This breed may have one of the most decorated pasts out of all them. They received their humble beginnings back in the 1700’s, off an island province called, Newfoundland, located in Canada. They weren’t known as labradors at that point in their history, but rather, they were named after Newfoundland’s capital, St John’s.
Because the life of a fisherman can be lonely and solemn, they immediately fit a companion purpose amongst those in that occupation. They proved to be great company, but also proved to be quite the worker. As a dual-purpose canine, they would work with the master of the house on the docks during the day. Anything from chasing down fish that escaped the net, to running down ropes. They went home afterward with their master to serve as the family’s companion.
After a while, the English fisherman caught on to the useful nature of this breed. They decided to import the Labs back to England in the 1830’s. Except, they would leave the dock and serve as a hunting dog instead. The Lab enjoyed its job as a hunting and gathering canine and thrived with the position.
Facing a near extinction in the 1880’s, credit is given to the Malmesbury of England and the breed’s English enthusiasts for keeping the dog well and alive. The England Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as an official breed in 1903, while the Americans decided to register them as an official breed in 1917. Meanwhile, in Newfoundland, the government’s restrictions caused the population of Labradors to dwindle.
After World War 2, and two decades of importing Labs into America, the breed quickly became a first choice for canine companion. In 1991, and ever since, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in the U.S, U.K, and Canada.
That can be attributed to the role people have put the breed into. They can be part of law enforcement, rescue missions, detection operations, sporting, hunting, competitions, and much more. The Lab has become the glorified breed of today’s developed society. And while they are still hard-working and devoted dogs, they are now earning their way into the role of a home companion more than anything else.