The Labrador Retriever was bred for hunting and excelled in retrieving game after it was shot down. Known for its gentle disposition and loyalty, the Labrador Retriever has become a favorite of families and breeders alike.
The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular AKC breed in the United States every year for the past 25 years. Their origins have been traced to the St. John’s dog, named for the capital city of the Canadian province “Newfoundland and Labrador.” The St. John’s was developed from imported European dogs for fishing and hunting on the island of Newfoundland in the 18th century. During the 19th century St John’s were bred in England and developed into the Labradors we know and love. Labradors were recognized as a breed by the British Kennel Club in 1903 and by the AKC in 1917.
With their friendly dispositions and weatherproof build, they are terrific family dogs and outdoor companions. Most Labradors are very active with an appetite to match, and need plenty of exercise. Labradors often love to swim. Their double-coated weather-resistant fur can cause heavy shedding. Great hunting dogs and popular household companions, Labrador Retrievers are also employed as guide dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.
We’re pretty sure Labradors came from the island of Newfoundland, and many experts believe that the Newfoundland breed was developed in neighboring Labrador! By our calculations, there are 10 times as many Labradors in North America than there are people living in Labrador and Newfoundland.
Explore some Embark dogs that share Labrador Retriever ancestry.