English vs American Lab: Which One is Right for You?

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Labradors are amazing dogs, loved by many for their distinct personalities and traits. However, there’s always one question that lingers: Which Labrador should you get? English vs American Lab is two different breeds with separate personality traits.

An English labrador retriever differs from an American labrador retriever in many ways. They don’t only come from different countries, but they also have different purposes.

Though both the UK and American kennel clubs do not provide a breed standard differentiation between the two Labs (they are both Labrador Retrievers!), any breeder knows these bred dogs hold some differences. When choosing the right pet for you, you should know which one serves your purpose better.

English vs American Lab: Appearance and Size

When it comes to size, the difference between English vs American Lab differs in a very minimal way.

The American Kennel Club standard for a Lab’s height is 22.5 to 24.5 inches for males, and 21.5 to 23.5 for females. Meanwhile, The Kennel Club in the UK prefers 22 to 22 ½ inches in height for the male lab and 21 ½ to 22 inches for a female lab.

That being said, American Labs can be taller than English Labs. Additionally, American Labs tend to be slender in appearance as well. They look more athletic than English Labs do.

Other ways to distinguish the two from each other physically are the following:

  • American Lab has a narrower skull and face than English Lab.
  • American Lab has a thinner yet longer neck.
  • American Lab has a thinner coat.
  • American Lab has a thinner and longer tail.
  • English Lab is stockier and heavier-looking.
  • English Lab has a barrel and a wider chest.
  • English Lab has a shorter muzzle and a fuller face.

With these differences, we can deduce that English Labradors have shorter bodies than their American counterparts. The athletic build of the American Labrador is intended for their purpose as gun dogs. Meanwhile, the English Labrador is bred for show purposes.

English vs American Lab: Temperament and Personality

Despite their dog breed label as Labradors, the English vs American Lab temperament and personality also differs. In order for you to know which one is right for you, you need to become a labrador expert, learning their temperaments and personalities. As each dog has been bred differently, expect that they also vary in terms of energy levels and overall character traits.

American Labs tend to have more energy than their English cousins. That is because they are considered as the Field Lab. Bred for work, American Labs have more drive for activities and are more on-the-go than English Labs.

Due to this energy, American Labs need constant exercise as well as attention from you. Temperament-wise, American Labs can be more headstrong than English Labs.

On the other hand, English Labs are more relaxed. Hence, they were labeled as Bench Lab. The calmer and more relaxed nature of the English Lab makes them the less active pet between the two. They also need their daily exercise and activities, however, it is not to the same extent as the American Labs.

English vs American Lab: Which One is Right for You?

English vs American Lab differs not only in appearance but also in their character traits. So which one is the right labrador dog for you?

Ask yourself why you need a dog in the first place? Is it as a working dog or as a family pet?

Though both can be working dogs and family pets at the same time, their different nature makes one better than the other.

Labradors in Lake

With the stamina and energy of an American Lab, they are best suited as field dogs. You can trust them with their high intelligence and active lifestyle. American Labs are also headstrong, so they also need a headstrong pet parent. Otherwise, they will become the alpha and control you in many ways.

Conversely, an English Lab is great for people who are looking for a laid-back pet. English Labs work best as family pets, as they are less demanding and less overwhelming. First-time pet owners looking for a family dog may do better with an English Lab than an American Lab.

Choosing the right Labrador solely depends on your personal choice. Whatever breed of lab you choose, rest assured that they all have affectionate and loving nature.

Since they embody the great personality of a Labrador Retriever, you can assure yourself that they all have a desire to please their pet parents and respective families. Both labradors also avoid aggression as much as possible, meaning you’ll get one of the kindest and warmest dog breeds ever.

Taking Care of Labradors

Whether you have an English Lab or an American Lab, the ways to take care of them are the same. In order for your Lab puppy to grow healthy and happy, you must acquaint yourself with their care routines.


Every Lab needs high-quality dog food. Make sure that the dog food you provide is age-appropriate for your pup. Dog foods for a labrador puppy will differ from dog foods for adult and senior dogs. This is because dogs need different nutritional requirements in every stage of life.

Some dogs may be prone to getting overweight, especially if owners tend to overfeed them. Always check your dog’s calorie consumption and equate it with the level of exercise and activity the dog is getting.

Asking for professional advice from a veterinarian also gives you a more profound idea of what kind of nutrition your dog specifically needs, especially when medical conditions are present.


Labradors shed a lot. They have thick double coats, so you need to give them occasional baths. However, please note that too much bathing may remove the oil from their skin and disrupt the natural process of insulation their double coats bring.

Grooming also includes regularly trimming as well as weekly brushes to keep shedding under control. Other grooming needs include daily brushing of teeth, once a week ear cleaning, and trimming of nails every two weeks.


Labrador Retrievers need exercise on a daily basis. And it’s not just your typical daily exercise – it means more and more and more. Due to their high-level energy, labs need an outlet to unleash their hidden stamina. If they don’t get their intended exercise, labs become disruptive and hyperactive.

The difference between English vs American Labs, however, is the fact that American Labs need more exercise than the English Labs. But all of them enjoy activities like swimming and retrieving. Some also participate in sports like tracking and agility.

Playing with a lab also allows them to release their pent-up energies- check the best toys for Lab puppies here to find some fun activities for your pup!


Many consider Labradors as a healthy breed. However, they may develop a life-threatening condition called bloat. As an owner, you need to know what this condition is and educate yourself with the accompanying signs and symptoms. Once you observe such indications, consult your vet immediately.

Also, let your lab undergo health tests such as Hip Evaluation, Elbow Evaluation, EIC DNA Test, and Ophthalmologist Evaluation. These screening tests will help diagnose and provide early treatment for medical conditions like hip dysplasia, hereditary myopathy, heart problems, and eye issues.


The battle between the English vs American Lab has been going around for ages. You, as an owner or prospective owner, need to know the differences between the two breeds.

Though both are simply considered Labrador Retrievers due to similarities in their breeding, the differences between their traits and personalities still matter.

This is especially true when you have to consider your lifestyle and how you take care of your dog. But, at the end of the day, the choice between an English vs American Lab will still depend on you.

Whatever you choose between the two, just make sure that you know how to take care of them and give them the quality care and love they deserve. After all, a pet is not just a pet, but a member of our respective families as well.

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