, retrieved his mobile phone, and went to get help once his owner had regained consciousness.
You can potentially get puppies of all colours (black, yellow and chocolate) in the same litter.
Some claim that yellow Labradors are the laziest of the breed, while black ones are the best hunters, but none of these claims are supported by science. Like people, each dog is different.
The average life span for a Labrador is 10 to 12 years.
The oldest Labrador on record was a black Lab named Bella, who lived to an astonishing 29 years old!
Male Labradors stand 22.5 to 24.5 inches and weigh 65 to 80 pounds. Females stand 21.5 to 23.5 inches and weigh 55 to 70 pounds.
Labradors are known for their ability to sprint. They can hit 12 miles an hour in just three seconds.
The Labrador breed originated in Newfoundland (Canada), not Labrador.
They started as duck retrievers and fisherman’s mates, and after they were brought back to England in the 1800s, the British bred them as game-hunting companions.
The Earl brought these dogs home with him to England after a trip to Canada and referred to his new pups as “Labrador dogs” in 1887.
Today, they’re excellent retrievers who can work in a variety of settings, including waterfowl hunting and game hunting, often for many hours at a time.
If you read the lyrics to Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” you’ll notice it’s mysteriously not about dogs at all. The band named the song after a black Labrador that was wandering around the Headley Grange studio while they were recording the album Led Zeppelin IV.
After killing the cat belonging to Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot’s wife, a black Labrador retriever named Pep was sentenced to life without parole. Although it sounds like an urban legend, prison records support the story.
In 1981, a black Labrador mix named Bosco won the election to be the honorary mayor of Sunol, California, beating out two human candidates for the job. Bosco ran as a “Re’pup’lican” and used the slogan “A bone in every dish, a cat in every tree, and a fire hydrant on every corner.”
These bold, bouncy dogs are so strong and full of energy, so proper training and socialisation are essential.
They need at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Without it, they can vent their pent-up energy in destructive ways, such as barking and chewing.
Breeders are the reason for the Labrador’s “gentle mouth”. The years of breeding gave them such control over their mouths that a well-trained Lab can pick up a raw egg without breaking it.
Thanks to their powerful noses, Labradors have been trained to sniff out and identify the early stages of cancer.
The first dog to detect diabetic episodes was a Labrador named Armstrong, according to Guinness World Records 2015. He was trained in 2003 to smell the chemical changes that happen when hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) occurs.
The World Record for the most bottles recycled by a dog belongs to a Labrador. Tubby has recycled over 26,000 plastic bottles over the last six years in the UK.
The Labrador is slow to mature and unlike other dogs considered fully mature by the age of two or less, a Lab is not fully mature until hitting its fourth birthday. Even then, the breed is known for puppy-like tendencies for a much longer period.
Labradors love to eat and will usually only skip food if ill, which is why they are prone to obesity if not exercised.
The Guide Dogs of America say their breed ratio is 70 % Labrador retrievers, 15 % golden retrievers, and 15 % German shepherds. Labradors are found to be the best breed for the job thanks to their strong desire to please.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Labrador that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!