10 Lab Fun Facts

Written by: BARK

October 11, 2022

Finding the perfect pup companion can sometimes make you feel like posting a job listing: Now Seeking a sweet, adorable puppy who loves hiking, cuddling, and won’t chew up my slippers. Because with so many cute faces to get to know, how can you identify the top contenders?

Instead of sorting through pup profiles online, why not get to know potential pup companions in a whole new way? Poking around for fun facts on dog breeds can shed light on a dog’s true nature. And we have the perfect doggie hotshot to kick things off: the Labrador retriever.

yellow, black, and chocolate labs

Labs have become one of the most lovable dog breeds of all time. With their friendly, loyal, and family-oriented personality, it’s no wonder they appear to dominate today’s dog parks. With that, let’s review this retriever’s résumé to see what sets them apart from the puppy pack. 

#1 Labs Don’t Come From Labrador, Canada

Let’s start with the cover letter—an excellent place to get to know your candidate’s background. 

Most people might guess that the Labrador retriever  hails from Canada, and they’d be correct. They may also feel confident saying it originated in Labrador, Canada—but guess what? That’s not the case!

Despite their title, Labradors come from Newfoundland, Canada. Back then, they were known as St. John’s dogs. After becoming a significant export for fishermen, these pups kept their namesake, Labrador, after the breeding program that managed their dispersal.1    

#2 Labs Win The Popular Vote 

Canine companions are in high demand, and Labrador dogs  remain employable. You’ve probably seen a Labrador retriever  strutting down sidewalks, fetching frisbees, and traversing hiking trails more than any other dog. No, you’re not seeing Labra-double—there’s a reason why they seem so ubiquitous. 

Labradors are recognized as the most popular dog breed in the US by the American Kennel Club, and they’ve held that title for the last thirty years.2 After taking the crown from the Cocker spaniel (who held a 23-year winning streak), today’s run-down of America’s most popular dogs looks like this:3

Though the best dog breeds always come down to personal preference, we can’t help but applaud the Lab for its illustrious title. Especially when they wag their tails in excitement. 

#3 Labs Make Excellent Sportsdogs

Let’s dive into some special skills. The Labrador breed may have their athletic abilities to thank for their steady rise in the ranks of man’s best friend.

 Their natural speed and agility make them an exceptional sporting dog for:

  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Running
  • Swimming

In addition to their athletic abilities, temperament plays a huge part in their athletic success. Labrador dogs  are renowned for their loyalty and obedience, and they take direction very well. As a gun dog, retrieving is in their very nature. Hence, they are wired to run after fish, frisbees, or chase pheasant. You could even say it’s their middle (or their first) name. 

golden lab smiling

#4 Labs Have More Than Three Color Variations

You’ve likely seen a yellow,brown, and black Labrador retriever, but did you know even more color possibilities exist? Many people speculate that these variations point to personality differences within the breed. 

Let’s take a closer look at each color and identify some key differences.

  • Yellow – Yellow Labs vary in size and shape more than the other Lab colors. Their yellow coat can also range in shade, from a pale, almost white exterior to a more golden hue. Like all Labs, they’re incredibly friendly and often do exceptionally well in dog shows.
  • Black – Black Labs are the most common of the three, as the black coat is a dominant genetic trait within the breed. They’re often more work-driven than playful. Sadly, black Labs sometimes have difficulty getting adopted or rehomed. Due to their dark coat, their photographs aren’t as flattering. Even dog show competitions will often prefer paler shades of Labs. 
  • Chocolate – If a Labrador retriever carries two “brown” genes, it will appear a gorgeous chocolate color. Chocolate Labs grew in popularity in the 1960s as they appeared more on shooting fields. Many believe chocolate Labs have the most athletic physiques, making them excellent partners for hunting and training. 
  • Silver – Though not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, some Labradors inherit gorgeous silver coats (technically a variation of the chocolate Lab). While silver Labs are somewhat rare, they still have that textbook Labrador personality.
  • Red – ‘‘Red Fox” Labs are a variation of yellow Labs with a striking amber coat color. Like silver Labs, they’re not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, but they adopt the same temperamental traits as their yellow Lab cousins.4 

Though slight personality variations may exist within the Labrador retriever breed, you can rest easy knowing that all Labradors demonstrate friendly, loyal tendencies. That said, every dog’s personality also depends on factors like environment, socialization, and training. But no matter what color pup you’ve got on your hands, they’re sure to become a treasured friend in no time. 

#5 We’ve Had a Labrador Mayor

Many dog breeds have “snuggly” and “plays well with everyone” on their résumé. But how many breeds can claim they’ve governed an entire town?

The small town of Sunol, California, elected Bosco (a black Labrador retriever) as town mayor in their 1981 local election. Bosco served as the honorary mayor for 13 years until his death in 1994. Labrador retriever enthusiasts, rejoice: you can still pay a posthumous visit to his memorial statue outside the Sunol post office to thank him for his service.

Portrait of golden labrador running forward in camera direction on a field in the summer park, looking at camera. Green grass and trees background

#6 Labs Make Ideal Service Dogs

Labradors’ caring and attentive personalities make them a popular breed for several services as a working dog. Many Labradors acquire work experience as: 

  • Guide dogs – As a guide dog, Labs excel due to their gentle spirits and caution for surroundings. You’ll often find them wearing yellow vests guiding their owners with blindness, deafness, or accessibility issues. 
  • Emotional support dogs – Labs can sense when their owners are distressed, making them a prime candidate for a therapy dog 
  • Oncologists – No, we’re not joking. While they aren’t exactly fit to read a chart, Labs can sniff out cancer in patients. In cancer clinics, results from Labrador examinations have been shockingly accurate, making them a viable avenue when seeking a prognosis. So while humans should always contact a medical professional for an actual diagnosis, if you see a Lab in the Lab, know you’re in good paws.

#7 Labs Adore Water

When there’s a job at stake, you can expect a flood of competition. Luckily, that’s not a problem for our fearsome frontrunner. Labrador retrievers contain genetic predispositions that make them highly adaptable to water. 

Aside from their adventure-seeking spirit, Labs have:

  • Thick double-layer coat 
  • Webbed toes
  • Rudder-like otter tails

Suffice it to say that when you’re looking to cool off and beat the heat, Labrador retrievers serve as excellent waterside companions.

yellow lab in grass

#8 Labs Almost Went Extinct

Labs may be one of the most popular dog breeds today, but that wasn’t always the case.

In the 1800s, Canada declared a household tax on people who owned dogs. Female dogs cost more than males, so many families cast off their female pups. This practice made for a grossly disproportionate male-to-female dog ratio, and suddenly Labs were in danger of extinction.

Luckily, after the United Kingdom discovered Labs’ potential as hunting companions, they took measures to rebuild the population. (Much obliged, UK—we owe you one!)

#9 Labs Have Mastered Their Mouths

All dogs love a good bone now and then. Labradors, however, have gone the extra mile. 

Due to their years of breeding, Labs have developed an acute fine motor and sensory skill set around their mouths. You may see a Lab delicately use their mouth in various ways, including:

  • Gently holding their owner’s arm 
  • Carrying game birds without causing damage
  • Holding an egg in their mouth without cracking it

Talk about impulse control! With Labs, you shouldn’t have to worry about them chewing up the hands that feed them. If anything, you’ll just get a gentle love bite. 

#10 Labs Aren’t Born Watchdogs

They say to lead with your strengths. But it’s time for that interview question every employee hopeful dreads: What’s your greatest weakness?

You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned Labradors’ territorial and aggressive nature. Well, that’s because there isn’t much to discuss. 

Labs excel at hunting due to their loyalty and obedience toward humans, making them the ideal gun dog. However, they don’t have the same protective nature as herding dogs. While Labs may enjoy the company of you and your family, they may also enjoy the company of strangers just as much. 

So, not exactly watchdog material. But how can you stay mad at that face?

Handsome happy African American man freelancer using laptop computer, working online, hugging with adorable pet. Labrador dog licking his owner in park, selective focus. Best friends concept

Retrieve More Fun Lab Facts With BARK Post 

After reviewing the Labrador retriever’s résumé, we’ve come to a decision: there’s no denying Labradors have earned their popularity and positive acclaim. In the face of trials, tribulations, and near misses with species extinction, we believe a Labrador retriever would make an indispensable addition to any household team.

Here at Bark Post, we’re all about providing you with helpful research and resources for every breed of dog on the market. Browse our useful guides, product reviews, and nutritious, Lab-specific puppy provisions so you can set your doggie up for success. 


  1. American Kennel Club. Labrador Retriever History: Behind America’s Most Popular Breed
  2. American Kennel Club. Lab Most Popular Breed For 30th Straight Year; Frenchie Jumps to No. 2.
  3. Medium. AKC Announces Top Ten Dog Breeds in 2022.
  4. The Labradorsite. Red Fox Lab Traits, Appearance, and Characteristics.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by: BARK

October 11, 2022


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.