Fox red Labradors, also known as Ruby Labradors, are beautiful dogs with an eye-catching coat color. These dogs are highly desirable and typically cost more than other Labs. But what exactly makes these dogs special?
If you want to know more about the red fox Lab, make sure to read this guide all the way through.
Here, you will discover everything you need to know about these pooches. You will even learn a thing or two about controversies around the fox red Labrador Retriever!
What Is a Red Fox Labrador?
The red fox Labrador is a Labrador Retriever with a foxy red coat. They also go by the names fox red Labs or ruby Labradors. Red fox Labs do not belong to a separate color class; instead, they are officially listed as one of the darker variations of the yellow Labrador Retriever.
Does this mean that red fox Labs and the yellow Labs are the same? Let’s find out.
For starters, Labrador Retrievers come in three different coat colors — black, yellow, and chocolate.
According to the AKC breed standards, yellow Labrador Retrievers range in color from light cream to fox-red. This means that red fox Labs are indeed yellow Labs!
However, the term “yellow Lab” is usually reserved for light-colored variants of the yellow Labrador Retriever in the dog community. Moreover, it is uncommon for dog enthusiasts to refer to the red fox Labs as “yellow.”
Are Fox Red Labradors Purebred?
It is a known fact that there are fewer fox red Labrador Retrievers compared to other colors of the Labrador Retriever. This begs the question, are fox red Labradors actually purebreds?
The answer to this is a big yes! Fox red Labradors are Labrador Retrievers through and through. They are simply purebred Labs with foxy red coats.
While the “fox red” is not listed as a separate color class in breed standards, this color is accepted as a variant of the yellow color class. Fox red Labs are at the darker end of the accepted range of colors in yellow Labradors.
Simply put, they are a sub-variant of the yellow Labrador so they are purebreds.
That said, there are still members of the dog community who believe that the fox red Labs are Labrador mixes. As you will learn in the following section, these dogs have a fair share of controversies.
Controversy Around the Red Fox Labrador Retriever
The red fox Labrador is one of the most controversial Labs. Their unusual coat color is a common subject of debate in the dog community. But is there actually a good reason behind the controversy around red fox Labs?
As established, the red fox Labrador is a variant of the yellow Labrador Retriever.
While these dogs are eligible to join dog shows and other dog competitions, red fox Labs are usually marked less favorably compared to other Labs.
A probable reason behind this is the stigma that red fox Labs are hybrids. Despite being unproven, these claims have tainted the image of the red fox Labs for the longest time.
One belief claims that red fox Labs are descendants of a Labrador and Vizsla cross. Meanwhile, other speculators argue that these dogs are hybrids of the Labrador and Weimaraner.
However, regardless of these controversies, the red fox Labs still remain one of the most desirable Labradors outside the show ring. To some, these controversies are no match to the unique coat color of these pooches.
Fox Red Labrador Appearance: What Does a Red Fox Lab Look Like?
Red fox Labs are medium-sized dogs with an athletic build and a well-balanced stature.
These dogs have short double coats, well-defined jawlines, and gradually tapered tails. In terms of nose color, red fox Labs always have black noses.
The red fox Labrador looks exactly like other Labrador Retrievers in terms of physical features. These dogs share the same posture, head shape, and ear shape as other Labs.
In fact, the only feature that stands out from these dogs is their ruby-like coat color.
The coat color of red fox Labs may sometimes look similar to a red wheaten Rhodesian Ridgeback.
While they are often lighter than the red Rhodesian Ridgeback, fox red Labs can easily be mistaken for a Ridgeback, especially for the untrained eye.
One interesting thing about the red fox Labrador Retriever is that their coat may be lighter during their puppy years. This means a red fox Lab puppy may be mistaken for a lighter variant of the yellow Labrador Retriever.
Fox Red Labrador Size and Weight: How Big Will a Red Fox Lab Get When Fully Grown?
A full-grown fox red Labrador measures about the same as other Labrador Retrievers in terms of size and weight. On average, males will be a bit bigger than their female counterparts.
A full-grown male fox red Labrador measures 22 to 25 inches in height and weighs around 65 to 80 pounds.
On the other hand, a full-grown female fox red Labrador measures 21 to 24 inches in height and weighs 55 to 70 pounds.
For reference, full-grown fox red Labs are about the same height as Dalmatians, Pharaoh Hounds, and Shetland Sheepdogs. Meanwhile, they weigh similarly to Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Weimaraners.
Red Fox Labrador vs. Yellow Labrador: What’s the Difference?
If you are like most dog enthusiasts, you might also be wondering why the “red fox” is not on the list of recognized colors in Labrador Retrievers.
Well, in case you missed it, red fox Labradors are indeed recognized. However, they do not have their own separate color class.
Instead, red fox Labs are classified as a yellow Labrador. This means red fox Labs are actually yellow Labs! But how come these dogs are named differently? Moreover, are these pooches actually different?
To review, here’s a photo of a red fox Labrador Retriever:
From this photo, it is evident that the red fox Lab has a ruby-colored coat. Its coat color looks nothing like a traditional yellow Labrador.
On the other hand, here’s a photo of a yellow Labrador Retriever:
The coat color of the yellow Lab looks nothing like the color of the red fox Lab! How come these dogs are classified under the same color class?
The difference between a red fox Labrador and a yellow Labrador is not in their temperament nor in their physical features.
Similarly, their difference is also not in their size or common health problems. Instead, their only difference lies in their genetics.
Red fox Labs have more prominent pheomelanin. Pheomelanin controls the “depth” of the coat color of a dog.
A yellow Labrador with a more prominent pheomelanin will have a darker coat color, as with the case in red fox Labs.
Red Fox Labrador Coat Color Genetics: What Causes the Red Fox Color in Labradors?
The entire science of canine coat genetics is beyond the scope of this guide. Luckily, you do not need to dive into the nitty-gritty to understand the genetics of the red fox Labrador.
To start, the first thing to know is that the default color of Labrador Retrievers is black.
This black coat color is attributed to the so-called BB genes. When these black genes are superseded by other gene pairs, a non-black Labrador is born.
To get a red fox Labrador, the coat genetics of a Lab puppy should first match that of a yellow Lab. Yellow Labs have “switched off” BB genes.
This means instead of having dominant BB genes, the coat genetics of yellow Labs are composed of either EE, Ee, or ee genes.
These variants of EE genes block the BB genes, which results in a light-haired yellow Labrador Retriever. Moreover, when a yellow Labrador has dominant A and C genes, a pigment known as pheomelanin kicks in.
Pheomelanin is what causes the red fox coloration in red fox Labradors. This pigment controls the “redness” of a Lab’s coat color.
As expected, red fox Labs have more pheomelanin compared to lighter variants of the yellow Labs.
Red Fox Labrador History and Origin: Where Does the Red Fox Lab Come From?
The red fox Lab, alongside other color variants of the Labrador Retriever, has a long and rich history. These dogs were originally bred as hunting dogs in Canada and were later brought to England.
While it may be tempting to think that Labradors originated in Labrador, Canada, these dogs were actually from Newfoundlands. Labs are believed to be descendants of the St. John’s Water Dog — a now extinct dog breed.
The unmatched retrieval skills of Labradors proved valuable to fishermen and hunters in the early 1800s. These dogs were arguably the most famous service dogs during their early years.
To this day, the Labrador Retriever, including the red fox Labrador, still ranks high in AKC’s list of the most famous dog breeds.
However, their fame is no longer attributed to their hunting and retrieval skills. Instead, they are praised for being one of the best family pets to have.
Red Fox Labrador Kennel Club Recognition: Do Kennel Clubs Recognize the Fox Red Labs?
If you are a fan of the red fox Lab, you would be pleased to know that they are recognized by major kennel clubs. This means red fox Labs are eligible to join official dog competitions.
As per the American Kennel Club (AKC), Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), United Kennel Club (UKC), and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the red fox Lab is a recognized variant of the yellow Labrador Retriever.
Red fox Labs, as long as they do not exhibit any faults, can be registered in a kennel club. Some of these faults include a thoroughly pink nose, large white marking on the chest, and incorrect height.
Fox Red Labrador Temperament and Personality: Are Fox Red Labs Good Family Pets?
Fox red Labs have the same temperament as other Lab colors. They are extremely loyal, very active, and super easy to train. These dogs are also friendly and gentle so they get along with kids and other pets just fine.
Moreover, they are also very intelligent. In fact, this pooch belongs to the list of top 10 intelligent dog breeds. Labs, regardless of color, remember commands easily, plus they are very attentive during training.
If you are wondering if the fox red Labs would make a good family pet, you would be delighted to know that they do.
As a matter of fact, in AKC’s ranking of the most popular dog breeds that can be considered as family companions, Labrador Retrievers rank first!
Should you decide to get a fox red Lab, you can rest assured that your pet will do well as a family companion. With proper training and care, red fox Labs will never give you any trouble.
Fox Red Labrador Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Red Fox Labs Healthy Dogs?
The fox red Lab has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Their lifespan is on par with other variants of the Labrador Retriever such as the chocolate Lab and the black Lab.
A fox red Lab that is well taken care of can sometimes reach up to 15 years old!
However, similar to other dog breeds, these Labs are also at risk of some common health issues. If you decide to get a fox red Lab, be on the lookout for some life-altering conditions.
Below are some common health issues of the fox red Labrador:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Canine hip and elbow dysplasia is a common health condition in Labrador Retrievers. These are oftentimes genetic conditions resulting from faulty breeding. Hip and elbow dysplasia is characterized by abnormalities in the ball-socket joints of the affected dog.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA in dogs is the continuous deterioration of photoreceptor cells. When left untreated, PRA in dogs will eventually lead to blindness. PRA is the most common eye disorder in Labrador Retrievers.
- Ear Problems: There are a total of six most common ear problems in dogs. Unfortunately, fox red Labs are at risk of all of these. These ear problems usually result from worm infestation. Some symptoms include ear odor, redness of the ear canal, and vigorous scratching.
- Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC): Another common health issue in Labrador Retrievers is EIC. This health condition is an inherited nervous system disorder. Dogs with EIC may experience episodes of collapse during strenuous activities. The only way to diagnose EIC is through DNA testing.
Remember that all of these conditions are brought about by genetics, dietary factors, age, or any combination of these.
The best thing to do to keep your fox red Labrador in tip-top shape is to feed it the right kind of kibble and to keep it active. Of course, regular vet visits are also imperative to a dog’s good health!
How to Take Care of Your Red Fox Lab?
Red fox Labs are very easy to care for. They do not require anything more than the bare minimum of caring for a dog, no wonder they are the most considered dog breed to have.
However, there are still a couple of things worth mentioning with regards to caring for a red fox Labrador Retriever.
Feeding and Diet
The diet of a red fox Lab is nothing special. All you need to do is to feed it the right kind of kibble for its age and activity level. Of course, you also have the option to make homemade meals for your pooch.
You may also alternate from kibble to homemade meals from time to time. Just make sure you are not feeding anything from the list of toxic food for dogs to your red fox Lab.
It is also recommended to give a strict feeding schedule for your red fox Labs. Moreover, you should always portion their meals properly. This will help lessen their risk of obesity and other health issues.
Cleaning and Grooming
The weatherproof double coat of the red fox Labrador Retriever is truly heaven-sent! Their coats are very easy to comb, quick to dry, and effortless to comb.
Combing your pet’s hair two to three times per week is enough to leave it tangle-free. To do this, make sure to get a sturdy brush for short-haired pups. Combing will release oils from the hair that will make your pooch’s coat a lot healthier.
In terms of bathing, it is safe to bathe red fox Labs as frequently as twice a month. However, if your dog gets dirty from outdoor activities, be sure to bathe it right away.
Training and Exercise
Red fox Labs are active dogs that require at least an hour of exercise every day. As working dogs, these dogs also need mental stimulation during training.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to train and exercise your red fox Lab. These include regular walking, swimming, hiking, or even a game of fetch. You may also opt to sign your dog up in agility competitions in your area.
It is recommended to train your red fox Lab as early as possible. Keep in mind that red fox Labs are highly intelligent pooches. When these pups are not trained properly, they may become stubborn adult dogs.
Here’s a video showing how smart a fox red Labrador is when it comes to training:
How Much Does a Red Fox Lab Cost? Are They More Expensive Than Other Colors?
On average, the red fox Labrador cost more than other Labrador colors. If you are eyeing this kind of Lab, you should expect to pay anywhere between $1,200 and $1,500.
The higher selling price of red fox Labs is usually due to their perceived rarity. These dogs are less common compared to lighter shades of yellow Labs, black Labs, and chocolate Labs.
As a result, breeders typically hike up the price for a fox red Lab puppy. However, it is still possible to score a sweet deal when buying one of these dogs.
What you can do to save a bit of cash is to find a reputable breeder who bundles their puppies with freebies.
These freebies can range from dog crates, toys, dog food, and even pet insurance. This way, you won’t need to buy those accessories for your red fox Lab.
Similarly, you can always look for red fox Labs in shelters and rescue organizations. Although red fox Labs may prove hard to find in rescues and shelters, it is still worth the shot.
The adoption fee for a red fox Lab will run you around $250 to $500.
Places to Find Red Fox Lab Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Red fox Labs are usually not as common as the other Labrador Retriever colors. However, there are still plenty of places to get one.
If you are looking to buy a red fox Labrador, make sure to only do so from reputable breeders. Puppy mills and backyard breeders do more harm than good.
On the other hand, if you are looking to save a bit of cash, you may consider adopting a red fox Labrador instead.
Here are some reputable breeders where you can find red fox Labs for sale:
- Blackfork Labradors – Established in 2004, Blackfork Labrador has a long track record of breeding Labs. This breeder raises their pups on a 120-acre farm in Oklahoma. Blackfork Labradors offers all variants of the Labrador Retriever including the red fox Labs.
- Red Diamond Labradors – Red Diamond Labradors is a dedicated breeder of fox red English Labradors. Their pups go through rigorous DNA tests before being sold. You can read their thoroughly explained breeding philosophy on their website.
- Warnes Labs – Warnes Labs is run by a breeder with a 25-year of experience in raising and training Labradors. This breeder specialized in red fox Labs, and it is home to a champion dam with over 50 awards! You may check out their litter page to see their adorable pups.
Here are some reliable services where you can find red fox Labs for adoption:
- Adopt-a-Pet – Adopt-a-Pet is an online service hosting an extensive selection of adoptable pets. Their listing includes purebred dogs and hybrid dogs from all over the country. Also, Adopt-a-Pet has a very helpful location-based search feature. This feature will help you look for red fox Labs within your desired location.
- Petfinder – Petfinder is another online service that aids aspiring pet owners. They have hundreds of adoptable Labrador Retrievers on their website, and some of them are red fox Labs. Make sure to check out their listings from time to time!
Regardless if you are looking to buy or adopt a fox red Labrador, try to make sure that you bring home a healthy one.
You can always ask for health clearances, breeder guarantees, or DNA test results from breeders or shelters.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Do Red Fox Labs Shed?
Red fox Labrador Retrievers regularly shed twice a year. Their coats are short and are fairly easy to maintain.
Unless you are extremely allergic to small pollen such as dog hairs, you would not have problems with the shedding of a red fox Lab.
What Is the Rarest Labrador Color?
In terms of the genetic lottery, the coat color of chocolate Labrador Retrievers should be the rarest. This means if Labradors are not bred purposely, chocolate Labs would be the hardest Labrador color to find.
However, since the influence of breeders comes into play, the rarest Labrador color is not chocolate. Instead, the rarest Labrador color is silver.
Silver Labradors are not recognized by kennel clubs; these dogs are variants of the chocolate Labs and are mainly bred in the United States only.
Do Fox Red Labs Get Darker as They Age?
Yes, fox red Labs get darker as they age. However, the result will vary from one dog to another. Some dogs will be noticeably darker once they are full-grown, while others will just be a few shades darker.
What Color Lab Has the Best Temperament?
In general, coat color does not affect the temperament of a Labrador Retriever. However, many people believe that the yellow Labrador has the best temperament.
These dogs are the most common service dogs among different Lab color variations.
Final Thoughts: Is the Red Fox Lab the Right Dog for You?
The red fox Lab has all the lovable traits and staple features of the Labrador Retriever — the number one best family dog breed.
On top of their wits and loyalty, red fox Labs have a truly eye-catching coat color. These dogs easily stand out!
If you are looking for a forever best friend with a bit of a quirk, look no further than the red fox Lab. Guaranteed, you will find joy in the company of this lovely pooch.