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The Labrador retriever or Labrador is a British breed of retriever gun dog. It was developed in the United Kingdom from fishing dogs imported from the colony of Newfoundland (now a province of Canada), and was named after the Labrador region of that colony. It is among the most commonly kept dogs in several countries, particularly in the Western world.
The Labrador is loyal, obedient and playful. It was bred as a sporting and hunting dog, but is widely kept as a companion dog. It may also be trained as a guide or assistance dog, or for rescue or therapy work.
In the 1830s, the 10th Earl of Home and his nephews the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and Lord John Scott, imported progenitors of the breed from Newfoundland to Europe for use as gundogs. Another early advocate of these Newfoundland flying dogs was the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury, who bred them for their expertise in waterfowling.
Despite being named after a region in Canada, the Labrador Retriever is technically British.
During the 1880s, the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, and the 12th Earl of Home collaborated to develop and establish the Labrador Retriever breed. The dogs Buccleuch Avon and Buccleuch Ned, given by Malmesbury to Buccleuch, were mated with bitches carrying blood from those originally imported by the 5th Duke and the 10th Earl of Home. The offspring are the ancestors of all modern Labradors.