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British Labrador FTCH Pocklea Remus David Garbutt

FTCH Pocklea Remus, owner/breeder Dave Garbutt

"What is the difference between a British lab and an American lab?"
... we are frequently asked this question.

They are not two separate breeds, and one is not "better" than the other.  Both are labrador retrievers.
However, there are some differences
(Keep in mind, each dog is an individual, so we're speaking in generalizations.).
Please read below, for our thoughts on this subject.  And feel free to give us a call if you'd like to visit further.

 A British Labrador is a labrador retriever from the gene pool developed in the United Kingdom. 

British labradors make eager hunting partners who demonstrate game finding initiative and perserverance while retrieving with soft mouths.  While hard charging in the field, they are also known for their “turn on - turn off” demeanors. This sensitive, calm nature allows for wonderful family pets and pleasant housemates.  We feel the British labradors' "low key, but ready" demeanors embody the ideal companion, successful upland/waterfowl/antler shed hunter, and/or dependable service dog.

Our dogs are out of U.K.  field lines (versus show/bench style, often re
ferred to as “English labs” who are bred for the show ring and physical conformation, not necessarily for field work, though some do hunt).  We’ve been pleased with their drive, agility, and intelligence.  They’re sensitive, athletic, and typically weigh in the 50-70 lb range (which is within the breed standard for Labrador Retrievers).  A number of our black dogs are yellow-factored, which means that although they are black, they can produce yellow puppies (shades ranging from white to dark yellow/red).  We have no chocolates in our lines.

Dark yellow female british labrador standing by Tallgrass Kennels pond in the morning mist. Nice conformation.
Tallgrass Kennels yellow british lab puppy sitting in the grass, exhibiting one of differences- calmness of British vs. American labs.
British labrador black male at Tallgrass Kennels in fall colored leaves
Eleven black, yellow and white british lab puppies running in green grass at Tallgrass Kennels
Tallgrass Kennels British Labs owner looking at Highclere Castle in England on a cloudy cool day.
Rock wall in the countryside of England

    The differences in the training cultures, which sometimes exist between the U.S. and the U.K.,  have resulted in labrador gene pools that can produce retrievers with different characteristics.


    Generally speaking, there is less “force” involved in the training methodologies found in the U.K.  To our knowledge, electronic collar based programs and force fetching procedures are very rarely utilized in the U.K., whereas in the U.S. they are standard practices.  These differing approaches to developing dogs, resulted in quite different emphases being placed on breeding decisions.  That, in turn, resulted in some of the differences we see manifested in the dogs from these two different regions of the world.

    A labrador from the U.K. is generally a quieter, softer natured, soft mouthed dog, while a labrador from the U.S. field trial lines tends to be a dog who can better handle more of the mental and physical pressure that is so often a part of the training process in the U.S.

     These are fairly broad generalizations and are not meant to cast a negative or positive connotation in either direction but simply represent an attempt to point out the differences between the two gene pools.  There will always be some degree of variance found in both gene pools (“softer” American dogs and “harder” British dogs), but we feel this is a fair and accurate description of what a person may expect to see manifested in labradors from these two different cultural and geographic areas.

Robert Clair with Tess Lawrence British Labrador training black labradors in a grassy field at Willowyck Gundog kennel in England
Robert Clair with Alan Thornton dog training british black labrador at Willowyck Kennels in England discussing differences between british labs vs. American lab training
Tallgrass Kennels owner Robert Clair standing by large blue and white Welcome to Scotland sign
Robert Clair with Hungary's labrador retriever team on tree lined road  in England Skinner's Retriever event at Highclere estate discussing differences between British labs & American labs.
British lab breeders, Dave Garbutt and Robert Clair in England watching a brown and white cocker spaniel work in a grassy field visiting about British labrador vs. American lab training.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

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