A Fisherman's Friend
The Labrador is a direct descendant of the St John’s Dog, these dogs were described as at home in the water as they are on land, specialising in retrieving ropes and nets, and were even known to dive into the water to retrieve any fish that had slipped from their hooks. These dogs worked in tandem with fishermen and were considered as much a part of the process as the fishermen themselves.
The Earl of Malmesbury was the first to give the official name Labrador to the breed after playing an important role in importing them over to England for the first time.
The St Johns Dog had a dense, oily, and waterproof coat, perfect for venturing into the water and as are today’s Labradors, completely oblivious to the cold and happy to swim in exceptionally icy conditions.
A Popular Dog By Far
Despite the popularity of Labs in the 19th century, a dog tax caused the breed to drop in numbers in Newfoundland especially, because of this the labs that remained were bred across multiple other breeds to preserve the line, thankfully this worked, and we now have the amazing breed we have today.
In 1903 the Labrador was officially recognised as a breed by the English Kennel Club, following this throughout the 20s and 30s England saw a massive influx of labs, so much so that the majority of today’s labs can be traced back to them.
As the world transitioned into the modern era, many people found that there’s more to the Labrador than the typical hunting and fishing traits, traits that made them suitable as indoor household pets, patience is a virtue after all.