Where Is the Labrador Retriever From?
Dating back to the early 1800s, the Labrador Retriever was first linked to the Canadian province of Newfoundland, despite obvious ties to the neighboring island of Labrador. The breed helped fisherman by swimming out to retrieve nets. Their “otter” tail, weather-resistant coat, and webbed toes made them expert swimmers and able to brave cold temperatures.
The breed found their way to Europe when Canadian fishermen began selling them to locals at English ports. Their patience and excellent scenting abilities allowed them to become desirable gun dogs. As more and more Labradors were imported by the English, they began to develop their own breeding programs. The Earl of Malmesbury, a well-known sportsman, dubbed the breed “Labrador Retriever” in the 19th century.
A decline in popularity occurred at the tail end of the century, caused by a halt in transportation from Canada due to quarantine laws and taxes. This inspired the cross breeding of the Labrador with the Curly-coated Retriever, Flat-coated Retriever, and Tweed Water Spaniel. The appearance of the Labrador remained relatively unchanged following cross breeding, but hunting abilities were enhanced.
In the early 1900s, the Labrador Retriever was acknowledged by the English Kennel Club. By 1917, the Labrador Retriever had arrived in the United States and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.