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English Labrador Retriever vs. American Labrador Retriever

Chocolate lab on the left and a yellow lab on the right. Each photo meets in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS in the middle.

Although both these dogs are Labrador Retrievers, they have evolved into distinct breeds due to some major differences. For example, English Labradors have a thicker coat while American Labs have a fine one. Similarly, American Labradors prefer field trials because of their high energy levels whereas dog shows are occupied by laid-back English Labs. In this article, we will do a detailed comparison of English Labrador Retriever and American Labrador Retriever.

English Labrador Retriever

This breed appears to be more robust, with a heavier appearance. The English labs are notably broader with larger built and barrel chests. They have a large face, a shorter nose, and a wider head with a prominent and defined stop. All these features contribute to their more firmly built look.

English Labrador Retrievers have a thicker, more powerful neck. Their coat is substantially thick, and their tail is broader and often straighter. However, their legs are shorter and they do not stand as tall as American Labs. These pups are bred for conformation and have shorter physiques.

American Labrador Retriever

Yellow Labrador Retriever laying on hardwood floor in front of large glass doors

The American version of Labrador has a lighter and leaner physique. They are always ready for some physical activity with a more athletic frame (lithe and finer boned). The heads and faces of American Labrador Retrievers are noticeably slimmer, and their muzzle is more streamlined and longer. Their necks are leaner, giving them a more lithe and athletic appearance.

The coat of American Labs is significantly thinner and most of them have a shorter tail. In rare cases, it seems to be longer, and some even have a slight curl to it. These Labradors are taller (than English Labs) due to their long and thinner legs. All these characteristics are ideal for their aptitude to labor.

Differences Between English Labrador Retriever and American Labrador Retriever

It’s vital to remember that the labs we’re talking about in this comparison are the “bench” Lab and the “field” lab. People who aren’t familiar with the breed often describe them as “American” or “English”. Both field and bench Labs are bred all over the world, but most of the time in the United States and the United Kingdom. The following table mentions some of the basic differences between these dogs.

CharacteristicsEnglish Labrador RetrieverAmerican Labrador Retriever
Height21.5-22.5 inches21.5-24.5 inches
Weight60 to 85 pounds (can be more)65 to 80 pounds
NatureFriendly and lovingEnergetic and intelligent
Bred forShowHunting

Similarities Between English Labrador Retriever and American Labrador Retriever

Yellow Labrador Retriever on a grass hill with blue skies in the background

Both these canines have a lot in common (after all both are Labradors) and some of these characteristics are explained below.

Temperament – Both these Labradors are equally matched when it comes to being loving and affectionate. Likewise, they have a strong desire to please.

Family pet – Both these pups are good family companions and get along with other dogs and children.

Skillfulness – Despite being developed for dog shows, English Labrador Retrievers are just as competent in hunting and retrieving as Labrador Retrievers.

Health problems – When it comes to health, both types of Labrador share some common diseases, like arthritis.

What is Better about English Labrador Retriever?

 Close up of a Black Labrador Retriever standing outdoors in grass

The Labrador Retriever is an energetic and hardworking dog. These pups are less likely to wear out owing to their intense energy levels and stamina. Although they are bred for dog shows, English Labs have high activity levels and won’t shy away from a good challenge.

Their undercoats thicken and densify in the winter to keep them warm. These undercoats shed as soon as spring arrives, allowing your dog to be calm. In general, the Labrador Retriever is a healthy dog. However, you will need to brush them once or twice a week to keep their hair in good condition. It will also prove helpful to reduce shedding.

What is Better about American Labrador Retriever?

Close up of a chocolate lab's head with bright green grass and trees in the background.

With their eagerness to retrieve fishermen’s catches and duck hunters’ kills, the Labrador garnered a lot of reputation. They developed a welcoming temperament and have a double coat that prevents them from freezing.

The American Labrador is taller and slimmer than the English Labrador. This athletic physique allows them to do well in field competitions and dog sports. They have an abundant supply of energy and are always willing to go for a walk. Hence, many people who have an active lifestyle consider these energetic dogs a perfect companion.

Who Should Get English Labrador Retriever?

Newborn Yellow lab puppy in a pink dog bed/ basket

The English Lab is a better alternative if you are searching for a family companion that’s more easygoing and less demanding. The display type is also a better choice for first-time owners since their disposition is less intimidating.

Who Should Get American Labrador Retriever?

Closeup of the face of a yellow lab newborn puppy

The energetic American Labs need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy. Hence, this is an ideal breed for families that live an active, outdoor lifestyle and want a companion dog. They also make a lovely addition to your household because of their loving nature and calm disposition. In addition to humans, these sociable dogs also get along with other dogs and pets.

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