Labrador Retriever are often called as labs against popular notion belong to Newfoundland in Canada and not from labrador.
Below is a brief history of Labrador retrievers:
Labrador retriever's history date backs to the 1500's in Newfoundland, Canada where they were bread from short water dogs and Newfoundland Breed. Back in the 1500's, they were popularly known as Saint Johns water dogs who had distinguishing characteristics which made them the perfect fisherman companion dogs.
Labrador retrievers had short thick coats which made their coats water repellent and didn't allow ice to settle into the coat. Their likeness to water and webbed paws made them a perfect water dog to fetch fisherman nets from the water and catch fish.
In the 1800s Labrador Retriever was imported to Poole, England. Earl of Malmesbury saw one of the labrador retrievers in action and developed instant affection for him. Earl of Malmesbury brought them at home and called them "my Labrador dogs". Ever since then, this name got stuck and to date, labrador's in spite of originating from Newfoundland are called labrador dogs.
In 1900's retrievers was recognized by American Kennel Club and were introduced in American household due to their good home dog characteristics like affectionate, caring and loyal.
Labrador Retriever was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1917.