The Labrador retriever's body type has evolved to suit his job, as well the preference of breeders, owners and kennel organizations. In America, these variations are categorized as either English or American Labrador types. The two country's kennel organization standards also differ slightly, while generally describing the Lab we love .
English Show/Confirmation Labrador Body Type
In America, the Labrador retriever, referred to as an English show/confirmation Labrador, generally is a stocky, short legged, powerful, Rocky Balboa-type Lab, with a broad head and a square muzzle. He sports a thick, rough coat that is harsh to the touch and wags a tail that is fat and short, like an otter. He tips the scales at about 80 pounds on average and stands about 22 inches at the shoulders. This lab originally was bred to appear in big time British show rings and tends to look like the standard says a British Labrador should look.
English Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) Standard Labrador Body Type
Great Britain recognizes the breed standards of the FCI, an organization whose membership includes kennel clubs from all the major countries in the world except the United States. The FCI defines the Labrador's body type as strongly built, broad-skulled, deep chested and short legged, like the English Show/Confirmation model described above. He weighs about 80 pounds and stands about 22 inches at the shoulders. Slight differences in the two Labs would include the tail, defined as medium length and tapered at the end, and the coat, which is described as short.
American Working/Field Labrador Body Type
The American working/field Labrador is a lean, mean retrieving machine designed for speed and endurance in the field. Standing inches taller than his English counterpart, this bad boy also has lighter bones, a thinner coat, slimmer tail, narrower head and a longer muzzle. Looking more like a greyhound mix than a Labrador, his body type deviates greatly from both the AKC and the FCI written Labrador standard, and as such would not do very well in the show ring.
AKC Standard Labrador Body Type
The AKC‘s Labrador retriever is defined as a strongly built, medium-sized, short-legged, athletic-appearing dog. He has a dense, weather-resistant coat, short, thick “otter” tail and a broad head. His average height at the shoulders is about 23 inches and he weighs in at about 70 pounds.