The Labrador Retriever, also known as simly Labrador or Lab, is one of several kinds of retrievers, a type of gun gog. Labradors are athletic, playful and the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in the UK.
A favourite assistance dog breed, Labradors are frequently trained to aid people who are blind and people with autism, act as therapy dogs, and perform screening and detection work for law enforcement and other official agencies. They are prized as sporting and waterfowl hunting dogs.
Labradors come in three colours; Black, Yellow and Chocolate. They are a strongly built, very active dog that is adaptable, good-tempered, intelligent, keen, agile, biddable and has a strong will to please. They have a great nose, soft mouth and kindly nature with no trace of aggression or undue shyness.
They are a healthy breed. The main cause for concern being dysplasia in hips and elbows, hereditary cateracts and GPRA. Good breeding relies on tests for these conditions.
The first and second Earls of Malmesbury, who bred for duck shooting on his estate, and the 5th and 6th Dukes of Buccleuch, and youngest son Lord George William Montagu-Douglas-Scott, were instrumental in developing and establishing the modern Labrador breed in 19th century Britain. The dogs Avon ("Buccleuch Avon") and Ned given by Malmesbury to assist the Duke of Buccleuch's breeding program in the 1880's are considered the ancestors of modern Labradors.
The first St. John's dog was said to be brought to England in or around 1820; however, the breed's reputation had spread to England long before. Ther 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 stabilizing the breed.
Adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrador_Retriever