American Labrador: Complete Review Of the Field Hunting Retriever

The American Labrador is a popular breed of dog known for its friendly personality, intelligence, and trainability. They are large dogs weighing between 55 and 80 pounds. They have a short, thick coat that can be yellow, black, or chocolate.  American Labrador Retrievers are active dogs that need plenty of exercise. They are also known to be good with children and other pets. Here are some of the distinguishing features of the American Labrador Retriever:

  • Broad skull with chiseled facial features
  • Kind eyes and soft ear flaps
  • Wagging rudder-like tail
  • Short, thick coat in yellow, black, or chocolate
  • Active and trainable
  • Good with children and other pets
american labrador
american chocolate lab

An Overview of the American Labrador Retriever

Physical Characteristics of American Labrador Retrievers

American Labrador Retrievers are known for their medium to large size and strong and muscular build. They have a thick, water-resistant double coat in various colors, such as black, yellow, and chocolate.

Size and Appearance

American Labs are slim and athletic. They have a fine bone structure that makes them agile. Unlike English Labs, their tails are long and thin. Their necks follow the same pattern, longer and thinner than English Labs.

Despite being strong dogs, American Labs weigh less than their English cousins. This makes them faster and more active. Their lightweight adds to their high energy levels, too! Remember these traits when picking out your next family pet or hunting companion.

working line american lab
american lab puppies

Coat and Colors

American Labs have a coat that is thinner than their British friends. The coat of an American Lab can be black, yellow, or chocolate in color.  But no matter the color, all Labs have a double coat to keep them warm and dry.

This two-layer coat helps the dogs when playing in the water or working in cold weather. Even if it looks short and thin, this type of coat needs regular brushing to stay clean and healthy. The proper care will keep your Lab’s fur shiny and free from tangles or mats.

Energy Levels and Temperament of American Labrador Retrievers

American Labrador Retrievers have high energy levels and a friendly, outgoing temperament that makes them perfect for active families.

Activity Level

American Labs are full of life. They have a high energy level and love to play. You can see them run and fetch for hours without getting tired.  Their need for lots of exercise comes from their past as working dogs. These dogs love any activity that lets them burn off steam, whether swimming or long walks. But they don’t just need physical play — mental stimulation is essential, too!  A bored American Lab might start chewing on things or digging around the yard.

american lab breeders
american labrador retriever breeders

Personality Traits

American Labrador Retrievers have distinct personality traits that set them apart from their English counterparts. They are known for their high energy levels, enthusiasm, and intelligence.

American Labs are active and require plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They love outdoor activities like swimming and playing fetch, making them great companions for active families.

Along with their physical activity needs, American Labs have outgoing personalities and a strong drive to please their owners. They are eager learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Their intelligence allows them to pick up commands quickly, making them excellent candidates for obedience training.

Furthermore, American Labs have a natural hunting instinct ingrained in their genes. This makes them fantastic hunting companions in challenging conditions. With proper training and guidance, they can excel in various tasks beyond hunting, such as bomb or drug detection.

Trainability and Intelligence of American Labrador Retrievers

American Labrador Retrievers are known for their trainability and intelligence. They may not be the smartest breed but they are highly trainable and eager to please their owners. Labs excel in various areas, such as obedience training, agility, and hunting trials.

Their high energy levels make them quick learners, and thrive with positive reinforcement training methods. While intelligence can vary among individuals, Labs are generally considered intelligent dogs. With consistent training and socialization from an early age, American Labs can become well-behaved companions and perform various tasks or jobs effectively.

american labrador puppies
american lab puppy

American Labrador Retrievers as Hunting Dogs

These retrievers are highly regarded as exceptional hunting dogs.  Bred to work, they have a strong hunting drive and boundless energy that makes them well-suited for challenging hunting conditions. These dogs excel in activities such as retrieving games, tracking scents, and working on land and water. American Labs are descendants of the St. John’s water dog, initially used for fishing and retrieving tasks.

Their natural instincts and specialized breeding make them excellent companions for hunters. With their high-intensity drive, American Labs thrive in demanding hunting situations requiring endurance. They have a keen sense of smell and great stamina, allowing them to track down the game efficiently during hunts.

In addition to their outstanding performance during hunts, American Labs also possess traits that make them fantastic family pets. They are known for their friendly demeanor and loyalty towards their owners, making it possible for them to develop strong bonds with their human families.

What To Feed An American Labrador Retriever?

Labradors require a diet high in protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, with low calories and fat to prevent obesity. Here are things to look for in a good dog food for Labradors:

  1. High-quality protein: Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Look for dog foods that list real meat as the first ingredient.
  2. Complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy without spiking blood sugar levels. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include brown rice, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.
  3. Healthy fats: Healthy fats are essential for brain development and coat health. Good sources of healthy fats include fish oil, flaxseed oil, and olive oil.
  4. Low in calories and fat: Labradors are prone to obesity, so it is important to feed them a diet low in calories and fat.
show labrador
american labradors

5 Best Dog Foods For Labrador Retrievers:

Purina Pro: 

This food is specially formulated for large-breed puppies, giving them the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

Royal Canin: 

This food is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of adult Labrador Retrievers. It provides them with high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Wellness CORE: 

This food is made with real meat and fresh fruits and vegetables, and it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat.

Blue Buffalo: 

This food is made with high-quality ingredients and free of grains, fillers, and artificial flavors.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie: 

This food is made with real bison and roasted lamb and is packed with antioxidants and probiotics to support overall health.

Comparison: American Labrador vs English Labrador

American Labrador Retrievers and English Labrador Retrievers differ in physical characteristics, temperament, and training preferences.

Physical Differences

American Labrador Retrievers and English Labs have some physical differences that set them apart. American Labs are lankier in body shape than their stocky, blocky English cousins. Their heads are also more slender, while the English Labs have a blockier head shape. 

British Labs are smaller overall than American Labs. Another notable difference is in their coat thickness. American Labs have a thinner coat, whereas British and English labs have thicker coats that require more grooming and maintenance.

Temperament Differences

American Labrador Retrievers and English Labrador Retrievers have slight differences in temperament. 

  • American Labs are known to be more vocal and high-strung compared to their British counterparts, who tend to be reserved and quieter.
  • Moreover, American Labs are more resilient to pressure and can handle physical corrections better, while British Labs have a softer temperament. 

However, both breeds share common traits, such as being affectionate, friendly, and excellent with children. American Labs make great family pets due to their loving nature and outgoing personalities.

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american labradors

Training Differences

American Labrador Retrievers have some distinct training differences compared to their English counterparts. Due to their working dog background, American Labs are often more high-strung and vocal during training sessions.

They require consistent and firm training methods to channel their energy effectively. On the other hand, English Labs are traditionally bred as show dogs and tend to be reserved and quieter in training.

While both types of Labs are intelligent and trainable, owners need to adapt their training techniques based on the individual personality and energy levels of their Labradors.

american labrador retrievers
working line labrador


Are American Labs Easy To Train?

American Labs are known for being highly trainable and eager to please. They have a natural intelligence that makes them quick learners. Whether you want to teach them basic commands or more advanced tricks, they will easily pick it up.

American Labs are also resilient to pressure and can handle physical corrections better than other breeds. You’ll find that American Labs are a breeze to train with consistent training and positive reinforcement.

What Is The Rarest Type Of Lab?

The rarest type of Lab is the silver Lab. Silver Labs are chocolate Labs with a dilute gene that gives them a unique silver-gray coat. They are rare, especially among English Labs, because breeding for the chocolate color can come with health problems and genetic complications.

Where Are American Labs From?

American Labs, as their name suggests, are from the United States. They were developed in America and have become a popular breed there. American Labs were bred to be working dogs, specifically for hunting and retrieving game.

In the United States, they are recognized as a single breed by the American Kennel Club. While there may be slight differences in appearance compared to English and British Labs, American Labs have no major genetic differences from their counterparts across the pond.

Is An American Lab A Good Family Dog?

When it comes to choosing a family dog, the American Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice. Known for their affectionate and friendly nature, American Labs are great with children. They have high energy levels, so they can keep up with an active family and enjoy outdoor activities together.

 Although they may be more vocal and high-strung than other Labradors, their loyalty and love for their families make them fantastic companions. An American Lab can be an excellent addition to any household with proper training and exercise.

What Is The Temperament Of An American Lab?

American Labs have a temperament often described as high energy and spirited. They are known for their enthusiasm, liveliness, and eagerness to please. American Labs thrive on activity and require regular exercise to stimulate them mentally and physically.

They are outgoing and friendly, making them great companions for active individuals or families who enjoy outdoor time. However, American Labs may be more high-strung than British Labs, so they may require consistent training and socialization from an early age to help channel their energy positively.

Should I Get An American Or English Lab?

Choosing between an American or English Lab depends on your preferences and lifestyle. American Labs have thinner coats, higher energy levels, and more vocal than their English counterparts.

On the other hand, English Labs have thicker coats, a calmer demeanor, and are generally quieter. Consider factors like activity level, temperament, and coat type when deciding which Lab would best fit you and your family.

Are American Labs Smart Dogs?

American Labs are known to be smart dogs. They have a good level of intelligence and are highly trainable. American Labs can excel with consistent and positive reinforcement training, whether learning new commands, performing tricks, or participating in agility or obedience training. They can understand and follow instructions well, making them an excellent choice for families looking for an intelligent canine companion.

Do Labradors Bark A Lot?

Labradors tend to bark, but it varies from dog to dog. Some Labradors may be more vocal than others, especially if bored or anxious. However, their barking can be managed with proper training and mental stimulation. Excessive barking in Labradors could indicate an underlying issue that needs attention.

Can A Lab Be Both English And American?

Labrador retrievers can come from different breeding lines, including English and American. However, the American Kennel Club recognizes Labradors as a single breed with no major genetic differences between English, British, and American Labs.

While slight physical and temperament differences may occur due to specialized breeding over time, Labs from both English and American lines can still be considered Labrador retrievers. So yes, a Lab can have both English and American origins without being classified as a separate breed.

How Long Do American Labs Live?

The average lifespan of American Labs is around 10 to 12 years. However, it’s important to note that various factors can influence their longevity. Genetics and overall health play a role in determining how long an American Lab may live.

Proper care, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, are essential to ensure a longer lifespan. It’s also worth mentioning that American Labs are prone to certain health issues like obesity and joint problems, which can affect their lifespan.

What Age Do American Labs Calm Down?

American Labs tend to calm down and mature around 2 to 3 years old. As they grow older, their energy levels gradually decrease, and they become more relaxed and less hyperactive.

However, it’s important to note that each Lab is unique and may have different temperaments even at a similar age. Providing them with regular exercise, mental stimulation, and training can positively channel their energy and promote a calmer demeanor as they get older.

Which Lab Has The Blockhead?

American Labs are the ones with the blockhead. Compared to other Labrador Retrievers, American Labs have a more squared-off and wider head shape, also known as a “blockier” head. This is one of the distinguishing physical traits of American Labs.


In conclusion, American Labrador Retrievers are energetic and hardworking dogs with a slender build and thinner coats. They have outgoing personalities and are great family pets. With their high energy levels, trainability, and affectionate nature, it’s no wonder they have been America’s most popular dog breed for many years.

Author Profile

Aritra Sen
Aritra SenSite Owner And Planning Specialist
Aritra, the founder of, is a lifelong dog lover whose passion ignited for Labradors for their loyalty and intelligence. With extensive research and personal experiences, Aritra has become a Labrador expert, offering a rich resource on the breed. provides reliable, timely, and evidence-based information, including Labrador-specific product reviews, training techniques, and care tips. was born out of Aritra's passion and his desire to share his profound knowledge about the breed. The site serves as a comprehensive resource, offering a wealth of up-to-date information for Labrador owners and enthusiasts alike