English Labradors VS American Labradors

Labradors have a pretty interesting origin history. This popular dog breed is technically from 2 very different parts of the world. The Labrador as we know it today was developed in the UK from fishing and retriever dog breeds imported from Canada.

Due to the varying origins there are 2 main variations of the Labrador. These are the English Labrador and the American Labrador. There are several differences between these two varieties with subtle personality dissimilarities to more obvious distinctions in build and size.

For some perspective on what you can expect from each, here is a quick summary of the 11 main differences between an English Labrador and an American Labrador.

11. Health Status And Lifespan

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The expected lifespan for both American and English Labradors is about 10 to 12 years. For the most part, they are susceptible to the same diseases including hemangiosarcomas, obesity, exercise-induced collapse, joint issues, and much more.

However, how often and how severely they affect either variation differs.

A great example is obesity which is more common in English Labradors due to their less active lifestyles.

While the high energy levels and active lifestyle of the American Labrador makes the variation less likely to develop obesity, it puts them at higher risk of getting exercise-induced collapse.

10. Ease Of Training

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Generally speaking, both English and American Labradors are easy to train. This is because of their intelligence and eagerness to learn and impress their human companions.

However, the American Labrador tends to be the easier of the two to train. They are slightly smarter and usually more eager to try out new skills and tricks. They are also very focused especially if the training is fun.

With English Labradors, on the other hand, you may have to work extra hard to keep the pooch motivated and engaged especially with difficult skills or long training sessions.

9. Appearance: Tail Structure

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Both the American and the English Labrador have pretty similar tail types. The tail will be thick but tapers towards the tip. It is also straight and medium-length.

The difference is in the fur covering the tail.

For the English Labradors, the tail will have a cover of thick and sometimes longer fur than the rest of the coat. This is what gives their tails their bushy aesthetic.

The tail on an American Labrador has fur that is just as short as the rest of the coat.

8. Appearance: Body Shape

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When it comes to the shape of the body, one thing that English and American Labrador Retrievers have in common is the fact that they are both proportionally built. However, the general shape is different.

The English Labrador is known for having a stockier build. The most striking feature is the wide chest that tapers to a narrower chest end towards the abdomen.

American Labradors have more of a leaner and athletic build with a narrower chest than that of the English Labrador.

7. Appearance: Height At The Withers

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The large size and exaggerated build of the English Labrador often leads to the assumption that they are also taller than the American Labrador. However, this is not the case with the American variety being much taller in terms of ground to withers measurements.

For some perspective on this difference, the American Labrador can grow to heights ranging from 21.5 to 24.5 inches. This includes both the male and female Labs.

In contrast, the English Labrador measures on average 21.5 to 22.5 inches.

6. Appearance: Weight Range

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When it comes to the weight range, the English Labrador reclaims its title as the larger of the two from the taller American Labrador.

The leaner American Labrador measures 65 to 80 lbs for males and 55 to 70 lbs for females.

The stocky English Labrador blows these ranges out of the water and can reach upwards of 20 lbs above the upper weight limits for both male and female American Labradors. This means they can grow to as much as 90 to 100 lbs.

5. Temperament And Personality

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The personality differences between an English and an American Labrador Retriever are very subtle.

Both of these dogs are incredibly popular for their friendly personalities which makes them awesome companions for solo pet owners as well as family settings.

However, the American Labrador is known to have a more boisterous personality and tends to be more outgoing. The English Labrador has a more toned down personality and tends to be the calmer and gentler of the two varieties.

4. Energy Levels

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Energy levels are an important consideration when choosing between an American Labrador and an English Labrador. This is because the two are very different in terms of energy levels and their subsequent exercise needs.

As you may have guessed from the personalities, the American Labrador tends to be more energetic than the English Lab.

This, however, is not to say that English Labs are total couch potatoes. However, their exercise requirements and love for the outdoors cannot compare to those of the over-energetic American Labrador.

3. Instincts

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Both the English and American Labradors were bred specifically for use as hunting dogs. Their skills at retrieving prey from both land and water made them invaluable assets especially for smaller prey.

As a result of this past, both English and American Labradors are very comfortable in the water and will enjoy games that mimic their retriever past like fetch.

The American Labrador is a bit different in that the variation was also used for tracking purposes. They thus developed a strong tracking instinct and can be very headstrong when they are on an exciting scent track.

2. Appearance: Eyes

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The differences between the eyes on an American and an English Labrador may be too subtle to pick up on at first. However, the shape, how far they are set apart, and the color tend to differ between these two variations.

American Labradors have medium-shaped eyes that are set relatively close to each other on the face. The color options are black for black Labs and yellow Labs or dark brown for chocolate Labs.

With the English Labrador variety, the wide skull also means wider set eyes. They may also appear smaller than the American Lab’s eyes which is more about facial proportions than any actual differences.

Finally, the color of the eyes with English Labs could be black or brown but the shades of brown tend to be lighter than American Labradors.

1. Appearance: Head

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The head shape and size is one of the main telltale differences between the English and the American Labrador Retrievers.

The English Labrador has a larger head with a wide skull and forehead. The snout is also noticeably wider and shorter than the American Labs.

On the other hand, the American Labrador has a narrower skull silhouette with a narrow forehead and snout. The snout is also long and tapers towards the nose end.



Are English Labs Better Than American Labs? English Labradors are generally the better option than American Labs if you want a low maintenance dog for personal companionship or as a family pet. The English variety tends to be calmer and gentler than their American counterparts. However, if you prefer a lively and outgoing dog then the American Labrador should do the trick.

Can American And English Labs Breed? It is possible for American and English Labradors to breed. While they are considered different breed variations, they are both considered to be the same species. They can therefore be successfully bred with each other and produce viable puppies. The physical characteristics and personality of the resulting mix is all a game of chance depending on genetics.

Are Silver Labs English Or American? Silver Labradors are a type of English Labrador known for their pale, diluted gray-black coats. While they are wildly popular in America, they were originally developed in the United Kingdom and are thus considered English Labradors. Like any other English Labrador, Silver Labs are known for their gentle and friendly nature and are widely regarded to be great companion pets.

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Pete Decker