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American Lab vs English Lab What’s the Difference

Are you thinking of adopting a Labrodor Retriever puppy? You’re not alone. For decades, Labs have been the most popular choice of dog for American families.

That’s because the breed is known for being friendly, playful, and loyal. They make a great companion, and are perfect for families with kids. 

American Lab vs English Lab

You may have heard of both American Labs and English Labs, and are probably wondering if there’s a difference between the two. In fact, there are some important difference to note between these two types of lab!

Keep reading as we walk you through the main differences between an American Lab and an English Lab in this article.

American Lab vs English Lab Comparison Table


American Lab English Lab
Size21.5-24.5” tall21.5-22.5” tall
Weight55-80 lbs55-90 lbs
TrainabilityA bit stubborn, but usually easy to trainEasy to train
IntelligenceHighly intelligentHighly intelligent 
Friendliness with strangersFriendly with everyoneFriendly with everyone
Friendliness with other dogsGenerally good with other dogsGenerally good with other dogs
Exercise needsHigh-energy dogHigh-energy, though slightly less so than the American Lab
Lifespan10-12 years10-12 years
American Lab vs English Lab Comparison Table

American Lab vs English Lab: History

In order to understand why two version of the same dog breed exist, let’s cover a bit of their basic history. 

American Lab History

The American Labrador Retriever actually came from Newfoundland, Canada. It was bred as a fishing companion, and it would retrieve fish from the cold, icy waters. This is why they have a double-coat and are great swimmers. 

As they grew in popularity in the United States, people noticed Labs were great in agility and speed trials, and they became a staple of competitions. 

For this reason, American Labs today have been bred to be fast and energetic dogs. American Labs are sometimes called field Labs. 

English Lab History

Following the popularity of the Labrador Retriever in North America, English nobles began to take notice and brought some of them overseas sometime in the 1800s.

In England, the Lab was used more for exhibitions and shows, as opposed to agility competitions like their American counterparts.

For this reason, English Labs aren’t as high-energy and agile as American Labs, although they’re still very energetic and powerful. English Labs are also called bench Labs for this reason.

So, these two strains of the same dog evolved side-by-side, resulting in two versions of the Lab that we know today.

American Lab vs English Lab: Temperament

Since bench labs and field labs have different roots in training and breeding, they tend to have slightly different personalities, also. 

American Lab Temperament

American Labs, as we mentioned earlier, were bred for their speed and power in dog competitions. This means they tend to be high-energy and excitable.

You can throw a ball for an American Lab until your arm falls off, and he’ll still not be tired out!
Like all Labs, American Labs are friendly, intelligent, loyal, and make great companions.

English Lab Temperament

While English Labs are just as intelligent and friendly as American ones, they tend to be a bit more mellow than field Labs.

This means you might not have to work as hard to get a bench Lab the daily exercise they need. Don’t be mistaken and think that English Labs are lazy, though; they’re still high-energy dogs! 

An English Lab should get at least 60 minutes of walking per day, plus playtime. 

American Lab vs English Lab: Grooming

Which version of the Labrador Retriever needs to be groomed more often? Let’s take a look.

American Lab Grooming

American Labs have a double-coat developed to protect them against cold Canadian waters. Unfortunately, this also means they’re prone to shedding quite a lot. 

While every dog is different, you can expect your American Lab to shed regularly all year long, and potentially moreso during season changes. 

Even though they have a short coat, you should make sure to brush it near daily.

English Lab Grooming

Just like their American counterparts, English Labs will need to be groomed regularly to keep their coat healthy. They also shed just as much as an American Lab.

American Lab vs English Lab: Training

All Labradors are smart, regardless of where they come from. However, because they have different roots, they also tend to respond differently to training. 

Let’s take a look at the training methods you should use for these dogs. 

American Lab Training

American Labs are higher-energy, for the most part. This means they might also be more easily distracted during training, and can get bored of it. 

For this reason, even though they’re smart and people-pleasers, they can be a bit tougher to train at times than a bench Lab.

English Lab Training

These Labs are the epitome of ‘easy-to-train’. That’s because they’re a bit less excitable than field Labs, while being just as smart and eager to please their owner. 

American Lab vs English Lab: Health

You want your dog to live a long, healthy life. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting into before adopting your new best friend.

American Lab Health

American Labs are generally healthy dogs, but they’re predisposed to certain health conditions. This includes Hip Dysplasia, which commonly affects medium-large dog breeds.

They can also develop cataracts or Progressive Retinal Atrophy, both of which are conditions affecting eyesight.

In addition, Labs are prone to becoming overweight, and they tend to love to eat. Approximately one in four Labs have a condition that prevents them from feeling full after eating. 

Make sure to give your dog enough exercise and maintain a healthy, balanced diet for them. 

English Lab Health

English Labs are prone to the same health conditions as American Labs. 

It is possible that American Labs may be slightly more healthy, as they were bred specifically to be agile, and a body built for exercise is less likely to have serious health concerns.

However, this hasn’t been proven in any form, so it’s best to assume both the field and bench Lab share similar health traits. 

The best way to keep your dog healthy is to keep them on a balanced diet, give them enough exercise, reduce stress in their environment, keep them up to date on vaccines, and visit the vet for annual check-ups.  

American Lab vs English Lab: Lifespan

Both the American and English Lab have an expected lifespan of 10-12 years. There’s no difference here. 

Conclusion: American Labs vs English Labs

Overall, while American Labs and English Labs look very similar, they are technically different in some ways. 

For one, American Labs were bred for competitions and are thus more energetic and have a strong drive that requires lots of exercise. 

On the other hand, English Labs are a bit more tame and don’t need quite as much exercise. 

This also means English Labs can be easier to train at times. 

Either way, Labrador Retrievers are smart, loyal, affectionate dogs that make perfect companions. Regardless of whether you adopt an American or English Lab, you’re sure to find a dog that quickly becomes a loving member of the family!

Thanks for reading! We hope this article has been helpful!