Labrador Retriever’s have been the most popular breed of dog in the United States for over 30 years! An extremely lovable breed, these pups have one of the best temperaments out there and make a wonderful family dog.
However, there are two names that keep cropping up when the Labrador is spoken about — the English Labrador and the American Labrador — with many wondering whether these dogs are the same, and what their differences are.
If you want to know everything there is to about the English Lab, including the difference between the English and American Lab, then keep reading below. Could one of these dogs be your new best friend?
History Of The English Labrador
Before we go into more detail about the English Lab, we will first explore the difference between the English Lab and the American Labrador. It is commonly understood that American Labradors are Labradors bred from working lines, while English Labs are bred from show bloodlines. Despite their different bloodlines, they are actually the same breed of dog!
These purebred dogs have always been a popular breed and were recognized by the Kennel Club in 1903 and were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917.
Labradors date back to the 1830s and were first established in Newfoundland, Canada and in England. They were originally bred as water dogs, gun dogs and hunting dogs and used to accompany hunters and retrieve animals that had been shot. Their loyal and loving nature mean that they quickly became a very popular family dog and were registered by Kennel Clubs.
Nowadays, these show dogs are often used not only as companion dogs but also as working dogs and service dogs, such as guide dogs and therapy dogs thanks to their friendly personality!
American & English Labrador – What is the Difference?
The Labrador’s journey in the United States took a different turn. American breeders, focusing on field trials and hunting, preferred a more agile and energetic dog. This led to the development of the American Labrador, characterized by a leaner build, longer legs, and higher energy levels. These physical and behavioral traits made them exceptional at fieldwork, retrieving, and participating in various canine sports.
The split between English and American Labs is not just physical but also temperamental. English Labs are generally known for their laid-back nature, making them excellent family pets and therapy dogs. American Labs, on the other hand, are often more driven and active, requiring more exercise and mental stimulation.
Characteristics Of The English Labrador
Labrador puppies are extremely adorable! They are normally born in litter sizes of between six and twelve and you can expect to pay between $600 and $1,200 for an English Lab puppy. They will be ready to bring home at around eight weeks of age.
Due to this breeds popularity, finding a breeder should not be difficult. However, their popularity also means there are a lot of irresponsible breeders and puppy mills out there. Always ensure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
The English Lab is considered a medium to large dog breed. American Labrador’s are normally larger than English Labs, although English Labs have a slightly stockier build. They stand between 21.5 and 22.5 inches high and can weigh between 60 and 80 lbs. Male Labradors are normally heavier than female Labradors.
English Lab’s are athletic in appearance with a large head and medium sized folded ears. They also have a medium length, thick tail which was originally used for propelling them through the water like a rudder.
The English Lab has a single coat which is short, stiff and dense. It is weather resistant, which comes from their heritage as working dogs. These dogs shed a lot and are therefore not the breed for those with allergies. Grooming can help, but we will go into more detail about that later on.
The most common coat colors for the English Labrador Retriever are black, chocolate and yellow, all of which are accepted by the AKC in the breed standard. They can also be a silver color, but Silver Labradors are quite uncommon.
Your Labrador should never be bi or tri-colored and should be one solid color.
Labrador dogs are known for being one of the most gentle dogs and one of the least-aggressive dogs. These pups are friendly and have one of the sweetest natures! They are also adaptable and sociable, which is what makes the Labrador breed so popular. Because they are so good-natured, they can make great playmates for children and are very loyal to their family. They have been known to come to their owners rescue and are fearless.
English Labs are quite active dogs and are best suited to an active family. They love their people and can get on very well with other animals in the home too. They do need training and socialization, as do all dogs, but their intelligence makes this extremely easy!
Providing you can give them lots of love and attention, the English Lab is an excellent dog to have in the home and is even ideal as a first pet or for those with no experience with dogs.
English Labradors have an average life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years.
Known Health Issues
Labradors are known for being a healthy dog, but they can suffer from two main health problems. The first is elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, which is a result of abnormal development in their hip or elbow joints. It can result in pain, discomfort, lameness and an altered gait. Depending on severity, it can be managed with medication and therapy, but surgery is often an option.
The other main health problem a Labrador can suffer from is patella luxation. This is when the Lab’s kneecap moves out of its normal location and the knee then fails to extend. It is often treated successfully through surgery.
The most common causes of death within the Labrador breed are cancer, cardiac issues and old age. They can also be prone to epilepsy, although this can be treated with medication.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parents and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any severe issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the English Lab and how they differ from the American Labrador Retriever, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. Fortunately, the Labrador is a very easy breed to take care of and is often recommended for first time dog owners.
Below we will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
English Labradors love food, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be given a healthy diet. They are known to eat anything that is in sight and they can reach, so watch out! Labradors are known to be prone to obesity, so it is very important that you do not give them too many treats, watch the amount you are feeding them and make sure they get enough exercise.
You should give your dog dry kibble once they reach 8 to 9 months old. As a puppy, they should have four meals a day, which can be reduced to two once they reach adulthood. Most Labradors weighing around 60 pounds should eat around 4 to 5 cups of high quality dog food each day. Always remember to check the back of the dog food packet so you know how much of a specific food to feed your pup.
As a medium to large breed that loves food, the English Lab can be prone to bloat. You must know the symptoms for it because it can be fatal. To prevent bloat, ensure your Lab doesn’t eat too fast! You can put their food in a puzzle feeder to slow them down.
Best Dog Food For The English LabBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Purina ONE SmartBlend dry dog food for the English Lab. Formulated especially for large dog breeds, this recipe contains real chicken as the number one ingredient, ensuring that your dog gets all the protein they need to keep their muscles lean and strong. Also in this food there is a natural source of glucosamine that ensures your pups joints stay supple and healthy, which is very important for larger dogs.
With omega-6 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals, your Labrador’s skin and coat remains in the best condition and the antioxidant blend supports their immune system. All the ingredients are also high digestible in this food and there are no fillers.
English Lab’s are a little lazier than their American cousins that have higher energy levels, but this doesn’t mean they don’t like to stay active! The Labrador is known for their athleticism with relatively high exercise needs. This is why they are best suited to active families where they can join in the fun. If your pup does not get enough exercise, they will get bored and turn to destructive behavior to show their annoyance. They love to play and interactive dog toys that you can use with them are a great way to keep them active.
You should be prepared to walk your Labrador for at least sixty minutes a day, with extra time for playing and training. They are great for taking walking and hiking too. Your Silver Labrador will love to swim as well, which you can introduce to them in a safe and clean environment.
English Labs make excellent family dogs. They are energetic and active and love to be outdoors, so do well in a family where they can exercise a lot. English Labs will thrive in a home with a large yard that they can run around in, too.
Because they are so loving, they get on well with everyone in the house, including children. However, Labrador puppies are known for being very bouncy and having high energy, so they may not be the perfect pet for families with toddlers or small children who are unsteady on their feet because they might get knocked over!
That being said, an older, calmer Labrador can make the perfect family pet for people of all ages. They are very sociable and would love if someone is at home for most of the day or part of the day.
These dogs get on well with all animals too, including other dogs, cats and rabbits! Of course, socialization is important to ensure they can tolerate each other, but there should not be an issue here.
Labradors are known for being one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train thanks to their intelligence. It can take a little time and patience because they are excitable and energetic when they are young, but it should not be too hard.
The most important thing to remember is that you should begin training your English Lab as soon as you get home. You should teach them things such as housetraining, heeling and sitting and responding to their age. It is important to start the training young because they will be more receptive and less likely to develop bad habits. Although you can train an older dog, it will be more difficult to get them out of the bad habits they may have already picked up.
Any Labrador will respond well to treats, praises and other positive reinforcements. You should avoid using aversive training methods like punishment. It is widely known that these methods can actually create and worsen behavioral issues in dogs.
Early and continued socialization is important for your English Lab. Labradors are very friendly, gentle dogs, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce them different place, people, smells, noises and animals from a young age. This will ensure they don’t develop any unwanted behavioral issues as they age, because they won’t come into contact with anything they haven’t experienced before. It will also ensure your Lab stays affectionate to everyone they meet, and they don’t show any signs of aggression.
The Labrador sheds a lot and needs regular grooming! You will need to brush their coat twice a week to reduce shedding and remove any loose hairs, but this should be increased to daily brushing during seasonal coat blow outs. You also need to trim their nails often to avoid overgrowth and check their ears regularly for infection. You should also check their eyes often too.
It is best to bathe your dog only when they need it, as these pups can have quite sensitive skin. Ensure that their coat is completely dry after bathing too, so they do develop any skin irritation. Try to brush their teeth everyday to avoid dental decay or disease. You can always use dental chews if this is easier!
English Lab FAQ’s
What is the difference between an English Lab and an American Labrador?
The bloodlines of the English Lab and the American Labrador is what sets them apart. The English Lab is said to be bred from show bloodlines, while the American Labrador is said to be bred from working bloodlines. Aside from this difference, the only other real difference is that the English Lab is slightly smaller than the American and can also be known to be a little lazier! However, in every other aspect, these dogs are the same breed.
How much does an English Lab cost?
An English Lab can set you back between $600 and $1,200. You should be able to find a breeder easily thanks to their popularity, but you must watch out for irresponsible breeders and puppy mills. The breeder should always be able to give you health clearances for both parent breeds and you should see the puppies with their mother before you buy.
If you do not want to buy your English Lab, you can always adopt. Unfortunately, due to their popularity these dogs are also popular in shelters. Check your local rescue center as you may find a pup who is looking for their forever home!
While there are differences between the English Lab and the American Labrador in their bloodlines, the Labrador breed in general is known for being gentle, friendly and loyal, making them perfect the family dog. These popular dogs are active and love to be outside and will thrive in an environment where they can play with you and spend their days by your side.
Independent, they can be left alone for periods of time, perfect if you live in a busy household and have to go to work during the day, but make sure you’re home in time to take them for a long walk and they’ll love you. With low care needs and lots of love to give, do you think the English Lab could be for you?
Related: 100+ Labrador Retriever Names