History of the Breed
The ancestors of 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, and it was they who drew up the standard and recognised the Labrador Retriever as what it is known today.
Labrador Retrievers in Australia
Labrador Retrievers, also known as Labradors or Labs, 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 types 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 maintained one of the highest breed registration of pedigree purebred dogs according to the ANKC National Registration Statistics.
The breed owes its continued popularity due to its intelligence, versatility, kind, outgoing attitude and even temperament.
Read more about Breed Standard and Health Testing on the breed information page.
The History of the Labrador in Australia 1929-1983 by Mary Dalgarno
The Jack Montasell Story
50 Years of Retrieving Trial History by Rob Maver