The Labrador breed dates back to at least the 1830s, when St. Johns Water Dogs bred by European settlers in Newfoundland were first introduced to Britain from ships trading between the Canada and Poole in Dorsetshire. These were then bred with British hunting dogs to create what become known as the Labrador Retriever. Its early patrons included the Earl of Malmesbury, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Home, and Sir John Scott. Early writers have confused the Labrador with the much larger Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland, with Charles St. John even referring to the Lesser Newfoundland as the Newfoundland. Colonel Peter Hawker describes the first Labrador as being not larger than an English Pointer, more often black than other colours, long in its head and nose with a deep chest, fine legs, and short and smooth coat, and did not carry its tail as highly as the Newfoundland. Hawker distinguishes the Newfoundland from both the “proper Labrador” and St. John’s breed of these dogs in the fifth edition of his book Introductions to Young Sportsman, published in 1846.

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