American vs. English Labs

November 09, 2015

By Pete Morrill

There are several characteristics that are stereotypical of English Labs and American Labs. Not all of these characterics are 100% true of either breed, but I'll list the most common ones here...

English Lab Characteristics:

- Shorter legs, thicker body (more like a bodybuilder or wrestler)
- Calmness
- Blocky head with shorter snout
- Classic show Lab appearance

American Lab Characteristics:

- Taller and leaner with a more athletic "runner's" build
- More animated and stylish in the field
- Longer, more narrow snout
- Perhaps more trainable (although this is a matter of great debate)

(Of the two dogs pictured above, the top dog is one of our stud dogs, Fisher, an American Lab; the bottom dog is an English Lab.)

An English Lab is stocky, heavy, wide, and solid. An American Lab is slim, lean, fine-boned, and narrow. An English Lab typically has a thicker coat, a thicker tail, a shorter body, and shorter legs than an American Lab. The English hunting Lab is bred to be mellow at home and calm and gentle around children and people with disabilities, yet solid, eager, energetic hunters in the field (like the the "on/off" switch Pete boasts of in our dogs). An American Labrador is bred for a higher energy hunting style with a higher level of agility and endurance.

At Marble Mountain Kennels, we believe that a combination of the above attributes make for the best Lab. Our breeding program aims for the following:

- Classic square head and thicker chest of the English Lab
- Smaller (not necessarily shorter), leaner conformation of the American Lab with a more pronounced waistline and a gradual slimming toward the hind quarters
- Good on off switch: The calmness of the English Lab in the home, plus the more animated personality, energy, and style of the American Lab outdoors or in an upland/waterfowl hunting situation
- More athletic, lighter-weight body of the American Lab, which is bred for higher stamina and to withstand a long day of working hard in the upland field
- More tractable, eager-to-please personality of the American Lab, which I (Pete) think makes them easier to train than an English Lab (although this last statement has been known to spark heated arguments with English Lab lovers)

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