The Rhodesian Labrador is a new hybrid dog without much-written history to document its development. Therefore we must look to the parent dogs for clues about its nature. The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia. It was developed as a working dog, used to hunt and retrieve game, guard the family and the property. Their history is one of refined cross breeding with the ridgeback dogs of the Boer settlers in the 16th Century and with native tribe dogs such as the Khoikhoi dog, Mastiff, Deerhound and Great Dane. Reverend Helm brought two Ridgebacks to Matabeleland in 1877 where hunters soon learned of its prowess if used in hunting in packs. They were used to hunt and hold lions at bay until the hunters caught up. They became known as the African Lion Hound.
These strong confident dogs became trusted companions and were valued highly.
The breed was imported into American in 1950 and the American Kennel Club recognised them in 1955. The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in America. They originated from Newfoundland where they worked with fishermen to catch the fish that came loose from the net, or they would leap in the freezing water to help pull in the nets. English ships brought them to England in the 1800s. Once there, the dogs were crossed with Spaniels, Setters and other types of Retrievers to increase its instincts for hunting. The breeders were highly successful and the Lab as it is affectionately known, is well regarded for its prowess at hunting and retrieving.
The Lab is easy to train, and as well as becoming a loving companion dog, it is often a dog with a job. They have been used for drug detection work, police work, guide work for the blind, search and rescue, sledding and carting and in the dog show events for competitive obedience. The Lab has a happy nature and always seems to have a wide smile on its face and a tongue hanging out.