10 Facts About Labrador Retrievers - Pet Hub USA

10 Facts About Labrador Retrievers

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Labrador Retrievers have long stood as America’s favorite breed. Labs are intelligent, and their temperament makes them suitable for numerous roles and great family dogs. Here are 10 facts about Labs that will surprise you!

10. Labs Are America’s Favorite Breed


Over the past 30 years, on average, Labradors have been America’s most popular dog breed according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Over the past couple of years, (2022-2023), the Labrador retriever has been edged out of the #one spot by the French Bulldog, with the Labrador Retriever taking second place consistently. Third has been the other retriever, the Golden.

9. Labradors Almost Went Extinct

lab puppy, labrador, puppy
Photo by ameliausmoothie on Pixabay

The Labrador Retriever breed was developed in the UK from St. John’s water dogs imported from the colony of Newfoundland (now a province of Canada). However, in the late 1800s, they nearly went extinct. Due to heavy taxation on dog ownership in Newfoundland, they went extinct in Canada. Luckily, the breed survived in England.

8. An Earl Gave Labradors Their Name

chocolate labrador, chocolate lab, lab
Photo by jatocreate on Pixabay

The Labrador Retriever breed was established by royalty during the 1880s. It was a collaboration between the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, and the 12th Earl of Home. The Earl of Malmesbury was the first to call them “Labrador dogs.” Newfoundland and Labrador are nearby. It’s assumed the British referred to the whole region as Labrador.

7. Labradors Are Ideal Water Dogs

swimming, dog, fetch
Photo by Goodfreephotos_com on Pixabay

Labrador retrievers were bred from the St. John’s water dog, which went extinct in the early 1980s. Labradors are excellent swimmers. Fishermen use them to retrieve fish and bring in nets. Labs have a thick double-layer coat that keeps them warm in cold waters. Labradors have webbed toes and rudder-like tails, and can stay in the water for hours.

6. Labradors Are Highly Intelligent

a close up of a black dog with yellow eyes
Photo by Michael G on Unsplash

On the list of the 20 most intelligent dog breeds, Labrador retrievers rank #7. Because of their smarts, friendly disposition, loyalty, and eagerness to please, labs are used in a variety of applications. Around 60-70% of guide dogs in the US are Labradors. They are for assistance, rescue, detection, and more.

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5. Labrador Retrievers Are Deceptively Speedy

yellow lab yellow ball” by lemicha is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Labrador retrievers were bred to be retriever gun dogs, to find and bring back game for hunters. But they are also quite speedy. In a short sprint, Labs can run up to 30-35 miles an hour. They can reach 20 miles per hour in only three seconds. Labs are cat-like in their ability to quickly nab mice, rats, and birds.

4. Labradors Can Be Destructive

adult chocolate Labrador retriever licking snout
Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

Labradors are intelligent, energetic, and curious dogs that need something to do – especially during puppyhood. You may find you need to create barricades to keep your lab pup from accessing things you don’t want dug up, chewed, or from hurting itself. Labs need lots of exercise and play to keep their behavior under control.

3. Labs Excel as Guide Dogs

Golden Lab service dog

Between 60-70% of guide dogs in the United States are Labrador Retrievers. The combination of their size, trainability, adaptability, and temperament makes them excel at guide dog work. The intelligence of Labs not only makes them quick learners, but proactive thinkers. Labs have a knack for noticing all obstacles and potential dangers.

Read More: 10 Dog Breeds that Love the Outdoors

2. Labradors Have an Extended Youth

selective focus photography of short-coated brown puppy facing right side
Photo by Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash

Most breeds of dogs tend to mature by the time they reach two years of age. However, Labrador retrievers tend to hold onto their puppy-like nature a lot longer than other breeds. Many labs don’t hit maturity and lose their puppyish energy levels and habits until they reach four years of age.

Read More: 10 Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds

1. A Single Labrador Litter Can Yield Three Different Colors

five yellow Labrador retriever puppies
Photo by Bharathi Kannan on Unsplash

Labrador retrievers come in three distinct colors: Black, chocolate, or yellow. However, with a litter of pups, what you see isn’t always what you get. Because of Labrador genetics, even if you breed parents who are both black labs, they can still produce brown, yellow, and black puppies within the same litter.

Read More: These 10 Dog Breeds LOVE the Water

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