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10/04/2022 | Sniff & Bark
Out of 200 recognized dog breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the lovable Lab or Labrador retriever has maintained the top spot in terms of popularity for 31 consecutive years, including their most recent 2021 list.
Why is this golden-haired breed so popular? Well, a lot of it has to do with their steady temperaments, adaptability, and athletic prowess. These medium to large dogs are inherently intelligent and loving. They can easily learn commands beyond “sit” or “stay” and are eager to please their adoring owners. They also get along great with families and children whether they’re situated in homes with large outdoor spaces or are made to live in apartments.
Despite the name, Labradors aren’t originally from Labrador but are from Newfoundland, another Canadian province. Labradors were bred to assist the fishermen in the region. These friendly, intelligent canines would help with the nets and ropes while retrieving any fish that managed to escape their fishing nets. They were diligent in their duties and loyal to their owners.
It’s thus unsurprising that today’s sweet yet fun-loving Labrador retrievers still have a predilection for splashing around in water and swimming!
If you’re a fan of dogs and this lovable breed like we are, you’ll love this list of oddball facts about them that we’ve prepared for you. While there’s a lot of information about them online, go through our list because we may yet surprise you!
1. Labs Are Popular in the UK Too
Labrador retrievers aren’t just the most popular dog breed in the United States; they’re also an in-demand breed in the UK. In 2020 alone, over 39,900 Brit owners registered their Labs with the government. Between 2020 to 2021, the number of Labradors increased by 54%, second only to the English springer spaniel.
2. Wet and Wild
Like ducks, Labradors are gifted with webbed toes. It’s a good thing too since they love the water. In addition, they also have wide bushy tails that help them swim better (like otters) and a thick double coat to keep them warm in cold weather. They can swim for long periods and in strong currents. No wonder they’re considered one of the most agile swimmers on four paws!
Have a look at Facebook famous Maximillian. This impressive Lab enjoys going for a dive and bringing his owner rocks from the bottom of the lake!
3. Most of the World’s Service Dogs Are Labs
“The light bulb moment — when the dog realizes he is responsible for the person at the other end of the handle is a deal-breaker for some dogs… It’s a moment puppy raisers anxiously await with mixed feelings. Dogs who meet the challenge move on to learning how to negotiate buildings, busy city traffic, larger street crossings, longer routes, escalators, and elevator work.”
Makes you admire the breed all the more, doesn’t it?
If you want to read more about Labrador retriever service dogs, you’ll enjoy learning about Endal. He was one of the most renowned service dogs that earned many prestigious awards during his illustrious career.
4. They Almost Went Extinct
Before the breed shot to fame, they almost became extinct. In the 1800s, the Newfoundland government wanted to encourage people to raise sheep instead of dogs. To enforce this, families were allowed only one dog per household and expensive fees were imposed on dog owners, especially those who owned female dogs. As a result, St. John’s water dogs, the Lab’s ancestors, were extinct by the 1980s.
Fortunately, Labs were already popular in England as family and hunting dogs. By 1903, they had become popular enough to be acknowledged by the AKC. The organization recognized it as a breed in 1917 and the rest is history.
5. Built for Speed
While they aren’t the fastest breed in the world, (greyhounds and salukis take the cake for going up to 45 mph and 42 mph, respectively), they’re still pretty fast. Labradors can go from zero to 12 mph in around three seconds!
6. Gentle Giants
Despite their medium to large frames and athletic builds, Labradors are gentle giants that can hold items in their mouths without damaging them. Some trainers specifically train their Labs to hold a raw egg between their jaws without cracking it.
Notable Labrador Retrievers
With so many wonderful traits, many Labrador retrievers have rightly earned our awe and hearts over the years. How many of these notable retrievers have you heard of?
1. Clyde, aka Marley — One of the Most Famous Labs in Hollywood
One of the most memorable Labs in Hollywood is Clyde — more famously known by his screen name Marley from the 2009 movie Marley & Me. Though the family comedy took a total of 22 different dogs to film, most of the scenes showcased Clyde and his natural on-screen talent. He even has his own IMdb profile!
In the movie, Clyde stars alongside Hollywood greats Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. They play a newlywed couple who adopts the mischievous yet endearing Marley. If you haven’t watched it yet, go see it. You’ll surely fall in love with Marley (or should we say Clyde) just as we did.
2. Adjutant, the Oldest Lab in History
While the average life span of a Lab is from ten to 12 years, a retriever named Adjutant survived for 27 years and three months. He lived from 1936 to 1963 and is one of the oldest dogs in recorded history. Though there are no pictures of him, he was reportedly a black Lab who belonged to a gamekeeper in Lincolnshire, England.
3. Mayor Bosco
How about a Labrador retriever for mayor? We’re not kidding. A Labrador and rottweiler mix named Bosco beat two human candidates and became an honorary mayor of Sunol, California in 1981. His mayoral term ran from 1981 until he passed in 1994. To this day, he has a statue of his likeness at the local post office that was erected by his good-humored constituents.
Labrador Retrievers: Eager to Please and Win You Over
And there you have it — a list of interesting facts and trivia about the lovable and ever-popular Labrador retriever. Whether as family dogs, working dogs, or companions, the Labrador retriever is eager to please and win us over. We hope this article has helped your appreciation for this friendly and loyal breed.Looking for accessories for your Labrador retriever? Pick something beautiful and practical from Sniff & Bark today! Our large-sized accessories will fit most fully grown Labs that are two years of age and older. Check out our Value Packs that feature matching harnesses, leashes, collars, poop bag holders, and bandannas.