Pictures of red fox labs

Pictures of red fox labs DEFAULT

Of all the dog breeds in the world, there’s none as iconic as the Labrador.

Labradors might only come in three official colors, but there’s a wide range of shades in between.

For instance, Fox Red Labs look like a very vibrant Chocolate Lab, but it’s actually a variant of the Yellow Lab! Fascinating isn’t it?

Fox Red Labrador portrait

Read on to find out more about this exotic color.

Where did the Red Labradors originate? 

In the early days of Labrador Retrievers, they were black and white. It wasn’t until the late 1800s and early 1900s did they start breeding solid Black Labradors. Any other colors were culled at birth.

While it isn’t clear when the Fox Red Labrador came into existence, they were quite common back then. The first Yellow Labs were also rather dark and born with tinges of Red.

Fox Red Lab in the woods

Dog coat colors are like a fashion statement, and like any trend, it waxes and wanes with the times. We all want what is uncommon.

Back in the day, solid Black Labs were all the rage, until people began desiring the lesser-seen Yellow or Red Labs. 

When they got too popular, Red Labs and the darker Yellows fell out of favor. 

Today, light Yellow Labs are more common due to an explosion in popularity around the 1970s. This made Red Labs rare again and have now turned into a commodity.

Much like their cousin, the Red Golden Retriever, Labs with these russet-colored coats are considered controversial simply because they do not meet traditional expectations. 

Some people claim that Red Labs are crossed with a Vizsla, and are not actually purebred. The same claims have been made about Silver Labradors.

Purists are convinced that Labradors lack the genes to be Silver naturally, and therefore must be crossed with the Weimaraner. 

These claims have never been proven. On top of that, while Vizsla’s do resemble Labradors in size and have similar temperaments, they are much slimmer than the well-built Labrador. 

Furthermore, one look at their genetics will show that it is possible for these color variations in the breed.

What genetics make up a Fox Red Labrador?

Fox Red Lab standing on the sand

Before we delve into the exact science of a Fox Red Labrador, we must first understand how genetics work.

Each dog inherits an allele from each parent which makes up a gene. This allele can be dominant or recessive. They are often written in pairs, such as BB or Bb, one for each parent.

There are a few loci that determine coat color, from the A locus to the E locus. The B allele is a dominant black gene and can result in a black dog. In fact, all black dogs have at least one dominant B allele.

Black Labs can carry the recessive b and when two are present, you will get a Chocolate Lab. However, the gene that controls the brown pigment lies in the E locus.

To get a Yellow Lab, they must have two recessive eealleles. This powerful little gene has the ability to completely block the dominant black color, repressing it so only the yellow comes through.

Labrador punnett square

Now comes the genes that create the dark yellow we identify as Fox Red: the a and c alleles. The A represents the pheomelanin in your dog, it comes in various forms that can affect the coat. 

This part of the color genetics can be quite complicated, but different modifiers can result in different results. For example, at will produce Black and Tan Labradors. 

In the case of Fox Red Labradors, it often looks like as. If they inherited the allele As, the dog would be either cream or white because that is a pheomelanin suppressing allele. 

The intensity of the color is expressed by the c allele, so a dog with CC will have a darker shade, those with Cc will be in the mid-ranges, and Labs with the cc gene are likely to be quite light.

A particular type of C locus will result in a White Labrador.

In order to get a Fox Red Lab, the dog will need to have both CC and ee as well as the right type of A locus, making the Fox Red Lab puppy a special little fella indeed.

What does a Red Lab (Red Labrador Retriever) look like?

Red Labrador sitting outdoor

According to the AKC, Yellow Labradors can be Fox Red to Light Cream and can have color variations around the ears, back, or underparts.

Therefore as per the breed standard, Labradors with this Fox Red color are eligible to compete in the show ring, as long as they are a solid color. Unfortunately, judges often favor lighter shades of yellow.

Dancer, a Red Lab, was crowned champion in the United States in the year 2011, making her the first Red Lab with this title.

The American Kennel Club states that Labradors should be proportional, with a muscular build. They shouldn’t be overly stocky, as the breed is first and foremost a working dog and should have the physique to match.

This doesn’t mean that you will not be able to find show dogs that are Red. On the contrary, breeders are fighting very hard to produce more show dog champions of the red variety.

American Red Labs vs English Red Labs

These labels are a bit of a misnomer as working dogs are referred to as American Labs, whereas show dogs are called English Labs.

English Red Labs are a rarity indeed, they haven’t been around long enough to have as much success as their more commonly colored counterparts.

However, this is slowly changing as judges become more accepting. 

Since English Labs have bred for show confirmation they will mostly be in the traditional yellow, chocolate, or black.

On the other hand, American Labs are field dogs and are bred for their skills more than their looks. This means that they have a better chance of being red since looks don’t matter to the hunter or the hunted.

They don’t usually have the blocky head that English Labs are known for. American Labs are also much more athletic-looking. You can further compare the two types with our chart.

That being said, most Fox Red Labs are American Labradors.

Are Fox Red Labs bigger than other Labs? 

These hunting dogs are a medium to large breed, weighing in at around 55 to 80 lbs (25 to 36 kg), depending on the gender. 

Males should be between 22.5 to 24.5 inches (57 to 62 cm) tall, whereas females should be 21.5 to 23.5 inches (54 to 59 cm). For more info on their size, you can check out our Lab Growth Chart.

Do Fox Red Labs change color?

Puppies born with a Fox Red coat might not retain that same shade of red. It usually lightens or darkens with age. It is hard to be certain of their final coat color until they are at least 20 to 24 months old. 

Young Fox Red Lab dog

White spots on the chest are quite common among Yellow Labradors and since the Red Lab is essentially a Yellow Lab, they are likely to have one too.

These mismark don’t mean that they aren’t purebred, it just means that they are more genetically similar to their Newfoundland ancestors!

You can read up more about our Labrador colors article. 

Personality: What color Labrador is the best?

Color doesn’t dictate a Labrador’s temperament. They all conform to the breed standard of being loyal, outgoing, and kind. Labradors are simply everyone’s best friend

These gentle dogs are a great addition to any household, even if you have a young child or small animal, as long as your pooch has been well socialized. 

Labradors are all affectionate and love to be with their humans. If they don’t get the attention they crave, they might turn to mischief.

As with any dog, mishandled or untrained Labradors might have the potential to be fearful or aggressive.

It’s been noted that Red Labs might be barkier but while they will bark at strangers, it’s more of an invitation to play than a warning.

With consistent training, you should be able to teach your dog to behave the way you want them to.

How to take care of your Red Labrador

Red Labs are in no way harder to care for than any other color. They require the same amount of effort in training, exercise, and maintenance.

The key to a good dog is to create good habits. Since Labradors are prone to beg for extra munchies, don’t fall into the habit of feeding him anything but dog food.

Keep your table scraps for the trash chute instead.

Another thing is, you want to keep your Labrador entertained, regardless of color. Labradors can’t stand being bored or alone, so bear that in mind before settling on a Labrador Retriever.

Exercising your Red Labs

As with any Labrador, Fox Red Labrador Retrievers love the water! Being waterfowl hunters and fishermen’s best friends, swimming is in their very nature

Red Labrador swimming

Being a working dog, they are highly active. Failure to give them the stimulation they need will end with disastrous results as they can get quite destructive.

Try to spend at least an hour on exercise daily. However, you don’t want to overdo it in their first two years of their life as it can cause them to develop joint problems.

Also, Labradors can be prone to overexertion, since they are so eager to please, sometimes they forget their own limits and it’s up to you to make sure they don’t push themselves too far.

Is grooming your Red Lab time-consuming?

Just like any Labrador, they have a double coat that requires little attention. All you’ll need to do to keep it healthy is to brush it once a week.

When it’s shedding season, many owners like to use a deshedding tool to remove most of the undercoat. If you’re not too fussed about it, daily brushing with a regular slicker brush will do.

You should also trim their nails regularly. Since they are prone to ear infections, it’s best to clean out their ears every time they go for a swim. 

Some sources say that Fox Red Labs have a stronger smell than their pale yellow cousins because they tend to produce more oils.

One way to cope with this is to dry them off properly and stay away from harsh shampoos.

Shampoos that strip away the natural oils from a dog’s coat will stimulate them to produce more which will only aggravate the problem. 

Feeding your Red Lab

Since this gundog breed can be prone to obesity, you might want to look into home-cooked meals or whole foods instead. 

If feeding kibble, choose a high-quality kibble that suits their dietary needs.

For a large breed dog, they should be fed a specially formulated kibble that isn’t too high in calcium and phosphorus. This will protect them from hip dysplasia.

A good kibble should be able to keep up with their caloric demands and help them manage their weight. Low-quality kibble typically does not offer the nutrients that a dog needs, resulting in them eating more.

To find out what is the best food for your Labrador, you can check out this list.

Red Labrador health issues

Red Fox Labradors have the same lifespan as any other Labrador. You can expect them to live 10 – 12 years on average.

All Labradors share the same health concerns but it has been noted that eye problems are much more common in Red Labradors. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disorder that causes blindness and can be easily avoided through screening. 

Aside from that, you will need to watch out for the usual, including hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, ear problems, muscular dystrophy, idiopathic epilepsy, and exercise-induced collapse.

As mentioned, obesity is quite common in Labradors. This can be affected by a gene mutation that prevents them from feeling full.

How much is Red Lab Puppies?

When searching for a Labrador Retriever puppy of a specific color, you should be extra careful not to be swindled.

Bear in mind that respectable breeders often do not charge higher for different colors because breeding for color is largely looked down upon. 

Red Lab puppies

But being high in demand and coupled with the fact that the Fox Red Lab is much rarer than Yellow or Black Labradors, it isn’t surprising to find a puppy costing $1,000.

Red Lab Breeders

Be very picky and particular when choosing a kennel to purchase from. Check the credentials of the breeder and take the effort to understand why they’ve chosen to breed Red Labradors.

Avoid buying your new puppy from someone who is unable to produce health screenings of their breeding stock.

The AKC lists Labrador breeders on their site, making it accessible for you to search for these beautiful dogs.

Here are a few that do not make color their top priority, but do incorporate Red Labs into their breeding program:

Red Lab Rescue

Labradors are quite exuberant as puppies and not many people are able to match their enthusiasm. If you don’t mind an older dog, you can give an old Fox Red Labrador a new home. 

Older dogs might come with their own challenges. While some might not have any behavioral problems, many need to be retrained.

To find out whether there’s a suitable dog for you, reach out to the following rescues:

Who should get a Red Lab dog?

Fox Red Labrador lying on the bed

Labradors are one of the best dogs that you can get. They are extremely agreeable and a joy to be around. 

However, if you’re looking to show your dog, you might want to go for a more traditional color as you will be at a disadvantage with a Red-colored Labrador.

They are best as working dogs or family pets, preferably in an active home.


Pros and Cons of Owning a Fox Red Lab

Pros and Cons of Owning a Fox Red Lab

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Ever wondered why a Labrador Retriever is the most common breed in the United States? Well, we will tell you. Undying loyalty, great personality, friendship, amazing intelligence… these are some of the benefits of owning a Labrador Retriever.

A Fox Red Lab is not a separate breed but simply a color variation of the yellow spectrum of Labrador Retrievers. Their coats are darker than your typical yellow Labrador, with red highlights throughout.

More often than not, yellow Labs can range in color from fox-red to light cream with a few variations on their backs, ears, and underbelly. On that account, the fox red Labrador is simply a yellow lab with a special coat color (darker shade of yellow)—and it is what makes him stand apart from other yellow labs.

So, whether you are looking for a furry friend with a friendly nature or one with a generous amount of curiosity and an outgoing attitude, a Fox Red Lab will surpass your expectations.

Although there aren’t a lot of controversies surrounding Fox Red Labs, some people don’t consider them to be purebred Labs. So, what can you expect from this breed if you decide to be a parent of one? Are red fox labs good pets?

Well, like other pets, the breed comes with some challenges of its own. Here’s a highlight of both the pros and cons of owning a Fox Red Lab.


1.Striking and Rare Coat

One of the unique features of a Fox Red Lab is the color of their coats.

They are not different from other standard Labs except in their coat pigments. Their coats tend to have a darker shade of yellow—something that is quite striking and rare!

Red fox Labs also have short and thick double coats, which comprises of the outer guard hair (that repel dirt and moisture and protect them from elements like harmful UV rays and snow) and a soft inner coat (that help insulates them and regulate their body temperatures).

In other words, your red lab dog will remain warm in all kinds of climates.

2. Good Trainability

Labrador Retrievers rank number seven on the list of the most intelligent dogs in the world. If you plan on having a Fox Red Lab soon, keep in mind that your doggie will spend his days finding how things are done around the home.

He will want to know how the refrigerator door is opened and how to fix himself a treat in your absence.

Unlike other dogs that wait to be told what to do all the time, a Fox Red Lab is very curious and quite independent on this front. This kind of drive and motivation is a perfect attribute for training a dog to adopt new behaviors.

Additionally, with an immense passion for being good to their parents, these dog breeds respond very well to training. In fact, over the past few decades, Labrador retrievers have become some of the breeds to beat in many canine obedience and agility competitions. 

Focus on training your pup indoor calmness, loose-leash walking, and no jumping. You should also ensure that you invest in plenty of chew toysto keep your Lab occupied.

However, like any other dog breed out there, some fox red Labs can be stubborn at times, so working closely with a reputable obedience trainer is highly recommended.

But a combination of positive reinforcement and patience can do wonders even to the worst-behaved dogs.

3. Socialization Skills

Apart from being smart, Fox Red Labrador Retrievers have exceptional socialization skills. This is why they fit well into many family structures.

They are great friends with enough love to go around for everybody (kids, adults, livestock, and other pets). They are especially great at striking good relationships with their cantankerous and sharp-clawed cousins: cats.

Of course, you should make proper introductions to avoid any unpleasant dog behavior.

4. Emotional Stability

Another fantastic character trait of Labrador Retriever dog breeds is their stability. They are sweet and happy for the most part.

They are very emotional and don’t shy away from sharing a strong emotional connection with their owners.

With a Fox Red Lab, be sure you will get a smile and stable mood, behavior, character.

Having said this, there are individual dogs in this breed that can be quite unstable but if you give your pup enough fun and play, you will have the best pup for life.

5. Excellent Therapy Dogs

Historically, Labs were bred to retrieve ducks, fish, and other game, which had escaped primordial trapping methods, courtesy of their ‘soft pouts’—they could carry the prey without puncturing their skin.

Today, many Labrador retrievers make perfect support or therapy dogs. Their emotional stability, friendly nature, and eagerness to please their owners make them perfect candidates for pet-assisted therapy.

Their outstanding intelligence also makes them ideal dogs for people with disabilities.

So, if you are looking for an assistance dog for your disabled family member or friend, you will never go wrong with redfox lab.

And since they come from the Retriever heritage, which were bred to work, the fox haired Labrador can take on a wide range of jobs that other working dog breeds can do like material hauling, scenting, search and rescue, fish and duck retrieval.

So, the military, police, farm owners, and hunting aficionados (yes, the prey drive of a red fox retriever is pretty high) will also find these dogs valuable.   

5. Health

Compared to other purebred dogs, Labrador Retrievers are generally healthy. The reason is that they were bred for quite a long time for a demanding and practical job of work and are thus spared from major health issues led by conformation.

A Fox Red Lab is physically balanced which helps to keep them healthy. The red color variation has no negative impact on the fox red Lab’s health. So, your pup will only be susceptible to ailments that affect any other Lab.

To this end, some of the conditions that you should look out for including ear infections, hip and elbow dysplasia, muscular dystrophy, idiopathic epilepsy, and bloat (or gastric dilation).

6. A Soft Pout

In the past, Labradors were bred to retrieve prey such as fowl from fields and lakes. This led them to develop a soft pout that cannot bite down the prey but carry it safely to the required destination.

This habit makes Fox Red Labs exceptionally good in fetching games. They are also easy to train not to bite.

7. Highly Adaptable

Fox red labs can live in most settings. They are not overly affected by cold weather, courtesy of their outer guard hair which protects them from snow, moisture, and other weather elements.

Their inner coats also play an important role in regulating their body temperatures, reducing their sensitivity to high temperatures. 

And while they do well in large spaces because they are large dog breeds, fox red labs have also been reported to live in smaller apartments without any issue. Provided that he gets enough exercise and gets plenty of attention, he will be content. 



With an outgoing personality and high intelligence, a Fox Red Lab can easily get bored if not properly entertained. Many Labradors between the ages of one and three are often found in dog shelters because of a wide range of behavioral issues.

Your pup requires a high dosage of exercise than other laid-back dog breeds. This is because, without the right amount of fun and play, your canine will develop destructive behaviors to try and kill boredom.

If your home doesn’t have enough space, you might need to make arrangements to walk your dog every so often.

Apart from exercise, these middle-sized dog breeds need mental stimulation round the clock to kill boredom. Their intelligence demands this. A Fox Red Lab can easily become destructive if it gets bored in a bid to entertain himself.

You need to throw your pup plenty of challenges on a daily basis. This can be learning a new thing or performing a command correctly.

If you don’t have the time to do this, get him sufficient puzzle toys. Here is a quick list of toys to consider:

2. Shedding

A Fox Red Lab’s double coat is great for keeping him warm in all kinds of climate but sheds a little more than most other breeds.

Although these dogs shed constantly, the more abundant shedding takes place twice a year – in the Fall and Spring.

Even worse, their yellow and red fur tends to get everywhere when they shed or blow their coats out because it is more visible.

To keep up with it, perform regular brushing and grooming and invest in a quality vacuum cleaner to remove loose hairs.

We recommend brushing your pup’s lovely fur at least once a week during moderate shedding seasons and twice or thrice a week during heavy shedding seasons.

Use a good brush that’s designed for double-coated coats to keep your foxy red labrador’s coat in top shape.

3. Body Odor

All dog breeds can give off an unpleasant odor if they are not regularly washed but Fox Red Labs are perhaps the worst of them all. This is because they produce more oil than other breeds to help keep their coats dry quickly.

The downside of this is that it causes body odor. The solution is to bathe your dog regularly.

4. They May Be Prejudiced in the Show Ring

Because a Fox Red Lab is scientifically a yellow Lab, they are often allowed to be shown in the conformation ring as well as other obedience and performance competitions.

However, judges tend to mark them less favorably compared to their traditional and lighter colored Lab counterparts. So, they are never likely to win or even come close to winning.

If showing your pooch in any competition is a factor to you, then you should forgo the Fox Red Lab or simply try your hand on the traditional colored Labs.

Alternatively, you should always be ready to move on if your Fox Red Lab doesn’t win these shows even if he is one of the best.

However, if he wins, then you should definitely know that he’s a rare and outstanding Labrador specimen.

5. More Vocal

One key difference between fox colored Labrador retriever and other Labs is that they tend to be more vocal.

Canine experts associate this with their smaller gene pool, positing that a once vocal ancestor could have passed the trait on.

In other words, the trait could have been inherited from one family member down the fox red Lab heritage. This means that this is not a fox red Lab trait per se, so your red Labrador may be different.

Important Facts to Know about Red Fox Labs

Knowing the red fox lab pros and cons is not enough if you seriously want to bring a new puppy home. You should also know about the history of this amazing dog, temperament, how much to pay for a new puppy, where to find a fox red lab for sale, their exercise requirements, and any other relevant information that can help you  understand or know your new Fido better.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in…

A. Size, Weight, & Other Trademark Features

  • Red Fox Lab Average Weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Fox Red Lab Size: 22-24 inches (males); 21-23 inches (females)
  • Tail: Short, straight, and otter-like (acts like a rudder and aids turning and propelling them through water).
  • Recognizable Features besides coat color: Drop ears, broad head, stocky body, powerful necks, and large (& round) expressive eyes.    
  • Fox Red Lab LifeExpectancy: 10-14 years

B. What Is the Correct Spelling: Fox Red Lab, Red Fox Lab, or Foxred Lab?

Since fox red is not an ‘official’ color Labrador retriever color, you can spell the name the way you deem fit. In other words, there are no consistencies or requirements of how the name should be spelled.

What really matters is the gorgeous coat color of this Lab! We (and most other owners of this Labrador) use Fox Red Lab frequently because it perfectly matches the coat color.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that some people tend to think that these dogs are crosses or mixes of foxes probably because of the name!

However, that is not the case. The fox part of the name is just used to denote color. These dogs are 100% Labs.

C. Fox Red Labrador History: Where Did Fox Red Labs Come From?

Labrador Retrievers are believed to have originated from the island of Newfoundland, off Canada’s northeastern Atlantic coast, where they were bred to help local fishermen retrieve fish, haul nets, and fetch ropes. They also served as family and protection dogs.

The potential for all the coat colors of the Labrador retrievers that we are familiar with today—black, yellow, chocolate red, etc—have always existed with the breed.

However, there was a time when people favored black Labrador retrievers. As a result, other colored Labs were culled, including Fox Red Labs.

As years progressed, lighter shades of yellow Labradors became more popular and the fox red or darker shades became less fashionable.

However, there is a section of people who still loved the darker and fox red Labradors. These were majorly the working gun community who favored the coat color because it was a bit harder for wildfowl to spot compared to the pale yellow coat.

This new-found love among the gun community made fox red Labs more desirable again. So, many breeders began breeding selectively to try to obtain litters of the fox reds to meet the demands of this section of the community.

The dazzling fox red Labs we have today are, therefore, believed to have come from this pool of working Labradors.

D. Fox Red Lab Temperament

Most Labrador red fox owners-to-be tend to think that their dog’s temperament is different from other labs. However, that’s not the case: a fox red lab has the same temperament characteristics as any other Labrador retriever—yellow, black, or chocolate.

Expect your fox Labrador to be gentle, loyal, friendly, playful, and intelligent.

Provided that he is socialized early, well cared for, and exposed to positive experiences, your fox red Labrador retriever will be sweet-natured, pleasant, empathetic, and show little anxiety around everybody, including complete strangers.

They are also good with children, other dogs, and pets provided that they are properly trained.

Some fox red Labrador retrievers may manifest strong instinctive prey drive and chase other family pets, but proper training during puppyhood can avert the behavior.

Finally, although they are outgoing, expect your foxy red Lab to be protective of his family and home. 

E. Puppy Colors

When they are born, red fox lab puppies tend to appear much darker. A few weeks after birth, they will become much lighter. The coat color then changes over the next few months.

In particular, the color will darken a bit. So, how do you tell the final color your adult fox red lab puppy will be?

Well, most canine experts recommend looking at your puppy’s ears—that’s often the closest color resemblance to what the final coat color will be.

Labs are fully grown when they hit one year and often reach full height by month 9. So, expect their coat colors to remain the same when they are 2-3 years old.

F. Fox Red Lab Price

If you are buying a Labrador retriever puppy from a reputable breeder, expect to pay around $900-1000 or slightly higher. However, since the red fox color coat is rare, anticipate paying much more—at least $1200.

It is a simple case of supply and demand at play here. Like any other industry, if there isn’t enough supply of an item, buyers will have to pay more!

However, it is worth mentioning that once it becomes easy to sell a breed on the basis of color, all the important things to be considered when breeding (like correct bloodlines and health) get ignored a lot.

The color will drive the demand and breeders will use it as an easy way of making quick bucks.

So, be wary of breeders who tend to charge unusually higher price tags for their red fox lab puppies. Probably they are cutting corners on health and other important aspects.

If anything, a reputable breeder will look down upon the rush to price puppies differently because of coat colors.

G. Finding Good Red Fox Lab Breeders

If you’ve made your mind to welcome these beautiful dogs to your home, you’ll definitely want to know how to go about finding a puppy.  And your next move will be to find a good, reputable breeder.

As aforementioned, the moment a coat color becomes fashionable, many breeders move fast to take advantage of the situation and even end up using crooked breeding strategies—without real thought on important aspects like bloodlines, health, temperament, and working ability.

To find a good breeder, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Stay away from breeders who purport to only breed fox reds. Coat color should never be the top priority for a reputable breeder.
  • Insist on meeting the puppy’s parents. This way, you’ll have a better glimpse of how your dog will grow up, his temperament, size, and overall appearance.
  • No breeder should guarantee you the final color of your fox red Lab puppy because the coat colors tend to change (darken) as the dogs grow in age.
  • The only surefire way of getting a red fox puppy is by breeding two red fox parents. In case one of the parents of the puppy you plan to purchase is yellow and the other is red, your adult labrador red fox dog is likely to be yellow than red.
  • Only work with breeders who are willing to show you a proof of health screenings like OFA and CERF certificates.

If you can’t find a reputable breeder locally, we recommend that you check with AKC breeders. They often list fox red Labrador puppies for sale, which are either ready for purchase or litters that are expected soon.

Another great place to consider getting your new puppy from is rescue centers. Dogs in rescue centers need parents more than ever, so by getting one from a shelter, you will be doing a lot of favor to the dog world and your community.

H. Are Fox Red Labs Recognized by AKC?

Generally, Labrador Retrievers are recognized by AKC and were first accepted into the organization in 1917.

However, fox red Lab is not recognized as a separate color by the organization and many other major kennel clubs around the world. It is considered as a mere variation in shades of the traditional yellow Labrador. 

Nonetheless, AKC allows fox red labs to be registered as yellow Labs because they don’t consider the darker colored coat as a disqualifying color.

For your information, silver and charcoal labs are other colors that are not currently recognized by AKC.

I. Are Fox Red Labs Purebreds?

Because the coat color is uncommon, especially when compared to other traditional Lab colors like black, chocolate and paler yellow shades, some canine enthusiasts doubt the purity of fox red Labradors.

Some people even claim that these types of Labs are bred unethically to take advantage of the rare coloring. So, are fox red labs purebreds?

The short answer is: Yes, these dogs are authentic, purebred Labrador Retrievers with a history that dates back to the earliest days of the breed.

If anything, AKC and other major kennel clubs around the globe recognize these dogs as purebreds and only a variation in shades of the traditional yellow Labrador.

J. Darker Fox Red Labs

As you’ve probably witnessed, not all fox red labs look the same—some have lighter fox red shades while others have considerably darker fox red shades. Are they different?

No, all of them are fox red Labs. The variation of the shade is a mere expression of a pigment commonly referred to as Pheomelanin.

If you sport a dark fox red labrador, therefore, just know that it is still a fox red Lab but with a darker shade coat color.

K. British vs. Amerian Fox Red Labradors

What is the difference between American and English fox red labs? Well, most people cite two things: physical appearance and temperament.

English fox red labs are relatively shorter, have blocky builds, and tend to have a broader face.

In terms of temperament, they are often very calm and docile because they were mostly bred for show rings.

On the other hand, the American fox red lab is tall, thin, and has a more narrow face. It is also more energetic, a bit hyper, and more intelligent. 

L. Is Fox Red Labrador Retriever related To Vizsla?

The short answer is NO. While some people do mistake Labrador retriever red fox dogs for Vizslas, these breeds are different and unrelated in any way.

As aforementioned, a Labrador retriever red fox dog is a purebred Lab, and currently, there is nothing that scientifically connects them with Vizslas. They are only similar in appearance—same coat color, large ears, and facial expression.

However, you can easily differentiate them if you know a thing or two about these dogs. For instance,  a fox red Labrador retriever tends to be more athletic and a Vizsla is considerably smaller.

M. Are red Labs Rare?

Of course, fox red Labs are not as popular as other traditional colored labs. It is neither a priority for most breeders to breed foxtail Labradors nor is it a straightforward matter breeding red Labrador puppies because of the complexity of the inheritance mechanism.

As such, as far as the Labrador retriever market is concerned, fox red Labs tend to be a rare option.

N. Tips To Help You Take Care of A Fox Red Lab


To help you take good care of your Fox Red Lab, here’s a list of things to do:

  • Regular Brushing: Brushing your Labrador’s coat several times a week helps with the distribution if his natural oils. It also keeps the coat healthy so that it offers protection during the cold climate.
  • Grooming: Like other dogs, your Fox Red Lab needs grooming from time to time. You need to trim his nails when you hear them produce a clicking sound as he walks around. Additionally, bath him regularly with dog shampoo to keep his coat looking fresh and beautiful. If you have a large dog, install a dog shower attachment to make washing easier. Apart from bathing, be sure to brush your dog’s teeth daily using toothpaste made for dogs. This will keep dental issues at bay.
  • Ear Care: Because of their big, floppy ears, red fox Labs are prone to ear infections. When dirt and water get trapped into their ears, they act as breeding grounds for bacteria, which in turn cause painful infections. Strive to check your dog’s ears for dirt and wax build-up and clean them regularly to help prevent ear infections.
  • Take your dog for swimming: A Labrador loves to take a dip in the water just as much as you do. Whenever an opportunity to take him for swimming comes up, don’t let it pass. After a successful training session, consider rewarding him by letting her jump in the pool or lake.
  • Get a leash: Fox Red Labs should be on a 6-foot leash when walking in the public. Choose one made from rope, nylon, or chain for comfort for both you and your pup.
  • Purchase a collar for the dog: A collar helps keep your dog’s tags in place and helps ensure effective training. There are a number of collars on the market worth your money including a choke collar, a traditional collar, and a hybrid collar. Choose one that fits your dog’s needs.
  • Excitement and fun: If you want a healthy, stable, and sweet Labrador, offer a ton of excitement and fun. Take them to the park, go for walks and jogs with them, play fetch, and give them puzzle toys.
  • Plenty of food: Labradors love to eat. In fact, this is scientifically proven—Labradors lack the POMC genes (which tell dogs that they are full), so he is hungry most of the time. Accordingly, be sure to give them enough food for their nutritional requirements—about 3 cups of food per day. Ensure that you give your working red Labrador a protein-rich diet to give him extra energy. Premium dry kibble is also an excellent choice for Labs. However, Labs are prone to obesity if this study is anything to go by, so ensure that you closely monitor your pup’s diet to avoid potential weight gain issues. Labs are also prone to bloat, so we recommend serving them small portions at a time but often (3 times a day will suffice).
  • Test your dog for common Labrador-related conditions: To keep your Fox Red Lab healthy all the time, ensure that he is tested for some of the top health conditions that are common with Labradors including Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, muscular dystrophy, idiopathic epilepsy, Exercise Induced Collapse (which can cause loss of muscle control), and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (which might lead to loss of vision).

O. Quick Recommendation

To help you know your fox red lab even better, here are great books you can read:

Final Thoughts

As you can see, while a fox red lab is simply a variation of the shades in the yellow Labrador retriever, it is a variation that is stunning and highly appealing to Labrador lovers.

They are sweet-natured, pleasant, empathetic, gentle, loyal, playful, and intelligent. They also make great family dogs because they get along with everybody in the family.

So, you won’t go wrong if you welcome this sweet breed to your home. 

As they throw their intelligence around and shower you with love, don’t forget to reciprocate the same.

Feed them well, train them, take them out for walks and exercise, and find creative ways to bond with them. This way you can derive all the benefits of owning a Fox Red Lab.

Image sources: 1, 2

Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.
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Fox Red Labrador Retriever

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

The Fox Red Labrador isn’t a separately recognized color by the major kennel clubs around the world. It’s just one of the somewhat wide variation in shades of Yellow Labrador available.

The American Kennel Club Labrador breed standard states: ‘Yellow–Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog.’

So the term Fox Red Labrador is actually a bit of a misnomer. It’s a Yellow. But seeing a more common yellow and a red side by side in the picture above, I think you’ll agree it is a fitting description!

Contents & Quick Navigation

History of the Fox Red Labrador

Like most colors of Labrador in the earliest history of the breed, I’m sad to say the majority of fox red Labradors were culled at birth.

The Lab was a working dog used during hunting pursuits and the hunting fraternity heavily favored the Black Labrador over all other colors. And so red labs were relatively uncommon.

But in a reversal of the trend today, in the early days of the breed the more common shades of yellow that existed were dark yellow to fox red.

The lighter shades of yellow and cream that we think of as normal today, were actually quite rare. In fact, the first ever registered yellow was a dark golden color.

An old black and white photo of Ben of Hyde, the first ever registered Yellow Labrador.

Ben of Hyde, registered in 1899 and seen in the photograph to the left, shows he’s a relatively dark color and until the 1940s, this was certainly the norm.

However, through the mid to late 1900s, lighter shades of yellow and cream became more fashionable and breeders sought to selectively breed for these colors.

After some research I have two theories about why this may have been the case…

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: We’ve read many books and magazines about Labrador Retrievers. One of our favorites, Your Labrador Retriever Puppy is a great resource for all Lab owners.

Why Did The Fox Red Labrador And Darker Yellow Colors Fall Out Of Fashion?

This is mostly my opinion and not concrete fact, but the two theories I have on why the lighter colors of Yellow Labradors became more common are:

  • Firstly, during the early years of the breed the darker yellows and reds were more common. So when a pale cream or very light yellow was born, it seemed more exotic, rarer and hence more desirable. So breeders started to selectively breed for these colors and hence less and less reds were born.
  • Secondly, since the middle 1970s, a famous brand of British toilet paper, Andrex has used a pale Yellow Labrador in their television adverts. Their adverts went on to be shown in over 130 countries for over 35 years. So most people’s view of a Labrador Retriever is that of a pale yellow lab.

Personally, I think these two events played a massive part in the shift of people’s opinion of how a Yellow Labrador should look.

Most colors centered on a cream to light golden color. The dark yellows and reds fell out of fashion. But in the last 10 or 15 years, the range of available shades in the Yellow Labrador have once again widened.

The Fox Red Labrador And Rising Popularity

Lighter colored Labradors were rare in the early history of the breed. They stood out among the crowd and so they were more desired.

This caused breeders to try to match the demand and selectively breed for lighter colors.

This behavior eventually caused the decline of reds by actively ‘breeding the color out’. Due to a lack of popularity of the dark red coat colors, it all but disappeared.

But this new-found rarity in turn made the darker red Labs more desirable. It’s they who now stand out against the lighter colored crowd in modern times.

So now there are many breeders who are selectively breeding to try to obtain litters of reds to meet the demand of people who want the rarer color. Things have turned full circle.

Controversy Around The Red And Darker Yellow Shades

Being uncommon in comparison to the black, paler yellow and chocolate shades does make some people question the red Labradors pedigree. They question whether in fact they are a pure bred Labrador or not?

However, unlike the so-called Silver Labrador Retriever that is surrounded by accusations of outcrossing Labradors with Weimaraners to introduce the diluted coat color to the breed, no such controversy surrounds the darker colors of Yellow and Red Labradors.

They are a genuine, pure bred Labrador, with a history going back to the earliest days of the breed.

How Come They Cost So Much?

Another controversy is the fact that Fox Red Labrador breeders charge a far higher price than breeders do for the more traditional colors of the breed. They advertise their dogs as being a rare breed and charge a premium.

There is some truth in this, but this controversy also follows many other breeds and colors of dogs. This fact is true for ‘White Labradors’ (just very pale Yellows) and years back it was true of Chocolate Labradors too.

Personally, I agree with the fact it’s a simple case of supply and demand.

If there aren’t enough to go around, people will pay more and a breeder would be silly not to take advantage, just as they would in any other industry.

Are Breeders of Reds Irresponsible?

There is some anger among the traditional color breeders for the ‘unethical breeding practices’ accused of some red lab breeders.

It’s said that some breeders will blindly breed for color with complete disregard for the health of the animals or for conformance to the standard.

There is some evidence to support this in a very few small cases, but there are some highly responsible breeders too and I think the good do outnumber the bad.

So please don’t be scared off the shade for health reasons, just be sure to research the breeder and blood line of the kennel first…as indeed everybody should no matter the color of Lab you wish to buy.

Is The Fox Red Lab Temperament Different?

Many people have asked if different colored Labs have different temperaments. Is the Fox Red Lab temperament different from the other Lab colors?

In our experience, no a Fox Red lab has the same loving, friendly temperament as black, yellow, and chocolate Labs.

Further Reading:

For those of you that have a real interest in the Fox Red Labrador and would like some further and much deeper reading, I would suggest you take a read of the following three articles over at

Penara are a USA based breeder (Iowa) of Fox Red Labradors. From what I have read on their site, they are highly ethical and very responsible. They are certainly very knowledgeable!

  • For a good history of the shade, including pivotal moments and important dogs through history: History of the shade
  • For general information on Fox Red Labradors, including genealogy, temperament, pricing etc, please read: About a fox red Labrador
  • For a good discussion of their struggles and successes in the show ring and field, and also for some stunning photos, please see: Fox Red Labradors Today

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you own a Fox Red Labrador and have a story to tell? What do you think of the controversy surrounding the higher prices these dogs command?

Or the accusations thrown at some breeders concerning the health of the dogs in their breeding programs?

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you still yearning for more information about Labrador Retrievers? One of our favorite books is Your Labrador Retriever Puppy . It has tons of information about our favorite breed.

The Fox Red Labrador had all but disappeared! But it's popularity rose in recent years. Read about it's history and the controversy surrounding the breed.

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Fox Red Labrador Retriever was last modified: April 19th, 2020 by LTHQ

Fox-red labradors: Why red is the new black

From russet red to ever-so-slightly blushed, the fox-red is growing in popularity across the country. However, the gundog of the moment goes further back than you think, discovers Katy Birchall.

‘What’s in a colour?’ Had Shakespeare been around a few centuries later and a labrador man, this surely would have been the real question troubling the two households in fair Verona.

Much like the love between a Montague and a Capulet, the best labrador colour can be a controversial affair. Black remains the dominant shade in the shooting field, but the noticeable rise in popularity of a certain shade of yellow has got us asking if red could be the new black.

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

‘The fox-red colour is really very striking,’ declares Lt-Gen Sir Barney White-Spunner, former executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance. Currently the owner of two labradors, his family has kept fox-reds for years.

‘People are always interested in where they’ve come from – they often get mistaken for Rhodesian ridgebacks, which can be a bit irritating,’ he says. ‘

They’re lovely dogs – very companionable and terribly patient. They just love their shooting and all of ours have had tremendous noses, which makes a huge difference.’

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

Sam Rickitt saw a fox-red labrador for the first time when he was out shooting in Leicestershire some six years ago. ‘One of the pickers-up had one,’ he remembers. ‘The dog worked beautifully and was lovely to watch.’ A few years later, Mr Rickitt found himself the proud owner of fox-red Bramble, a birthday gift from his wife, deputy editor of The Field Ali Henton.

Training Bramble with the help of Phil Garton of Fieldcrest Gundogs – ‘he’s training me as much as the dog, if I’m honest’ – Mr Rickitt is pleased to find that she isn’t only a pretty face. Halfway through this past season – her first full one – she picked up 43 birds on a shoot in Derbyshire.

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

‘She’s speedy and her marking and visual acuity are very good. As a two year old, her steadiness is getting there,’ Mr Rickitt reports. A well-travelled dog, Bramble accompanies her master everywhere, from patiently sitting on the riverbank for salmon fishing in Scotland to taking part in a walked-up grouse day. ‘She has a wonderful breadth of ability,’ he enthuses. ‘Going out in the field with Ali and having Bramble with us just completes it – although, with those 43 birds, Bramble is going up in the pecking order.’

Guy Radford, field-trial secretary of Dove Valley Working Gundog Club, has long been a fox-red fan, but points out their one disadvantage. ‘When it goes wrong, everyone knows he’s mine,’ he laughs. ‘If you have a black labrador, you might get away with blaming someone else, but if mine runs in, I can’t hide anywhere.’

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

Having worked labradors for 40 years, Mr Radford currently has five yellows, one of which is a fox-red, the others dark yellow, and he’s keen to point out the difference. ‘Because the fox-red colour is becoming popular, it can be misrepresented and a lot of dark yellows are described as fox-red. That genuine, deep chestnut-red is a beautiful colour and still fairly unusual, so generates interest. People approach me on shoots who’ve never seen one before. My boy often gets mistaken for a vizsla.’

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

Today, the fox-red may seem to be the avant-garde member of the yellow-labrador family – it’s important to reiterate that fox-red is a shade of yellow labrador, not a colour in its own right – but the darker shade was, in fact, the original. The black-and-white photograph of the first recorded yellow labrador, taken in 1899, illustrates a dark-furred dog, arguably what we’d now call fox-red.

This traditional shade of yellow labrador wasn’t overshadowed until later in the 20th century, when the rare lighter hue came into fashion and the dogs became paler and paler.

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

‘Fashion is fickle,’ states Gilly Nickols of Bedgebrook Gundogs in East Sussex. ‘When I started in gundogs, most working labradors on shoots and at field trials were black, then the yellows increased in popularity. I became wary of people wanting to use Rouble at stud because of his colour, rather than his ability, pedigree and temperament.’

Rouble, her ‘first and best’ fox-red labrador, came to her quite by accident, when she bumped into a breeder at the CLA Game Fair who happened to mention that she had a puppy for sale. ‘He was a dog in a million,’ Mrs Nickols recalls. ‘When he was five, I made him up to a Field Trial Champion. He slept in the kitchen that night, rather than the kennel, and I kept going downstairs to tell him how brilliant he was.’

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

Rouble also made his mark when picking up at the Balcombe estate, owned by the Green-wood family: ‘I sent him across a reservoir, up a bank, over a fence and into the edge of a wood to where I had last seen a wounded hen pheasant. Once there, he put his head down and took a line some 70–80 yards before picking the bird and returning to me with it. Mrs Greenwood was kind enough to say it was the best retrieve she’d ever seen and still talks about it some 14 years on.’

‘They’re simply beautiful dogs and lovely characters. Obviously, ours are much nicer than everybody else’s, but I suppose everyone thinks that, don’t they?’

‘There’s nothing better than watching a fox-red labrador using all its natural hunting ability to find and pick a runner on a shoot day,’ remarks Jill Parsons. After competing in working trials with weimaraners, Miss Parsons acquired her first fox-red labrador, Rocky, and ‘became hooked’. Now the owner of five fox-reds and two yellows, she admits she ‘may be slightly biased’, but thinks the popularity of fox-reds for shooting is mostly down to their excellent working ability.

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

This theory is echoed by gundog writer David Tomlinson, who notes that ‘fox-reds tend to be from working rather than show lines, which might explain their popularity as shooting dogs’. Otherwise, he says, the labrador-coat debate is much like choosing between a red or a yellow Ferrari: ‘They’re both the same, except for the colour.’

‘the show world preferred the lighter yellow colour and it was the shooting fraternity that kept the fox-red alive.’

The worry, Miss Parsons emphasises, is that the fashion for fox-reds will lead to their downfall. ‘What’s happening in recent years is that any old fox-red dog is being mated with any old fox-red bitch in the hope of producing the darkest red colour, without any real thought to temperament, working ability, health or conformation,’ she explains. ‘I hope the shooting world will be the custodians of the fox-red – in the past, the show world preferred the lighter yellow colour and it was the shooting fraternity that kept the fox-red alive.’

Jill Parsons and her Fox Red Labradors

©Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life

Ultimately, as the saying goes, a good dog is never a bad colour. As Sir Barney declares: ‘They’re simply beautiful dogs and lovely characters. Obviously, ours are much nicer than everybody else’s, but I suppose everyone thinks that, don’t they?’

Jonnie Hearn and his Tibetan Terrier Skye

They have a starry following, but characterful Tibetan terriers are still a well-kept secret. Emma Hughes meets the best dog

A wire fox terrier perched on top of a hay bale.
Sussex Spaniel

French bulldog wins top spot over labrador as some of the most quintessentially British breeds are pronounced 'vulnerable' by the

Unicorn herd. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.

Whether it be in a coat of arms, in a piece of art or emblazoned on the backpack of a


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What is RedFOX Labs (RFOX)? - RedFOX Labs Explained in Under 60 Seconds

Fox Red Labrador Retrievers: Controversy, Puppy Costs & More

The Red Fox Lab, sometimes known as the Ruby Labrador, is a stunning dog; he is a Labrador Retriever like any other, but with the color of a red fox. Despite being labeled as red in color, he is technically just a deeper shade of the traditional yellow Labrador.

Sick dog on the ground with text Advertisement

Like any Labrador, he is energetic and fun to be around, but at the same time, he is also affectionate and gentle with his family, which is why he makes such a great family pet. The color of his coat has no significant bearing on the rest of his appearance, nor his temperament or health issues.

There is not as much controversy surrounding the Fox Red Labrador compared to some of the other colored Labradors, such as the silver Lab, but nonetheless, there are some Labrador fanciers who do not consider him to be a purebred Labrador. Despite the haters, he has many avid fans, and his striking and alternative color is gradually earning him a place amongst the popular pups. So, let’s take a closer look at what this guy is all about.



Red Labrador in Fall Leaves

The Labrador Retriever’s journey began in Newfoundland in Canada. Traditionally he is a hunting dog who worked on the water collecting the quarry of his fisherman masters, such as ducks and fish. St John’s Dog is the ancestor of the Labrador, and so impressed were the visiting nobles from Great Britain by his working skills, that they took him back to England.

Over a few decades, they refined the breed and renamed him the Labrador Retriever, who we know today. Ever since his first registration in America in 1917, they have become a firm family favorite across the world, and, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), he is currently the most popular dog breed in America.

It is unknown exactly when the Fox Red Labrador came into the world. However, they’ve always been a rare color. For this reason, it is believed that because he was not one of the traditional colors, Fox Red pups were either not registered, and therefore an unknown entity, or they were sadly culled once their color was realized.

Prejudice in the Show Ring

Adult Red Lab Looking at Ground

It is important to understand that the Red Fox Lab is recognized, simply, as a yellow Labrador. The red Labrador in any shade does not exist. The Labrador breed standards describe the yellow color as the following:

Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog.

So, the Fox Red is actually yellow. Because of this, he is allowed to be shown in the conformation ring, also commonly known as the show ring. This is a competition based on the Labrador breed characteristics as a whole. However, despite this, and as with many alternative color dogs, the Fox Red Labrador has suffered color prejudice in the canine world two-fold.

Firstly, kennel clubs across the world do not recognize the Fox Red Labrador as a color in its own right. The majority of observers can see that his color is quite different from traditional yellow shades. Ultimately, if you want to register your pup with the AKC then he must be registered as a yellow Labrador.

Secondly, despite being allowed to compete in the show ring, as well as obedience and performance-related events, many owners and onlookers suggest that the judges of the various competitions mark him less favorably. As such he is never likely to win or come close to winning. This is simply put, because the judges favor traditional and lighter colors more than the Fox Red.

Unfortunately, for these reasons, if showing your Labrador, in any event, is an important factor for you, then you should either consider getting a more traditional colored Labrador. Or, just accept that your pup is unlikely to win even if he is one of the best in the show. However, if he does win, then you know that your pup is quite simply an outstanding Labrador specimen!

Red Fox Lab Color Genetics Explained

Red Fox Lab Genetic Differences

All pairs of genes are inherited from the parents, one from Mom and one from Dad. As with most gene pairs they can come in big or small versions, also known as dominant and recessive genes.

The default color in the Labrador is black. This is caused by a pair of genes called the BB genes. So, a black Labrador could have, for example, the Bb gene. Little b is responsible for the genetic code necessary to make a brown coat instead of a black one. But because big B is dominant and switches off little b, on this occasion he will be black. The little b only shows his powers when the bb gene appears. When this happens, you get a chocolate-colored Labrador.

All this has nothing to do with the Fox Red Labrador right? Wrong! This is important because it is all linked to the yellow Labrador, and in turn, this is linked to the Red Fox Labrador! Stick with me.

To get a yellow Labrador you need the genes that switch off the black and brown coat. These are known as the e genes. They come in EE, Ee, and ee. It’s this last ee pair that come together and pack quite the punch, enough to completely block both the big B and little b genes. This is what gives us the yellow Labrador.

In the EE or Ee format you still have a black or brown Labrador. A fox red Labrador is simply a variation of yellow. The shading of yellow needed to produce the red coloring is controlled by a pigment called pheomelanin which is controlled by another two different sets of genes, A and C. The A gene controls the production of the red color and the C gene controls whether or not it is fully expressed or diluted.

These genes do not cancel one another out like the other genes. They work together to produce a variety of different shades, from pale yellow to rich fox red.  So as you can see, the Fox Red is quite a rarity!


Red Fox Lab in Field

The Fox Red Labrador is a rare color, and he is undoubtedly hard to come by. His distinctive color coat is the only real difference between him and any other colored Labrador. He is described as being a deeper, or darker shade, of the yellow Labrador.

This is just as common as the white Labrador being described as being a lighter shade of yellow. His color is labeled Fox Red, because it is exactly that, the color of the red Fox.  Other breeds of retrievers have similar coloring (like the golden retriever) meaning that both retriever breeds can have a red color to their coat.

On occasion, they will have slightly deeper pink features around the muzzle. This will appear either in the pigment of the skin or in his nose color, but sometimes he also shares the same black features as his brothers. They are also more likely to have a white spot on their underbelly compared to other Labrador colors. It is thought that this is only because these patches are more visible on their darker skin compared to their yellow brothers.

Just as any other color Labrador, the male Red Fox Lab will measure 22.5 – 24.5 inches from paw to shoulder and will weigh 65 to 80 pounds. Of course, the female will measure slightly shorter, at 21.5 – 23.5 inches, and she will weigh 55 to 70 pounds. They are stocky dogs, with a thick powerful neck and a thick otter-like tail. They are also cute in their facial expression, with large round eyes that are full of mischievousness.

Generally, as he is not favored in the ring, he is simply not bred for the ring. It is said that the shooting world kept the Fox Red alive, while the conformation world tried to breed him out. For this reason, it would be even rarer to find an English Fox Red Labrador bred for confirmation purposes. It’s more common for American Fox Red Labradors, who are generally bred for hunting. To understand more about the two types of Labradors, you can read about the differences between English vs. American Labradors.

If you like the color of the Fox Red coat, but you aren’t too keen on the Labrador himself, then it might be interesting to know that he can often be mistaken for a Vizsla. He has the same facial expression and large ears, with the same color coat, but he is much more athletic in appearance.

He’s oftentimes also mistaken for a Lab & Rhodesian Ridgeback mix.  Those who believe that the Fox Red Labrador is not a purebred Labrador, claim that he is the result of breeding a Labrador with a Vizsla. This causes controversy in the Labrador community, however, as of yet, there is no evidence for such a claim.


Red Labrador Outside

The Red Fox Lab is similar in temperament to that of any colored Labrador; ‘friendly, active and outgoing’ is the AKC’s description of one of the best canine companions. He is an energetic bundle of fun, and he will certainly keep you on your toes! He will shower you and the whole family with affection.

In addition to his playful nature, he is also a friendly and gentle canine, who is eager to please his humans. Not only would he do anything for you, but he will love snuggling on the sofa once playtime is over for the day. He is also great with smaller animals and young children, as long as he is socialized properly as a pup.

The only difference that has been noted between the Fox Red Labrador and any other color Labrador is that they can be slightly barkier. However, Gregg Tonkin, who is a Fox Red Labrador breeder comments that this may be due to the fact the gene pool is smaller, and a once barky ancestor may be responsible for this. So, it is not necessarily a Fox Red trait as such, but simply an inherited characteristic from one family member. So this may or may not be the case in your Fox Red Labrador.

Exercise and Training

Red Labrador sitting near stone wall

The Fox Red Labrador is a high-energy dog who needs at least 60 minutes of active exercise a day. This needs to include high-intensity exercise in order to keep him both physically and mentally stimulated. It’s important to burn up that working energy. This can include swimming in the local lake, retrieving sticks, or participating in local agility events.

The Labrador is a very intelligent pup, and the Fox Red Labrador is certainly no different. This is one of the main reasons why Labradors are the most popular assistance dogs for the blind. They also excel in many other professions.

Do not underestimate his intelligence though, he still needs consistent obedience training and a firm master to ensure he grows into a well-mannered adult.  Make sure you have plenty of toys available to keep your pup occupied.


Red Coated Lab under Tree

The Red Fox Labrador’s lifespan is, on average, between 10 and 12 years.  Generally, he is a healthy dog with no major concerns to be worried about. The color of his coat has no bearing on his health in any way. As such, he shares the same health issues as any other Labrador.

Any prospective Labrador owner, regardless of his color, will need to be aware of the following health issues. It’s recommended that his parents be tested for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. They should also be tested for Exercise Induced Collapse, which is where he can suffer a loss of muscular control following a period of extreme exercise. He should also undergo an Ophthalmologist Evaluation, as certain diseases, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, can eventually lead to a total loss of vision.


Red Labrador Eating Food

The Fox Red Labrador will eat around 3 cups of food a day. Regardless of color, Labradors are on the continuous hunt for snacks. This is scientifically proven; the POMC is the part of dogs DNA that tells them that they are feeling full, and the Labrador does not have this.

This means your Red Lab will likely always be hungry! In order to avoid obesity and other weight-related health issues that he is prone to, it is imperative to control his food consumption and feed him food that fits the breed profile.


Red Labrador Puppy

The Fox Red Labrador’s grooming needs are similar to any other canine. They are considered to be a heavier shedder when compared to other breeds. He has a double coat which keeps him warm in the colder months.

However, because of this he sheds considerably during shedding season. During this time, he will need brushing every day to keep his coat manageable. When he is not shedding, his coat will require brushing once or twice a week.

Breeders and Puppy Price

Red Fox Lab Puppy Prices

A traditional colored Labrador Retriever puppy will cost, on average, anywhere between $1,000 and up from a reputable breeder. The Fox Red Labrador Retriever is much rarer. Because of that, you can expect to pay much more as the supply and demand ratio is considerably higher.

A Fox Red Labrador will cost nearer the higher end of the scale. He is not priced as high as other alternative colors. However, as he is rarer than the traditional yellow or black pups he may cost slightly more.

Be sure to do your research on reputable breeders beforehand. Many Lab enthusiasts comment that reputable breeders should not charge more for rarer colors. However, if he is healthy and you really want this particular color, then paying the higher price is something you should be prepared to expect.

The AKC lists breeders who have listed their pups for sale, either ready to purchase now or litters that are expected soon. The Labrador Retriever Club also list registered breeders state by state.

Alternatively, if you would like to rescue and adopt a Labrador Retriever, then you can also find rescue groups listed state by state, who are solely dedicated to rehoming Labradors. There are plenty of rescue groups across America, and if you are sure that you want the Red Fox Lab as a pet, you may have to invest a little more time, but it will be worth it when you find your canine soulmate!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is a better family pet, the Yellow Lab, or Fox Red Lab?

    Neither coat color really matters when it comes to disposition with a family. It's really about if the Lab is the right breed for you. You should consider why you'd like a Labrador in the first place? If you are after a loving family pet, then either of them will do just fine. If you want to show your pup in registered events, then because of the color prejudice described above, the traditional yellow Labrador is a better choice.

  • Will a Fox Red Lab maintain his red color?

    Yes and no. Yes, he will always be a variant of red throughout his lifetime, he will not randomly turn into a black Labrador. However, when he is born he will appear much darker than he is. Then over the next few weeks, it will become much lighter. Then it will change again, over the following few months.

    This is the period where their color will darken into the fox red, sometimes dramatically so. The best way to determine what color he will be is to look at his ears. This is the closest color resemblance to what his real coat will be. Once he reaches the age of 2 to 3 years, his color will remain the same.

  • Is the Fox Red Labrador related to the Vizsla?

    No, despite the claims that this may be true, there is currently no evidence to suggest that he is related to the Hungarian Vizsla in any way. The current evidence suggests that the Fox Red Lab is a purebred Labrador. They are simply a darker shade of the traditional yellow.

    The Vizsla is of similar appearance to the Labrador Retriever. It's easy to understand why people think this when the Vizsla has the same color coat, and a smaller but similar build. But ultimately, they are not related.

  • Can they be registered with the AKC?

    Yes, they can be registered as the AKC. They must be registered as a dog with a yellow coat. Your pup may end up being at a disadvantage to other dogs with a more pure yellow coat. For other events like agility, there will be no disadvantage.

  • Where do Fox Red Labradors originate from?

    Little is known about where the coat color originated. We do know that when the color first appeared, it was looked upon with scrutiny, and those dogs were purposely not bred. Breeders did not want the color to continue. Now breeders have embraced the color, and these pups are bred exclusively for their beautiful red coats.

Final Thoughts

The Fox Red Labrador, or the Ruby Labrador, or the deep yellow Labrador is a lovely pup. They are quite simply, a ray of sunshine! He is not much different from the standard color Labradors, except in his coat pigment. This pup however is much rarer and difficult to find. His coat is rich in color, and certainly makes a statement in the Labrador world.

So, if you are lucky enough to get your paws on one of these guys, and you don’t mind that he isn’t favored in the kennel club world, then you will certainly have a friend for life!


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Reason she has - probably because we had a fight because of his mother. Vixen is still the same - oh, and she spoiled our blood at that time. and then the faithful began to freak out. "what happened" I say.

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