Is an Lab Right for You?
Labrador Retrievers, often simply known as Labs, are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world due to their friendly and loving nature. These versatile and hardworking dogs have a rich history and have been used for hunting, as service animals, and as beloved family pets. In this article, we will share 13 interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers, including their origins, physical characteristics, and unique personality traits. Whether you’re a Lab owner or just interested in learning more about this beloved breed, these facts will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Labrador Retriever.
The Labrador Retriever originated
in Newfoundland in the 1500s. Local fishermen began breeding the most intelligent, hardest-working water dogs in an effort to design smaller, faster dogs that would jump into icy waters and retrieve fish and pull in fishing nets. This produced a dog known as the St. John’s Water dog. The forerunner of the modern Labrador Retriever.
The St John’s Water Dog
was just as at home in the water as on land. Their skill at retrieving fish and hauling in nets was unmatched and their desire to dive into icy waters to do their jobs became legendary. They developed a reputation that spread around the world.
Unfortunately, the St John’s Water Dog
eventually became extinct, but not before some of the breed were imported to England and Scotland. In the early 1800’s a and a Brit named James Harris and a Scotsman named Walter Scott met and began the development of the modern Labrador Retriever.
In Landmark Research on Modern Dog Breed
development, the Labrador Retriever has been shown to share the most DNA with an ancestor of the following breeds:
Flat Coated Retriever
They had to Be Black.
Up until the early 1900’s, hunters and sportsman wanted black Labs. Although the breed had the genetic make-up to produce brown and yellow colors, many of these early puppies were put down. It took many years for the other colors to gain popularity and become accepted.
According to FCI Breed Standard
the three accepted breed colors are black, yellow or liver/chocolate. Silver is NOT an accepted color, although many are registered as chocolate as silver Labs are chocolate labs with the dd genotype which will dilute the coat color.
The Lab has a Nearly Water-Proof Coat
and webbed paws which makes them excellent swimmers. You will be hard-pressed to find a Labrador Retriever that does not like the water!
Growing Up Labrador Retriever
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The AKC Conducts Dog Racing Trials
each December in Orlando, FL. called the Fast CAT Invitational. This is a 100 yard race where dogs run individually chasing a lure. The average speed for Labrador Retrievers was around 24 mph. The fastest recorded speed was by a female Lab named Flash’s Primary Return at 31.83 mph!
The CBARQ Dog Temperament Research
study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, is a giant study of over 300 dog breeds and 60,000 individual dogs. In this study, Labs ranked 100th out of 124 breeds in aggression towards other unfamiliar dogs. They also rank very low in aggression towards familiar dogs and strangers, confirming the facts that (on the whole) Labs are quite a friendly breed!
In this Same Research
Labrador Retrievers rank 33rd out of 124 breeds in trainability. Essentially, this means they are generally eager and willing to learn new commands and obey them quickly without distraction. Compared to many other breeds, Labs are considered easy to train.
In the Landmark Book
entitled, “The Intelligence of Dogs”, professor Stanley Coren researched and documented the intelligence of over 130 different dog breeds. In his book, the Labrador Retriever ranks 7th out of 130 breeds in working/obedience intelligence. Essentially this means they will learn new commands in 5 or fewer repetitions. This puts them in the “brightest dogs category”. In contrast, the lest intelligent breeds will require 80-100 repetitions to learn and follow the same commands!
Labrador Retriever’s are a Robust
breed, with an average lifespan of 10-12 years. In fact, the oldest Labrador Retrievers ever were named Bella-29 years and Adjutant-27 years! There are certain health conditions toy be aware of :
Bloat and Obesity
Hip and/or Elbow Dysplasia
Chocolate Labs Have a Shorter
lifespan than either black labs or yellow labs. The life expectancy for chocolate labs is 10.7 years while the life expectancy for both yellow and black labs is 12.1 years. Research on 33,000 Labs as confirmed this to be true, but the exact reason for the differences are not known. Chocolate Labs do have a predisposition to certain diseases.