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Three Labrador retrievers, chocolate, yellow and black, lying in a row outdoors in the sunshine.
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  • Labrador Retrievers were first bred in Canada as duck-hunting and fishing assistants
  • For 28 years in a row, Labs have been the most popular breed in America

The Labrador Retriever is America’s favorite dog, topping the most popular breeds list for a whopping 28 years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. These easygoing, affectionate, energetic dogs are family-friendly all-rounders, equally at home on the couch or in the field. Their name is misleading, though, as they don’t hail from Labrador but from Newfoundland, where they worked as duck retrievers and fisherman’s mates, until English nobles brought the breed to the UK in the nineteenth century, and set about refining and standardizing it.

Here’s everything else you need to know about Labrador Retrievers:

1. Labs love the water.

In fact, they were made for it! Their thick tail (sometimes called an “otter tail”) is used as a powerful rudder, their webbed feet help them swim fast, and their thick, waterproof coats keep them happy even in cold water, like the icy Newfoundland waters where they were first bred. All of these traits make Labs great competitors in Dock Diving trials.

2. They are purpose-bred hunting dogs.

Labs started out as duck retrievers, and after they were brought back to England in the 1800s, the British bred them as game-hunting companions. Today, they’re excellent retrievers who can work in a variety of settings, including waterfowl hunting and game hunting, often for many hours at a time. You’ll find Labs excelling in Retriever Field Trials and Retriever Hunting Tests.

3. Among the dog world’s most versatile workers, Labs can do almost anything.

Thanks to their intelligence, eagerness to please, and willingness to work hard, Labradors are invaluable workers in a variety of fields. They’re the among the most popular choices for service dog work, as well as search and rescue, bomb and drug detection, and therapy dog work.

4. Be prepared for endless energy.

Though they’re famously laid-back, Labs were made to run, swim, and work. Labs that don’t receive ample exercise, including at least one long, brisk walk per day, might end up displaying destructive behaviors like chewing on objects around the house or escaping the yard.

5. Puppy training and obedience classes are highly recommended.

These bold, bouncy dogs are so strong and full of energy, so proper training and socialization are essential. Luckily, with their eager-to-please, intelligent demeanors, training classes can be a joy for dog and owner alike.

6. Labrador Retrievers come in three conformation colors: yellow, black, and chocolate.

All three colors of Labrador Retrievers are shown in the same ring during conformation dog shows.

7. They make for incredibly versatile sporting dogs.

With their characteristic intelligence, obedience, and eagerness to please, Labradors excel at a variety of dog sports. Besides dock diving and hunting trials, they tend to perform very well in Agility, Rally, and Obedience.

8. Color is not an indication of character.

Some claim that yellow Labs are the laziest of the breed, while black Labs are the best hunters, but none of these claims are supported by science. Like people, each dog is different, and some breeders develop their stock for its skills in the field, while others are concerned more with conformation to the breed standard. However, none of these differences directly depend on the dog’s color.

Purchasing and Registering your Labrador Retriever

Think the faithful, friendly Lab is the breed for you? Check out Labrador Retriever puppies on the AKC Marketplace.

After becoming the owner of a Labrador Retriever, it is important to register your dog. Why? The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States that maintains an investigation and inspection effort. The AKC conducts thousands of inspections each year to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of dogs and the environments in which they live.

You can register your dog here, and you will receive your official AKC certificate in the mail. There are many other benefits, including a complimentary first vet visit, 30 days of pet insurance, and eligibility to compete in AKC events and sports.

Labrador Retriever Products You May Like:

Lab Head Pendant With Ducks

A handmade sterling silver pendant is a special way to show off your Lab alongside its favorite quarry. This company prides itself on its use of recycled materials. Price: $54

Labrador Retriever Welcome Sign

Not only is this a gorgeous Lab piece, but it’s also handcrafted in the US, and a fantastic way to welcome guests and show off your favorite breed. Available in yellow, black, or chocolate. Price: $85

Learn About Other Retriever Breeds:
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Flat-Coated Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
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Selecting a Puppy

How do you know what breed is right for your family? How do you find a reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder? Download this e-book for guidance on these questions and other important factors to consider when looking for a puppy.
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