So, you're on the hunt to bring a furry friend into your family, specifically a Labrador Retriever. Great choice! Labradors are one of the most popular breeds worldwide, and there's a reason for that. But did you know there's more than just one type of Labrador? It's true!

Before diving into the types, it's essential to understand their common traits. Labradors are known for their friendly nature, intelligence, and boundless energy. If you've ever seen a Labrador play fetch, you know they can keep going for hours. But, much like us humans, not every Labrador is the same.

English Labrador vs. American Labrador

It's quite like comparing an apple to, well, another kind of apple. Both types of Labradors share common origins, but over the years, they've been bred for different purposes which have led to some distinct differences.

English Labradors are often more robust, with a blocky head and a stockier build. These are the show ring champions, often bred for their appearance and conformance to breed standards. They're calm, making them great family dogs.

On the other hand, the American Labrador is taller and leaner. Bred primarily for fieldwork and hunting, they have a higher energy level. If your family is more of the adventurous type, hiking every weekend, or if your children are active, the American Labrador might be a good fit.

How Lab Colors Factor In

Labrador Retrievers come in three primary colors: chocolate, black, and yellow. Some believe that the color determines temperament. While that's largely a myth, it's fun to hear stories from proud Labrador owners about how their chocolate Lab is the most playful pet or their black Lab is incredibly loyal.

In a random chat with a fellow dog owner at the park, I learned that her Miniature bull terrier is quite mischievous compared to her calm black Lab. She also shared an interesting tidbit about how bichon maltese dogs and Labradors share a friendly disposition.

Health and Behavior: What to Expect?

Now, let's address the elephant in the room. Or, in this case, the Labrador in the living room. While Labradors are generally known for their amiable nature, it's essential to remember that every dog is an individual. Trainability, temperament, and health can vary.

One curious behavior some dog owners have noticed is how their Labradors like to lay down and bury their body into the grass, especially during warmer months. This is not unique to Labradors. It's believed to be a cooling mechanism, and it's pretty fascinating to watch.

brown short coated dog lying on red textile
Photo by Patty Zavala / Unsplash

Feeding Your Labrador: Do's and Don'ts

Labradors have hearty appetites, and they're not very picky either. But remember, while they might eagerly gobble down whatever you offer, not everything is safe. For instance, while it's alright for them to munch on a slice of cucumber, can dogs have cucumbers all the time? It's always good to have a balanced diet.

While on the topic, you might be wondering, can dogs eat cantaloupe? Yes, in moderation. It's a delicious and hydrating treat, especially in the summers. However, always ensure seeds are removed.

Fun Labrador Facts

Have you ever heard the debate, are huskies wolves? While huskies aren't wolves, both share a common ancestry. Similarly, many people believe Labradors originated from Labrador, but they actually come from Newfoundland, Canada.

Meeting Your Match: A Real-life Example

Let’s talk about Sarah’s story. Sarah is a single mother of two young children living in the suburbs. Her kids begged for a dog, and after much consideration, she decided a Labrador could be the perfect addition. But with so many types of Labradors, which one was right for her family?

Sarah, being an avid jogger, was initially inclined towards the American Labrador due to its high energy levels. She pictured morning jogs with her new canine companion. But after a visit to a local breeder, she discovered the English Labrador’s calm demeanor was a better match for her young children.

The Labrador’s Exercise Needs

Labradors are energetic and love exercise, but the intensity can vary between the English and American types.

The American Labrador, originally bred for hunting and fieldwork, often needs more exercise—think of long hikes, rigorous play, or agility training. On the other hand, the English Labrador, while still active and playful, might be content with a brisk walk and some fetch in the yard.

For Sarah, who enjoys jogging but also has her hands full with her children, the English Labrador’s moderate energy level turned out to be a better fit. She could still have her jogging partner, but also a calm and gentle companion for her kids.

The Diet Dilemma

Labradors love to eat, and they can be prone to obesity if their diet isn't managed well. Sarah knew this and was committed to feeding her Labrador a healthy and balanced diet. She found that, surprisingly, Labradors are generally good eaters and aren't as finicky as her friend's Bichon Maltese.

She also discovered that while Labradors can enjoy some fruits and vegetables, not all human foods are safe. For example, while can dogs have cucumbers and a bit of cantaloupe as a treat, onions and grapes are a no-go.

One day while at the vet, Sarah saw a poster with a surprising fact about another breed; it asked, "Why do dogs bury their body?" with a picture of a dog digging. She learned that this behavior, common in many breeds, is often a way to hide food or find comfort.

Adoption: An Option Worth Considering

While Sarah chose to go to a breeder, adopting a Labrador is also a wonderful option. Adoption can be an excellent way to give a home to a dog in need. Plus, Labradors of all ages, including seniors, can make wonderful, loving pets. For some families, adopting an older Labrador might be preferable to training a lively puppy.

Sarah’s sister, inspired by her family’s positive experience, decided to adopt. She fell in love with a charming senior Labrador at her local shelter, proving that the saying “saving one dog won’t change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever” rings true.

types of labradors

Making The Final Decision

Labradors, whether English or American, are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and family-friendly nature. They are like the loving family members who are always there to greet you with a wagging tail after a long day.

So, which Labrador is right for your family?

Consider your lifestyle, the amount of time you can dedicate to exercise, grooming, and play, and whether you have young children or other pets. Think about your living situation. Do you have a big yard or live in an apartment?

Sarah made her choice based on her family’s lifestyle and hasn't looked back since. Her English Labrador, named Buddy, has become a cherished member of the family. Her kids learned the responsibility of caring for a pet, and Sarah gained a jogging partner and a loyal friend.

Lessons from a Labrador

Fast forward two years, and Sarah’s family is thriving with Buddy, their English Labrador, as a vital part of their lives. Buddy has proven to be the gentle and patient companion that Sarah had hoped for. He adores her children and has never once shown aggression, even when they are tugging at his ears or using him as a living pillow.

One day, while Sarah was cutting fruits in the kitchen, her youngest child asked, "Can dogs eat cantaloupe?" She remembered reading about it and replied with a smile, "Yes, but only a little, and make sure it has no seeds." It was a small, simple interaction, but it taught her children an important lesson about responsibility and caring for another living being.

Labradors and Companionship

Labradors are not just pets; they are true members of the family. Sarah noticed how Buddy seemed to sense when one of the kids was feeling down or when she was stressed after a long day. He’d gently nuzzle them or lay his head on their lap, offering comfort without a word. This emotional sensitivity is one of the many reasons why Labradors make such exceptional family pets.

It reminded Sarah of a quirky fact she learned while chatting with a neighbor who owns a Miniature Bull Terrier — apparently, many dog breeds are adept at picking up on human emotions, not just Labradors. This neighbor even jokingly called her own pet a "four-legged therapist."

types of labradors

A Labrador’s Life Can Be a Teaching Tool

Having Buddy has not only brought joy and companionship to Sarah’s family but also invaluable lessons for her children. They have learned about responsibility through feeding and walking him. They’ve learned empathy, noticing when he’s tired or needs space. They have learned about health and nutrition, asking questions like "can dogs have cucumbers?" when they help in the kitchen.

One of Sarah’s proudest moments was when her older child asked if they could donate to the animal shelter instead of receiving birthday gifts, inspired by the love and bond they have with Buddy.

Unexpected Bonds: Labradors and Other Pets

Remember those questions we asked earlier about various breeds and their behaviors? It’s not just curiosity. For instance, while it might sound like an odd pairing, Sarah's friend with the Bichon Maltese found that her dog got along famously with her brother’s Labrador.

This compatibility is a testament to the Labrador's generally amiable nature. They often get along with other dogs and can coexist with other pets in the household, too. Buddy, for instance, doesn't seem to mind the family cat, proving that the myth about cats and dogs never getting along can be just that – a myth.

The Long-lasting Love of a Labrador

After years of companionship, Sarah couldn’t imagine her family without Buddy. From holidays to quiet nights in, Buddy has been there through it all. And while Labradors, like all dogs, grow older and face health issues—Sarah has learned the importance of regular vet check-ups and has been proactive about potential breed-specific health concerns.

Meeting Your Match: A Real-life Example

When Sarah was considering the energy levels of different types of Labradors, she also thought about how to keep her new furry friend safe during their outdoor adventures. That's when she discovered FI dog collars. These smart collars allow her to track her Labrador's location in real-time, giving her peace of mind knowing that her energetic companion can be located quickly if they ever get separated during a jog.

The Labrador’s Exercise Needs

Speaking of exercise, did you know that FI dog collars aren’t just for location tracking? They also have a built-in activity monitor. Sarah found this feature incredibly useful for keeping track of Buddy’s exercise levels, ensuring he stays active and healthy. She could set daily step goals, much like a human’s fitness tracker, and monitor his progress through a user-friendly app on her phone.

Adoption: An Option Worth Considering

When Sarah's sister adopted a senior Labrador, she decided to get an FI dog collar as a welcoming gift. Senior dogs can sometimes wander due to confusion or health issues, and this collar helps her sister keep an extra eye on her new family member, ensuring that he stays safe and secure in his new forever home.

A Labrador’s Life Can Be a Teaching Tool

Sarah uses Buddy's FI dog collar as a teaching tool for her children. They love checking how many steps Buddy has taken each day and comparing it to their own activity. It became a fun, engaging way for the whole family to focus on their health and well-being. Plus, it teaches the children about the importance of regular exercise for pets and humans alike.

types of labradors

Unexpected Bonds: Labradors and Other Pets

Sarah's friend, who has a Bichon Maltese, was inspired by Buddy's FI dog collar and decided to get one for her own pet. Although her dog is smaller and less likely to wander far, she loved the idea of being able to ensure her pet’s safety and monitor its health, showcasing that FI collars are versatile and suitable for all dog breeds, not just Labradors.

The Long-lasting Love of a Labrador

As Buddy ages, Sarah has become more conscious of his health and mobility. The FI dog collar has proved to be a great tool in this regard. It allows her to track any changes in Buddy’s activity levels, which can be an essential indicator of his overall health. If she notices that Buddy is less active than usual, it’s a sign for her to consult the vet.


In conclusion, choosing the right Labrador for your family involves considering your lifestyle, the dog's energy levels, and your living environment. Sarah's journey highlights the importance of aligning your family's needs with the traits of either an American or English Labrador, and how her English Labrador, Buddy, became a cherished family member.

Adopting a Labrador, whether a playful puppy or a loving senior, is a heartwarming option. The FI dog collar emerged as a valuable tool in this journey, offering peace of mind through location tracking, health monitoring, and fostering a deeper bond between the family and their pet. Ultimately, the right Labrador is the one that makes your family complete, safe, and endlessly loved.