The Labrador Retriever, or simply the Labrador or Lab as it is more commonly known, is consistently at the top of league tables for the most popular breed of dog in the UK (and most possibly the world), according to Kennel Club statistics. This is probably due to the breed's gentle yet outgoing temperament. Always eager to please and being extremely intelligent, the Labrador Retriever is also known to be one of the easier breeds to train.
Originally bred to retrieve game and fowl, the Labrador Retriever excels when asked to work in difficult and challenging terrains. They are more especially suited to work in and around water, thanks to their alertness and excellent water-resistant coat. The breed also excels at other activities which includes working as Guide and Assistant Dogs as well as making wonderful family pets, more especially for people with younger children because they are renowned the world over as being ultra-good around kids of all ages.
The Labrador Retriever, as the name suggests, was originally bred for a specific purpose - to retrieve game after it has been flushed and shot by the hunter in some of the most challenging environments. The breed originates from the coastal regions of Newfoundland where these dogs are thought to have been created by crossing St John's Water Dogs with other smaller breeds of water dogs and possibly Mastiffs, a breed introduced to the country by Portuguese fishermen in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Labrador Retrievers were first introduced into the UK in the late 1800's by the Earl of Malmsbury and Col Peter Hawker. Both men developed a keen interest in the breed and arranged for a selection of dogs to be bought to the UK. Many Chocolate Labradors are decendents of a Labrador Retriever called Buccleuch Avon, a dog that was gifted to the Duke of Buccleuch in Scotland in 1890 by the kennels owned by the Duke of Malmsbury. Another dog called Malmesbury Tramp owned by Countess Howe, is among the main ancestors of the modern Labrador Retrievers we see today.