Red Fox Lab: Both Stunning And Controversial

Labrador Retrievers

Meet one of the rarest Labrador Retrievers, the Red Fox Lab.

There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding over this incredible breed.

Are they a separate breed from the yellow and chocolate Labrador Retrievers?

Are they recognized by the AKC? Do they even exist at all?!

At Tindog, that sounds just like the job we’d love to get to the bottom of. So let’s find the answer to those questions and learn all about this mysterious canine. 


Labrador Retrievers


Fox Red Lab

So is the Red Fox Lab, sometimes called Fox Red lab, a separate breed from the most popular dog breed in the United States.

Turns outs, not so much. In truth, the Red Fox Lab is just a yellow Labrador Retriever whose coat has developed a darker yellow coat that appears red or auburn in the certain.

There is a myth that they are a hybrid breed like the Dachsador where they are only half Labrador Retrievers. But again, this isn’t true. 

Because the Fox Red Lab is only called that because of their coat color, and not because they are a separate breed, their history is the same as other Labrador Retrievers. Officially hailing from the United Kingdom, the Labrador Retriever breed was the result of breeding imported Canadian dogs with the native fishing dogs of the land.

However, while no one can downplay the influence the Brits had on creating such a remarkable breed, make no mistake the Labrador’s Canadian ancestor, the St John’s Dog was already one of the most popular breeds. After all, they left the brits impressed. 

Known for their unmatched working ability and loving behavior, the St. John’s Water Dog was a favorite of fishermen where they became popular trades with travelers. And while they don’t have ‘retriever’ in their name, they might as well be as they are the ancestor to all modern retriever breeds, including the Golden Retriever. 

The earliest known mention of the Labrador Retriever was in the 1830s, but it’s commonly believed they could be older. You can commonly find this insatiable breed living it up on both the big and small screens, and the earliest known photo of them was taken in 1856. 


Fun Facts About The Labrador Retriever

Fun Fact #1 – Labrador Retrievers are versatile workers, and no other dog breed can be found in so many different roles. From search and rescue to therapy to helping the disabled to bomb detection, these dogs can do it all. And that doesn’t even include the job they were originally bred for. 

Fun Fact #2 – The Labrador Retriever was originally bred to retrieve fallen ducks during hunting expeditions. I wonder where Labrador comes from then? 

Fun Fact #3 – Labrador is a region within the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, the Labrador Retriever is native to Newfoundland, not Labrador. So where did they get the name Labrador?

Well, it may have come from the third Earl of Malmesbury who referred to early labs as “Labrador dogs”. But others aren’t convinced the Earl would make such a genealogical mistake. Instead, some theorize it comes from the frequent sighting of these dogs swimming in the Labrador Sea.  

Prejudice in the Show Ring

While highly sought after outside of competition, the Red Fox Lab is much less of a thrill in show competition, unfortunately. Because the Fox Red is a darker shade of the yellow lab, they must be registered, as such. Unfortunately, this is where the issue lies. In dog show competition, the judges are most often looking for the dog who best defines their breed. 

Think of it like this. If someone had never seen a yellow lab before and asked you for a picture, you wouldn’t pick a picture of a red lab over a yellow one, would you? That kind of thinking is what is in the judges’ heads, and it, unfortunately, leads to Red Fox Lab performing poorly in competitions based on appearance.


Labrador Retrievers



Unlike the slender Golden Retrievers, the Labrador Retriever is a thick ol’ boy with a healthy athletic appearance (think strong but not ripped). Like their build, their coat is dense with a short double coat that is water-resistant. Their face is notable but above-all-else friendly and kind with eyes that melt your soul and a smile that’s contagious. 

The Labrador Retriever has three recognized coat colors: yellow, chocolate, and black. However, in some rare cases, their coat can take a shade in between, like in the case of the Red Fox lab.



Like all Labrador Retrievers, the Red Fox is outgoing, trusting, and one of the happiest and friendliest dogs you could ever hope to come by. Labradors are ideal dogs for first-time dog owners and family because they get along with everyone so well. They are incredibly intelligent, playful, and full of life. 

Labs are nearly a perfect fit for all households, whether it’s hanging out on a farm with ducks, chilling out in the suburbs with the kiddos, or mingling it up in the city with their sole owner. 

Exercise and Training

If there is one area where the Labrador could be considered a demanding breed, it’s their need for exercise. Running, swimming, obedience training, you name it, they love to do it, and you should expect to give them a lot of exercising if you want to be a great owner.

Now, while high-activity exercise is essential for these lovable pups, it’s not required to make up most of their exercise needs. Like we mentioned above, training is a great way to fulfill some of their exercise demands.

You’ll often see the Labrador Retriever pop up in a number of jobs, from bomb detection dogs to service dogs. Even when the work isn’t demanding, as long as you’re making your Lab feel like they are helping out or a part of the situation, you’re covering much of their exercise needs. 

One of the biggest reasons labs make fantastic dogs for first-time dog owners is training them is a breeze. They may often act like goofballs and dorks, but make no mistake, they are wickedly sharp and are one of the easiest to train dog breeds.

Devoted and eager to please, if only all dogs were this easy to train. As with all dog breeds, early socialization and obedience training are strongly recommended.


Labrador Retrievers are a relatively healthy breed with a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. They see only a few hereditary diseases compared to other breeds. This is in part due to their working dog status, where it’s more likely for the breeders to favor health over aesthetics.

Labrador Retrievers see higher rates of patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and osteochondritis dissecans (canine elbow and shoulder dysplasia) compared to the average dog. As well, they are somewhat predisposed to epilepsy.


Labrador Retrievers



The Red Fox Lab is a large breed dog, and as such, as puppies, they require a formulated for large dog breeds. Medium and large breed dogs are more at risk of developing hip dysplasia, where the ball of the hip joint no longer sits into the joint socket.

While a hereditary disease, poor nutrition that doesn’t provide for the rapid expansion of the bones can lead to the disease occurring earlier and at a significantly greater severity. While many smaller labs are done growing in height by 12 months of age, the large ones can continue to grow until they are nearly 2-years old.

It’s important to monitor your Labrador Retriever’s weight as they have quite the fondness for food and eating. 



Like all Labradors, the Red Fox Lab has a short and sleek coat. But don’t let that fool you, it is often very dense, leading to them shedding more than one would initially think. Weekly bushings are recommended, and they can have blowout sessions where they shed more than normal during seasonal changes. Luckily, it isn’t too bad. 

While you may have to brush more than you expect, one area where most labs don’t need a lot of time in the bath. Many lab owners only bathe their dogs a few times a year or more likely whenever they decide to have a dirt and mud rampage outside.


Fox Red Lab Puppies

As a puppy grows into adulthood, it’s common for the colors and marking of its coat to change. This is why you should never be fully attached to a certain look when looking for a puppy and after you already have them.

However, the degree of change a puppy’s coat can change is largely based on its breed. For the Labrador Retriever, what they come out looking like is pretty much what they stay looking like. At least when it comes to the color of their coat. 

This means Fox Red Lab puppies look that way 99% of the time from birth. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Red Fox Lab?

While some may tell you they are a separate breed from the ever-popular Labrador Retriever, this simply isn’t true. The Red Fox Lab is just a darker shade of the traditional yellow Labrador retriever. 


How much are Fox Red Lab puppies?

While a traditional yellow or chocolate coat color lab cost an average of $800 to $1,200, expect to pay $1,500 and upward for a Fox Red Lab puppy or really any lab pup with a unique coat. 


Where could I find a Female fox red lab?

While the fox-red coat color is rare for the Labrador Retriever, Labs are anything but rare, with them being the most popular dog for several years running. To find a female fox red lab, check your local shelters and rescues, and with a little patience, you’ll easily come across a rescue looking for their forever home.  


Fox Red Lab puppies what to look for?

Unlike some breeds, your lab puppy is unlikely to see its coat go under any drastic changes. This means if you want a Fox Red Lab, you’ll want a puppy who already has a reddish coat as it will not darken significantly more as they age.  


How difficult would it be to find a fox red lab puppy?

While undoubtedly rare and hard to find, it isn’t impossible to track down a Fox Red Lab puppy. If you live in the city or pretty close to a major metropolitan area, you have a pretty good chance of finding a Red Fox Lab, but you’ll likely have to be patient. 


Red Retriever

There is a common misconception that all red retrievers and other non-traditional coat color retrievers are unhealthier than retrievers with traditional coats. Proponents of this claim will point to the idea that puppies with untraditional coat colors can be sold for a higher cost.

And that this can lead to irresponsible breeders ignoring health issues in the name of a quick buck. There is no doubt truth to this claim, but how frequently it happens is impossible to say.  

What we can say is there no truth that a retriever with an untraditional coat color is inherently unhealthier. Many Red Fox puppies come from parents with traditional coats. There is no reason to shy away from a retriever with a non-traditional coat.

This is because whenever you’re looking for a puppy from a private breeder, you should never say yes to one until you see their parents and often their grandparents’ medical history. This includes screenings for health problems that are seen more frequently in puppies bred by irresponsible breeders.



Fox Red Lab Final Thoughts

America’s most popular dog breed, and it’s easy to see why; the Labrador Retriever is always a dog who’s fun to meet.

And the Red Fox or Fox Red lab is a stunning example of them. Whether it’s them helping out the blind and disable to them being our kids’ first best friend, we couldn’t imagine a world without this insatiable breed. 

Looking for more awesome content on some of the most unique dogs that have ever walked this Earth? Then make sure to check out and stay up-to-date with Tindog’s Dog Breeds and Personalities to learn more incredible dog facts and more.

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