The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club (2020).
Labrador retrievers were bred to be the perfect water dogs. They were originally used in assisting fishermen by bringing in fishing nets, pulling boat ropes and catching escaped fish.
Labrador retrievers aren’t actually from Labrador, Canada. They’re from Newfoundland, Canada. Greater Newfoundland dogs bred with smaller water dogs producing the St. John’s water dog. Now extinct, the St. John’s water dog served as the ancestor for the Labrador retriever.
The Earl of Malmesbury brought these dogs home with him to England after visiting Canada, and referred to his new pups as “Labrador dogs” in 1887. Others believe the name came from the fact that the dogs were often seen swimming in the Labrador Sea.
Labs are known for their ability to sprint. They can go from 0 to 12+ miles per hour in three seconds!
Regardless of the parents’ color, a Lab litter can include black, yellow, and chocolate-colored puppies. There are two genes that cause the coloring of the coat, so the variation can be as common as different hair colors in a human family.
You may have noticed that Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” is not about dogs at all. The band named the song after a black Lab that was hanging out at the studio while they were recording the album Led Zeppelin IV.
In 1924 A Lab went to jail after killing the cat belonging to Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot’s wife. Pinchot said the dog was sent there to be the prisoners’ mascot where the furry inmate became friends with the warden.
In 1981 Bosco, a black Lab mix, won the election to be the honorary mayor of Sunol, California. He beat out two human candidates with the slogan “A bone in every dish, a cat in every tree, and a fire hydrant on every corner.”
Labs are the most commonly-used breed for guide dogs. About 70% of all guide dogs are Labs because of their strong desire to please, their size and their easy trainability.
Thanks to their powerful noses, Labrador retrievers can be trained to sniff out and identify early stages of cancer. Though machines are being invented to replace this method, currently the only way to screen early stages of ovarian cancer is through a Lab’s nose.
-Info by Mental Floss
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