The Labrador Retriever

Olivia Bradley, Staff Writer

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Although the name might suggest Labrador Retrievers came from Labrador, Canada, the breed actually originated in Newfoundland in the 1500s. At the time, small water dogs were bred with Newfoundlands to create a breed called the St. John’s Water Dog or Lesser Newfoundland. These dogs were owned by fishermen and jumped into the icy water to bring back fish that had fallen off the fishing hooks, they would also pull in fishnets, so the breed was perfect for these jobs because their coat repelled water and their webbed paws made them excellent swimmers. The dogs continued to live exclusively in Newfoundland until the early 1800s when they were imported to Poole, England. The Earl of Malmesbury had seen the breed in action and immediately brought them home. 

They are generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very lean in the legs, with short smooth hair, extremely quick in running, swimming and fighting. Both the Earl and Duke of Malmesbury used them in shooting sports, The name Labrador retriever stuck and the Earl’s son began breeding the dogs. By 1903, Labradors were recognized by the English Kennel Club. The breed began to grow in popularity. Hunters and farmers from the United States learned of the breed’s work ethic and began incorporating these amazing dogs into their daily lives. The American Kennel Club recognized Labrador Retrievers in 1917 and the breed became a loving pet to many families.