English Labrador Vs American Labrador – What’s the Difference?

English labrador vs American labrador

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History of Labradors 

The Labrador was the first dog ever to be registered with the American Kennel Club. They are so popular; you don’t even need to be a dog expert or a dog lover to quickly identify this breed. 

Artists and Photographers have captured the image of this breed countless times. They are almost everywhere.

The breed originated from the island of Newfoundland in Canada. They were initially bred to help local fishers haul nets, fetch ropes, and retrieve fish.

They are quite intelligent and this makes them an ideal dog for assisting people with disabilities.

Labradors were also used extensively as search and rescue dogs; this is because they possess a powerful sense of smell and tend to be quite courageous.

Unfortunately, the breed disappeared in Newfoundland because of unfavorable government restrictions and tax laws. By the 1880s, they were almost extinct but Malmesbury and other English fans came to the rescue and were able to prevent this breed from going extinct

The breed’s popularity began rising after World War II and they became the most popular dog registered with the American Kennel Club in 1991. 

They have also been bred to participate in dog competitions like agility and obedience competitions. 

As courageous as the lab dog is, they can’t pass for a guard dog because of their inherent sweet nature. They are more likely to greet intruders happily and even show them around. 

Labradors are very useful and versatile. They have easily moved from a fisherman’s companion to a hunter’s retriever to a modern dog, but one thing that has always remained constant is that they are wonderful companions. 

American Labradors 

They got their name ‘American Labradors’ because they were more common in North America and were mainly used for fieldwork and hunting. 

They are field type dogs and are bred because of their working ability.

Their breeders tend not to follow the breed standards kennel clubs set as they focus more on their personal needs than what’s required. 

They are taller and leaner than the English Labrador, and they have more of an athletic build. They are very eager dogs and are active, as such, they are preferred for use on the field and hunting.


English Labradors 

They are known as ‘English Labradors’ because they are prevalent in the United Kingdom. Unlike the American Labradors who are bred for work, these ones are bred for show and conformation.

They are slightly shorter and have thicker necks with a broader stance giving them a powerful appearance. 

This breed is more calm and quiet and a perfect choice for first-time dog owners, but regardless, they love to play and have fun.

English Labrador Vs American Labrador

Difference in Appearance 

Just by putting these dogs side by side, you can quickly tell the difference between them. 

The English Labrador has a wider head and shorter muzzle accompanied by a fuller face. 

They have a thick neck and barrel chest which gives them that powerful appearance compared to the American Labrador. 

The American Labrador has a narrow head with longer muzzles. 

They also have a thin and long neck as well as thin coats which can be seen easily.

These breeds aren’t bred to a specific standard so their appearance will vary. 

Difference in size 

The American Labrador measures up to 21.5 – 24.5 inches in height while the English Labrador is much shorter and can measure between 21.5 and 22.5. 

The Male American Labrador can weigh as high as 65 to 80 pounds and the females from 55 to 70 pounds, but their cousin weighs a lot more. 

Male British Labradors can weigh as high as 85 to 100 pounds, and their females can weigh as high as 75 to 90 pounds.

Because of their conformation, most British Labradors are not considered overweight.

Difference in Temperament 

Both dogs are fun, loving and even-tempered. Although they both have high amounts of energy, the American Lab seems to be the most eager one.

 Because the American Lab was bred for hunting, they are more alert, focused and responsive. They tend to also be more hyper and excited compared to the English lab. 

On the other hand, the English lab is soft and a more relaxed dog, they even appear lazier than the American Lab and might even tend to cuddle with you from time to time. 

Regardless of this, they are full of energy like other Labradors and would need constant daily exercises and walks. 

They are both great family dogs and care for the adults and the children, making them not only a friend but also a protector. 

They are open-minded to your emotions so they can easily sense approval and disapproval. They are both obedient, and they can be trained easily as well. 

However, the American Lab is easily trainable because they can be controlled better than the English Lab, and although they are both smart, the English Lab can be slower to catch up on things in most cases. 

Although they have differences in temperament, they are both loving, affectionate, and always pleasing. 

The Difference In Training and Exercise 

Because of their high level of intelligence and strong desire to please, the Labrador dogs are usually very easy to train. 

It is very important to socialize these dogs early and expose them to lots of people as well as other animals as it’s the basic requirement for any household dog. 

It is more crucial for the Labrador because of their physical strength and high energy level. 

These dogs tend to drag their owners with the leash and have a habit of jumping on people, which needs to be corrected at a very young age. 

As a field dog, the American Lab is easier to train than the British Lab (who are considered show dogs), and from a 2014 study, working dogs were better at fetching and respond better to training than show dogs. 

They both require lots of exercise every day to keep their energy levels in check and if this energy is not burnt, they tend to be very destructive, especially when they get bored. Exercises always vary from dog to dog but the American Lab would most likely require more exercises than the British Lab. 

Health Issues 

No matter the Labrador you have, be it the American or British, you should expect them to live between 10 to 12 years on average. 

The Labradors are heavy shedders so they should be groomed daily to remove the amount of dead hair on their body. 

Before choosing a dog you would need to screen them for genetic health conditions that affect the breed and the Labradors have some genetic health conditions which include: 

  • Hereditary myopathy: A defect in the muscle tissue usually causes it. 
  • Obesity: The Labrador is well known for how much it eats, so it has a very high tendency to become obese and it can lead to other health problems like diabetes. The English Lab is more prone to obesity because they aren’t as active as the American Lab and they are naturally heavier. 
  • Hip dysplasia: It is a condition where the thighbone does not fit into the hip joint, some dogs will experience pain on one or even both legs.
  • Elbow dysplasia: This condition is very common with large breeds. It is assumed to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up a dog’s elbow. Most vets would usually recommend surgery for this condition or some medications to ease the pain. 

The better Family dog? 

Trying to pick the best dog between the American Lab and the British Lab depends mostly on the lifestyle and preference of the person getting it. 

They would do well in households with kids who love to play with pets and thrive in a fast-paced environment, but they also need to be closely monitored when playing with kids. 

The American Lab would need lots of time, focus, and energy to keep them happy, and they would need lots of mental and physical stimulations, but they are the better option if looking for a companion or a dog with a high level of activity. 

The British Lab would be the best fit for a family pet because they are calm, friendlier and tend to cuddle more than the American Lab although they might not catch up to some commands quickly. 

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