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The Labrador Retriever: History, Facts, and Information

I am a blogger from Southern Oklahoma who loves to write about nature and animals.

Our Yellow Labrador Retriever, Sadie.

Our Yellow Labrador Retriever, Sadie.

History of the Labrador Retriever

The dog breed known as "the most popular dog in the world" for many years is the Labrador Retriever. The founding breed of what is now the Labrador Retriever was the St. John’s Water Dog. In the lesser Newfoundland, Canada in the 1800s, they were used by the fishermen to jump into the icy waters and help them pull in their fishing nets. They also assisted by towing ropes from one boat to another and towing dories. The fishermen called them “small water dogs.” It is said that the Earl of Malmesbury saw some fishermen with their small water dogs and he was so impressed by their skill in retrieving just about anything from the water that he had some of these wonderful dogs exported back to England, where he bred dogs for duck hunting. After seeing the skill and agility of these small water dogs, he devoted his entire kennel to developing this breed. It was then that the dogs were named “Labrador" after the geographical region of England. It was soon after this that the Labrador Retriever began its reign as retrievers or “gun dogs,” as they were then called.

Chocolate, Yellow, and Black Labs

Chocolate, Yellow, and Black Labs

Breed Description

The Labrador Retriever is medium-sized dog included in the “sporting” group of the American Kennel Club. They were recognized by the AKC in 1917. They range from 22 to 25 inches in height and weigh between 60 and 90 pounds. They have two coats: a top coat that's more coarse and dense, and a softer undercoat that's water resistant. They have a strong muscular body, a wedge-shaped head with a broad back skull, and a long, thick nose with an excellent sense of smell. The Labrador Retriever has an “otter-like” tail and slightly webbed toes, which aid it in swimming. This dog breeds comes in solid colors of yellow, chocolate and black. They shed seasonally and should be brushed with a coarse-haired brush about twice a week during this time. They are not excessive shedders, but you will find some dog hair on your couch and clothes.

Sadie swimming in the pond.

Sadie swimming in the pond.

Personality and Temperament

The Labrador Retriever, or simply “Labs” as they are affectionately called, are the most popular dogs in the United States, as well as in many other countries. They are a loving and loyal breed with a friendly disposition. They are wonderful with children and love to play. Labs love the water and enjoy swimming and retrieving. They are prized for their good temperaments and loyalty. They crave human companionship and attention, and they are happiest when you are praising them and giving them a good scratch behind the ears. My husband and I currently have a yellow lab named Sadie. She loves to swim and play fetch. She could play with our grandchildren for hours at a time. The kids wear out before she does. When we leave the house, it doesn’t matter if we are gone for 10 minutes or for 10 hours: she greets us like we have been gone for days! Labrador Retrivers are very easy to train. They love the attention and receiving treats as rewards. They are also easy to house-train too. Once Sadie was house-trained, she never had an accident. We can leave her inside for hours and she will “hold it” until she can go outside.

Sadie, guarding her domain at sunrise.

Sadie, guarding her domain at sunrise.

Easy to Train

The Labrador Retriever is a highly intelligent dog and it is said that they are the easiest breed of dog to train and will learn commands quickly. They are excellent water fowl retrieving dogs. They have a soft bite, which means that when they retrieve the game, they bite it and carry it so softly that they leave no marks. They are kind and gently dogs and it is no wonder that they are so often used as guide dogs for the blind as well as rescue and therapy dogs. I have a friend who has seizures. He never knows when a seizure is coming on, but his yellow lab “Honey” does. She could tell shortly before it happened and would “force” him to sit down. She would lean against him and basically push him down with her body. Once he realized what she was doing, he never left home without her!

Adorable Black Lab Puppies

Adorable Black Lab Puppies

Energy Level

Labradors Retrievers have a very high energy level and get bored easily. As puppies, they need lots of attention and play time or they can be a little destructive. Give them plenty of chew toys to keep them happy and keep your furniture intact. Even as they get a little older, they still love to play and will be very active dogs for years. Once they begin to age a little and slow down, they will tend to gain weight quickly. Be sure they get plenty of exercise and be careful not to over feed your dog at this time as obesity can be a health issued for this breed.

Endal Dickin: The Most "Decorated" Dog in the World

Endal Dickin: The Most "Decorated" Dog in the World

The Most Decorated Dog in the World: A Yellow Lab Named Endal

Endal was a service dog in Great Britain and among many other distinctions was known as “the most decorated dog in the world.” He was voted as “Dog of the Millennium” and won the PDSA’s gold medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty. He was the service dog for disabled ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer, Allen Parton in the late 1990s. Endal came to national attention in 2001 when Allen was knocked out of his chair by a passing motorist. Endal pulled the unconscious Allen into what is called the “recovery position" and covered him with a blanket. He then retrieved Allen’s cell phone from underneath a car, and pushed towards his face. Barking profusely at nearby dwellings until he brought attention to Allen’s situation.

Endal’s owner, Allen Parton, was severely injured during the Gulf War and was confined to a wheel chair. His speech was also very limited and Endal managed to learn over 100 commands by sign language. Among the usual “doggie skills,” Endal could operate Allan’s wheelchair lift, help Allen with the laundry by loading and unloading the washing machine, hit the emergency button on the telephone, and operate an ATM machine. On March 13th, 2009, at the age of 13, Endal was “passed on." He had suffered a stroke and suffered from severe arthritis. He was laid to rest in the Ilford PDSA Animal Cemetery.

In Conclusion

The Labrador Retriever is just an excellent overall dog breed. They have been rated the most popular in the world for good reason. They are loyal, protective, good with other dogs, and love children of all ages. They love to play and snuggle, as they are very affectionate dogs! Whether you choose, yellow, chocolate or black, male or female, I am sure you and your Labrador Retriever will be happy for many years to come!

© 2012 Sheila Brown


DIDISS on February 16, 2020:

It's a amazing dog

Gayle Olson from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada on September 26, 2019:

Such beautiful dogs. I currently have a Chessie Lab x German Pointer cross. My Pointing Retriever. Have had lab x Rhodesian ridgeback. If I am fortunate to own another there will surely be a full lab or lab in the mix!

Misty on April 28, 2016:

I had a black lab & Doberman mix...AMAZING, Beautiful dig...best dog ever!

Then I had a Doberman, another Doberman (my favorite breed) & now I gave a gorgeous yellow lab who doesn't leave my side.

I love big dogs. I dislike toy/small breeds and find them unappealing. I don't see the joy in owning one, ESPECIALLY Chihuahuas - MOST ANNOYING, NASTIEST DISPOSITIONED dogs I've ever seen...to me they resemble a rodent rather than a canine! Not to mention they bark non-stop. I just can't stand them.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 02, 2014:

Labradors are such beautiful dogs now I know so much more about them.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 27, 2013:

I've owned three, and all have passed on. Zoe, my yellow female, was the smartest dog I've ever known, and I still miss her dearly. Our current dog is a Chihuahua, and don't ask!

Great Hub!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 09, 2013:

Hi Dolores! That is so cool! My dog hates baths, so she doesn't even like to go in the bathroom, much less turn on the water. She does sound like one smart puppy! Honestly, labs are really smart dogs. My Sadie will throw sticks or her toys up in the air and play catch with herself if she gets bored. She always goes with me on my walks. She has warned me of snakes before and think she is protecting me for all those killer deer! I really enjoyed hearing about your sister's dog, Sadie. Thank you! :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on July 08, 2013:

Hi, Sheila, I'm back just to tell you about my sister's dog, a chocolate lab, also named Sadie. This dog can turn on the water in the bathtub when she wants a drink or to play with water. She's the smartest dog I've ever seen. She can bounce and catch a ball too.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on April 22, 2013:

Hello LKMore! I agree, there just can't be too many dog stories! I'm glad you enjoyed my hub, thank you for stopping by and commenting, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on April 22, 2013:

Hi Peggy! Labs are wonderful, loving dogs. I think I have read your story by Trudy, but I will check it out and be sure, I don't want to miss it. There are so many awesome dogs in the world, I think they truly are "man's best friend". I'm glad you liked my hub and learning about Endal. I'm glad to hear you have joined Pintrest, I get a decent amount of traffic from there. I will "follow" you there. Thank you for stopping by and all your support, Peggy! Have a wonderful day! :)

LKMore01 on April 21, 2013:

One thing you will never hear me say or write is. " Whoa...there are just too many dog stories..." Loved reading and learning more about the breed. Dogs are amazing.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 21, 2013:

Hi Sheila,

We once had a mixed breed dog who was a good part black lab. She was a honey of a dog once she started to trust people again. She had obviously been abused. I wrote about her in Happy Animal Rescue Stories told by Trudy the Dog. Your Sadie sounds like a honey of a dog. I liked learning about the history of these dogs and it was nice learning about "Endal." Since I just joined Pinterest, this will be a good one to "pin" and also share. Up votes!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on March 12, 2013:

Hi Dolores! Labs are really such great dogs! Our Sadie is just a sweet heart! I'm glad you enjoyed my hub. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your kind comment and vote! Have a wonderful day! :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on March 12, 2013:

No wonder they are so popular. Labs are the most loving of creatures! I enjoyed reading about these awesome dogs! Voted up!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on January 11, 2013:

Hello carolina nuscle! The Labrador Retriever is one of my favorite too. They really are great dogs! Thank you for your kind comment! Have a wonderful day! :)

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 10, 2013:

One of my favorite breeds, and you've covered em beautifully !! Great post.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on January 01, 2013:

Hello Vespa! Thank you for stopping by to read and for your kind comment! Have a wonderful 2013! :)

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 31, 2012:

I've never owned a lab, but have friends who own one. I know they are intelligent, loving, loyal dogs. What a fascinating story about the lab who helps your epileptic friend. They are definitely a dog I would be happy to own. Thank you!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 30, 2012:

Hello Kimberly! Labs are really highly intelligent dogs and very easy to train. Plus, they have such a wonderful personality! I'm glad you enjoyed my hub. Thank you for your comment and vote! Have a wonderful day! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 30, 2012:

Thank you fpherj! Labs are really great dogs and they are wonderful with chidren. I love the name "Bourbon"! I am going to have to remember that! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and votes! It is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 30, 2012:

Hello Kris! If you ever decide you need a new puppy, you just can't go wrong with a labrador retriever. They are really wonderful dogs! Thank you for stopping in and commenting! Have a wonderful day! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 30, 2012:

Hi Suzie! Please, call me Sheila! :) I am so glad to hear that your black lab is doing so well! I know she has the BEST home now! Labs are such good dogs. Thank you for your kind comments and all your support! Have wonderful day! :)

Kimberly Vaughn from Midwest on December 30, 2012:

Very interesting hub! I have a six year old black lab mix myself. He is a wonderful dog and required very little training. I really enjoyed your hub, especially the part about the labs origins. I had no idea. Voted up!

Suzie from Carson City on December 30, 2012:

sgbrown....Labs are so wonderful....sweet, loyal & gentle with children. My son & his family have 2 Chocolate Labs (brothers) "Bosley & "Bourbon."

They are just gorgeous and I'm amazed at how well and quickly they adjust and train. Very obedient and eager to please. Every time I see them, they seem to be getting bigger & bigger.

Really great hub on this wonderful dog.....Interesting read.....UP+++

Kris Heeter from Indiana on December 30, 2012:

These are such beautiful dogs. I've never owned one but have had a friend or two with one and I just absolutely love them. Very nice hub!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on December 30, 2012:

Hi sg,

What a great hub on my favourite breed! We have, as you know rescued a black lab 6 mths ago and she is such a fabulous addition to the family. I grew up with both golden and black labs in my family and cannot speak highly enough of them. You have great information here and wonderful pics. Voted up +++++ shared and pinned!!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 29, 2012:

Hi Bill! They are such great dogs, so loveable! Sadie doesn't lick, but she loves to get in my face and give me a "nose bump". Thank you for stopping in and I wish you and your family a safe and Happy New Year! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 29, 2012:

Hi Rebecca! I have always loved your avatar picture, you and your sweet Bella! We had a black lab for a short time, his name was Jake. He came us actually. He escaped being tied up somewhere and ended up at our house, rope and all. He was such a good dog! We loved the breed and our daughter brought home Sadie one day shortly after we lost Jake. If you haven't read my hub on Jake, I think you would like it. The older gentleman's comment is too funny! It actually reminds me of a friend of ours! LOL Thank you for stopping in and have a wonderful day! Bella too! :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2012:

We have one now and they are great dogs indeed. Interesting facts here SG...thank you, and Happy New Year!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 29, 2012:

Hi Kathy! Labs are really wonderful dogs for family pets. We have had Sadie for about 10 years now, she is like one big kid and spoiled rotten! Thank you for stopping in! Have a wonderful day! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on December 29, 2012:

Hi Jackie! We have had Sadie for about 10 years now and she has always been such a good dog! She is starting to slow down a little now. Thank you for your kind comment! Have a wonderful day! :)

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 29, 2012:

Wow, Sadie is just gorgeous, and what a nice photo of her. I love Labs. As you can see on my Avatar, I have a black one. Her name is Bella, and she is the sweetest dog. I just love her. Thanks for a cool article that does justice to the sweet labs. I have something funny to tell you. I was walking Bella one day, some older gentleman asked me if she was a 'laboratory' retriever. It was too funny!

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on December 29, 2012:

Great hub! Labs are wonderful dogs. We have a female chocolate lab and she is a great family pet.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 29, 2012:

We had a dog like this when I was a teen. He was a great dog, we all loved him. Great write. ^

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