7 Labrador Retriever Fun Facts

7 Labrador Retriever Fun Facts

Author WDF Staff


The Labrador Retriever has been the world’s most popular pet for more than 2 decades. These dogs are absolutely amazing; they’re smart, playful, trainable, and will do absolutely anything for food. They are versatile, which is why you can often see them working as service dogs. We are fascinated by them, so we decided to bring you our favorite Labrador Retriever fun facts.

1. Descendants of St. John Dogs

Labradors are known across the globe these days, but not many dog owners know these dogs are descendants of the St. John Water dogs. Labs ancestors were keen working dogs in Newfoundland, Canada. They were a “standard” part of fishing boats, where they served as versatile working dogs. Their main job was to help retrieve loose fish and fishing nets.

labrador on forest floor

Labs are fantastic swimmers, which is undoubtedly a trait they inherited from their ancestors. One of the first jobs modern-day Labs had was retrieving prey from lakes. They wouldn’t be too good at their job if they weren’t fantastic swimmers that love water.

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2. Only three colors

Purebred dogs have breed standards, where their physical characteristics are described to the smallest details. Lab’s standard defines their eyes, muzzle, ears, teeth, size, coat type, gait, character, and color. Many modern dog breeders claim these dogs can come in various colors, like silver or grey. The truth is, Labrador Retriever standard allows only three colors - yellow, black, and chocolate.

Modern-day breeders try to create dogs with unique characteristics for one simple reason - more money and demand. It is in our nature to want unusual, rare, and different things, so these dogs certainly have some appeal to some of us. However, those dogs are not pure Labradors. They are most likely crossbred with breeds like the Weimaraner.

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3. One Labrador was in jail

We have heard many dog news that slightly shocked us, but this one probably tops them all. Did you know a Labrador called Pep was sentenced to 10 years in Pennsylvania? Well, Pep was a bad boy, and he loved nothing more than to chase cats from his yard. One day, one particular cat crossed his path, and he managed to catch the poor cat. The scruffle ended with a cat murder. That unlucky cat belonged to Governor Gifford Pinchot’s wife. In a bizarre turn of events, Pep was sentenced and served a 10-year jail sentence. 

labrador-retriever black puppy

4. Long-lived Labrador

Modern-day Labradors have an average lifespan of 10-12 years. While individual dogs can live significantly longer than that, no Labrador ever reached the age a Lab called Adjutant has. In 1938, a record-breaking Lab reached an impressive age of 27. In recorded history, only 4 dogs lived longer than him. It is very unusual for any breed to live nearly 3 decades. It is even more unusual for a medium-to-large breed to do so. In the canine kingdom, the smaller you are, the longer you live.

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5. Bred for hunting

Modern-day Labradors rarely perform their original duties. These days, Labs enjoy active family lives they can share with their family members. They are more couch potatoes than hunters, and a growing issue among Labradors is obesity. These dogs love food, and their modern lifestyle allows them to get overweight. However, original Labradors from the 19th century were bred to become the best versatile hunting dogs. Their job was to retrieve prey, and they were praised for their soft jaws and ability to return prey undamaged. They had plenty of energy that allowed them to work tirelessly.

labrador black in woods

6. First Labradors were from the UK

It is true that Labrador’s origins go to St. John’s dogs in Canada. However, they were “refined” and carefully bred in the UK. The modern-day Labrador Retriever was purposely bred by several noble families from the UK. These families crossed the St. John’s Dogs with British hunting breeds. Their goal was to create a new hunting breed that would serve their needs. The first Labrador as we know it today was born in the 1830s. Some of the historical personalities involved with their breeding are the Earl of Malmesbury, the Duke of Buccleuch, and the Earl of Home.

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7. Popular service dogs

Dogs can perform different tasks, and perhaps one of the best breeds for the role of service dogs is the versatile Labrador Retriever. These dogs are intelligent, trainable, and highly motivated by food. That makes a perfect combination for a working dog. Modern-day Labradors are selected for different service dog roles. They are popular guide dogs, psychiatric service dogs, detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, military dogs, and therapy dogs. They enjoy working and pleasing their owners, so with a great approach, even a pet Labrador can learn to perform complicated tasks around their homes.

labrador chocolate

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In conclusion

Labs are fantastic dogs! They make wonderful companions to families and singles alike. They love kids and have plenty of energy to run around and play all day. Labs also have a rich history. Their history might not be that long, but it is very colorful. Their lives are filled with interesting facts, and we brought you 7 of our favorite Labrador Retriever fun facts.

World Dog Finder team

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