Different Types Of Labrador – Which Is Right For You


There have developed two unique types of Labrador over the past fifty years. Today, we’ll show you how to discern between English Labradors bred for the show ring and American Labradors used for working. And we’ll help you decide which of these two remarkably dissimilar types of Labrador Retriever makes the best family pet.

Ancestry will have some bearing on your Lab’s extent and look. Suppose you’re unsure which type of Labrador would be best for your family or want some background on the various types of Labrador. In that case, you can find the information you need here.

Which two types of Labrador Retrievers exist?

The two main types of Labradors are English Labradors, bred for exhibiting, and American Labradors, also known as working or field-bred Labradors.

Why are there several types of labs?

The modern Labrador Retriever breed was developed in the 1800s by English gentry couples who were avid gamebird hunters.

Like all of our retriever breeds, the Lab’s primary role was as a working dog. He had to deliver the wounded and dead game to his master. So that it can be a treasured and enduring source of sustenance, please bring it to hand intact.

Even while many working Labradors are serving in this role today, the breed has become so popular among pet owners that more gorgeous dogs now live out their entire lives with households.


As pets, labradors are maintained.

Labradors rose in popularity as pets at the same time as the first dog shows were beginning, and dog show was beginning to become a popular activity. The two Labrador lines—those bred as sporting dogs and those bred as show dogs—gradually split apart.

Over time, the differences between the active type and show type Labrador grew. Breeding the two types together also started to become less common.

Initially, many laboratories had two different uses. Able to succeed in both the show ring and on the playing field. However, as Field Trial contests became harder, field-bred labs became more specialized, speedier, and more focused. Not all Labradors, but some did, lost their particular features.

Show-bred Labs, however, developed to be a little chunkier, heavier, and shorter-legged dogs. These larger dogs began to be maintained as pets, and show breeders gradually took over the gene pool for most Labradors kept as pets since they were more well-liked than field breeders.

English and American Labradors

The two types of Labrador in the USA were given new names: English (for the show variety) and American (for the pet type). These names have nothing to do with geography and are purely based on roles.

We’ll use the phrases “American” and “working” or “field type Lab” interchangeably throughout because the bulk of you are reading this in the United States. The words “English,” “show,” and “bench-type Lab” all mean the same thing. For Americans, type “working type,” and for English speakers, type “show type.” Regardless of the country you are in right now.

These dogs’ duties have always been somewhat flexible. Both types of Labs are remarkably adaptive. Many English Labs can fetch a bird for you effectively. Additionally, many American Labs have the potential to make wonderful family pets. But there are specific differences that might affect your choice. And it’s wise to be informed of them before getting a puppy.Types-Of-Labradors-3

What type of Labrador would make the best pet?

Show Labs are usually chunkier and have a more conventionally chiselled Labrador skull than American Labs, as you’ll notice. Labradors specifically bred for gun dog work differ from Those specifically bred for the show ring in looks and in their “natures.”

Americanized Labrador dogs

The working strain Labrador should be easier to train. For instance, teaching him to walk nicely on a leash might be easier for a new owner.

Both mentally and physically quick, the American Labrador frequently has a compassionate soul and a desire to please. Although nervousness can occasionally result from extreme sensitivity, temperament is generally positive across the breed.

Because they may have powerful hunting instincts, American Labradors may be more prone to look for local wildlife while it’s out in the open. This can be a problem for folks who live in rural regions or walk their dogs near bunnies or squirrels.

When they go on their regular walks together, some American Labs—but not all—will have so much “drive” that a new owner will struggle to keep them under control, mainly if they don’t provide the dog with enough care. You might consider this if you prefer unwinding and catching up with pals while out walking.


Labrador in type

Compared to their field-bred cousins, English-type Labs are often heavier and have shorter legs. They might also be less agile. This isn’t always the case; I’ve known numerous enormous show-type Labs that are excellent jumpers.

While all Labrador puppies are highly active, specific show-bred labs develop into dogs slightly more relaxed and “chilled out.” As opposed to some of their field-bred peers, who are “high-energy” dogs for most of their lives.

Because some English Labs can be pretty energetic and easily distracted as pups, it might be challenging to exercise your dog in busy dog parks where they mix with many other dogs.

Due to their enjoyable “silliness,” some show-type labs can be more challenging to teach. The other Lab is divided between work and show, while one is solely for working. My working-type Labrador Tess was a very mature and bright dog by the time she turned one. Despite being six years old, one of my show dogs, Rachael, is still growing.

One final note: UK show-bred labs may be noisier or more prone to whining than American labs. For no other reason than the extent that excessive noise in a UK field trial is a disqualifying fault and has thus, in some ways, “bred out” working dogs.

Before determining whether the Labrador breed is best for your family, let’s look at a different breed of Labrador that I often get asked about.

What is a Drakeshead Labrador?

In this bit, I get asked a lot. A Drakeshead Labrador is not a particular type of Labrador. The British Labrador Kennel only calls its dogs “Drakeshead.” A well-known kennel in England that competes and breeds Labradors of the active type is called The Drakeshead Kennel (quite successfully). They also export Labradors to other countries.

If your Labrador originates from the Drakeshead kennels, the name Drakeshead will be listed as part of the official pedigree Kennel Name. There are many more successful breeders of American or field-type Labradors in the UK. There are also many trustworthy field-type Lab breeders in the USA.Types-Of-Labradors-5

Which laboratory type is best for me?

The answer to the question “which type is best?” is, of course, never simple. Furthermore, a little will rely on your lifestyle and the expectations you have for your dog.

Suppose you want to be active with your dog and participate in various Labrador sports or activities. In that case, a working-line Labrador can be your best choice.

Labradors of the American breed for hunting and outdoor activities

Working-bred labs benefit from regular human contact and more restricted outdoor exercise. Additionally, American Labs are likelier to pay attention to their handler and do well throughout training. This can be helpful if you want to participate in a sport or activity where your dog is involved.

Dog agility is a popular activity in which American-type Labs can succeed. In contrast, English Labs may not have the agility to compete at a high level in this sport. An American-type Lab is your best bet if you want a pet and a hunting companion.

If you don’t want to compete in Field Trials, think about a Lab that has been bred with the typical hunter or shooting man or woman in mind. Dogs bred for field trials may occasionally be a little “hot” for an inexperienced handler in the UK and the USA.Types-Of-Labradors-6

English Labs for their enduring aesthetic

If you don’t want to spend much time training and would instead take your dog for extended family walks around the countryside where they may run free, an English-type Lab might be your best bet. Additionally, this show-type Lab might be easier to handle outside due to his tamer hunting urges. However, the primary factor in making someone choose an English Lab who isn’t looking for a hunting partner may be the fact that they like their appearance.

Types of Labrador Heads

One of the most apparent variations between the two types of Labrador Retrievers is in their heads. If you are looking for a large dog with classic Labrador looks and a distinctive thick otter tail from English or show lines, you do stand a higher chance of getting the dog you desire.

Remember that English Labs are typically more animated, slower to mature, and more willing to make small talk with each passing stranger. Naturally, everyone has a different idea of what is beautiful. Additionally, the English Lab’s giant head and shorter legs may turn off some people who already own a working-type Lab. The English type of Labrador may be a little less likely to be timid or prone, but both types may make fantastic family dogs.

Dual-purpose labs

A few breeders in the UK are attempting to produce dual-purpose Labradors similar to those from the previous century. Medium-sized, well-built dogs with attractive appearances and thick tails. Dogs possess intense hunting and retrieving instincts, broad heads, thick coats, and an alert, well-focused intellect.

This is excellent news for Labradors, given how poorly conformed many working-bred labs are. Additionally, some shows imply that labs are incredibly muscular and lack some of their working cousins’ focus and outstanding retrieving skills.

However, mixing the two lines could result in unexpected outcomes and is never a sure bit. You can end up with a dog lacking good shape and poor hunting and retrieving instincts. The chance you decide to take.

Regardless of the type of Labrador, you choose to own as a pet, select your breeder carefully. The most important thing, above and beyond all of the considerations above, is to get a healthy puppy who has had a healthy start in life.

Your main goal should be to maintain the happy, confident Labrador temperament we associate with these magnificent dogs.


Different types of Labrador

Here are some examples of typical individuals who do not apply to all of either type of person.

You can locate a hunting part or achieve your ambition of competing in dog agility by selecting an American or active-type Labrador. And if you want a more observant, focused, and trainable dog, get a working-type Labrador.

Choose an English or show type for the classic Labrador tail, thick head, robust, and playful nature.

A combination of the two techniques can work for you if you enjoy gambling, but none of these aspects is significant to you. However, bear in mind that they are just essential advice. There are noticeable differences both across and within individuals in the same litter.

Regardless of Labrador breed, be careful to check for health clearances and meet the parents to ensure a friendly breed. You may take advantage of your puppy’s exceptional genes by implementing a strict puppy socialization program, a good exercise regimen, and a diet.