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Why America’s Most Labradorable Breed Is Winning Hearts

At A Glance

Eager to learn more interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers? Here’s a preview:

  • Labradors are America’s favorite breed
  • Labradors were originally Newfoundland fishing breeds
  • Labs can easily be trained to be guide dogs and to detect cancer

Keep reading!

Last Updated on: January 9, 2023


31 years and counting! That’s how long the labrador has been holding the top spot on the AKC’s Top Ten registry list. Interesting right?

Especially since it’s not the smartest breed out there and does have some pretty tough competition.

So what is it about the Labrador Retriever that has dog lovers raving?

Read on to find out interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers, from their origin to their physical traits, personality, and more.

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A Brief History of the Labrador Retriever

It’s worth noting that despite their name, Labrador Retrievers aren’t actually from the Labrador region in Canada. This sporting dog originated in Newfoundland and was introduced to England by fishermen over 200 years ago.

It was the Earl of Malmesbury who first started calling them “Labrador Dogs” during shooting sports. And by 1903, it was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club.

So, “is a Labrador a retriever?”

Yes, it is.

The Labrador is a gun dog that has its origins in the Newfoundland fishing dogs.

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Physical Traits & Personality of a Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are friendly, intelligent, outgoing, courageous, and high-spirited companions. They’re a medium-to-large dog breed that can stand up to 24.5 inches and weigh up to 80 pounds.

There is a slight difference between American and English Labradors.

We’ll get to that later!

Things To Know About Labrador Retrievers

The Labrador Retriever is one breed that has something to offer everyone out there, from kids to adults and even the elderly and the incapacitated.

So, what is special about a Labrador?

Animal lover Joanne Walker says labs are one of the best dogs for children of all ages. “Labrador Retrievers are kind, good-natured, and take most things in stride. These dogs are so popular for some great reasons: Bouncy, cheerful, loyal, and enthusiastic.”

But that’s not the only fun fact about labs. If you ask lab owners for 10 facts about labrador retrievers – or even 5 interesting facts about labrador retrievers – they’re likely to give you more than that.

I’ve listed some of them below.

Labradors Absolutely Love Being in the Water

Are Labradors waterproof?

Not quite.

But if Labradors had the chance to stay in the water all day, you bet they would!

Here’s one of the most interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers – they are descended from the St. John’s water dog, so their love for water is quite literally in their DNA.

They’ve inherited the St. John’s basic swimming skills. Most Labradors instinctively dive into the water to retrieve things, too.

Labradors Come In Three Colors – Yellow, Black, and Chocolate

If we’re diving into fun facts about these labs that you never knew, we can tell you this – they essentially have the same social and intelligent nature. They just come in different colors.

In terms of build and character, all Labs are similar. But if we were to discuss fun facts about the different colors, it would be specific to the dog, and not its appearance!

Silver Labradors Actually Exist

Many breeders don’t believe the silver lab to be a purebred. In fact, the American Kennel Club has allowed Silver Labrador owners to register their pets as purebred.

Despite the color difference, they are similar in nature to the three common lab types, namely yellow, black, and chocolate.

Labradors Are Among America’s Favorite Dog Breeds

The idea that the labrador is the favorite dog breed in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom remains one of the most interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers. This is not surprising, though, because the breed is sweet, friendly, outgoing, and intelligent!

Labradors Were Originally Bred For Fishing

Although labrador retrievers seem to love the outdoors in general, they were initially bred to aid with fishing and hunting.

“Labrador Retrievers have their feet webbed”, explains pet lover Melanie Chevalier. “They are generally very good swimmers, and hunters love the breed for both the swimming capability and the intelligence.”

Labradors Are Fast Runners And Incredibly Versatile Sporting Dogs

Labradors are built to go the distance and can run up to 30 miles an hour with proper exercise and training. Their fit and athletic nature makes them ideal for various sporting events and even as running buddies for their humans.

Canadian Tax Laws Helped The Labrador Become A Distinct Breed

One of the most interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers revolves around tax deductions. In Canada, you might be able to claim a dog tax deduction if your lab works with you on a ranch or a farm.

The Canada Revenue Agency lets individuals write off the expense of buying, training, and feeding dogs used to herd livestock.

Labradors Are the Most Commonly Used Breed for Guide Dogs

How smart is a Labrador?

Though this breed is not as smart as a Border Collie (considered the smartest breed out there), the lab is reasonably smart, thanks to its eagerness to learn.

Plus, it is social, courageous, trainable, and eager to please.

Combine all these traits and you know why it’s relatively easy to train labs as guide dogs!

What’s also commendable about the breed is that their medium build allows them to physically guide their handlers to prevent them from walking into danger.

Labradors Can Be Trained To Detect Cancer

Labradors have ultrasensitive noses, so they might have the ability to sniff out the odor of cancer in people’s breath or urine.

They can be trained to detect different types of cancer based on a singular sample at an early stage when it’s still treatable.

English Labs and American Labs Are Really Just Different Body Types

English Labradors and American Labradors are not too different from each other. They share the same nature – their main difference lies in their body types.

The English Lab is wider. It has a fuller chest, thicker neck, shorter legs, and defined forehead stops. Meanwhile, American Labs are leaner. They have a longer muzzle, longer legs, and a more narrow head.

An Australian Black Lab Reappeared After Going Missing For A Year

Australian troops were extremely worried and feared the worst when their sniffer dog Sabi disappeared on the battlefield in the Afghan desert. Miraculously, Sabi found her way back to the Australian base after going missing for 12 months. It was a testament to the lab’s grit and intelligence.

Labradors Are Outstanding Search-And-Rescue Dogs

What is special about Labrador retrievers? Among many things, they are hailed for excelling in the most challenging search-and-rescue missions. They are brave and willing to please.

So, their human companions trust these dogs to be by their side during challenging tasks, such as bomb detection and water or disaster recovery.

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Labs Can Do Almost Anything Because They Are Versatile Workers

Yes, Labrador Retrievers were initially bred to retrieve birds and hunting tools. But this isn’t the only thing they’ve got going for them.

One of the cool facts about Labrador Retrievers is that they are extremely curious dogs – a trait matched by their intelligence and physical capability!

They’re pretty versatile so you can train them to do almost anything. Of course, sometimes, they just want to snuggle on the couch like most other dogs!

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A Nameless Black Lab Wandered His Way Into A Led Zeppelin Song

Ever heard of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog? If we’re talking about fascinating facts about Labrador Retrievers, we can’t not talk about the fact that the song refers to a nameless black Labrador that wandered into Headley Grange while the English rock band was recording in the studio.

We’re not complaining. The lab is worth writing songs about!

A Lab Once Went To Jail, And Another Retriever Became Mayor

If we’re discussing facts about black Labrador Retrievers specifically, we can’t not mention the notorious “Pep the Black Labrador”, who brutally murdered the governor’s cat. He even had a mugshot taken and was given a life sentence without parole.

On the lighter side, a Golden Retriever – the lab’s cousin breed – was born into public service and became mayor of Idyllwild, California. Mayor Maximus Mueller II may not have had much political influence, but he sure spread the mission of peace and love among his constituents!

A Lab Was The First Dog To Appear On The Cover Of Life Magazine

One of the most notable facts about English Labrador Retrievers is that they’re the first type of dog to grace the cover of Life Magazine. The publication featured the valiant story of Blind, a Labrador whose natural ability kicked in and stepped up to the challenge of retrieving a bird despite being subject to misguided handling.

Labs Are Great Family Pets Because They’re Social and Smart

What do Labradors like to do, and what do Labradors love the most? Well, there’s no one answer to that. Labradors are generally active dogs – some might be more inclined to run around in the field, while others prefer splashing around in the water.

But one thing is for sure. Their smart and social nature makes them excellent house companions. Their intelligence, devotion, and sensitivity to people allow them to get along well with children, adults, and other pets at home.

They also have boundless energy and affection.

Labrador Retrievers Are a Medal Winning Breed

I already mentioned that labs are constantly topping dog breed charts. If that’s not enough proof that Labradors are a medal-winning breed, let’s add to the list of fun facts about Labrador retrievers.

Among all breeds, the Labrador is said to be the most likely to win gold in beach volleyball.


They love soaking up the sun and have the energy to keep their eyes on the prize – they’re totally trainable and hardworking, too!

Have You Heard About Gabe, the American Military Hero Dog?

Ever heard of Gabe, the retired military dog? We can’t end this article without mentioning this famous Lab that accompanied the military on over 200 combat missions in Iraq.

From being abandoned on the streets to being voted as the American Hero Dog of 2012, Gabe’s story is no less ordinary, thanks to his grit, bravery, and determination.

He also won $15,000 for the non-profit United States War Dog Association with which he was associated. Talk about leaving behind a legacy!

Do you have more interesting facts about Labrador Retrievers to share? Let us know in the comments below!



Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.