Labradors Could Retrieve State Dog Designation

On Wednesday, February 11, the Maine Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee will consider LD 107, which seeks to recognize the Labrador Retriever as the Official State Dog of Maine.  If LD 107 is enacted, Maine will be the twelfth U.S. state to name a purebred dog as its state dog.  Maine residents in support of the legislation, not only as a celebration of Labradors but also as a celebration of purebred dogs, are encouraged to contact the members of the State and Local Government Committee to express their support. 

The Labrador Retriever is a gentle, intelligent and family-friendly Labrador Retriever was originally developed just up the coast from Maine in Newfoundland.  The area was populated with small water dogs, that, when bred with Newfoundlands, produced a breed referred to as the St. John's Water Dog, a prototype for the Lab of today. Early in the 19th century, the Earl of Malmesbury reputedly saw one of the dogs of this type and had it imported; in 1830, the noted British sportsman Colonel Hawker referred to the Lab as "the best for any kind of shooting...generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very fine in legs, with short, smooth hair...is extremely quick running, swimming, and fighting...and their sense of smell is hardly to be credited."

Initially, the dogs were not known as Labradors until the Duke of Malmesbury admitted that he "always called [his] Labrador dogs." However, the breed eventually died out in Newfoundland due to a heavy dog tax and quarantine law. Many Labs were interbred with other types of retrievers, but luckily, the breed prevailed and fanciers drew up a definitive standard. Accurate pedigrees of today's Labs go back as far as 1878. The Lab was recognized as a distinct breed by the English Kennel Club in 1903. The first registration of Labradors by the AKC was in 1917, and from the 1920s through the '30s, there was a great influx of British dogs that formed the backbone of the breed in this country.

Labradors have continued to enjoy an unprecedented reign (to date, 25 years) as the most popular breed in the United States, according to AKC® registration statistics. This versatile hunting breed comes in three colors - yellow, black and chocolate - and because of his aptitude to please his master they excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement.

What You Can Do:

Maine residents in support of the legislation are encouraged to contact the members of the State and Local Government Committee to express their support. 

Senator Michael Willette, Chair – Michael.Willette@legislature.maine.gov

Senator Nathan Libby – Nathan.Libby@legislature.maine.gov

Senator David Woodsome – David.Woodsome@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Roland Martin, Chair -- Danny.Martin@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Christopher Babbidge – Chris.Babbidge@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Mark Bryant – Mark.Bryant@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Donna Doore – Donna.Doore@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Jeffrey Evangelos – Jeffrey.Evangelos@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Randal Greenwood – Randall.Greenwood@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Richard Pickett – Richard.Pickett@legislature.maine.gov

Representative William Tuell – Will.Tuell@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Beth Turner – Beth.Turner@legislature.maine.gov

Committee Clerk Cassie Nixon – Cassie.Nixon@legislature.maine.gov

LD 107 Sponsor Senator David Dutremble -- David.Dutremble@legislature.maine.gov

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.