The first Labrador Retriever
The Labrador breed dates back to at least the 1830s, when St. Johns Water Dogs bred by European settlers in Newfoundland were first introduced to Britain from ships trading between Canada and Poole in Dorsetshire.
These were then bred with British hunting dogs to create what became known as the Labrador Retriever.
Its early patrons included the Earl of Malmesbury, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Home, and Sir John Scott.
Early writers have confused the Labrador with the much larger Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland, with Charles St. John even referring to the Lesser Newfoundland as the Newfoundland.
Colonel Peter Hawker describes the first Labrador as being not larger than an English Pointer, more often black than other colors, long in its head and nose with a deep chest, fine legs, and short and smooth coat, and did not carry its tail as highly as the Newfoundland.
By 1870, the name Labrador Retriever became common in England.The first yellow Labrador on record was born in 1899, and the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1903. The first American Kennel Club (AKC) registration was in 1917. The Liver (now typically called Chocolate) Labrador emerged in the late 1800s, with liver-colored pups documented at the Buccleuch kennels in 1892. The first dog to appear on the cover of Life magazine was a black Labrador Retriever called "Blind of Arden" in the 12 December 1938 issue.
The American Labrador retriever
Where did the Labrador come from? Canada! To be more specific they came from Newfoundland Canada near the Labrador Sea.
The people needed a dog that would love to fetch all day long, and not get tired of it. The Labrador gained massive popularity, for their willingness to fetch the fishermen’s catches and duck hunter's kills.
They also needed them to have a very soft mouth, a friendly demeanor, and most important a double coat so that they would not freeze up like a log the instant they jump into a cold lake, or the sea. The American Labrador is taller and leaner than her English cousin.
The American Labrador has more of an athletic build and supple appearance.
American labs are always eager and ready to be active, so it’s no surprise that these dogs are, for many. The preferred choice for field trials and hunting. When they’re not hunting though.
The Newfoundland Labrador dog
The Newfoundland dog is a well-known symbol of the province. Its origins are obscure, with different theories citing the Basques, Norse and other settlers as those who introduced this large dog to the island.
The Newfoundland dog is famed for its bravery, gentle temperament and strong swimming abilities. It has a stiff, oily outer coat and a fleecy undercoat that allows it to adapt to harsh, wet conditions. Its tight eyelids and drop ears keep out water, and its webbed feet are an ideal swimming aid. Adult males weigh approximately 68 kg, females around 52 kg.
Because of their physique, Newfoundland dogs were frequent companions aboard fishing vessels, where they helped to haul nets and retrieve objects and persons from the water.
Because of their size and their life-saving instincts, they can easily pull drowning persons to safety. Their lung capacity enables them to swim long distances while fighting powerful ocean currents.
Newfoundland dogs have proven to be useful on land as well. They were often hitched to carts loaded with fish, and because they can move over 900 kg, they pulled wagons that delivered milk and mail.
Despite their usefulness, their numbers declined until the early 20th century when the Hon. Harold Macpherson established a kennel in St. John's to protect them from extinction.
Today the Newfoundland dog enjoys immense popularity around the world.
What is the different Type of Labrador?
Labrador Retrievers are a type of gundog bred to retrieve downed prey. They are able to remember the locations of multiple fallen birds and wait until the end of a hunt to retrieve them. Labs are also extremely popular family pets.
These hunting dogs are medium-sized and can come in one of three coat colors: black, yellow, or chocolate.
Labradors are known to be great retrievers in every setting, from their early days working alongside fishermen to later hunting roles retrieving birds and other games.
The breed first found its way into the guide dog business in the early 20th century, not long after the first guide dog schools arose with German Shepherds as their first canine students.
Labrador Retrievers soon followed suit, and now the breed makes up a significant percentage of the world's guide dogs. Known for being able to accomplish almost anything that a trainer or owner asks, given enough time and guidance, the Labrador Retriever possesses a strong work ethic as well as an extremely high level of intelligence.
Both are important qualities for the guide dog, who must not only learn multiple commands but also must know when to disobey those commands.
For example, a guide dog needs to know what “go forward” means, but it may be even more important for the dog to understand that they should not obey when doing so would lead the owner directly into oncoming traffic.
Labradors have a long tradition of working as service dogs.
In recent years these roles have become increasingly diversified.
From his origins as a hunting dog, the Labrador Retriever has arguably emerged as one of the most able, intelligent and useful animals ever to work with their human companions.
Here are some of the cool things that trained assistance dogs can do
- They can pick up really difficult to reach things such as a phone, keys or a wallet. Some can even pick up a credit card!
- Our dogs help people to get dressed and undressed, they even tackle zips!
- They collect the post rather than attack the postman!
- They load and unload the washing machine. (Yes, really!)
- They can open doors
- They can interrupt a child’s tantrum
- They can stop a child from running into the road
- They can play games – one even plays pairs with his owner
- They can speak – although their conversation is a little limited!
- They can press the button on a pedestrian crossing
Labradors are also important members of our armed forces teams.
Their incredible noses, bred to enable them to track wounded game, are also ideally suited to detecting tiny traces of explosive material.
Service dogs don’t just use their noses in support of the armed forces.
They play vital roles with the police and customs and excise officials too.
Labradors, along with spaniels, play leading roles in drug detection throughout the Western World.
Characteristics Of Labrador Retriever
The Labrador retriever is a sturdily built medium to large dog. He may weigh anything from 50 to 80lbs once adult, depending on his breeding.
He has a well-proportioned body with a healthy balance between the length of the leg and the length of the spine. A shape that is often described as ‘short coupled’.
He has a broad skull with ‘chiseled’ features that are softened by his kindly expression and soft ear flaps. His body is powerful and well-muscled and ends in a thick tail that tapers to a point.
His full-length muzzle houses a good cooling system and a strong set of jaws with a full compliment of 42 large white teeth.
The Labrador’s short dense ‘wash and go’ coat comes in one of three gleaming solid colors and needs little grooming to keep it looking smart.
The coat has a shining slightly oily surface and the individual hairs are straight, although a slight ripple can be seen along the back of some dogs once the adult coat is established.
A thick undercoat and the water-resistant topcoat keep a Labrador warm in the coldest water. And a quick shake on emerging from the sea or lake sees the majority of the water removed from its repellant surface.
The genetics of Labrador coat color is interesting and more straightforward to understand than many other breeds of dog. Strictly speaking, Labradors come in only three colors. Yellow, Chocolate (which used to be called Liver), and Black.
You will hear people use all sorts of other descriptions, but officially there is no such thing as a ‘Golden Labrador’, or a ‘Fox Red Labrador’, these are simply variations of the color yellow.
The only colors recognized by the Kennel Clubs of the United Kingdom, and the USA are Yellow, Chocolate, Black.
How are they different?
They differ in their looks, generally the English Labrador is shorter and stockier. The American Labrador is taller and more athletic. The English is calmer in his temperament, and the American is much more energetic. Generally, they are similar in every other way.