The Labrador Brats Dog Blog

Differences Between American and English Labs

If you’ve surfed the Internet at all, you’ve probably come across the term “English Labrador” or “American Labrador”. What’s the difference? Good question and one I hope to explain here. Now remember these are my opinions.

Frankly, an “English” Lab is one born in England. An “American” Lab is one born in the USA. The proper terms are Show/Bench bred and Field bred Labradors. You see, there are English dogs which run field trials and American dogs that are shown in dog shows. To categorize them as English or American just by type tends to get confusing.

English “Show” Breed
American “Field” Breed

Shorter on legs
Heavier body
Thicker tail
Thicker coat
Shorter muzzle
Wider head

Longer on legs
Lighter body
Thinner tail
Thinner coat
Longer muzzle
Skinnier head

There are many Labs which are crossed between the two main types of show bred and field bred. They might not resemble either type.

Some say that show bred dogs make better pets since they are calmer around the house. In my experience I have found that the show bred type calms down sooner than the field bred type. However, this is not always true nor is it an absolute. I’ve seen show bred dogs that would eat your home and everything in it if left alone and field bred dogs that would sleep all day on the couch, until you got out the gun. You can’t make assumptions based on type.

There are some people who would like to split the breed of Labrador saying there are 3 distinct types (English, American and Field), but actually what they call “American” looks more like the true “English” show bred Labrador. Most dogs imported from the UK are moderate in type. Confused yet? Join the crowd.

Now I will warn you that if you really want to tick off a show person, call their dog a pigador. Their dogs might look different from what you might own, but in no way are they all fat. Some are carrying a lot of coat and the coat rounds out their bodies. Just as not every field Lab resembles a greyhound, not all show Labs are fat. We’re trying to stop with the stereotypes here.

Its important to have an idea on which type you prefer before you start looking for a puppy. This does not mean that a show bred Labrador might not be a delightful hunting companion or that a field bred Labrador might not be correct and able to compete in the show ring. Many breeders believe that a Labrador should be able to do both.