The Labrador Retriever, nicknamed “Lab”, is the most popular dog breed registered with the AKC and many other clubs across the world, with good reason. I have known many wonderful Labs. 99% have been very friendly with people and other pets.
I have fond memories of our previous next door neighbors 120 lb. Lab. He would harass you for your cup of coffee and lovingly bear hug unsuspecting utility workers…lol! He was a great dog to have as a neighbor…very little barking and a docile personality.
The Labrador Retriever, despite his name, did not come from Labrador, but from Newfoundland. The area was populated with small water dogs, who, when bred with Newfoundlands, produced a breed referred to as the St. John’s Water Dog, an ancestor to the Labradors of today.
Alllabs.com created this extensive list of the names used over the centuries to refer to the Lab and its ancestors:
- John’s Dog
- Lesser St. John’s Dog
- Newfoundland Dog
- Lesser Newfoundland Dog
- Little Newfoundlanders
- Newfoundland Water Dog
- Labrador Dogs
- John’s Labrador Dogs
- Black Water Dog
- Lesser Labrador
- Smaller Labrador
- English Retriever
- English Labrador
The 3 recognized coat colors are yellow, black and chocolate. Wiki states “Over the 20th century a preference for far lighter shades of yellow through to cream have prevailed, today most yellow Labradors are of this shade.”
Males weigh between 65 to 80 lbs. and females 55 to 70 lbs. Labradors that weigh over 100 lbs. are considered obese or having a major fault under AKC breed standards, some can weigh significantly more.
AKC description: “The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an “otter” tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its “kind,” friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.”
Their webbed toes make them excellent swimmers and also provides traction in colder climates by keeping snow from balling up between their toes, which is painful for dogs.
Labs are gentle, intelligent and friendly. Because of their desire to please people, they excel as guide dogs for the blind, search & rescue and narcotics detection work in law enforcement.
Labradors have a steady temperament and their ability to learn makes them an ideal breed for therapy work. They ranked # 7 in “The Intelligence of Dogs”. The AKC describes the breed as an ideal family and sporting dog. Their primary working role in the field continues to be that of a hunting retriever.