‘Types’ of Labradors – Chunky or Lean?

‘Chunky or Slim’ – ‘Long legged or Stocky’ – ‘Show or Working’ – ‘American or English’ – ‘Small or large’ – ‘Narrow and Pointy or Broad head’………

The above are all common ways to think about Labradors. In reality the breed is diverse with very few ‘stereotypical bodyshapes’. The idea that all ‘working bred’ dogs are lean and tall, and all showbred dogs are chunky and heavy boned is entirely untrue. It can sometimes very much surprise people when they look at their ‘lean and leggy’ Labrador they considered from ‘working lines’ that it is entirely from show or pet bred lines. In general however, dogs bred down ‘working lines’ (sometimes called ‘Field Trial’ lines) *tend to be slighter in build than from show lines. They tend to have less thickness of bone, less broadness of skull, basically are a little more ‘streamlined’ because they were bred from lines which traditionally work hard in the field. Show lines tend to be what is thought of as the ‘chunky Labradors’

Working line or Field Trial type Labrador

Show line or ‘chunky’ Labrador

Now the two examples above are just one ‘sort’ of working type and one ‘sort’ of show type. The working bred Labrador shown is on the finest, smallest, leanest side of the ‘working bred’ spectrum. The show bred Labrador shown is also, again, not a big boy for a ‘chunky’ Labrador, he is fairly typical in substance and size, but there are certainly far heavier built. As, again, there are far heavier built working Labradors. For example, this dog:

…whilst having absolutely every ‘stereotypical’ trait of a ‘working line labrador’ infact is completely half showlines and half working lines. So it is difficult and misleading to generalize too much. As regards temperament and personality, do not be fooled into thinking ‘show bred’ dogs are lazy, harder to train, unable to do long walks and be slim and fit. EQUALLY do not think working bred dogs are easier to train, smarter, healthier, or conversely, as some think, more prone to aggression. You need to keep an open mind. There are short legged, broad bodied working bred Labradors. There are slim, leggy, narrow headed showbred Labradors. Unless you look at the pedigree (family tree) of the dog and identify the type of dogs behind him you can often be very misled if you have a stereotype in your mind. No one TYPE of Labrador (or COLOUR OR SEX of Labrador) is easier to train, more loyal, quieter, less prone to health problems, or a paragon of virtue! Your Labrador will be what you patiently, kindly and consistently train him to be. Your Labrador will also be, very much, the result of the quality of breeder you went to and the care and time they gave the puppies, in a home environment, giving them the best most loving possible start to their lives. Diana Stevens – 2009

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