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Labrador Retriever vs. English Lab

Photos of a Labrador Retriever and a English Lab meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters vs in the middle

Do you want to purchase a Labrador but can’t decide between American Labs (Labrador Retriever) and English Labs? The look and behavior of both these breeds are significantly different from each other. An American Lab is also known as the “Field Lab” while the term “Bench Lab” is used to identify an English Lab. In this article, we will try to answer the Labrador Retriever vs. English Lab query by comparing these breeds.

Labrador Retriever

A black, yellow, and brown Labrador Retriever sitting side by side

The breed is tall and slim in appearance. They are on the taller end of the height scale and the lighter end of the weight scale. These dogs have a better muscle definition and are less bulky. They have a thinner coat, longer neck, and longer muzzle, which help them operate more efficiently.

The height of Field Labs generally ranges from 21-25 inches and their weight is usually 55-80 pounds. They aren’t bred for their looks and serve a lot of purposes, like working dogs and family companions.

English Lab

Close up photo of a yellow English Lab

The English labrador is basically developed for being displayed in dog shows. Hence, they have to be as near to Labrador standards as possible. They have a stockier physique with deep barrel chests and shorter legs (when compared to Labrador Retrievers). Bench Labs also have thicker hair and a large otter tail.

The majority of English Labradors are on the shorter side of the height spectrum. The height of Bench Labs ranges from 21 to 22 inches. On the other hand, they are on the heavier side of the weight scale. The weight of these pups ranges from 60 to 85 pounds.

Differences Between Labrador Retrievers and English Labs

The appearances of English and American Labradors have slight differences. The temperaments of both these breeds can also have some variations. Labradors can be more friendly and playful while English Labs tend to be loving and gentle. Due to this, their energy levels can also be different. This can be a massive factor while determining the most suitable type of Labrador for your family.

         Characteristics      Labrador Retriever            English Lab
Breeding ReasonHunting and retrievingShow dog
TemperamentFriendly and playfulLoving and gentle
Energy levelVery highModerate-High
Weight55 to 80 pounds60 to 85 pounds
Height21 to 25 inches21 to 22 inches

Similarities Between Labrador Retrievers and English Labs

Chocolate lab, yellow lab, and a black lab puppies sitting side by side for a portrait

Although there are some minor distinctions, both these types of Labradors have a lot in common. Some of these similarities are discussed below.

Family Companions – Both these breeds make excellent family pets and do well with children and other pets.

Hunting Abilities – Although they are bred for dog shows, English Labs are also equally good at hunting and retrieving duties (as a Labrador Retriever).

Health Issues – Both Field Labs and Bench Labs are prone to some common diseases, like hip dysplasia and arthritis.

What is Better About Labrador Retrievers?

Yellow lab adult sniffing a yellow lab puppy

The Labrador Retriever is a hard worker with a high degree of energy. They are a little more daring than English Labs and love a good challenge. Thanks to their abundant supply of energy and higher stamina, these pups are less likely to tire out. However, American Labradors might be a little tougher to train because of their high activity levels.

The Labrador Retriever is a healthy dog in general. It will require occasional brushing (once or twice a week) to maintain their fur and minimize shedding. In the winter, their undercoats thicken and densify to keep them warm. As soon as spring approaches, these undercoats shed so that your pooch could stay cool.

What is Better about English Labs?

Yellow English Labrador puppy laying in a pink dog bed while sleeping

Labrottie suggests that the disposition of the Bench Labrador might be calmer. Depending on your expertise level, these labs might be less active and simpler to teach. Due to his display personality, an English Labrador can also be a little less demanding.

Early socialization is essential for English Labs to develop them into well-behaved family members. They must learn to stay calm in various circumstances, like meeting strange humans and animals.

Who Should Get a Labrador Retriever?

Yellow lab adult with paws up on top of wooden fence

Labrador Retrievers have a lot of energy and require rigorous physical activity to burn it. Simple walks are not enough to keep this breed happy as they require more demanding workouts. For this reason, they can be ideal for those people who are interested in dog sports, such as agility and tracking.

Retrieving and swimming are two of this breed’s favorite hobbies. However, these canines are more interested in games because they provide an opportunity to spend time with their loved ones. Hence, you’ll need a lot of time and effort to keep an American Lab happy.

Who Should Get an English Lab?

Yellow English Lab with wet fur sitting outdoors

This breed is a suitable choice for those people who are searching for a family companion. English Labs don’t have the energy or stamina of an American Labrador and would prefer a calmer life. It doesn’t mean that these pooches are docile and won’t require any exercise.

Although they are bred as show dogs, they are still Labradors and will have substantial exercise needs. Therefore, you will need to provide them with regular walks and mental stimulation. Walking is a good exercise for this dog, but it won’t mind a run or two.

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