Labradors – A Little History – There are number of quality breeds of hunting dogs, none more popular than the subject of this article.
Labradors – A Little History, Even though many folks think Labrador Retrievers came from Labrador, Canada, the breed in fact, came from Newfoundland in the 1500s. Smaller water dogs were bred to Newfoundlands to develop a breed called the St. John’s Water Dog or Lesser Newfoundland.
Mostly acquired by fisherman and trained to endure the frigid waters to bring back fish that had fallen off fishing gear in addition to retrieving fishing nets to the boat. The fact is these new dogs had webbed paws making them superb swimmers and a double layered coat that repelled water. It allowed them to be warm to do an outstanding job in aiding the fisherman.
In the early 1800s dogs were imported to England. The Earl of Malmesbury had observed the dogs at work and decided to take them to his home in England. In 1830, a British Sportsperson, Colonel Hawker declared the dogs as outstanding prospects for any kind of shooting sports, especially with the retrieval of game involved.
The dogs quickly became popular for all shooting sports and they came to be called “Labrador Dogs”, and the name stuck. Before 1903, Labradors were acknowledged by the English Kennel Club. By 1917 their popularity in U.S. had grown to the level that the AKC recognized them as a breed.
Currently the Labrador retriever breed has been number one in popularity on the AKC list of most registered per year for some time.
Today if there is game to brought to hand, wounded game to be found. Or running game that needs located or flushing of game birds needed chances are a Lab will be there. Or maybe even 2-3 Labs.
The list of activities that Labradors excel is very long indeed! Field hunting, field trialing, and water fowling. In addition, Service Dogs, search and rescue and sniffing out drugs, explosives, humans and more are all part of the Labs skill set.
Famous past Labrador Dogs. There have been several famous Labrador Dogs in field trialing, however none as renowned as King Buck. Winning 83 of 85 national series entered, King Buck became the winningest Labrador Field Trial dog in history. Taking place in the early 50’s none have came close to his accomplishments
To further illustrate the fame King Buck achieved, in 1959 he was chosen to be on the Federal Duck Stamp. Even the famous wildlife artist Maynard Reece was asked to provide the artwork.
The Labrador Breed has benefitted from quality breeding programs over the years, resulting in a refine of abilities, health, looks and more. Unfortunately, poorer breeding programs have also, at times negatively affected the breed.
That being said, there are an amazing number of quality breeders across the US and in England today. Buyers need to spend the time to research and research some more in finding a quality pup. Similarly, if you are going to become a Lab owner, or for that manner any breed, the owner needs to learn how to train their new responsibility. At least at a basic level, the goal should be no less than to end up with a good canine citizen. You owe it to the dog and to yourself.
At the basic citizen building level, it is not that hard. Owner needs to gain a bit of learning, a bit of dedication and a bit of time. Side benefit, it is fun, and you may surprise yourself with the results.
There are any number of sources of learning and help in this process. Such as books, videos, and even professional dog trainers. Regarding professional dog trainers there are some good ones, and yes a few of the others. The fact is if you spend the time find the quality pup. And then follow up with gaining a bit of learning, a bit of dedication and a bit of time. You will not need the expense of a pro. And again, it is fun, and you may surprise yourself with the results. Naturally the more advanced you may decide to take your dog’s education the more important a pro trainer may become.
Another important fact is that there are many training aids available today. In addition, the cost for basic canine citizen building is not that bad. Here are a few examples.
- Command Lead
- Bark Collars
- Garmin SportPRO
- E-Collar Tech Educator
- SportDOG Sport Trainer 875
- And more at Gun Dog Outfitter