Since 1991, Labrador Retrievers have been ranked as the most popular dog breed in the United States by the American Kennel Association. Labs are a versatile breed that fares well in various roles, from the family pet, to the outdoor companion, to a service animal. Although initially bred to aid in hunting, Labs tend to be equally suited to life in family settings as they are intelligent, eager to please, and highly active.
These dogs are particularly well suited to those who want a companion during outdoor activities. In addition to their high energy levels, Labs are even-tempered, making them good canines to have around children. With such versatility, it’s easy to see why Labradors are a fan-favorite among Americans. Here are five fun facts that show why Labradors remain a top-tier breed.
Although you may have only heard of black, chocolate, and yellow labs, there is also a fourth Labrador coat color: silver. Although National Kennel organizations don’t officially recognize this color, its unique sheen is sure to turn heads. In fact, there’s quite a bit of controversy about whether dogs with this coloring are Labrador Retrievers, with some arguing these mysterious mutts are Weimaraner mixes.
Whether or not silver Labradors are “true” Labs, dogs with this coloring display all of the same personality traits as those with more traditional colors. However, if having a pedigreed dog is important to you, some organizations such as the American Kennel Association will allow you to register silver Labradors as a variety of chocolate lab.
Despite their misleading name, Labrador Retrievers originated from Newfoundland fishing dogs. Breed developers then shaped the genetic makeup to form what’s known as traditional Labrador Retrievers.
Labrador Retrievers excel in helping roles due to their intelligence, eagerness to please, and surprisingly, size, making them excellent service animals. Even if you aren’t planning on raising a service dog, Labs tend to be easy to train, which is a highly desirable trait for anyone seeking a well-behaved dog.
As mentioned above, Labs descend from Newfoundland fishing dogs. In turn, Labs inherited webbed toes, a rudder-like tail, and a protective double-layer coat to increase speed and warmth while swimming. True to their ancestors, Labrador Retrievers can stay warm for hours in chilly Canadian waters. However, the presence of a double-layer coat means that Labs need brushings quite often.
As we know them, labs developed as hunting dogs, specifically retrievers responsible for transporting game back to their owners. To make a more successful game dog, breeders developed retrievers to have a softer bite than most other dogs. Labradors are known to have great control over the muscles in their jaw and, if well trained, can pick up and hold a raw egg without breaking the shell.
While this trait comes more naturally to retrievers, it is essential to remember bite strength among individual dogs always varies, and Labs are capable of delivering a painful bite. Always be sure to exercise proper precautions when interacting with unfamiliar dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most beloved breeds for a good reason, and bringing one into your home is a cause to celebrate so long as you can keep up with these energetic pups.