English vs American Labrador

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 09/26/22 •  6 min read
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English vs American Labrador

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Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US and other places around the world! And who could doubt why? These dogs are extremely loving, friendly, loyal, and more. But did you know there are two different kinds of Labradors?

You may not realize it, but there are English Labradors and American Labradors. Are there any differences between these dogs? That’s a question we’ll answer in this article! We’ve gathered information about English & American Labs. Let’s get started!

English vs American Lab History

The Labrador Retriever started out as the St. John’s Dog or Lesser Newfoundland dog breed. These were sporting dogs used to retrieve waterfowl and other small animals for hunters. The dogs also worked with fishermen in the cold waters of the Atlantic, often in harsh conditions.

It was sometime in the 1800s when the dogs were noticed by English nobles visiting Newfoundland, Canada. The nobles took some dogs with them back to England, where English breeders worked to refine and standardize the Labrador dog breed. The dogs were first recognized by the Kennel Club (England) in 1903, and in the US, the dogs were by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1917.

However, the original St. John’s Dog eventually became extinct. The new Labrador Retriever took their place. These dogs were from England and were no longer used as work or hunting dogs. Instead, they were bred to be show dogs. These were the only Labs until the 1940s. However, in the US, Labrador Retrievers were still used as hunting dogs. Over time, the two different Lab strains were developed through specialized breeding programs.

Today, the English and American Labs have become two distinct dogs. Breeders have developed different personalities, appearances, and more between these two types of Labs.

English vs American Labs: Size & Appearance

The American and English Labs come in the same colors, including chocolate, yellow, and black. Chocolate is the rarest color due to specific gene combinations needed to bring out this color in the dogs.

In addition, the dogs’ coats differ. English Labs usually have thicker, fuller otter tails. Their fur is water-resistant and makes them effective swimmers. English Labs also have a stockier build, with a squared head and broader muzzle. The dogs also have thicker necks combined with a broad chest.

On the other hand, American Labs are more athletic and sleeker. They have longer legs and bodies, with thinner muzzles and finer coats.

English Labs also tend to weigh more than American Labs.

English vs. American Labs: Temperament

Both types of Labs are good-natured, loving, happy dogs that want to be with their humans. And both dogs are pretty energetic. However, the American Lab is more enthusiastic. That’s because the American Lab is still bred to be a hunting dog, which requires alertness, responsiveness, and high intelligence. These dogs are usually more high strung than their English cousins.

On the other hand, the English Lab is usually the more relaxed of the two Labs. This is a dog that loves to snuggle, and they have an easygoing nature. However, they still require plenty of exercise to wear off excess energy.

Do English & American Labs Make Good Family Companions?

Yes! Both the English & American Labs are wonderful for families. They get along great with kids and love their families. The dogs are also very protective.

In addition, the English & American Labs are eager to please and trainable. However, the English Labs are usually a tad slower when it comes to learning new cues and tricks. American Labs tend to learn more quickly.

There’s no question that both dogs are loving, friendly, intelligent dogs that love just about everyone they encounter!

Which Makes a Better Family Dog?

The answer depends on what you’re looking for in a dog. Both dogs can make wonderful family companions. But there are some different things to consider.

For instance, if you have an active family that loves to be outdoors, you may want to choose the American Lab. These dogs are more athletic and enjoy a great adventure!

On the other hand, if you’d like to have a more easy-going dog that doesn’t have quite as much energy, you may want to go with an English Lab. These dogs are great for inexperienced pet parents. They are less demanding and easier for first-time pet parents to manage and train.

So, either dog can make a wonderful family companion!

English vs. American Lab Training

Labs are the “poster child” when it comes to trainable dogs. Both the English and American Labs are smart and eager to please. Both Labs benefit from early training and socialization, which make them more well-rounded canine companions. The dogs learn how to behave and act in different situations, with other humans, and with other animals.

When it comes to trainability, the American Lab is usually more trainable than the English Lab. The reason is that American Labs are still bred to hunt and work. English Labs have been predominantly bred to be show dogs. While they’re smart, the American Lab is a bit more intelligent and easier to train.

English vs. American Lab Health

Both Labs live about 10 to 12 years, and regarding health conditions, both dogs also have similar conditions, including joint problems, heart issues, and genetic defects.

When it comes to hip dysplasia, both Labs have a tendency for this condition. However, American Labs are more apt to develop this condition. And they have a higher risk of developing other joint problems such as patellar luxation and osteochondritis dissecans.

American Labs also have a higher risk of developing bloat, exercise-induced collapse, canine lymphoma, hereditary myopathy, and diabetes.

Summing It Up

So, which is the better Lab, the English or American Lab? The truth is that these are both great dogs. The English Lab is smart but doesn’t learn new things quite as fast. He also doesn’t need as much exercise and can be trained to show in the ring or do other work. The English Lab makes a great family companion and is a great choice for inexperienced pet parents.

The American Lab is highly intelligent and learns quickly. These dogs are more athletic and have a strong work ethic. This is a dog that loves to perform some job, whether it’s hunting or helping humans. American Labs are trainable and eager to please, and they make wonderful companions for active families.

Now you know the basic differences between these two great Lab cousins, the English Lab and the American Lab!

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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