Difference between English and American Labradors

By: | Updated: Nov-19, 2017
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The English Labrador and the American Labrador may bear similarities, but their differences are far from being purely geographical. Even though there is no official distinction between the two, they have a unique set of skills and capabilities.

Summary Table

English Labrador American Labrador
Popularly known as the Bench or Show Labrador Popularly known as the Field or Hunting Labrador
Bred in England Bred in America
Boxy body and wide head and muzzle Lean body and narrow head and muzzle
Thick coat Thin coat
Calm and reserved Athletic and active
Relaxed and laid-back Head-strong
Demands less physical activity Demands more exercise and physical activity
Suitable companion Suitable working dog


English Labrador
English Labrador

The English Labrador, also known as “Bench” or “Show” Labrador, was originally bred in England. However, it is not solely confined to its place of origin. Just like other breeds, it can be seen in different parts of the world. The English Labrador was originally bred for conformation or show, but it also possesses innate capabilities suitable for hunting and field work. Physically, it has a strong, solid built and it has a wide muzzle and head.

American Labrador
American Labrador

As the name suggests, the American Labrador originated in the United States. Popularly known as “Field” or the “Hunting” Labradors, this dog breed is strong and agile in nature. Characterized by its lively personality, the American Labrador can be distinguished by its tall stature and its narrow muzzle and head. Because it can easily squeeze into tight spaces, it is suitable for hunting and field work.

English Labrador vs American Labrador

So what’s the difference between English and American Labradors? Even though both are classified as a Labrador, they each have a unique set of genetic characteristics. Not only do they differ physically, but they also greatly vary in terms of energy level, exercise needs, personality, and temperament.

Originally bred for dog shows, the English Labrador has a strong and solid build. It has a boxy body, a barrel-shaped chest, and a wide muzzle and head. Also, it is shorter than the American Labrador, and it is covered by a thicker coat. The American Labrador, on the other hand, is noticeably more athletic in shape and build. Aside from being taller and leaner, it also has a narrower neck, muzzle, and head. Also, the tail of the American Labrador is longer than its English counterpart. This explains why some American Labs have a slightly curly tail.

In terms of energy level, the American Labrador is more athletic. Since it was bred to hunt, it has a higher energy level than their calmer English cousins. Because the American Labrador is more active, it demands daily physical activities.

Just like any Labrador Retriever, both these lines are intelligent, sweet, and affectionate in nature. However, since the American Labrador possesses a high energy level, it tends to be more headstrong than its English cousin.

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