One of the most popular breeds in the world, the Labrador Retriever originated from Newfoundland and not Labrador, as the name suggests. In Newfoundland, the dogs took to the water readily and helped haul in the nets. Fishermen brought the dog to England in the early 19th century.
Originally, the dogs ranged from a heavy-coated variety known as the Large Newfoundland to a smaller, rough-coated variety called the Lesser Newfoundland or St. John’s Dogs. The modern-day Labrador Retriever probably descends from this St. John’s Dog and the currently known Newfoundland breed from the Large Newfoundland. In England, the dog was crossed with other sporting breeds to produce the strong, sturdy Labrador Retriever.
The original Labrador Retriever was a versatile working dog, able to rescue drifting nets, bring back shot waterfowl, and haul the catch to market in jog carts.
A stocky, medium-sized dog, the adult Labrador stands 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs 25 to 27 kilos. The short, dense coat is black, yellow or chocolate in colour.
A distinctive feature of the breed is the medium-long tail-thick at the base and gradually tapering to the tip, it is described as an otter tail.
The Labrador loves the world and everyone in it. The breed has all the attributes of the perfect family dog — he is energetic, kind to children, friendly to people – even strangers, easy to train, anxious to please and a loyal pet. The affable dog’s devotion and loyal temperament have made it extremely popular the world over as a Service Dog.