Unlike 12 other US states, my home state of Maine does not have an official state dog breed. However, it did consider one in 2015. That breed was none other than the Labrador Retriever, a native of the Canadian province some 1000+ kilometers from Maine, Newfoundland and Labrador. They were bred from St John’s water dog stock. This dog was from Newfoundland and have been crossbred with many dogs to produce various types of retrievers. Unfortunately, the St. John’s water dog is now extinct due to Newfoundland’s very high taxes placed on dogs that were used for anything other than sheep herding in order to encourage sheep farming in the past. While these restrictions have since been lifted, the official breed is still considered gone. However, many retriever mixes still sport the diagnostic tuxedo pattern that the St. John’s water dog classically possessed.
Labradors traditionally come in black, yellow, or chocolate (brown) but new colors have been popping up recently. I even saw a silver lab the other day! With the always-developing knowledge about genetics, the possibilities seem endless when it comes to coat colors. As long as the breed remains as healthy as possible, the coat colors will probably keep on accumulating. Lab mixes tend to have splotches of white that tend to be on the chest and feet. However, many lab mixes defy the norms and come in all shapes and sizes.
I have so many fond memories of labs from my childhood years and more recent times. I could write so many poems and stories about the Labs that have touched my life. Actually I have written a lot about them already! The memories bring a lot of joy. They are so popular in our culture that it is hard to not encounter them as you explore our world and meet new people. One of the reasons they are so common is because of their fondness for humans. It is in their genes. Most labs are fantastic family companions and make for a safe, fun addition to any family gathering. They usually love children and adults alike. They will fetch all day without a stop, and they treat swimming in a similar manner. For many people, summer get-togethers are not complete without a lab running around being social while waiting for food scraps or someone to throw a ball.