Why is My Labrador’s Face Narrow? Types of Labs Explained

While everyone likes a Lab, many people are unaware that there are two types: the blocky “British” or “English” Lab and the lanky “American” Lab.

British Labs have a larger chest, thicker necks strongly marked forehead stops, and shorter legs than the American Labs. With a smaller head, longer nose, longer legs, and an athletically nimble physique, the American Labs are leaner.

So, Why is My Labrador’s Face Narrow? Your labrador’s face is narrow because he/she is an American labrador that tends to have a leaner, narrower face with a slightly longer muzzle compared to British labradors, who are blockheaded with skulls that are blunter and box-shaped.

Keep reading if you are wondering about the labrador head shape how it develops throughout the lab’s life stages, and how to tell if your lab is purebred.

Why is My Labrador’s Face Narrow?

why is my labrador's face narrow featured image

Labradors have a standard appearance with basic features that everyone is just aware of, but you may notice a slight difference in labradors and wonder why.

That goes back to the slight differences between a British Labrador and an American Labrador.

One of the three distinguishing characteristics of the breed is the head, which completes the picture of a classic Labrador. The head should be in proportion to the rest of the dog, never too large and overdone, nor too fine and snippy. 

There are several variations between the British and American labs: an American lab has a narrower skull and does not appear as “blockheaded” as a British lab; their muzzles are also somewhat leaner, taller, and more rectangular than squared, giving them a narrower face than British labs.

Will my lab’s head get bigger?

Labradors’ heads develop from birth and throughout life stages until they reach development at 12 months of age, they reach skeletal maturity, and their skull should stop developing at the same time as the rest of their bones.

The skull of a labrador would be small and thinner than a puppy. Because the muzzle has not fully formed, it is short and unnoticeable; by the time a puppy is 7-10 months old, it will have evened out and seemed more normal.

The head of a labrador puppy will continue to develop until it reaches skeletal maturity at 12 months of age, at which point it will cease growing along with the rest of its bones.

The normal labrador’s head shape

The AKC  (American Kennel Club) labrador breed standard indicated that the normal head shape throughout the life stages of a labrador should be as follows:

As a puppy

Typically, a puppy’s skull should be narrow and tiny in size. The muzzle is short and not prominent because it has not fully developed; a puppy’s head will even out and appear more normal by the time they are 7-10 months old; some puppies have pointy or cone-shaped heads, which in the majority of cases will go away with age.

The head is normally more oval than squared but develops into a more squared shape with age. So that the skull does not meet the nose exactly in the center, the brow should be prominent. The ears are typically short and extend horizontally to align with the nose.

As an adult

The skull should be broad and well-developed without becoming exaggerated. The head and face should be roughly identical in length and on parallel planes. There should be a modest stop—the brow should be somewhat prominent so that the skull does not meet the nose exactly in the middle. 

The skeletal structure of the skull should be chiseled behind the eye with no protrusion in the cheek; the head should be clean-cut and free of plump cheeks. The frontal bone is not visible in grown dogs, however, the skull may have a middle line. 

Lips should slope down in a curve toward the throat, not be squared off or slender. The jaws are strong and devoid of snippiness, and the muzzle is neither long nor short nor stubby.

As a senior dog 

Senior Labradors have large, well-developed skulls, with the head and front of the face measuring the same length and lying on parallel planes. Their muzzles are neither long nor short, and they have prominent brows and a slightly squared, boxed facial shape.

The head should be clean-cut and free of plump cheeks, with the skeletal structure of the skull chiseled behind the eye and no protrusion in the cheek. The frontal bone is not visible, however, there may be a midline in the skull.

Lips should not be squared off or thin, but should instead slope down in a curve toward the mouth.

The jaws are powerful and lack snippiness.

What is a “blockhead labrador”? 

Blockhead Labrador

There are generally two types of Labradors, the American Lab and the British Lab; The head of the British lab is blunter and box-shaped, They feature broadheads and muzzles, as well as a strong, blocky body, which is the reason why English Labrador Retrievers are most often linked with the “Blockhead” characteristic.

The British Labs have a larger chest, thicker necks strongly marked forehead stops and shorter legs than the American Labs. With skulls likewise narrow, and their muzzles are longer legs, and an athletically nimble physique, the American Labs are leaner.

The distinctions between the two Labs, however, go beyond physical traits. Breeders and breed groups agree that British Labs are calmer, quieter, gentler, and less energetic than American Labs, who are typically more active with stronger energy and drive.

If you want to learn more about Labrador Types, check out my complete guide to Labrador colors here to decide which Labrador color you should get.

How to tell if your labrador is purebred? 

You can tell if your dog is a purebred Lab by using one of three ways. A visual examination, a DNA test, and pedigree documents are the three options.

A visual examination 

A visual examination is examining a dog and comparing his looks to the breed standard.

A purebred Labrador Retriever should weigh 55 to 80 pounds, grow to 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall, and come in three colors: yellow, black, and chocolate, according to this standard. Labrador retrievers feature a short, thick coat, otter tail, wide head, and kind gaze.

DNA test

This service is provided by a number of laboratories. The sample you send in will be examined by the laboratory. To identify your dog’s heritage, it will examine hundreds of unique areas inside the DNA and compare them to a database of thousands of breed samples. Your dog’s sample must be sent in the form of a cheek swab.

The Embark Dog DNA test is easily the best one around right now, and you can check it on Amazon here or by clicking on the image below:

Pedigree documents

Your dog is most likely a pure Labrador if you have the proper pedigree documents. I say probably because this method allows for some dishonesty. A dishonest stud dog owner may mate his female dog to one stud dog and register the offspring with a different stud dog.

Related Questions 

How thin should labradors be? 

How thin a labrador should be is determined based on the average weight of both the American and British lab; An adult female English Labrador may weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, while a male English Labrador may weigh between 70 and 80 pounds. A healthy mature male Lab will weigh 65 to 75 pounds.

If you have a Golden, you can also check how skinny your golden retriever should be here.

What are the types of labrador heads? 

The types of labrador heads are the blockhead of an English Labrador which is bigger, thicker, and blockier. And the narrower, with longer muzzle head, belongs to the American bred Labrador. The English Labrador Retrievers are bigger and heavier.

Do labs have big heads? 

Some labradors have big heads if they belong to the English-bred labrador line; they would have a wider skull and a more squared, blocked head making their muzzles appear shorter than American labs.

Do labs have pointed heads? 

labrador puppies can have a pointed head or a cone-shaped head; The “occiput” which protects your dog’s head and includes a lot of nerve endings linked with the fight or flight response, As a result, it’s a popular spot in canine massage to concentrate on.

Why do labradors have a bump on their head? 

Labradors have a bump on their heads, or as scientifically termed the occiput, which means “back of the skull”, because this bone that protrudes from a Labrador’s head and serves to protect the skull and brain of the dog.

Do English Labs have big heads?

The head of the English Lab is bigger and heavier than that of the American-bred Lab. They have a wider skull with a pronounced “stop”—the point where the skull rises abruptly upwards from the base of the muzzle—compared to American Labs.

Helpful Resources

Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton, Eve Adamson (which you can also check on Amazon here)

Labrador Retriever Breed Standards – AKC

The Complete Labrador Handbook: The Essential Guide for New & Prospective Labrador Retriever Owners

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

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