English or American Labrador?
If you've surfed the Internet at
all, you've probably come across the term "English Labrador"
or "American Labrador". What's the difference?
Good question and one I hope to explain here. Now remember
these are my opinions.
Frankly, an "English" Lab
is one born in England. An "American" Lab is one
born in the USA. The proper terms are Show/Bench bred and
Field bred Labradors. You see, there are English dogs which run
field trials and American dogs that are shown in dog shows.
To categorize them as English or American just by type tends to
Quiz time. Is this an "English"
or "American" Labrador?
Not sure? Well actually this
dog is an English import, show type. So this dog is truly
an English Lab. He is of the more "moderate" type
of show Lab. More about that in a minute.
How about this one?
This is a dog which was born in the
USA and is another show type. Many of his ancestors were
born in England and imported to the US.
By using the term "English"
one can get confused as to what someone is talking about.
This is why I say the proper term should be show or field bred
A show bred Labrador
generally is shorter on leg, has a heavier body, thicker
tail and coat than a field bred Lab. Most show bred
Labradors have a shorter muzzle and wider head than a field
The dog on the left is an example
of a show bred Lab.
This is an example
of the body of a show bred Lab.
Now know that there are different
"types" in either the show bred or field bred Labs.
Some of the show bred types are more
"moderate". These dogs are like the dogs above.
Not extreme in any way.
(photo courtesy of Kirsten)
|Another show type head.
(photo courtesy of Little
also the type of show bred Labradors which are heavier and
shorter than the moderate type.
Many times this is just an illusion.
The coat can make the dog look heavier and rounder.
The owner of the above dog says that she looks
totally different, when she is out of coat. Her coat makes
her look heavier than she is.
There is debate on which type is
the correct show type, but that is not what the point of this
page is about. Its a matter of taste.
|Field dogs tend to have a lighter
body and longer legs. Their coats aren't as thick and
their tails tend to be thinner.
(pictures courtesy of Kelli)
|The field bred Labrador's head
is generally not as wide as a show bred Lab and the muzzle
tends to be longer.
| Again, there are
varying "types" within field bred Labradors as well
as the show type so keep that in mind.
||(photos courtesy of Gina)
|This dog's parents were bred
for field trials. Note his blockier head. I bet
there are some bench dogs in his pedigree somewhere.
(photo courtesy of Garth)
Pet bred means someone took a
couple of Labs and bred them together with no rhyme or reason
besides they were both Labs. No pedigree research, no breeding
type to type "Hey you have a Lab, let's breed it". This
is why most pet bred dogs vary so much in size, shape and looks.
This is NOT the same as a pet
quality dog from a show breeder.
There are many Labs which are
crossed between the two main types of show bred and field bred.
They might not resemble either type. An example of this would
be the yellow above.
Some say that show bred dogs make
better pets since they are calmer around the house. In my
experience I have found that the show bred type calms down sooner
than the field bred type. However, this is not always true
nor is it an absolute. I've seen show bred dogs that would eat
your home and everything in it if left alone and field bred dogs
that would sleep all day on the couch, until you got out the gun.
You can't make assumptions based on type.
There are some people who would like
to split the breed of Labrador saying there are 3 distinct types
(English, American and Field), but actually what they call "American"
looks more like the true "English" show bred Labrador. Most
dogs imported from the UK are moderate in type. Confused
yet? Join the crowd.
Now I will warn you that if you really
want to tick off a show person, call their dog a pigador.
Their dogs might look different from what you might own, but in
no way are they all fat. Some are carrying a lot of coat
and the coat rounds out their bodies. Just as not every
field Lab resembles a greyhound, not all show Labs are fat.
We're trying to stop with the stereotypes here.
Its important to have an idea on
which type you prefer before you start looking for a puppy.
This does not mean that a show bred Labrador might not be a delightful
hunting companion or that a field bred Labrador might not be correct
and able to compete in the show ring. Many breeders believe
that a Labrador should be able to do both.