Ranked the #1 most popular breed by the American Kennel Club for 22 consecutive years, the Labrador Retriever is a lovable, family-friendly dog known for its stable temperament and good-natured demeanor. Classified in the Sporting Group along with pointers, setters, and spaniels, retrievers have been an AKC recognized breed since 1917. Originally called a St. John’s Dog, Labrador Retrievers originated from Newfoundland where they helped fisherman pull in their heavy fishing nets. Their webbed feet, strong tail, and water-resistance double coat made them well suited for this role.
Labs, as they are commonly called, come in three colors: black, chocolate, and yellow (ranging from golden to vanilla). They grow to be between 55 and 80 pounds and 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and have a broad head, strong jaws, and short, dense coat. Although Labs can retain their puppy-like behavior longer than other breeds (often through their first three years), they are easily trained and have an even-tempered disposition.
Due to their gentle nature, trainability, size, and love for retrieving objects, Labs are a first choice for service animals, often assisting the blind, elderly, disabled, and hard of hearing. Police also use Labs to help sniff out narcotics and explosives, to patrol borders, and to assist in search and rescue efforts.
Highly active, intelligent, and eager to play make Labs a top choice for active individuals and families. Labs are generally well-behaved around children as well as other pets (though you should never leave a child unattended with a dog). Due to their large size, Labs need daily exercise to ensure they maintain a healthy weight and keep out of trouble. Some of their favorite activities are retrieving and swimming, along with walking, running, and playing. Contact your vet to learn more about whether a Labrador Retriever is a good fit for your family or to find a Lab rescue shelter in your area or Breeder in your area.
Famous Labrador Retrievers:
From moviestars Old Yeller and Marley to former President Clinton’s dogs Buddy and Seamus, Labrador Retrievers have long held a place in history as well as our hearts. Here are a few famous Lab facts:
• The second Earl of Malmesbury at Heron Court started the first kennel of Labradors, keeping it stocked until his 1841 death.
• The first dog to ever appear on the cover of Life Magazine was a black lab called “Blind of Ardenhttp://www.feilbach.org/blind-of-arden.html” in 1938. He is the winner of the open all-age stage of the Long Island Retriever Club.
• Two yellow lab guide dogs, Dorado and Roselle, were in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Both guided their blind owners through the smoke filled stairwells to safety minutes before the first tower collapsed.
• Endel, a yellow lab service dog in England holds the title of “the world’s most decorated dog.”
• Lucky and Flo are twin black Labs who sniffed out $2M in pirated DVDs in Malysia and in Queens, New York.
• Sadie, a black Lab who saved dozens of soldiers in Afghanistan when she detected a bomb.