The Labrador retriever has long been recognized as the most popular dog for many people, whether as a pet or just in general. They have been around for many years, starting as dogs in Newfoundland in the 1800s that were used to assist fishermen in retrieving fish and nets. They were later used for waterfowl hunting, where they were expected to go in the water to retrieve the game. Their water repellent coat was very helpful in these feats because they didn't drag along excess water with them. Eventually, people began to see the Labrador retriever as the wonderful dog it was as well as the extraordinary traits it possessed, and people starting keeping them as family pets. Today they are probably one of the most favorite dogs to be bought as family pets.
The Labrador retriever comes in three different colors: black, yellow and chocolate. The first Labradors were black in color and today black is still the color most seen in Labradors. There are two other colors, silver and charcoal, but they are not recognized by the breed association or by the American Kennel Club. Many people confuse the yellow Labrador retriever with the Golden retriever because they are so similar in facial structure, personality and size. The way to tell the difference is that the Labrador retriever has a short thick coat that is water repellent, whereas the Golden Retriever has a longer and much shaggier fur that will get drenched when wet.
The first yellow Labrador retriever was born in 1899 and named Ben of Hyde. His line is still seen today in many of the yellow Labrador retrievers that are registered with the breed club. It wasn't until the 1940s that a brown type of Labrador started to surface and the people began calling them the chocolate Labrador. However, it wasn't until 1980 that they were actually recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club. The color of the Labrador is based on two genes in the dog. The first gene is for the color and the second gene is for the pigment and is either "on" or "off". The second gene, incidentally, takes precedence over the first gene. There have been different debates as to how the actual color of puppies is determined other than by the two main genes.
The Labrador is known for its otter-like tail, which they use for steering them when they're swimming. Although they are rarely used for fishing anymore, they still have their love of water and love swimming and romping in the water with whoever will play with them. If ever a dog looked like they were smiling, it is the Labrador retriever. You can hardly go anywhere that has dogs and not see a Labrador retriever some where in the vicinity as a pet, most of them being black. The charcoal Labrador retrievers seem to be the rarest. Regardless of color, they all make the most wonderful pets you or any family could want.