5 Things You Didn't Know About Labrador Retrievers

Classic Breed Has Interesting History

Labrador retriever

Labrador retrievers: They’re super cute, make great family companions and service dogs, love to swim and are generally really happy dogs.

Here are 5 things not commonly known about Labradors:

1.  Record Holder

Labrador retrievers have been the most popular dog breed in the United States for the past 24 years, more than any other dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club.

Notable people who’ve owned Labs include: former President Bill Clinton, whose chocolate Lab, Buddy, was the first Labrador retriever to be America’s 1st pet. Former Vice President Dick Cheney—an avid hunter—takes his yellow and black Labs, Jackson and Dave with him in the field.

Other celebrities who consider Labs family include England’s Prince William, actors Drew Barrymore, Kevin Costner, Edie Falco, Minnie Driver, Mary Kate Olsen, and musician Sarah McLachlan.

Lab jumps into water

2. From Where, Eh?

Labrador retrievers are originally from Newfoundland—not Labrador, which is easy to confuse because the dog is called a Labrador and Labrador is a region of Newfoundland, both of which are in Canada.

3. Hello, My Name Is...

Labrador retrievers were bred specifically to work in cold water tugging boats and pulling fishermen's nets. (A little extra fat was good for Labs back then; it kept them warm and gave them the extra energy they needed.) The dogs—then called St. John’s Water dogs—eventually made their way to England in 1820, where they were renamed Labrador retrievers because they worked as retrievers in the Labrador Sea

Labrador retrievers

4. Which Labrador Came First?

The first Labrador retriever born back in the early 1800s was black. In fact, all Labrador retrievers had black coats until 1899 when the first yellow Lab, named Ben of Hyde, was born. Most yellow Labs today can trace their lineage back to good ole’ Ben. Chocolate retrievers followed soon after.

5. Health Woes

Common health conditions for Labrador retrievers include: ear infections, skin allergies, benign skin growth (fatty tumors) and arthritis, all of which are eligible for Nationwide pet health insurance benefits.

 

With routine veterinary care and a lot of TLC, Labrador retrievers can live a lifetime of happiness.