It’s one thing to see a Labrador Retriever walking down the street. But a Chocolate Lab? That’s a bonus! Labrador Retrievers are known as America’s most popular dog breed. They really are the ideal family dog. These dogs are fun pets with your classic dog personality- affectionate, eager to please, and a non-stop drive to play.
21 – 25 inches
55 – 80 pounds
10 – 12 years
black, yellow, chocolate
Families looking for a loyal dog that is eager to please and energetic
Calm, affectionate, energetic, intelligent, loyal
But where did these dogs come from? It can’t hurt to find out if you want to adopt one. Let’s take a history tour to learn about the Chocolate Labrador Retriever.
Labrador Retriever Characteristics
The Earliest Records of the Chocolate Labrador Retriever in History
The earliest origins of the Labrador Retriever are found in Newfoundland, a large island off the coast of Canada. This was long before Canada was even a country, starting in the 1500s.
The Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English were sending fishers out to the Atlantic Ocean for food. The island of Newfoundland was close and isolated, so many travelers rested here while they collected fish to return to their homeland. Naturally, the fishers brought their dogs on the trip to serve as retrieving dogs. Here, the dogs bred and created the St. John’s Dog.
The St. John’s Dog eventually created two dog breeds, the larger breed the Newfoundland, and the smaller breed the Labrador Retriever. By the early 1800s, Labrador Retrievers fell in love with the water. They developed adaptable skills working in rivers, streams, and oceans.
Fishers grew very proud of their hard-working water dogs. Labradors helped haul fishing nets and long lines and dived for fish that had fallen off the hook. They even dove after their masters’ hats if the hats fell in the water. Eventually, these dogs became a popular selling item for Canadian sailors.
How the Chocolate Labrador Retriever Gained Popularity
Labradors were primarily black in the past, but yellow and chocolate labs were recorded in the 19th and 20th centuries. These colors weren’t sought after, though.
It wasn’t until 1917 that chocolate labs were considered a standard Labrador coloring. Still, chocolate labs didn’t become popular until the 1960s when the demand for this color skyrocketed. They especially became popular for dog shows. Everyone wanted a chocolate lab, whether a working dog, sports dog, or pet.
Black labs still dominate the working dog group, but chocolate labs are the preferred breed for dog shows.
Formal Recognition of the Chocolate Labrador Retriever
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Labrador Retriever as a breed in 1903. However, they didn’t register a Labrador Retriever until 1917, when chocolate labs were considered a standard color.
In 1991, the Labrador Retriever became America’s most popular dog breed, and it’s remained that way since.
Top 4 Unique Facts About the Labrador Retriever
1. The Labrador Retriever is Almost Waterproof
Don’t be fooled by the Labrador’s short coat—there’s a double layer underneath that traps heat and repels water. This is why the Labrador Retriever became the water-loving dog we all know and love.
2. English Labs and American Labs Are the Same Breed, Only Different
English and American Labs have the same breed standards set by the AKC and the UKC. Still, there are some differences.
English Chocolate Labs have a denser coat than American Chocolate Labs and are slightly shorter. They’re also bulkier with a broader head and shorter muzzle compared to the American Lab. You wouldn’t think these two types of labs are any different until you see one standing next to the other.
3. The Chocolate Lab Is the Hardest to Find
Chocolate Labs aren’t rare, but they’re not as popular as the black or yellow Lab. Most Labs in the past were black, but a few of these dogs carried the genetic code to create a Chocolate Lab puppy every few litters. Genetic testing has helped breeders make the Chocolate Lab more common, but it still takes some work.
4. The St. John’s Dog No Longer Exists
St. John’s Dogs grew popular in England when English visitors in Canada noticed them. However, some St. John’s Dogs stayed in Newfoundland and eventually went extinct in the 1970s.
- Related Read: White Labrador Retrievers
Does the Chocolate Labrador Retriever Make a Good Pet?
Since the Labrador Retriever is America’s most popular dog breed, we think those results speak for themselves. Labrador Retrievers are known as the “famously friendly” dog. They’re fun, loving, and outgoing all the time. These dogs want more than anything to bond with their owners.
And here’s a bonus: they adore children! They also get along great with other dogs. As for strangers, a Lab will happily walk up to you and request head scratches unless you give it a reason to be protective. Labs do require extra time for training, grooming, and exercise. But don’t let this fool you. Labs are notoriously easygoing and eager to please.
Chocolate Labs are a little harder to come by, but they’re certainly not rare. You may have to pay a higher price tag for them, though. Even so, all the wonderful personality traits of a Black or Yellow Lab still reside in the Chocolate Lab.
As long as you can give a Labrador Retriever the vigorous exercise required, this breed will be a wonderful addition to your home.
Labrador Retrievers are like the apple pie of dog breeds. It’s hard to imagine America without them. They champion as the number one dog breed in America for a reason.
Although the St. John’s Dog no longer exists, we can thank the breed for giving us the fun, loving Labrador Retriever we all know and love today. Whether your Lab is chocolate, yellow, or black, these dogs will capture your heart- and maybe a bird if you take it hunting.
After all, that is what they were bred to do.
- Related Read: Black Labrador Retriever: Facts, Origin, & History
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