The Red Fox Lab is a lesser-known color variation of the Labrador Retriever.
Typically, Labs come in yellow, black and chocolate. However, a less common observed shade is ‘red’.
Technically classed as a darker shade of yellow, rather than a color in its own right, the deep fox red color variation is very rare.
Famous for their friendly and sociable temperament, they are great family pets, and their increased intelligence is also the reason why Labs are often employed for a variety of roles from family pets to service dogs.
This breed has dominated the top spot of America’s most popular breed for 27 consecutive years, read on to find out why…
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What Is A Red Fox Lab?
It is argued that Red Fox Labs were actually the original ‘yellow’ variation. Early pictures of the breed suggest the yellow variation was actually much darker than the paler shades of yellow, we see today.
Paler shades of yellow were favored and more fashionable.
As a result of breeding for the paler shade, Red Labs were selectively bred out which is why they are now rare.
History and Origin
Their popularity increased during the 1800s when noblemen from England were visiting Canada.
This is when they first started to become known as ‘Labrador dogs’ and many were taken back to England.
British breeders began to standardize the breed later that century.
For centuries, this breed has been popular amongst noblemen, royalty, and the rich. Famous owners include the Prince of Wales and the Clintons.
They were regularly used as hunting companions or gundogs and for this reason, are classified in the ‘sporting’ group.
Labs would retrieve ducks and fish, which had escaped the primitive trapping methods. Well known for their ‘soft mouth,’ historically they would retrieve and carry game gently without puncturing the skin.
In modern times, many Red Fox Labs are employed as therapy dogs to bring joy and happiness into others’ lives.
Their gentle and friendly nature, combined with their eagerness to please, makes them perfect for their role in
pet assisted therapy.
Kennel Club Recognition
The Red Fox Lab is recognized by most major kennel clubs and was first accepted into The American Kennel Club in 1917:
- Kennel Club (England) – 1903
- American Kennel Club – 1917
They also have an official breed club (The Labrador Retriever Club Inc) which was established in 1931 to promote breed health and standardization and sustainable breeding.
Temperament and Behavior
Despite the difference in color, it is generally accepted that the Red Fox Lab does not differ in temperament from other color variations in its breed.
Red Labradors share all the wonderful characteristics that Labradors are loved for:
- Gentle and loyal with a friendly disposition and a love for interaction.
- Intelligent and playful, they make wonderful hunting companions and service dogs due to their eagerness to please.
- They generally don’t just bond to one person, but get on with everyone they meet, making them well suited to family lifestyles.
This breed was traditionally bred as waterdogs.
They are still commonly bred as gundogs and hunting companions, but their hunting drive isn’t strong. Some are trained to retrieve game, but they aren’t aggressive towards other animals, and their ‘soft mouths’ rarely punctures the skin of the game they are carrying.
Because they have been bred for centuries to utilize their powerful nose to track; their prey drive is high. This skill can usually be redirected in a more family friendly way by playing interactive games such as fetch.
Not known to be excessively vocal, a Red Fox Lab will only bark when over-excited.
They are renowned for being laid back and sweet-natured with aggression amongst Labs being very rare.
Providing they have been thoroughly socialized as a puppy and been exposed to lots of different positive experiences Red Fox Labs are well known for being very friendly towards complete strangers.
Well-trained Labs will protect their territory and family by barking and alerting people if they feel threatened. However, the barking is less frequent when compared to other breeds.
Oversensitivity, such as barking each time the doorbell goes, can be trained out at a young age.
Do They Make Good Family Dogs?
Red Fox Labs instinctively get on well with children.
Their gentle nature makes them trustworthy and dependable when fitting into a family home.
They can be quite boisterous when they get over excited during their adolescent years so care should be taken if young children are around to avoid any accidents.
Adult supervision is always recommended. Generally Labs are great with older children who understand a dog’s boundaries; they often make the best playmates.
Red Fox Labs also get on really well with other canines.
They adore running around, playing and making friends when out on a walk.
Red Labradors are generally good with other family pets.
Instinctive prey drives may be quite strong, but thorough training during puppyhood to refrain from chasing other family pets can certainly be taught (if you want your dog and cats to live in harmony!)
Labs have a low-maintenance feeding and grooming routine, but they do require a substantial amount of exercise. Because of this, they are suited to more active families.
As they are highly trainable and eager to please, they make a great choice for for new owners without the experience of dog ownership.
Feeding A Red Fox Lab
|Daily Food Consumption|
|Cups of Kibble|
High quality dry kibble is a good choice for Labs. However, working Labs are likely to require a diet that is higher in protein to give them extra energy.
One study found that Labs are the most likely breed to become obese. Their weight should be closely monitored to avoid them becoming obese.
Special attention should be paid to the number of extra treats you feed your Red Fox Lab.
They are also at risk of bloat, which can be mitigated by feeding them little at a time but often.
Some owners decide to serve smaller portions, three times a day (instead of twice). This reduces the build-up of gas and helps to avoid bloat.
Red Fox Labs require a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise every day. Although they are a slightly stocky breed, this does not mean they are lazy (they actually have a lot of energy to burn).
They can be very playful and excited so off leash exercise is best suited for this breed.
Typically, labs are very sociable and friendly with all sorts of dogs which usually means playtime in the park is best spent running around with canine pals or playing fetch.
They also love the water and swimming.
These are both great alternative forms of exercise that will both mentally and physically challenge your Lab. It’s a failsafe way of making sure they sleep well at night!
How To Train A Red Fox Lab
The Red Fox Lab’s very intelligent and highly trainable nature means this dog has been utilized for military and service work.
Labs are renowned for being friendly and sociable however this is not without thorough socialization from a young age.
The more experiences they get during the ‘socialization period’, the better. Strange people, big dogs, cats, bikes and cars are all things they should get used to.
This helps them grow and develop into a well-rounded and confident Lab.
Lots of reassurance and encouragement will be required and positive reinforcement is the preferred method where training is concerned.
Mental stimulation such as puzzle feeders and trick training are great way to prevent boredom and frustration which may manifest in undesirable and destructive behaviors.
They often blow(shed) their coat during Spring and Autumn, so a slicker brush is good to have to reach the soft undercoat and remove any excess hair.
A rubber mitt is also a good choice of brush for smooth coats and can be used in both directions to agitate the coat and remove loose hair.
Brushing should occur weekly as they usually shed moderately all year round.
Red Fox Labs don’t need their hair to be trimmed and they shouldn’t be clipped or shaved. This will alter their ability to regulate their body temperature and will do more harm than good.
Labs benefit from regular baths every couple of months to ensure they are clean.
Nail clipping should occur as often as they need to so you can ensure your dog’s nails aren’t getting too long.
This will vary for each dog and for each nail, but the general rule of thumb is that the nail should be just off the floor when they are stood up.
Known Health Issues
The red color variation has no negative effect on the Red Fox Lab’s health.
Any ailments which they are susceptible to, are ones which affect every Labrador. Some common conditions which affect the breed are outlined below:
- Hip or elbow dysplasia is a mal-formation in the elbow and hip joints. The condition can be painful, often leading to arthritis and lameness but can be managed with medication, hydrotherapy and even surgery.
- Bloat is fairly common amongst Labs. It can be also known as gastric dilation and volvulus. This is where the stomach twists and then fills with gas leading to respiratory issues. Dogs suffering from bloat will need emergency surgery to untwist the stomach.
- Labs love food and are often prone to weight gain (i.e. obesity). They just don’t actually possess the POMC gene that tells their brain when they are full.
Typically, Labs can live for around 10-12 years, this is the same for Red Fox Labs too.
Appearance: Size, Color and Coat
The Red Fox Lab is a muscular, sturdy dog with a broad skull, large head and strong jaw. They have kind, expressive eyes and floppy ears which hang at the sides of their head.
They have a strong build with a level back and are considered to be a medium to large size dog.
A thick and powerful tapering ‘otter’ tail which acts as a rudder, helping to propel the dogs through water and aids their turning. Their webbed feet also increase their swimming capabilities making them at home in the water.
Occasionally, Red Fox Labs have slightly deeper pink features around their muzzle either in skin pigmentation or skin.
The most distinguishing features according to their breed standard is their: weather resistant coat, ‘otter’ tail, clean cut head and kind eyes.
How Big Do Red Fox Labs Get?
Female red Labs can weigh between 55-70 pounds, with males usually being slightly heavier ranging between 65-80 pounds.
Males are also typically larger standard between 22.5-24.5 inches whereas females can measure between 21.5-23.5 inches to the withers.
Red Fox Labs are usually a solid deep-red color all over. It is important to remember that this ‘fox-red’ color is actually classed as a dark shade of yellow.
White spots can occur around the chest and are much more apparent in red Labs.
Their coat is thick, straight and dense but short in length.
Labs possess a double coat, which is comprised of ‘weatherproof’ guard hairs covering a soft undercoat that helps to insulate them and regulate their body temperature.
Although their coat is short, it doesn’t mean they don’t shed. When Labs blow their coat, it is a heavy shedding period.
Red Fox Lab Puppy
Litters usually consist of around 5-9 puppies; however, this can vary anywhere between 3-10.
The average Lab puppy (with a traditional coat color) will cost anywhere between $800-$1200 USD with Kennel Club registered puppies being more expensive.
Red Fox Lab puppies cost more than the traditional shades, mostly due to supply and demand, and so will cost around $1,500.
These puppies are pretty much fully grown by one year old and usually reach their full height by nine months old. Labs are believed to mature between 2 and 2.5 years of age:
|Age (months)||Weight (lb)|
|Size||21.5 to 24.5 inches|
|Weight||55 to 80 pounds|
|Lifespan||10 – 12 years|
|Breed Type||Sporting Group|
|Suitable For||Families, Novice owners with an active lifestyle|
|Temperament||Sociable, Easygoing, Playful, Loving, Eager To Please|
Red Fox Labs are a beautiful, medium to large size dogs, who are suited to a variety of lifestyles including:
- Working as a service or therapy dog
- Fulfilling the role as a loyal hunting companion
- Being a family dog and a child’s new best friend
The Red Lab is well-suited to the family environment as they are very friendly and playful and adore all the attention they receive.
Labs are more at home with more active families as they have quite high energy levels and will require plenty of exercise each day.
A lack of this physical and mental stimulation may lead to this intelligent breed being bored which can result in undesirable behaviors.
Their grooming and feeding routines are very straightforward, so as long as prospective owners are able to meet their exercise requirements, the Red Fox Lab can be the perfect companion.
Could they be your companion too? Let us know below!