It is a well-known fact that different dog breeds have distinctive personalities and characteristics, but what are the differences between English labs vs American Labs? Let’s take a look at some of the key differences to see exactly which type of lab you might be interested in.

The “english vs american lab side by side” is a photo of two labs, one English and the other American. The caption explains that the differences between the two dogs are in their coats, ears, and eyes.

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If you’ve spent any time reading about Labrador Retrievers, you’ve probably come across the words “American Labrador” and “English Labrador,” which are widely used to describe various sorts of Labs.

But what exactly do these phrases imply?

How did these phrases come to be and how did they become so popular?

Is it simply their birthplace that separates them, or do they have additional differences?

The contrasts between an English Labrador Retriever and an American Labrador Retriever will be discussed in today’s post.

As a guide dog puppy raiser, we’ve had the privilege of raising and training both English and American Labs, and we’ve seen firsthand the variations between the two breeds within the breed.

Is there a difference between American and English Labradors?

Although there is no formal distinction between American and English type laboratories, the kinds are now fairly commonly recognized, and there are notable variances between them.

The words are widely used and approved nicknames for Labradors having heritage from the respective nations, as well as those that have been bred for various reasons.

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Differences Between English and American Labs

Labrador Retriever Red next to YellowThe contrasting hues of a Fox Red Labrador Retriever and a more typical Yellow Labrador Retriever.

The English and American Labradors are classified as either show dogs (conformation) or hunting dogs (field).

These dogs are known for their friendliness, dependability, lively demeanor, and love of human connection. They are well-liked as both companion and service dogs. Furthermore, the Labrador is primarily a retriever.

Because they’re more widespread in the UK, Labradors bred for show and conformation have been known as English-type Labradors.

Because they’re much more widespread in the United States, Labradors bred for field trials and hunting have been known as American-type Labradors.

However, there are American Labs that compete in dog shows and English Labs who compete in field trials and are used for hunting.

The phrases “American Labs” and “English Labs” aren’t absolute and rigorous, but rather a helpful reference to the sort of Lab that is likely to be described. There are several exceptions to this rule.

What Are the Differences Between English and American Lab Breed Standards?

The UKC, AKC, and no other national registry or parent club of Labrador Retrievers include a distinction between American and English Labradors in their breed standards or acknowledge it in any manner.

They don’t know the difference between labs.

There is just one standard for Labradors, and that is it. There is only one Labrador Retriever, thus all Labs should fulfill the same criteria.

There is no such thing as a “American Labrador Retriever” or a “English Labrador Retriever,” just “The Labrador Retriever.”

However, there is one minor variance in the maximum height allowed by the American and English breed standards:

The American breed standard permits dogs to stand between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall, whereas the English breed standard allows dogs to stand between 21.5 and 22.5 inches tall.

This is most likely due to the fact that American Labs may be taller and have longer legs… But we’ll get to it later.

Except for this exception, the two Labrador breed criteria are almost identical. They both refer to the same dog.

So, why are there two sorts of people?

Although the breed standards are similar, they are quite different when compared side by side!

When you compare an American type with an English type Lab, you’ll see some striking distinctions.

Here’s a quick rundown of the physical distinctions you’d expect to find between them.

What Is The Appearance Of A Typical English Type Or Show Bred Labrador?

English Labrador side view

When compared to a type lab in the United States, the English type:

  • With a heavier appearance, they seem to be more solid. Built with barrel chests, they’re notably broader and more “substantial” in appearance.
  • Has a larger face, a shorter nose, and a wider head with a more obvious and well-defined stop, all of which contribute to their more firmly built look.
  • His neck is bigger and more powerful-looking.
  • Its coat is significantly thicker.
  • Their tail is larger, thicker, and more straight than their American counterparts.
  • Because of his shorter legs, he doesn’t stand as tall.
  • Has a body that is shorter.
  • They’re generally closer to how the breed standard is worded than the American type since they’re bred for conformation.

What Does An Average American Or Field Labrador Look Like?

When contrasted to a type laboratory in England, the American type:

  • Has a physique that seems to be lighter and thinner. They seem more nimble and “ready to go” with a more athletic frame, lithe and finer boned.
  • Has a narrower head than their English relatives. The English lab’s head and face are notably slimmer, and their snout is more streamlined and longer.
  • Has a longer and slimmer neck, giving it a more lithe and athletic appearance.
  • The coat is significantly thinner.
  • The tail is usually slimmer and less “otter-like” than that of an English Lab. It seems to be longer, and some even have a little curl to it.
  • When compared to an English lab, it has longer legs and is hence taller. This, along with their thinner form, gives them an even more athletic appearance.
  • Because breeders are less motivated to try for the breed standard while breeding for working abilities, they are nearly usually less closely matched to how the breed standard is stated.

Is there a difference between a Labrador Retriever and a Labrador?

Labrador and Labrador Retriever are the same dog, thus they should all be held to the same standard. There isn’t any distinction; there is just one Labrador Retriever (Canis familiaris).

There is just one Labrador Retriever in the Labrador breed standard.

In terms of energy levels, disposition, and overall temperament, there is a difference.

Although this is not usually the case and there are exceptions, there is a significant variation in temperament and energy levels between the American and English types:

American Laboratories’ Energy Levels and Temperament

Because they’re often bred for labor and field trials, American Labs have more energy and “drive” than their English counterparts.

They seem to be more energetic and “constantly on the go.” However, with such demands put on them as working all day, a dog’s energy levels must naturally be greater.

They have earned the moniker of being more high-strung due to their increased energy levels and drive, since they are continuously busy and want continual exercise and attention.

They’re regarded more headstrong in terms of temperament, maybe owing to the combination of high intellect and great activity, and need a more experienced and strong-in-character owner to gain control and a well-behaved and balanced pet than an English Lab.

The American variety is unquestionably more adapted to life as a working dog than as a relaxing family companion.

Energy Levels and Temperament in English Labs

In comparison to the American Lab, the English Lab is said to be calmer, less energetic, and quieter in nature.

When compared to American labs, they’re more typically regarded as sweet, mellow, exceedingly calm, and quieter, making them simpler to train and live with for less experienced and laid-back owners.

Although still “motivated” and ready for life as a working dog, the English lab is significantly more likely to fit into this job as a family pet since they’re lot less demanding in terms of activity and will more easily relax at your feet at the end of a long day.

Both breeds have similar temperaments and personalities.

Both the American and English Labradors are equally matched when it comes to being loving, affectionate, and having a strong desire to please.

Both the American and English kinds are very clever, sharp, and biddable, which is true to the breed standard and part of what makes a Lab a Lab. In nature, she is kind, assertive, and self-assured without being aggressive.

However, you should be aware that the two kinds vary in terms of energy, ebullience, and being headstrong and manageable.

The Reasons for the Distinction Between American and English Labrador Retrievers

The difference between an English and an American lab may be attributed to decades of specialized breeding.

Labradors developed specifically for hunting and competing in field trials are bred for their ability to work.

The most desired characteristics in a working Labrador are more energy, higher drive, more athletic, leaner build, and nimble canines.

In contrast to a Labrador raised for show, they’re bred for their ability to perform rather than adherence to the breed standard.

Labradors raised for conformation contests are chosen only for their appearance and temperament, with the Labs that most closely resemble the breed standard and earn prizes in the ring being utilized in breeding operations.

Their hunting and field trial abilities are, at most, mediocre.

It used to be that a Labrador’s conformation and working aptitude were both valued equally, with many breeders striving for the coveted ‘double champion,’ a dog that could win in both the ring and the field.

However, in recent decades, the two disciplines have grown so specialized and competitive that double champions have become more unusual, with breeders needing to focus on just one area to have any chance of success.

And it’s because of this that the two unique kinds have separated, and the tendency is expected to continue, with the disparities becoming progressively more evident.

Why Would You Want An American Field-Trial Labrador?

The American variety is exceedingly active, with inexhaustible energy, stamina to match, and an adventurous and strong-minded attitude. It was specifically designed to have the attributes required in a successful working dog.

They’re similar to an Olympic athlete in terms of physical prowess when compared to humans.

If you’re seeking for a hunting companion, wish to compete in field trials, or live an active outdoor lifestyle, an American Lab is the dog for you.

As a family pet and house dog, however, I believe they have much too much energy and are far too energetic for the ordinary household.

They need a lot of exercise and must keep their brains active at all times, so they will eat up a lot of your time.

If you’re not prepared and can’t supply the degree of activity they want, they may get bored and attempt to occupy themselves, which is when people claim they have a problem Lab.

Perhaps an English Lab would be more appropriate…

Why Would You Want An English Show Labrador?

The English type Lab is ideal if you want to participate in conformation shows or get into breeding. It was specially developed for appearance and temperament to correspond as nearly as possible to the official breed standard.

When compared to an American-type Lab, they’re also lot less boisterous, full of energy, and less highly strung.

They settle down considerably faster after puppyhood, are more eager to please, and are simpler to teach as a well-behaved companion.

This is because they haven’t been developed for tremendous drive, bravery, tenacity (excuse the pun), and physical prowess.

If you want a Labrador that isn’t too high-energy to handle, is simpler to train, requires less exercise and time, and is better suited to life as a family pet, an English Labrador is the way to go.

Please don’t misunderstand this to imply that an English Lab is low-energy and simple to administer.

They’re still clever, lively dogs that need frequent exercise and mental stimulation, but how do they compare to a top American field trial or hunting Lab? They’re complete opposites!

An English Lab is significantly more suited to life as a family pet than a German Shepherd. Nonetheless, this is a high-energy family.

Will The Two Types Ever Be Officially Separated?

The distinction between English and American Labradors, or field trial and show kinds, is well-established and widely acknowledged terminology within the Labrador community, even though it is not recognized by the official parent organizations and kennel clubs throughout the globe.

However, the distinctions between American and English Labs are evident, and they are growing more pronounced as the breeding lines for show and working Labs become further isolated.

Some breeders, especially those in the American field-trial genre, believe that their dogs are no longer given the attention they deserve in the show ring.

Field trial winners are becoming less and less acknowledged at shows as more ‘true to standard’ English labs triumph in the ring.

So there’s a lot of discussion about separating the breed into two varieties, and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.



Both in appearance and temperament, “American-type Labs” and “English-Type Labs” have significant distinctions. So, which one is the greatest fit for you?

This is determined by your lifestyle and the goals you have for your dog.

American-type Labradors are more athletic, active, and motivated, and are better suited to an outside life of hunting and sports, or to families with a lot of energy and who are true outdoor types.

Labradors of the English breed are blockier and larger in build, calmer and more gentle, and better suited to life as a family companion… Despite this, the family is still active.

To decide between the sorts, do some study, be honest with yourself about which would be the greatest match for your lifestyle, and meet a few of each to determine which you like.

If you know what you want before approaching a breeder, you’ll be far more likely to find a Labrador that is right for you, and a Labrador will find an owner who is right for them.

Although “American-type Labradors” aren’t necessarily more lively and demanding, and “English-Type Labradors” aren’t always more calm and easy to manage, the kinds are accurate enough to serve as a guide and a starting point.

Are you still interested in learning more about Labrador Retrievers? Your Labrador Retriever Puppy is one of our favorite books. It contains a wealth of information about our beloved breed.

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You will almost certainly have come across the terms, but what's the difference between American and English Labradors? Is there one?

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The “american labrador puppies” are a type of dog that is native to America. They have been bred for their intelligence and athleticism. The “English Labradors” are a type of dog that is native to England. They have been bred for their calmness, friendliness, and beauty.

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