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English Black Lab Vs American Black Lab

2 pictures of 2 black labs meeting on the diagonal with the letters VS in the center

Both Black labs are great.They are also competitive with each other. Throw a stick in the water and both your black labs should come back holding the same stick and swimming in unison.

What Is an English Black Lab?

This is a breed of dog that is bred to be more of a show dog than a hunting dog. This breed comes from the same original lab breed that originated in Newfoundland.

The English lab is found in all countries, but it is bred for the dog shows and not for hunting. It is shorter, lighter, and smaller than the American lab, but it has the same character qualities that make it a great family dog.

What Is an American Black Lab?

Black Labrador Retriever standing in a grassy field

This breed of lab retrievers is bred more for hunting than for show. They are excellent swimmers and can retrieve game no matter where it lands. Before it became a hunting dog, it used to help fishermen pull their nets into the boat.

The dog breed is taller, heavier, and more athletic than the English lab, but it too is a very good family pet that is very loyal. The dog comes with higher levels of energy and is often seen working without getting tired no matter how long they run.

How Are They Different?

Black lab kneeling down on its front legs

The first difference will be in their size. The American breed is taller, heavier, and has longer snouts than their English cousins. The latter is often stouter than the former and that makes them a great show dog.

Then the American lab is a high-energy dog that is very difficult to tire out. They need lots of exercise. The English version is calmer and more sedate not needing as much exercise but enough to keep them from getting into bad habits.

How Are They Similar?

Black labrador laying outdoors in grass

According to the AKC, the two breeds are not different but are considered the same breed. The club does not recognize the minor differences between the two types of labs. They both come from the same Newfoundland water dog species.

They both love exercise and are loyal to their masters and their families. They are also great with children. Also, their coloring is almost the same. There is a subtle difference with rare colors popping up from time to time in both types of dogs.

What’s Better About an English Black Lab?

Black Labrador retriever laying in a bed of flowers outdoors

This lab variety is a very calm dog which makes it great to have around small children. It is easy to train to follow commands as it is bred to be a show dog that takes home all the prizes.

Plus, they are a smaller dog. That is great when you do not have a lot of room in your home for a larger dog. Then their otter-like tail makes them excellent swimmers.

Getting them out of the water may be difficult as they love to swim.

What’s Better About American Black Lab?

Black lab with its head down on hardwood floors

One aspect that is better about these dogs is that they need lots of exercise. That helps keep you and your family fit and get your children plenty of fresh air.

The American lab is better at hunting and fishing. They can retrieve the game quite quickly and not harm the dead animal in their powerful jaws. Plus, they are very intelligent pets to have around the home. They can be trained to do just about anything.

Their build makes it easy to play some very physical games.

How different are Black Labs and Golden Retrievers? Read our post “Black Lab vs Golden Retriever” to learn more about these 2 retriever breeds.

Who Should Get an English Black Lab?

Black lab puppy running in grass

If you are not a sports enthusiast, then you should go with the English lab. You can train them to be show dogs that do not require a lot of energy. Also, anyone who wants a calm dog that takes everything in stride should buy this lab option.

They make great family pets and can handle what little children bring their way without complaint. They are gentle giants that can be very protective of small children and that is good when you are not around to supervise.

Who Should Get an American Black Lab?

Black lab puppy sleeping on hardwood floors

Anyone who is an outdoors person. From jogging to mountain climbing to hunting and fishing, this is the perfect dog for those types of people. These dogs know how to retrieve and how to bring the game back in one piece.

Also, they are like their English cousins in that they are very patient with small children and can handle a lot of young child treatment without getting upset. The only time they may get aggressive is when they are not getting enough exercise. That nature makes them perfect for the very active person.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.