We explain that what is the difference between English Labs and American laboratories with table. English Labs and American Labs are two different types of dogs belonging to the Labrador retriever breed. Although English Labradors and American Labradors are not officially recognized terms, they are universally recognized and the difference between the two is very evident in the structure of their bodies.
According to the Labrador Retriever Club, an organization recognized by the American Kennel Club as the Labrador Parent Club, there are variations within the Labrador Retriever breed. These variations are based on body structures that have been developed through interbreeding to suit the needs and preferences of individual owners and trainers.
For example, those who wanted Labradors as family pets preferred English Labs. While those who wanted Labradors had hunting buddies, they preferred American Labs.
The division between American and English laboratories is more in terms of the roles they play and less in terms of their geographical origin. As the Labrador Retriever Club clarified, the labels ‘American Labs’ and ‘English Labs’ are mistakenly used in the United States to refer to the field / work styles and conformation styles of Labradors, respectively.
The difference between English Labs and American Labs is that the former is usually preferred by those who want family pets. With a heavy skull and kind eyes, English Labs look calm, tame, and sweet. The latter, on the other hand, is more suitable for hunting and field trials. American Labs are taller, leaner, more athletic and have more energy than English Labs.
Comparison table between English and American laboratories (in tabular form)
English Labs American Labs Comparison Parameter
|Definition||It is a variant of the Labrador Retriever bred for conformation and showmanship.||It is a type of Labrador Retriever bred for field trials and hunting.|
|Appearance||Wide and short.||Narrow, slim and tall.|
|Temperament||Quiet, calm, sweet and kind.||Intelligent, headstrong and energetic.|
|Ideal for||First-time dog owners or families.||Athletes or Sportsmen.|
What are English labs?
It is a type of labrador retriever bred for conformation and showmanship. Its origin dates back to the early 19th century, when English Nobles visited Canada and instantly fell in love with the Retriever. Their cold hardy skin and friendly nature appealed to them and they decided to bring some of the Retriever’s ancestors to England where they refined them.
With a calm and quiet personality, English Labs makes an excellent family pet. They are reserved and relaxed and therefore ideal for novice dog owners. They are also easy to train.
It is important to note that English Labs are ultimately retrievers and therefore, despite their docile nature, they love to have fun.
The physical characteristics of English Labs are as follows:
- Head: A large or heavy skull with a well-defined “top” (the point where the head rises abruptly upward from the base of the muzzle).
- Eyes: Large, kind eyes with space between them.
- Body Shape: Strong neck, broad chest with powerful but shorter limbs and a heavy tail.
- Tail: Thick and straight.
- Height: Short with legs that have a standard length of 21.5 to 22.5 inches
- Weight: For a woman, it is 60 to 70 pounds and for a man, it is 70 to 80 pounds.
As mentioned earlier, English labs are primarily bred for shaping and display. Consequently, they look much more like their ancestors than any other variant of Labradors.
What are American laboratories?
It is another variant of the Labrador retriever breed, bred primarily for field trials and hunting. Its origin dates back to the 1940s when two different groups of Labrador breeders emerged. Before that, there was only one gender and one type of Labrador Retriever.
The birth of American Labs can be attributed to the growing needs of American Sportsman Club members who used pointers and hunters to hunt large, heavy woods.
The hunting styles of the Americans are different from those of the British. This is because the terrain and coverage, the large size of the hunting areas, and the diverse landscapes found in America required more onerous reclamation work.
While there were Springer Spaniels to search for animals in upland areas and Chesapeake Bay retrievers to retrieve, Americans became interested in breeding Labs when they learned that these dogs are more versatile and have the combined abilities of Spring Spaniels and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
In terms of temperament, American labs are highly intelligent and headstrong. They are very energetic and athletic and therefore they need to be constantly involved in some kind of activities.
The physical characteristics of American Labs are as follows:
- Head: Narrow skull with less defined stop.
- Eyes: Large eyes approach each other.
- Body Shape: As a hunting dog, it is bred for agility and speed and therefore the overall appearance is narrow and lean.
- Tail: Slender, less “otter-like” and often curved upward.
- Height: Tall with a standard height of 21.5 to 24.5 inches.
- Weight: Hang to the lower limits of the average Labrador’s weight, which is about 55 to 70 pounds for females and 65 to 80 pounds.
As mentioned above, American Labs are hunting dogs trained to hunt. Consequently, they must participate in rigorous activities that often challenge the standards set by dog clubs.
Main differences between English and American laboratories
- Both types of Labradors are ultimately retrievers. But American Labs are more agile and athletic than English Labs.
- English laboratories are primarily bred for showmanship. That is, they are conformation dogs and they are tremendously good family pets. Whereas, American Labs is bred for hunting and field work and is best suited for athletes.
- In terms of temperament, English labs are calm, collected, relaxed, and reserved. Whereas American Labs are smart, headstrong and energetic.
- The general appearance of English laboratories can be described as broad but brief. Meanwhile, American labs are narrow, thin, and tall.
- English Labs are easy to train and are therefore considered the perfect dog for novice dog owners. American Labs, on the other hand, requires someone experienced and athletic to train them and use their skills to their fullest potential.
It is interesting to note that the origin of Labrador Retrievers is neither American nor English. Rather, he is Canadian. It was first discovered in Newfoundland in the 19th century by English nobles who visited Canada. It used to serve as a fisherman and duck retriever companion. The nobles noted their potential to withstand cold water and weather and brought some of these dogs to England, where they were refined and standardized.
Since then, Labradors have interbred with a variety of retrievers until the law against crossbreeding came into being. American Labs and English Labs are the products resulting from this miscegenation. But that does not mean that they belong to different races. They are simply two different types of a single breed called ‘Labrador Retriever’.