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Black Labrador Retriever: Info, Pictures, Traits & History

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Black Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has been named the most popular dog breed each year¹ by the American Kennel Club since 2013. Originally from Newfoundland, Labrador Retrievers are talented water dogs that love to swim and hunt for ducks and fish. Black Labs are just like any other kind of Lab, they just happen to be all black in color. Let’s learn more about the Black Labrador Retriever here.

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The Earliest Records of the Black Labrador Retriever in History

The Labrador Retriever was developed when Europeans (especially the French, Portuguese, and Spanish populations) found their way to Newfoundland, Canada, in the 1800s. They brought their dogs with them to help hunt for food, and all the dogs comingled in the area. They started breeding with one another and created a breed referred to as St. John’s Dog.

These St. John’s dogs boarded the ships with fishermen and made their way to England, where fishermen would show off their dogs’ skills and sometimes sell them for extra money.2 St. John’s dogs became quite popular in England, and a program was established to breed the dogs for sport. These dogs became known as the Labrador breed, hence how they ultimately got their name.

Back in Newfoundland, the number of St. John’s dogs dwindled until there were only two of them left in the 1970s. They were both males, so they became the last two St. John’s dogs to ever be recorded.

Black Labrador Retrievers
Image Credit: jatocreate, Pixabay

How the Black Labrador Retriever Gained Popularity

Black Labrador Retrievers gained popularity for their impressive water skills. These dogs can dive deep underwater to retrieve items and fish. They can swim for what seems like hours before they are too tired to continue. Black Labradors, just like all Labs, are also popular due to their good-natured personalities and gentle dispositions.

Labs happen to be excellent when it comes to taking direction, which makes them great candidates for the agility field. Labs are also popular as service-and-rescue dogs when proper training takes place.

Formal Recognition of the Black Labrador Retriever

The Black Labrador Retriever (and all other Labs, for that matter) became a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club in 19173. The United Kennel Club formally recognized the Labrador Retriever4 as a sporting breed in 1947. The U.K.-based Kennel Club5, along with other organizations, such as the Labrador Retriever Club6, also recognize the Lab as an official dog breed.

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Top 5 Facts About the Black Labrador Retriever

1. They Were Originally Bred for Fishing

Black Labrador Retrievers were originally bred by fishermen to help with their fishing tasks. Since Labs can dive deep underwater, swim long and fast, and track down fish and ducks, they could make a fisherman’s life much easier and more fruitful overall.

Black Labrador Retriever in the water
Image Credit: 858106, Pixabay

2. They Were Named by an Earl

It is believed that the Labrador Retriever was given their name by the Earl of Malmesbury in 18877. He apparently first coined the name in a letter that he wrote about his own dogs during the time.

black labrador
Image Credit: 753204, Pixabay

3. Almost All Labradors Were Once Black

It seems that in the beginning, almost all Labrador Retrievers in existence were black. As time went on and they were bred with other dogs in Newfoundland, they started showing other colors. Today, black is still a dominant gene, so as long as at least one parent carries the black color gene, Labrador Retrievers can be born black even if both parents are of different colors.

Black Labrador Retriever in the grass
Image Credit: Bru-nO, Pixabay

4. They Are Extremely Social Animals

Black Labs, just like all Labrador Retrievers, are extremely social and enjoy spending time with their family members and other dogs. Therefore, they don’t do well when left at home alone often or for long periods. They prefer to head out on adventures with their family members rather than stay home.

black dog labrador retriever adult purebred lab in spring summer green park doing dog tricks bow reverence invite to play on the grass in sunshine
Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

5. They Are Less Likely to Be Adopted From a Shelter

Unfortunately, black dogs are less likely to get adopted from shelters8 than any other color dogs. So, when a Black Labrador Retriever is looking for a home and other color Labs are also looking to be adopted, the chances are that the Black Lab will get overlooked.

Black Labrador Retriever in the field
Image Credit: sunnydayaussies, Pixabay

Does the Black Labrador Retriever Make a Good Pet?

Yes, the Black Lab can make an excellent family pet! These dogs are friendly, sociable, interactive, and easy to train. They love spending time with children, tend to get along well with other dogs (and even cats), and aren’t hard to groom. Black Labs do need plenty of exercise and obedience training, but the work put into them is generally well worth it.

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Black Labrador Retrievers are amazing dogs that can get along well in single-person and family households if those households are active. These dogs are lovable, athletic, and fun-loving, which are all traits that most people want in their dogs.

Featured Image Credit: Eden Constantino, Unsplash

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