Voted America’s Favorite Breed for the last 24 years (according to the American Kennel Club) the Labrador Retriever has got to be a very special canine.
It is, indeed, and in fact, we’ve “dug up” 72 fun and amazing facts about this lovable breed. What are they? Read on…
1. This breed hails from Newfoundland; an island in Canada of the northeastern Atlantic coast.
2. Labrador Retrievers date back to the 1700s and were originally called the St. John’s dogs after the capital city of Newfoundland.
3. This breed was used as a companion dog and also to help the local fishermen retrieve the fish that had escaped the hooks and from the towing in lines.
4. It is thought the Labrador Retriever many have been the product of breeding the St. John’s dog (now extinct) and the Newfoundland Dog and other small local water dogs.
5. An English sportsmen imported a few Labs to England to serve as retrievers for hunting.
6. It was the second Earl of Malmesbury that was the first to ship St. John’s dogs to England around 1830.
7. It was, however, the third Earl of Malmesbury that was the first person to call the dogs Labradors.
8. The Labrador Retriever almost went extinct in the 1880s due to government restrictions on owning canines and the tax laws in Newfoundland. Families were allowed to keep no more than one dog, and owning a female was highly taxed, so girl puppies were culled from litters.
9. According to DogTime, the Malmesbury family (and other English folks) as well as the British Kennel Club, are the ones that saved the breed in 1903, recognizing it as its own breed.
10. In 1917, the American Kennel Club followed suit, so in the ’20s and ’30s, British Labs were imported to establish the breed in the U.S.
11. By the time World War II was over, the breed’s popularity began to grow and is now considered the number one dog in all of the United States.
Take a Look at Me Now
12. The Labrador Retriever is a solid, athletic dog that stands up to 24.5 inches at the shoulder for males and 23.5 inches for females.
13. Their head is broad with a wide muzzle and friendly brown eyes. The ears are pendant and medium-sized.
14. The chest of the Labrador Retriever extends to the elbows, the forelegs should be straight, of solid bone, but not be too heavy.
15. This breed has an “otter” tail which is medium-length, thick at the base and is covered in short, thick hair which tapers toward the tip.
16. Labs have webbed feet which makes them excellent swimmers.
17. The short, dense coat comes in three colors: black, chocolate or yellow. All three of these colors can appear in the same litter.
18. This breed has a double coat that protects it from the climate and the water–the undercoat is soft and weather-resistant while the top coat is short, straight, and thick.
19. Male Labrador Retrievers can weight up to 80 pounds and females can weigh up to 70 pounds.
Paws for My Personality
20. Loyal, loveable, happy and friendly to all they meet are some of the reasons why this pooch is so popular.
21. Truly man’s best friend, the Lab will run to greet anyone that comes through the front door.
22. This breed wants—even needs—to be engaged with the family and all they are doing.
23. Labrador Retrievers make a good choice for first-time dog owners.
24. This breed is excellent and very patient with children of all ages.
25. Labs stay “puppy-like” well into adulthood.
Look At Me Go!
26. The Labrador loves to run, hike, swim and play fetch for hours on end.
27. This pooch is not suited for “couch potatoes.”
28. The Labrador Retriever can be a bit clumsy, so having it in an apartment may not be the best choice. It needs a big yard to run and play.
29. Walking a Labrador Retriever is not enough daily exercise. It needs to run to burn off excess energy. If not given the proper amount of exercise, this breed tends to get destructive.
30. This dog is a jogger’s dream pet as it will be more than happy to accompany its pet parent on long jogs around the neighborhood.
31. Hunters will also benefit from the Lab’s quick nose and ability to retrieve fallen fowl out in a field, the woods or even in an icy pond or lake.
32. If you own a pool, be forewarned that this canine LOVES the water and will want to swim as much as he/she can.
Potential Genetic Problems
33. Elbow Dysplasia; malformation and degeneration of the elbow joint, with accompanying front limb lameness.
34. Hip Dysplasia; abnormal development and/or degeneration of the hip joint.
35. Allergies; overreaction by the immune system to an allergen (food, environment etc.)
36. Patellar Luxation; a slipped kneecap happens when the patella is displaced from the joint.
37. Waterline Disease of Black Labrador Retrievers; a severe skin disease that occurs mostly on the legs and belly.
38. Diabetes Mellitus: the malfunction, destruction or even absence of certain cells, which are responsible for producing and secreting insulin.
39. Melanoma; malignant cancer in domestic dogs.
40. Entropion, is when all or part of the edge of the eyelid turns inward.
41. Ectropion; the eyelid rolls outward, exposing the sensitive inner eyelid to harsh environmental conditions.
42. Glaucoma; serious disorder characterized by fluid build-up inside of the eye.
43. Progressive Retinal Atrophy; is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually leads to permanent blindness in both eyes.
44. Obesity; not enough exercise tends to lead to obesity in this breed.
Caring For a Labrador Retriever
45. Pet parents will need a variety of chew toys for this breed as it tends to chew a lot and also to nibble playfully on people’s hands. They also tend to greet people at the door with a “trophy” in their mouth.
46. To keep your furniture and shoes safe, exercising the Labrador Retriever before leaving the house for long periods-of-time is a must-do.
47. This breed is easy-to-train because they possess a strong desire to please their pet parent and will do anything for a food treat.
48. The key to training a Lab is to start when they are puppies. Keep the training fun and interesting and soon you will have a well-behaved dog.
49. Patience is also a must when dealing with a Labrador Retriever, as it tends to be a bouncy and excitable breed, especially in the early years.
50. Once all the basic obedience commands are mastered, Labs can graduate on to advanced training or agility activities.
51. Feeding the Labrador Retriever a high-protein, good quality dry dog food will keep its body and mind healthy and happy.
52. Labs need to be thoroughly brushed at least once-a-week. For a shiny coat, use a natural or nylon bristle brush to stimulate the natural oils in the skin.
53. Labs do not need to be bathed very often. In fact, only when he/she gets really dirty as too much bathing can actually dry out their skin.
54. Outdoor play helps keep this breed’s skin moist and helps prevent it from drying out and becoming itchy and flaky.
55. Clean the Labrador Retriever’s ears out when they look dirty. This can be done by using a dog ear cleaner on a cotton ball.
56. Clipping this breed’s toenails should be done when you can hear them clicking on the floor.
57. Using a specially made toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs, brush your Lab’s teeth daily to prevent plaque buildup.
58. Try to limit the amount of canned food your Labrador Retriever gets as this can quickly rot the teeth. Dry kibble and dry treats also helps remove tartar buildup.
59. Dogs should be treated for fleas, ticks and mosquito bites each season to keep them free from these pests and the diseases they can carry.
Fun Furry Facts
60. Did you know the Labrador Retriever can hit 12 miles-per-hour in just three seconds?
61. The lyrics to Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” is 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.
62. A black Labrador Retriever went to jail and was sentenced to life (without parole) after killing a cat that belonged to Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot’s wife. The pooch was actually put into the Eastern State Penitentiary on August 12, 1924 and stayed about 10 years. During this time the dog became good friends with the warden.
63. In 1981, a black Labrador mix named Bosco won the election to be the honorary mayor of Sunol, Calif.. The pooch beat out to human candidates and ran as a “Re’pup’lican.” His slogan? “A bone in every dish, a cat in every tree, and a fire hydrant on every corner.” The dog kept his title until he died in 1994.
64. The Guide Dogs of America uses 70% of Labrador Retrievers as guide dogs because of their strong desire to please, they are the right size, are easily adaptable and easily trained.
65. Since this breed has such a powerful sense of smell, they have been trained to sniff out and identify early stages of cancer. The breed does this by smelling a patient’s breath, blood, or stool.
66. Labrador Retrievers have a high tolerance for pain. This trait makes them ideal for extreme conditions during rescue and retrieval operations, police work and even while hunting.
67. This breed can live up to 12 years-old and can have on average of eight puppies per-litter, but some females have had around 12 puppies.
68. The Labrador Retriever has a voracious appetite, so careful monitoring of its food intake is highly stressed for pet parents.
69. What’s the difference between American and English Labrador Retrievers? Find out here, you may be surprised!
70. Celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Kevin Costner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Steve Martin and Anne Hathaway have all owned Labrador Retrievers
71. This YouTube video shows some Labrador Retrievers doing what they do best…being adorable.
72. Want more Labrador Retriever fun? Check out these 18 Instagrams that will have you melting inside.
These amazing facts about the Labrador Retriever cannot compare to having one in your life.
If you are considering this playful pooch, be sure to check out reputable breeders or a rescue organization to find your next canine companion.