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Field Labrador: Facts, Details, Pictures

Field labradors are also known as American labradors. They are genetically the same breed as English Labradors, but there are some differences between the two that you should be aware of. 

Field Labrador Facts

Field Labradors get their name because they are working dogs, and often “out in the field”. English Labradors are bred for adherence to the breed standard, which makes them perfect for the show ring. 

Field Labradors, on the other hand, are bred for field work. There’s less focus on confirmation, and a higher focus on traits that make them great at their job. 

Field Labrador History 

The Labrador originated in the 1800s. St. John’s water dogs were bred with British hunting dogs, and the Labrador was created. They were originally developed to help their owners with tasks on and around the water. 

They were excellent companions for fisherman. They  helped haul in nets of fish, pulled ropes in, and even retrieved fish from the Atlantic. 

They soon became popular duck hunting companions. Their keen eyes and noses allow them to easily retrieve birds from the water. They can tolerate frigid water temperatures, and have seemingly endless energy when swimming. 

Field Labrador Occupations 

Today, field Labradors perform many jobs. They are popular with duck hunters. They can also function as pointers, and are excellent at flushing out game. 

 They are also wonderful service dogs. They’ve been trained to do an incredible number of tasks, including retrieving money from atms, and calling 911 in case of an emergency. 

They are commonly used as drug and bomb detection dogs by police officers. Search and rescue teams often employ field labs as well. 

Field Labrador Appearance

Field Labradors are more athletic than the show variety. You can expect them to be longer, taller, and have less body fat than English labs. 

Field Labs are taller, longer, leaner, and more athletic looking than show Labs. They look a little more graceful than English labs, with a slender neck.

Their tail is thinner than their English relations, with English labs sporting the well known otter tail.

Field Labrador Colors 

Field Labradors come in three colors recognized by the AKC. These are black, chocolate, and yellow. However, there are other colors that aren’t in the breed standard that are possible as well. 

Colors not within the breed standard can’t be shown in confirmation shows. Of course, if you choose a field Labrador, this isn’t your goal. You want a Labrador as a pet, or a working dog. 

This is why English labs are typically one of the three standard colors. Field Labradors can be white, red, or silver, in addition to the standard colors. 

Genetically, the gene for yellow labs can also produce red labs. This is because of the way the gene is expressed. Essentially, the full expression of the yellow gene results in a warm red. 

Champagne labs are yellow labs with the dilute gene. These are typically known as white labs, even though their coat has a pale yellow hue. If they are a bright white, this is likely due to albinism. 

Silver labs are chocolate labs with a dilute gene. The dilute gene causes the chocolate color to be diluted, which gives it a silvery or gray appearance. 

Field Labrador Price

Field Labradors typically cost between $800 and $2,000, particularly if they are AKC registered. Chocolate and yellow labs can be slightly more expensive than black labs. 

Non-standard colors, like silver or champagne, may be more or less expensive. Some view them as desirable due to their uniqueness, while others frown on anything not included in the breed standard. 

Field Labrador Rarity

Field Labradors are very common. In fact, Labradors are the most popular and common dog in the U.S. Generally, field Labradors will be a bit more common than English labs, because they are often used for hunting and other tasks. 

Some field labs are more common than others, however. Black labs are the most common, because black is dominant. This means only one copy of the gene is needed for it to be expressed. 

Chocolate and yellow are recessive. This means the dog must inherit a copy of the gene from both parents to be that color. 

Unique colors like champagne, red, and silver are not common. Silver and champagne are dilute colors. The dilute gene is also recessive. Red labs are also uncommon.  

Field Labrador Life expectancy

The average lifespan for field  Labradors is 12 years. They can live from 10-13 years, and rarely to 14 years. Males and females have the same lifespan. 

While the lifespan of your pooch is ultimately determined by their genetics, you can maximize your time together by providing a healthy diet, exercise, and routine veterinary care.  

Field Labrador Size and weight

Labradors are medium to large sized pooches, and can have quite a bit of variation in size. 

Field labs are typically a bit lighter than English labs. Female English labs weigh 60 to 70 pounds, and males weigh 70 to 80 pounds.

According to the AKC, “working” female Labradors are typically 55 to 70 pounds, and reach 21 to 24 inches tall. Males weigh 65 to 80 pounds, and range from 22 to 25 inches tall. 

Field Labrador Health

Field Labradors are considered healthy dogs, but there are some potential health concerns. Some of these can be reduced or eliminated through genetic testing. 

Diseases that can be passed on from parents to offspring can be revealed through testing. If a dog has one of these health concerns, they are not bred. Over time, this reduces the number of dogs born with the condition. 

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia 

Hip and elbow dysplasia is a common problem for most medium and large sized breeds, including the field labrador. It occurs when the hip or elbow joint doesn’t form properly. 

Eventually, this can cause the joint to come out of place easily. This leads to pain and affects the dog’s mobility. 

Hip and elbow dysplasia risk is genetic, which means it can be passed on from parents to pups. However, proper exercise and a healthy weight can reduce the odds of a lab developing the condition, or help reduce the severity. 


Obesity is a common problem for dogs today, including field labradors. In fact, over 50% of dogs are overweight or obese. Just like humans, dogs who are overweight are at a higher risk of health complications, including diabetes, heart failure, and joint problems. 

A healthy balanced diet and exercise is the best prevention for obesity. If your pooch is overweight, you’ll need to work with your vet to create a weight loss plan. 


Bloat is a concern for all dogs, particularly medium to large sized breeds. It occurs when the gas that is created during digestion can’t escape the stomach. 

If not treated, this causes the stomach to twist as pressure continues to increase. Once the stomach twists, a Labrador only has a 50% chance of survival, even with veterinary care. 

If it’s treated early, most labs will recover well. However, a dog can go from no symptoms to death within a few hours. The most common symptoms of bloat are a swollen stomach and severe pain. Retchin without productive vomiting is also common.   

Ear Infections

Field Labradors have adorable floppy ears. While it makes them endearing, it also puts them at risk of ear infections. Ear infections can cause your pooch to howl, scratch at their ear, or rub their head on the ground. You may also notice a yeasty odor coming from their ear. 

Ear infections are painful, and can affect your dog’s hearing or balance. They require veterinary treatment. You can help prevent ear infections by caring for your labs ears properly. 

Heart Diseases

There are a few heart diseases that can affect labs. One of these is Nutritional dilated cardiomyopathy, or nutritional DCM, which occurs when the heart is dilated, which impairs its function. 

It occurs when the dog has a grain free diet. These diets typically have peas, legumes, or lentils as one of the top ingredients. 

Early DCM may be asymptomatic. Your vet may detect a heart murmur, however. As the disease progresses, rapid heart rate, lethargy, coughing, difficulty breathing, and weight loss can occur. 

Tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD) is another heart condition field labradros can develop. The valve malfunctions, allowing the blood to flow back into the right side of the heart. 

This causes the right side of th4e heart to become enlarged. 

TVD can be asymptomatic, or cause several issues. Potential symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and rapid heart rate. They may also have a swollen stomach or fluid in their stomach. 

Field Labrador Behavior/Characteristics

Labradors are very affectionate, gentle, and friendly. They make excellent family pets, because they will bond closely with everyone in the family. They are not aggressive, and seem to be happy and enthused about life at all times. 

Field Labradors are energetic, and fun loving. They are more strong willed and independent than show Labradors, so they can be more difficult to train. English Labradors are typically a bit more calm and more eager to please. 

However, if you develop a close bond with your field lab, they can be quite agreeable. You’ll simply need to work a little harder. 

They typically need more exercise and mental stimulation than their English counterparts. If you are energetic and able to keep your pooch entertained, a field Labrador may be the perfect choice. 

It is important to note that these pooches need plenty of attention and exercise. If they don’t get enough physical or mental stimulation, behavioral problems can develop. 

If they dont’ get enough attention and affection, they may become depressed or lonely. 

How to care for a Field Labrador

Labradors are considered low to medium on the maintenance scale. They are far from the most demanding breed, but they do require proper care. 


Field Labradors are born to work, which requires lots of energy. This means they also need plenty of exercise. 

Exactly how much exercise they need will spend on your dog’s temperament and age. Generally, Labradors need an hour a day of moderate to strenuous exercise. 

If your lab is the laid back type, they may be fine with 45 minutes of exercise each day. If they are high energy, you can expect them to need 1 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours of exercise each day. 

You can exercise your Labrador by jogging, playing fetch, or tug of war. Hikes are great as well. They do love walks, but need to spend some time moving quickly each day, so a leisurely stroll will need to be combined with other exercise. 

Mental Stimulation 

Field labradores are highly intelligent, and need lots of mental stimulation. This is why they make excellent working dogs. Your lab may not be sniffing bombs or retrieving ducks. 

However, they do need some type of job to be happy. This could be as simple as entertaining children to learning commands. They simply need something to feel useful and exercise their mind. 


Labradors are pretty easy to groom. They do have a double coat, which means they have an insulating undercoat, and then a topcoat that provides waterproofing. 

Brushing them once or twice a week is usually enough. They shed in the spring and fall, and will need to be brushed daily during this time to prevent hair from getting everywhere. Daily brushing also speeds the shedding process. 

How do you buy a Field Labrador?

Buying a field Labrador starts with knowing what you are looking for. If you want a dog for hunting, you’ll need to be sure the parents have field titles. These indicate that the parents have the ability to hunt. 

If you simply want a pet, your options are more open. The AKC marketplace is an excellent place to find a field labrador. All the dogs listed are AKC registered. 

You can also perform an internet search. However, you’ll need to spend some time speaking to the breeder, and preferably visit the parents at their home before making a choice.