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What's all the Fuss about the Labrador Retriever

Aug 17, 2007
The Labrador Retriever is among the most popular dogs in the United States and is well-known throughout the world. So what's all the fuss about this breed? There are plenty of reasons so many people seek out the Labrador Retriever as their pet, companion, hunting partner and best friend. Take a look at this dog's history to understand more.

The Labrador Retriever is commonly known as a "Lab." The breed was formerly called St. John's Dogs and originated in Canada. Contrary to popular belief, these dogs were not bred for hunting. The early dogs of this line were trained to live and work on fishing boats. They performed a myriad of tasks, but their most important was jumping overboard whenever the net lines were dropped or became entangled on something. The dogs retrieved those lines, bringing them back to their masters on the boat. They saved the fishermen the financial loss of broken lines and lost or damaged nets, but also saved the lives of fishermen who might have been tempted to try the feat for themselves.

The training and natural instincts of these dogs was so incredible that England fishermen took some of the dogs back to England for use on fishing vessels there. It was in Labrador, England, where the dogs were further developed to become the breed currently known as Labrador Retriever.

Though the instinct to retrieve has always been strong in this breed, their tendency to want to please their masters made them ideal for the tasks assigned. That tendency remains strong today, making Labradors popular companion dogs, especially for families. One of the biggest problems facing owners is that Labrador Retrievers demand a specific amount of attention. If that attention isn't given willingly, these dogs will simply wreak some sort of havoc to gain it. Rather like a willful child who doesn't get his way, the dog typically understands that he's going to be in trouble for chewing, clawing or otherwise destroying something, but seems not to care. Even given free rein of house or yard, these dogs will often find something to tear up if their people aren't around for extended periods of time.

Given sufficient exercise and attention, Labrador Retrievers are the most gentle, loving and attentive dogs you could hope to encounter. You'll find that their natural desire to please makes them an excellent candidate for field trials, obedience training and showing off tricks. They're very willing to learn new things and will typically try to accomplish any task.

Labrador Retrievers come in several recognized colors, making them a series of distinct families within the breed. Yellow, black and brown (typically called chocolate) make up these categories. Cross breeding usually results in dogs that take the solid coloring of one or the other parent, though they sometimes can be a mixture of more than one color. For showing purposes, dogs must fit into one of the categories and any of the solid colors are acceptable. Occasionally, a silver color emerges from some lines, though these are generally accepted as a variation of the Chocolate Lab. There are also two distinct types of Lab, American and English. There are some differences between the two, including build.
About the Author
For more information on Labrador Retrievers and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Sporting Dog Directory
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