Is there realy a difference between a British Lab and an American Lab, or is it just a sales pitch?
Labs from our view
Show people don't like the term, "show Lab" . In my opinion, they are slower, blocky, heavier, often with a lower hunting desire. OK, I know some are birdy but they wear themselves out fast. They need to maintain a higher weight to win in the ring. It is almost never that a judge will put up a trim, working retriever show pedigree or not. Whether the Lab is recent English lineage or not. I met an "english bred" lab, from England, in Eastern Canada that was a steady, persistant hunter and probably could place in the ring. He would not have lit the judges up at a field trial.
Under AKC description it is a Labrador Retriever- no particular nationality.
Some people refer to field bred Labs as American Labs. No field titled dog has gotten a show point in decades (I think that is correct). They are leaner, faster, and some can be intollerable as a house pet until they are older. We like like them the best.
Even thought I do not agree with the "standard" as it is interpreted in the ring, I tend to stay away from people that tag an american/english name on their line just as I stay away from pointing, silver, red, and white. thats a dog of a different color.
What we look for is: Do they fit what I want to do? (Run around a show ring or throw dead ducks in a muddy field, I prefer mud)
Do they have titles in the background preferably the sire and dam?
What other offspring have attained titles?
Do they have OFA and Eye clearences?
What is the reputation of the breeder?
If its your first Lab will the breeder work with you, or help find you a mentor?
This is from a previous post from me. I just copied it over.
I used to run a lab rescue and I would simply get dogs in that the owners could not handle and here is why:
I must explain that not all registered retrievers are the same.
There are English lines which are from original British stock. They are larger framed and have a blocky body style. They tend to be mellower in temperament. These dogs are the ones you see in show rings because they match the breed standard in conformity. From my experience in training, these dogs have the capability to earn FT and HT titles but tend to lack in drive and stamina.
Due to the American version of FT and HT a more competitive retriever had to come about. A more high energy dog was needed to handle the training in order to run out to 300 to 400 yds multiple times. Thus the American lab came about. In American field trials the dog that runs the straighter line to the fall or blind with the least amount of handling is going to be the winner.
But most folks out there don't understand that there is a difference. They assume a registered lab is the same as the next registered lab. They are not. The average person out there doesn't have the training experience to handle the amount of energy that an American field lab has. If that energy isn't burnt off or focused contructively this dog will become destructive and a hand full for the unprepared owner.
Retrievers have a lot of energy. It is just part of the breed. Some "lines" just have less. A person looking for a calmer dog may not want to select a pup from field lines. A list of pedigree title abbreviations is available from the AKC website. It will help you to understand if the pedigree you are looking at is field or show.
Will either one be a good hunting dog. Sure. Depends on the training and development recieved.
Do your homework and go with a reputable and knowledgeable breeder. If that breeder can't answer your questions go with someone that can. A good breeder cares more about the quality of dogs they produce.
Avoid the urge to impulse buy. All puppies are cute, but make sure that pup is going to develop into what is best for your lifestyle.