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Fox Red Lab Retrievers: Pros, Cons, Traits, Color, Care, Facts, Controversy & More

Fox Red Lab Retrievers: Pros, Cons, Traits, Color, Care, Facts, Controversy & More

Fox Red Lab at a Glance

  • Breed group: Sporting (AKC): gun dog (UKC)
  • Breed Purpose: Hunting and protection
  • Size: 22-24 inches (males); 21-23 inches (females)
  • Weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Coat color: Darker shade of yellow (but may vary depending on the variety).
  • Coat type: Short and thick double coats
  • Origin: Canada (island of Newfoundland, off Canada’s northeastern Atlantic coast)
  • Intelligence: High intelligence 
  • Trainability: Responds well to training
  • Socialization: Excellent socialization skills
  • Temperament: Outgoing, loyal, and happy
  • Adaptability: Can live in most settings
  • Exercise needs: High 
  • Feeding needs: Plenty
  • Barking: Tend to be more vocal 
  • Hypoallergenic: No. Sheds a little more than most other breeds
  • Body odor: High
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years
  • AKC recognition: Not recognized as a separate color
  • Notable Controversies: Prejudiced in the show ring
  • Average Price: $900-$1200 or slightly higher
  • Popularity: Rare

Ever wondered why a Labrador Retriever is the most common breed in the United States?

Well, we’ll tell you: Undying loyalty, a great personality, friendship, and amazing intelligence—these are just 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 as well as other aspects of the breed, including origin, care, health, personality, facts, controversies and more.


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)
  • 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 toys to 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 Life Expectancy: 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 retrieveryellow, 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.

Related Post: How To Register A Dog With AKC Without Papers

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. 

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:

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. 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.

IV. 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.

V. 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.

VI. 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.

VII. 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.

VIII. 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).

IX. 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)

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

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