The Red Fox Lab is a rare color variation of the traditional Labrador Retriever. Despite being labeled as red in color, these beautiful dogs are technically just a deeper shade of the classic yellow Lab.
But are Fox Red Labs good family dogs? The color of a dog’s coat doesn’t affect its temperament and Fox Red Labradors have similar temperaments to yellow colored Labradors. Fox Red Labs are amazing family dogs and make friendly, active, kind, and playful companions. Your Lab will shower your entire family with love and affection.
Although Red Labs are stunning to behold they’ve been a subject of much controversy for decades! Keep on reading to find out why, as well as to learn more about this rare coloring of the ever-popular Lab!
What Is a Red Fox Labrador?
The Red Fox Labrador Retriever is like any other Labrador Retriever, just with a deeper shade of yellow than a traditional Lab.
According to the American Kennel Club breed standards, yellow Labrador Retrievers can range in color from fox-red to light cream. Color variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog are also allowed (source).
Brief History of Red Fox Lab
The Labrador Retriever breed started off in Newfoundland, Canada where it worked on the water as a hunting dog, collecting fish and ducks for fishermen. During the breed’s early days, most Labradors were often black in color.
The first yellow Lab on record was born in 1899. This dog was named Ben of Hyde and his coat was of a relatively darker color than that of pale yellow Labs we are used to seeing today.
Until the 1940s red coloring and darker yellow Labradors were the norms. However, in the 1950s lighter shades of yellow and cream became more popular which prompted the Labrador breeders to selectively breed for those colors.
As dark yellows and red fell out of fashion, the Fox Red Labradors became extremely rare and at the brink of disappearing completely.
Over the past years, this rarity made the darker, red-colored Labs more desirable with people looking for a unique pet. So now, many breeders are selectively breeding in hopes of creating red coloring that meets the demands of people looking for a rare Labrador Retriever.
Characteristics of Red Fox Lab
The Red Fox Labrador is a strongly built dog of sound and athletic conformation. Their most distinguishing traits are an “otter” tail, a short, weather-resistant coat, and a clean-cut head.
Like all other Labradors, the red-fox variety has a broad skull, strong jaws, medium-sized brown eyes, and floppy ears. Occasionally, Red Fox Labs will have slightly deeper pink features around the muzzle.
Ruby Labrador Highlights:
|Coat Type||Short and thick double coat|
|Energy Level||Highly energetic|
Male Fox Red Labradors are typically larger than females and are between 22.5 and 24.5 inches tall at the withers. Females usually measure between 21.5 and 23.5 inches from paws to shoulders.
Adult Fox Red Labrador Retrievers weigh from 55 to 80 pounds. Males are on the heavier side and usually tip the scales between 65 and 80 pounds, whereas females weigh from 55 to 70 pounds.
Fox Red Labs usually have rich and deeply colored red coats all over their bodies. Reds are also more likely to have white spots or patches of fur on their chests and underbellies than other Labradors.
Don’t forget that the fox-red is technically classified as a dark shade of yellow. This means that all purebred Fox Red Labrador Retrievers are registered as yellow Labs.
The Red Fox Lab has a short, straight, and very dense double coat. The soft weather-resistant undercoat keeps the dog warm and protected in harsh weather conditions. But it also sheds profusely during the shedding season.
Regardless of their coat color, all Labs shed moderately all year round and blow their undercoats in spring and fall. If dog hairs make you sneeze, the Fox Red Lab isn’t the right dog for you.
Coat color has no effect on a dog’s temperament! The Fox Red Labrador will exhibit the same personality and temperament traits traditional yellow Labs are known for.
The American Kennel Club describes Labradors as kind, outgoing, eager to please, and non-aggressive towards people or other animals. They are gentle, adaptable, and intelligent dogs that have much to offer to their people.
If you decide to get a Fox Red Labrador expect it to be a fantastic family dog and loving companion. Labs are social creatures that like to be members of bustling households and are involved in all family activities.
Being a working dog the Fox Red Lab can’t sit still and its playful nature and energy levels are bound to keep you on your toes. However, they also know how to relax once the fun is over and will happily snuggle next to you on the sofa.
Like all other Labs, the Fox Red Labrador gets along well with other dogs. These friendly and thrusting pooches love to have company and will thrive in multi-pet homes.
Many Red Fox Labs are also friendly with cats and can coexist with felines peacefully, especially if they were raised together.
The Red Fox Lab loves children and makes a superb family pet. Labs are naturally tolerant of kids and their gentle and kind natures make them ideal playmates for youngsters.
Don’t forget, Labs are strong and energetic dogs and they can easily knock down a toddler unintentionally. To prevent accidents and injuries, you should always supervise young children while they are playing with your dog.
Red Fox Lab Care
Like any other dog, the Red Fox Lab needs a dedicated owner that will understand its needs. Having said that, Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed in the United States, and they are fairly easy to care for.
If you decide to welcome a Fox Red Lab puppy into your home, here’s everything you need to know:
The Fox Red Labrador is a generally healthy dog. The color of their coat doesn’t have any effect on their overall health.
Having said that, red-colored Labs can develop the same health issues that are seen in the Labrador Retriever breed. The most common health problems are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Exercise-induced collapse
- Progressive retinal atrophy
Fox Red Labradors have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. The same is true of yellow, black, and chocolate Labs, so coat color won’t affect your dog’s health and life expectancy in any way.
Grooming and Maintenance
Red Fox Labrador Retrievers have similar grooming needs to most other dog breeds. Though they are heavy shedders, their short coats are fairly easy to groom and maintain.
Brush your Fox Red Lab two to three times a week in the off shedding season using a rubber curry brush. However, when spring and fall roll around, you’ll need to start brushing your Lab daily to control the shedding.
Besides regular brushing, you’ll also need to bathe your Lab once in a while to keep their coat clean. The good news is that you won’t have to bathe your pooch often, once every two to three months will suffice. Use a mild hypoallergenic dog shampoo that won’t strip your dog’s natural skin oils or damage their coat.
The rest is basic care and involves daily teeth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. Trim your Fox Red Lab’s nails once a month or when you hear them clicking against the floor.
Check your dog’s ears weekly for dirt and waxy buildup and clean as necessary. Being a floppy-eared breed, Labs are at higher risk of suffering from painful ear infections, so make sure to clean and dry your dog’s ears after every swimming session.
Food or Diet
The coat color doesn’t have any effect on a dog’s dietary needs and an ideal diet for a Fox Red Lab is formulated for medium-sized dogs with high energy. If your pooch is going to serve as a working and hunting companion, feed them with specially formulated dog food for working dogs.
Having said that, Labradors have voracious appetites and are inclined to gobble down whatever it’s put in front of them. A study has found that Labradors are missing a part or all of the POMC gene which regulates appetite and indicates the levels of stored fat.
The lack of this gene makes Labs more likely to beg for food and become obese compared to other breeds (source). Keeping that in mind, do not feed table scraps or dole out treats to your Lab no matter how much they beg!
To prevent canine obesity and related health problems, feed your adult Fox Red Lab two or three smaller meals a day. Depending on the age, puppies should eat three or four smaller meals of high-quality kibble a day.
Training and Exercise
Fox Red Labradors are highly energetic dogs that need at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. This can include swimming, jogging, hiking, running, or agility that will help your pooch burn excess energy and help it stay in good shape.
Labs are highly intelligent and playful dogs that can easily become bored and frustrated without mental stimulation. Interactive and puzzle toys and games such as hide and seek, tug-of-war, and fetch can keep your dog entertained.
Fox Red Labradors are highly trainable dogs that learn commands quickly and excel at obedience. Eager to please and food-oriented Labs respond well to positive reinforcement methods and reward-based training.
Start training and socializing your Red Fox Lab puppy as soon as you bring them home and continue to do so throughout your dog’s life. Expose your puppy to different people, places, dogs, children, and strange noises from the get-go to help them grow into a confident and well-mannered pooch.
The Red Lab should live indoors with its family. Due to their energy levels and playful spirits, they do best in large homes with fenced backyards.
Having said that, if you are committed to exercising your Lab every day, they can live and thrive in an apartment too.
Where to Get a Red Fox Lab?
Though Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, the red-fox coloration is still uncommon and rare. The best places to get one are at a shelter or registered kennel.
Red Fox Lab Breeders
Red Fox Labrador Retrievers are rare but are becoming increasingly popular, so more and more breeders are selectively breeding for red coat color. However, you may still have a hard time locating a reputable Red Fox Lab breeder in your area.
Red Fox Lab Price
Red Fox Lab puppies are more expensive than traditional yellow and black Labs and on average cost $1500 or more. The exact price may vary and depends on many factors including the breeder, supply and demand, pedigree, and location.
Labs are amazing family pets, but they too end up abandoned and in the care of rescue organizations and animal shelters across the country. Due to their rarity, Red Fox Labs are rarely found in shelters, but you can still try!
Check out your local shelter to see if they have any red-coated Labs for adoption. Reach out to Labrador Retriever rescue groups too, since they only take in Labradors and Lab mixes.
Is a Fox Red Lab a Purebred?
Fox Red Labrador Retrievers are purebreds! They are technically considered a variety of a yellow Lab since the breed standard says that yellow may range in color from fox-red to light cream.
Fox Red Labs can be exhibited in a show ring and registered with the American Kennel Club. However, they will be registered as yellow Labrador Retrievers.
Are Fox Red Labradors Good Pets?
Fox Red Labs are affectionate, kind, loving, and playful dogs that make amazing pets. They get along well with people of all ages including children and are a joy to have around.
Labradors are gentle and loving with their people, which is why this breed is a go-to choice for families and active people all around the world.
The Red Fox Labrador Retriever isn’t a new dog breed, but an exotic color variety of the traditional yellow Lab. Although they are still rare, red Labradors are becoming popular among people looking for a singular canine companion.
Red Fox Labs make wonderful pets to families with children and active people of all ages, however, they are frowned upon at dog shows. If you are planning to exhibit your Labrador you’d be better off choosing between the traditional yellow, black, and chocolate colors.