A Brief History of the Labrador Retriever

black, yellow, and chocolate labrador retrieversWhen most people think of the origin of Labrador Retrievers, the assumption is that they come from Labrador. The truth, however, is more complicated. So, how did the Lab become the classic, beloved dog breed we know today? Here is a brief history of the Labrador Retriever:

Same Dog, Different Name

In the 1700s, Labradors were called St. John’s Dogs or also Lesser Newfoundland Dogs. This is because contrary to popular belief, the origin of these dogs is from Newfoundland and not Labrador. The Earl of Malmesbury imported the first of these dogs to England and it is he who bestowed the Labrador name. Early Labradors were used for hunting and fishing assistance. The dogs would swim out to grab nets full of fish from boats that could not come close to shore, and then drag those nets back to the men waiting for the delivery by the docks.

Dying Out, Rising Again

Despite the popularity of Labs in the 19th and early 20th century, a dog tax and quarantine law eventually caused the breed to drop in numbers in Newfoundland. Remaining labs were bred with other breeds in order to preserve the line. Labrador Retrievers were recognized as a breed in 1903 by the English Kennel Club. Through the 1920s and 1930s, England once again saw a large influx of Labs that most of today’s Labrador Retrievers can be traced back to.

From Hunters to Household Companions

Labradors were often used as hunting dogs that were used to hunt various birds and waterfowl. They would retrieve the birds after they were shot down.

As we moved into the modern era, many families found that the dogs possessed other qualities that made them suitable as indoor household pets or for other jobs. The dog does not get aggravated easily, which makes it ideal for work at airport security or as a guide dog for the blind.

Families find that the dogs are friendly and get along very well with children. The dogs are easy to train and can learn new tricks without difficulty. Labrador Retrievers tend to live about 12 to 14 years.

Whether you’re looking to bring one into your life for sporting purposes or you just want a lovable dog for the whole family, the Labrador Retriever is always a great choice. If this sounds like the right dog breed for you, learn more about them and check out the available Labrador Retriever puppies for sale!