8 Peculiar Traits of Labrador Retrievers
If you’re thinking about adopting a Labrador retriever, or if you already own this wonderful dog breed, then you know many things are very special about them. However knowledgeable you think you are, see if you’re schooled on these eight peculiar facts:
1. Their name is deceitful.
With the name “Labrador,” one would only think that this dog is named that because it indicates where the breed originated. This is not true, however, because Labradors do not come from the Canadian province of Labrador. On the contrary, they come from Newfoundland, its neighbor.
The story goes that residents of Newfoundland-bred the Greater Newfoundland dog with smaller water dogs, which created St. John’s water dogs. Although they are now extinct, they hold the place as the ancestor for today’s Labrador retriever. They were very similar in appearance to today’s Labradors, except they had white muzzles and paws.
2. Blame the Earl for misnaming them!
You might be wondering from reading above how the name Labrador descended from St. John’s water dogs. Well, it was due to the Earl of Malmesbury, who fell in love with this breed while on a trip to Labrador from England. Once back in England, he referred to his new love as his “Labrador dog,” possibly not realizing that the dog was of Newfoundland descent.
Historians also speculate that the English are notorious for chunking together territories, so it might be that the Earl just thought of the two territories as one. Since they love water, other people believe that the name is from always seeing them swim in the Labrador Sea.
3. They were a fisherman’s best friend, to begin with.
As stated above, this breed is was originally called St. John’s water dogs. They make a superb companion to any water related activity because they have a twice insulated waterproof coat. Their outer coat provides such impeccable insulation that they don’t feel cold, even in the winter. The soft underlayer keeps them nice and toasty too.
They were also born with webbed feet, which makes them excel at swimming. Their webbed toes also come in handy when trying to tread through the snow because snow won’t get stuck in between their toes. With their short coat, they navigate speedily through the water to retrieve fisherman’s nets, ropes, and fish that have gotten away.
4. They will kiss the burglar!
From the moment you get a labrador puppy, you may notice that he or she can learn quickly, is obedient, and is easily trained. This is why Labradors is utilized in police and military tasks. Because of their desire to please, however, labradors don’t make the best guard dogs. They are extremely friendly and are not territorial, so they will not bark at people who are walking past your house like a lot of other breeds.
On a similar note, due to their wish to please people, Labradors make the best guide dogs. Their ideal size and ability to learn to make up 70% of guide dogs in the United States.
5. They can detect bad breath.
Just when you thought your dog was the only thing willing to put up with your foul smelling breath, think again. This is a good thing, though, because Labradors can be trained to detect the early stages of cancer just by smelling someone’s breath. In fact, one of the only ways to detect the early stages of ovarian cancer is to let these canines sniff the suspect’s breath, blood, or stool. Scientists say that the reason they can do this is that they can detect subtle changes in organic compounds in the breath.
Although they have a high success rate with detecting cancer, they can only sniff out a small number per day and are costly to train. Because of this, researchers are working on developing a machine that can do the same thing.
6. Orange is the new black (labrador)!
It sounds outrageous, but according to prison records, a Labrador got sentenced and served ten years of jail time. On a hot August day in 1924, a black lab named Pep got fed up with a cat and took the cat’s life. It was the wrong cat’s life, though, because it belonged to the wife of Pennsylvania’s governor, Gifford Pinchot.
The black lab was sentenced to life without parole and ended up serving ten years before passing away. During that time, he became best friends with the warden. Governor Pinchot said that the dog was there to be the prison mascot, but records indicate that he was a prisoner. The truth is probably somewhere in between!
7. They can be Re”pup”licans!
Leave it to the residents of Sunol, California to elect a dog as mayor! Alright, they deemed a black labrador named Bosco as an honorary mayor, but he still triumphed over two other candidates. This election took place in 1981, and Bosco used the slogan, “A bone in every dish, a cat in every tree, and a fire hydrant on every corner.” Bosco served as honorary mayor up until he passed away in 1994.
8. They are the happiest dogs on earth.
You will never know a happier dog, and their owners swear that they actually smile and laugh. They have a gentle and loving temperament and are rarely in a foul mood. They are also very gentle with children and are big love bugs.
One downside to loving constant interaction is that they have a high level of separation anxiety. When left alone for long periods of time, they can be very destructive. They have been known to tear up an entire house if left alone for long enough. They chew up couches, wallpaper, shoes, mattresses, and any other belonging left in their wake. The best advice is to plan not to leave them alone for very long without someone checking on them!
So, there you have eight unusual facts about Labradors. If you don’t own one already, maybe some of these facts convinced you of what smart and lovable dogs Labradors can be. Adopt a Labrador puppy and raise him or her to be your best friend for life. Just be sure to keep him out of prison!