Of course you know Labrador Retrievers are popular dogs, right? But did you know how popular, and exactly why? Do you know where this amazing breed came from, when it arrived, or what it was originally used for? How about what it’s used for today?
Here are a few surprising facts you probably didn’t know!
They Came From Newfoundland!
The Labrador Retriever isn’t from Labrador at all, but Newfoundland (Canada)! The name derives from their history as working/retrieving dogs in the Labrador Sea!
Settled by English fishermen back around the early 1600’s, Newfoundland is the birthplace of the Labrador Retriever, although it went by a different name then. Conceived to withstand frigid waters off the coast of Newfoundland, with an unstoppable endurance to match, these dogs of old would gladly work past physical limits to assist their fellow fisherman!
They’re America’s Number One Most Popular Breed!
According to the American Kennel Club, this incredible breed of dog has taken the number one spot in their most popular breed rankings for 24 consecutive years, the longest reign of any AKC breed! It’s no wonder; these dogs are some of the most intelligent breeds in the world, highly trainable, great family dogs, and a blast to play with!
They Are Fantastic Swimmers!
Raised alongside fisherman, these dogs were born to swim! Trained to retrieve nets, fish and fishing equipment, these guys not only have extra skin (webbing) around their toes to help swim, but also oily, water resistant double coats to help Keep them dry and warm!
Olympic class swimmers have competed and easily fell short against these amazing animals, Labs effortlessly out-swimming the competition!
Labs Make Amazing Search and Rescue Dogs!
With their good natured temperament, desire to please, high train-ability and incredible intelligence, Labs are both one of the most common service dogs and often used for search and rescue to boot!
In fact, one service dog named Jet, receiving no training or instruction for this purpose at all, wrenched free of his legally blind owner to push a baby carriage out of the path of an oncoming vehicle, saving the young child’s life.
One lab was made famous after his efforts at ground zero, September 11th. Labs are even used to aid military efforts, including locating hidden IED’s (improvised explosive device) no human would be able to detect.
They Went By Another Name!
History largely agrees this ‘St. John’s Water Dog’ (also known as the Lesser Newfoundland then) evolved along with the area’s early fishing occupation, long before today’s Labrador descendants.
The Newfoundland government passed a law imposing taxes on any dog not used in the protection of sheep; many residents ended up selling their ‘St. John’s Water Dogs’. As legend has it, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch added these dogs to his ‘Buccleuch strain’, the ancestors of today’s Labrador Retriever!
Remember, when you are traveling with your Labrador Retriever, consider using a Tapscott K9 car seat cover. It will protect you upholstery and give your dog a better and more comfortable trip!