English or American ?
or should we say.....
Field or Show ?
Labradors have been described as having two types. The most common terms you will hear are English; usually meaning a compact, stocky, heavy boned dog and American; when they are usually describing a taller, leaner, lighter boned Lab.
There is much confusion among Lab enthusiasts for typically an English Lab is one with bloodlines from dogs bred in England. Vice-versa an American dog is not a type but rather a Lab with lines from American breedings. There is a variance of type in England like there is here in America. So are you confused yet....?
Labradors here in America I feel are better categorized into two types, the "Show" dogs and the "Field" dogs.
The show, or bench dogs, tend to be the more short-coupled stocky dogs with the wider heads. Because of their build, they do run a slightly higher risk for hip/joint problems and they do have a tendency toward obesity which could account for this.
The field dogs were bred for speed and endurance in the field. High energy and eagerness to work are traits highly desired in these dogs who are often seen in Field Trial Competitions. These dogs can be head strong and intelligent but a better Frisbee partner on the beach is hard to find!
Remember these are all generalizations. Many of the Labs you see are a mixture of English and American bloodlines as well as show or field types so it is important to meet the parents of the puppy you are thinking of purchasing, or at least speak to the breeder at length about their dogs traits. They usually know them well!
It is important to know what you are looking for in a puppy before you visit the breeders. All pups are cute but this is a commitment of many years and you should be sure! There is a trend toward thinking the show dogs are calmer, more quiet dogs, and the field dogs are high energy. I myself had a field Lab that spent the better part of his thirteen years sleeping on the family room rug. They need to be level headed and trainable to be of use in the field. High energy "Hyper" dogs are not desired. The hunting lines are the best all around to us!
And remember, you will never have a better "Best" friend
than a Lab no matter his type.