The Labrador Retriever Origin and History
The Labrador breed is thought to have begun on the beautiful island of Newfoundland , currently province of Newfoundland and Labrador , Canada . This breed is not native to the area and no evidence indicates that the dogs were part of the Inuit settlements. The Labrador breed is believed to be ancestors of the extinct St. John’s Water Dog.
The breed is believe to have been crossbred between the indigenous water dogs and the original Newfoundland dog as a result of unselective breeding from the people of the area in the fifteenth century.
There was confusion about the Newfoundland dogs and to clear up this confusion the Earl of Malmesbury named the dog the Labrador . The Labrador retriever before the name change was referred to as lesser Newfoundland dog or the St. John’s dog. The terms lavradores and labradores refer to Spanish and Portuguese workers that used herding and guard dogs. It is also thought that the name Labrador came from these worker labels.
The primary breeders of St. John’s dogs may have even crossbred the black St. Hubert’s hound from the country of France , the Portugal water dogs and the European point breeds with one another. As a result two main breeds were formed: one was the larger Newfoundland which was used for purposes of hauling, and the short-coat retrievers for pulling and retrieving equipment from the waters. The smaller version of these two resulted in the Labrador .
Numerous workers used the Labrador for helping to retrieve nets to the shore as the dogs retrieved the floating corks and hauled the nets to shore. The dog would later be carried to the Poole, England and later the central hub of Newfoundland fishing markets. These dogs would become one of the most treasured among the gentry for sporting canine.
Labrador Retriever Landmarks of Early History:
1814: The initial written accounting in regards to the Lab in the ‘Instructions to Young Sportsmen.
1823: Nobility owned and bred Labs. First painting of a Lab with black and white coloration titled ‘Cora. A Labrador Bitch’ by Edwin Landseer.
1870: Labrador Retriever was a strong and well-known name.
1877: Accounting in a letter written to the sixth Duke of Buccleuch from the third Earl of Malmesbury , “We always call mine Labrador dogs and I have kept the breed as pure as I could from the first I had from Poole… known by their having a close coat which turns the water off like oil and, above all, a tail like an otter.”
1899: The first reporting and pictures of a Yellow Lab known as ‘Ben of Hyde’.
The Labrador retriever as we know it today is one of the older groups of recognized breeds that reported by the AKC dates back as far as 1878. It gained official recognition by the AKC in the year 1903.
It would be in the year of 1917 that the first registration of the breed would take place. Additionally, numerous English dogs were brought in to the United States after the first World War.