A Hunting We Will Go—Hunting Labradors
Labradors are known for their friendliness and intelligence. The latter quality allows them to be trained to do many different types of things and has allowed them to assist humans in everyday tasks for many years. Labradors are often used as guide dogs for the blind, deaf, and other handicapped people. Labradors are also trained to be therapy dogs for the elderly people in nursing homes as well as for emotionally disturbed children. In the military and in the police field, labradors are used to track criminals, weapons, bombs, drugs, and to find missing people. Despite the many ways in which labradors assist people today, they were originally trained to do only one thing: hunt. Hunting labradors originally came from Newfoundland in eastern Canada. How they got there is not clear, but the fact remains that hunting labradors became very popular very quickly due to the need to hunt. Now, we often refer to hunting labradors as “Labrador Retrievers” because they learned how to retrieve dead animals as part of their hunting training.
The hunting labradors posses many characteristics that make them good hunters. First of all, hunting labradors have a strong bone structure. They also have webbed feet, which allows them to swim in the water with ease. Another feature that is beneficial to the hunting labradors when they are swimming in the water is their water repellent coats. The labrador also has a very thick tail; it is often compared to an otter’s tail and is very helpful to hunting labradors when they are swimming. Another characteristic of the hunting labrador is that is has a gentle mouth, which is important because labradors were used to retrieve the dead animals that were shot and were required to being them back to the hunter. Thus, they had to be very gentle with the animals that were killed. The final characteristic that made labradors ideal hunting dogs was their loyalty and the fact that they were easily trained.
Today, many labs work in the fields mentioned above. But some labradors are still used for hunting purposes, especially in areas that are more rural. In fact, there are many obedient schools and dog training schools throughout the country that train labradors to become hunters. However, the most common occupation of labradors today is perhaps the most appreciated—that of man’s best friend!