29 Things You Didn't Know About Labrador Retrievers, America's Most Popular Dog
3. They Were Originally St. John's Water Dogs
Before being bred into its current pedigree, the Lab was known as the St. John’s water dog, named after Newfoundland's capital. Though these dogs went extinct in the 1980s, they were popular landrace dogs from the 1500s to the 1800s. According to the Animal Health Foundation, landrace dogs are "domestic dogs adapted to a particular locale or culture" and aren't recognized as a breed by any major kennel club. They were believed to be a mix of old English, Irish, and Portuguese working dogs.