Also commonly called Labradors or Labs, Labrador Retrievers come in three recognised colours: yellow, black and chocolate/liver.
The Labrador Retriever is a breed under the Gundog Group (group 3) and is one of the six kinds of retrievers. The other retriever breeds are: Golden Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.
The Labrador Retriever has the highest breed registration according to the 2014 Australian National Kennel Council's (ANKC) statistics.
It is also one of the world's most popular dog breed due to its intelligence, versatility and even temperament.
Read more about breed standard and health testing on breed information page.
Video Source: Labrador Retriever Club (USA)
The ancestors to the modern day Labrador Retrievers were originally found not in Labrador, but in Newfoundland, where they were used in many capacities by cod fisherman. With their short but exceptionally dense coat, they were well suited to the cope with the freezing salt spray, snowy and icy near-arctic winds. Their even temperament and strong willingness to please were greatly prized.
They were expected to retrieve the fish that slipped out of the net and flapped on the icy surface of the sea. They had to carry the rope end from the boat to the shore in the strongest of tides and stormiest weather. They were strongly built so that they could pull a heavy sled carrying firewood, barrels of fish, and other necessities of life in a place where horses would be useless.
They had to survive and indeed thrive and breed, on the scantiest of food, probably half frozen fish guts, a piece of dried meat, and a surreptitious chew at their leather harness. All these activities took place in terrible weather conditions, and having dense waterproof coats enabled these dogs to work effectively. As the work was done in water, on land, in forests, snow drifts and over slippery rocks, an extremely active, well-made and balanced dog was required; any structural weakness in its frame and exaggeration could affect their working ability.
In the early 1880's, somewhere in the north of England, a few landowners bred together a handful of these dogs that had survived from an earlier importation. These land owners were quick to realise the value of the dogs as a sporting and working dog, and a breeding strain was soon established.
In 1916 the Labrador Club (England) was formed to ensure purity of the breed, and it was they who drew up the standard and recognised the Labrador Retriever as what it is known today.