What Were Labradors Bred to Do?

Labrador retrievers are intensely beloved sporting canines who are fixtures as pets in households all over the world. These Canadian native doggies are wildly popular not only for their measured and gentle dispositions, but also for their ease in training. Labrador retrievers also are usually keen on impressing their owners. Obedience is undoubtedly their forte.


Earliest Days

As a breed, Labrador retrievers came into full fruition once various spaniels, setters and even fellow retrievers were brought into their bloodline. After this happened, they started hunting in earnest. Before that time, however, they mostly were employed in aiding fishermen, whether for going after fish that had accidentally gotten off the fishing hooks or reeling in the nets.

Beginnings as Retrievers

Labrador retrievers were bred, as their names communicate, to retrieve -- both birds and fish alike. Canada geese, for example, were a big focus for these retrievers. Labrador retrievers have sturdy jaws and broad heads -- both physical traits that help them greatly in holding sizable birds. Their duties in history were in no way restricted to hunting tasks, however, as they were also eager to lend helping paws to any other necessary tasks.

Retrieving as Pets

Retrieving is deeply ingrained in Labs as a breed, even if they're never been assigned these types of jobs. If a Labrador retriever accompanies his family on a day trip to a lake, he might just spend the entire afternoon going after things, whether floating branches in the water or toy balls. He also might do a lot of swimming. The furry guys just can't help it.

Common Modern Jobs for Labs

Labrador retrievers are famous for being, simply put, dog-training dreams. They tend to soak up training like sponges and aren't stubborn about learning in any capacity. Because of these strong qualities, they are often "hired" for many types of jobs. Many Labrador retrievers, for example, work as guide dogs for visually impaired persons. They are often seen as therapy dogs who provide emotional support and comfort to people going through difficult experiences, including illnesses. Search and rescue, drug sniffing and sledding are all also common jobs for diligent Labs. They sometimes even work as watchdogs.

By Naomi Millburn


About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.