A History Lesson:
The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retrievers, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States (since 1991). It is also one of the most popular assistance dog breeds in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States and many other countries, as well as being widely used by police and other official bodies for their detection and working abilities.
The modern Labrador's ancestors originated on the island of Newfoundland, now part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The founding breed of the Labrador was the St. John's Water Dog, a breed that emerged through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century. The forebears of the St. John's Dog are not known, but were likely a random-bred mix of English, Irish, and Portuguese working breeds. The Newfoundland (known then as the Greater Newfoundland) is likely a result of the St. John's Dog breeding with mastiffs brought to the island by the generations of Portuguese fishermen who had been fishing offshore since the 16th century. The smaller short-coated St. John's Dog (also known then as the Lesser Newfoundland) was used to assist in carrying ropes between boats, towing dories, and helping to retrieve fishnets in the water. The loyalty and hard working behavior were valuable assets for fishermen. These smaller dogs were the forebears of the Labrador Retriever
The St. John's area of Newfoundland was settled mainly by the English and Irish. A number of St. John's Dogs were brought back to the Poole area of England in the early 19th century, then the hub of the Newfoundland fishing trade, by the gentry, and became prized as sporting and waterfowl hunting dogs. A few kennels breeding these grew up in England; at the same time a combination of sheep protection policy (Newfoundland) and rabies quarantine (England) led to their gradual demise in their country of origin.
The first St. John's dog was said to be brought to England around 1820; however, the breed's reputation had spread to England long before. There is a story that the Earl of Malmesbury saw a St. John's Dog on a fishing boat and immediately made arrangements with traders to have some of these dogs exported to England. These ancestors of the first labradors so impressed the Earl with their skill and ability for retrieving anything within the water and on shore that he devoted his entire kennel to developing and stabilising the breed.
The foundational breed of what is now the Labrador Retriever was known as the St. John's Water Dog, St. John's Dog, or Lesser Newfoundland. When the dogs were later brought to England, they were named after the geographic area known as "the Labrador" or simply Labrador to distinguish them from the larger Newfoundland breed, even though the breed was from the more southern Avalon Peninsula.
Labradors are relatively large, with males typically weighing 29 to 41 kg and females 25 to 32 kg. Typically Labradors are athletic and love to swim, play catch and retrieve games, are good with young children, elderly, and for protection. Labradors have a reputation as a very even-tempered breed and an excellent family dog. This includes a good reputation with children of all ages and other animals.
Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colors: black (a solid black color), yellow (anything from the color that some breeders sell as white or cream to "fox-red"), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Some dogs are sold as "silver" Labradors, but these are not pure-breed Labradors as they have been originally crossed with Weimeranas to obtain the silver colour.
The breed tends to shed hair twice annually, or regularly throughout the year in temperate climates. Some Labradors shed considerably; however, individual Labradors vary. Labrador hair is usually fairly short and straight, and the tail quite broad and strong. The webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers.
Labradors mature at around three years of age; before this time they can have a significant degree of puppy-like energy, often mislabelled as being hyperactive. Because of their enthusiasm, leash-training early on is suggested to prevent pulling when full-grown. Labradors often enjoy retrieving a ball endlessly and other forms of activity (such as agility, frisbee, or flyball).
Labradors have a well-known reputation for appetite, and some individuals may be highly indiscriminate, eating digestible and non-food objects alike. They are persistent and persuasive in requesting food. For this reason, the Labrador owner must carefully control his/her dog's food intake to avoid obesity.
Labradors are an intelligent breed with a good work ethic and generally good temperaments, which make for the perfect family companion.
~Reference from Wikipedia~