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Fox red Labrador retriever

Breed overview

  • Breed group – Sporting group (American Kennel Club), gun dog group (United Kennel Club)
  • Height – 21.5 to 23.5 inches (females), 22.5 to 24.5 inches (males)
  • Weight – 55 to 70 pounds (females), 65 to 80 pounds (males)
  • Coat length & texture – Short, thick, and deep yellow 
  • Coat color – Dark yellow, appearing almost red. Coat color varies based on the variety.
  • Exercise needs – High 
  • Intelligence – High intelligence 
  • Barking – When necessary 
  • Life span – 10 to 12 years
  • Temperament – Friendly, loyal, and happy
  • Hypoallergenic – No
  • Origin – Canada

Fox red Lab fun facts

  • Not a separate breed but a rare type of Labrador retriever due to its distinctive coat color
  • The deep mahogany-red color is a standout — standard Labs have black, yellow, or chocolate-colored coats.  
  • Great family pets

Fox red lab temperament and characteristics

Like other labrador retrievers, fox red labs are extremely friendly, social, and playful. They’re typically up for a game of fetch — you can even throw a frisbee into a lake or stream. These pups were bred as water retrievers, hence the water-resistant coat.

Labradors do well in various family homes, which is a good reason why they are a popular dog breed. They are usually outstanding family pets for people with small children. Their easy-going, playful nature makes them a great choice for pet owners bringing a dog into their homes for the first time. 

Fox red labs aren’t just friendly towards the people in their homes. Train and socialize them early so they are comfortable around people and other pets.

Common fox red lab health problems

Fox red Labs can live happy, healthy lives but are prone to a few common health problems. Keep up with vaccinations and frequent vet checkups to prevent diseases and other conditions. Some are treatable when detected early.

  • Obesity. Fox red labs boast a friendly nature and adorable mug, so it’s tempting to shower them with treats. Unfortunately, they’re prone to obesity  so measure their meals, offer healthy treats, and take them on long walks or runs for exercise. 
  • Diabetes. Obesity can lead to diabetes if not managed properly. Research shows the labrador breed is prone to this disease. 
  • Hip dysplasia. Large dogs are more prone to this condition, which occurs when the hip joints develop improperly or become severely arthritic in their senior years.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy. This inherited eye disease can progressively lead to blindness. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for this condition. 
  • Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear. This condition is similar to an ACL tear in a person. Orthopedic surgery can treat it. However, the best way to minimize the risk of a red fox lab from having a CCL tear is to wait until they’re one year to neuter or seven to eight months of age to spay. Keep your lab at a healthy weight to reduce strain within their stifle joints.
  • Otitis externa.  All Labrador retrievers are prone to ear infections, so it is best to clean their ears with a routine ear cleaning solution that contains a drying agent. Do this every two to three weeks for maintenance and after baths and swimming.

👉 Reputable breeders should be able to provide you with information, such as health conditions and blood test results from a puppy’s parents.

Cost of caring for fox red labs

Caring for a fox red labrador retriever can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there are costs involved, particularly if your pet has health issues. 

Diet and exercise may be enough to treat obesity. If it develops into something like diabetes, it can cost more than $100 per month to manage, depending on the medication needed. Hip dysplasia or a cruciate ligament injury can cost more than $4,000 per affected leg for orthopedic surgery.

Costs add up, but pet insurance may help offset medical expenses. You’ll want to consider purchasing a plan early in your pet’s life. Pet owners who take this step typically enjoy the most benefits. A pet savings account is another option.  

History of the fox red Lab

Labrador retrievers, including the fox red variety, descended from the St. John’s retriever. These dogs originated in Newfoundland and were smaller than today’s labs. St. John’s retrievers eventually traveled to England, perhaps by hopping aboard fishing boats.  

Gamekeepers were looking to create the best hunting dog possible, so they cross-bred St. John’s retrievers with other gun dogs. As a result, labrador retrievers developed otter tails and water-resistant coats.

These dogs eventually became known as labrador retrievers around the late 18th century. Initially, the breed only consisted of black labradors. Today, they come in many colors, including light yellow, chocolate, fox red, and even silver. The labrador retriever was accepted into the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917 and has been America’s most-registered breed for the last 30 years.

Caring for your fox red lab

Caring for a new puppy can be overwhelming, and fox red lab puppies are no exception. Though they’re friendly and generally easy to train, you’ll still need to puppy-proof your home until they learn what’s off-limits. You’ll also need to accompany your red fox lab on their first trip to the vet, schedule vaccinations, and prepare for teething


Retrievers, like red fox labs, do well in many types of homes, from single-person families to ones with small children. They are active breeds, though, and require regular exercise. It’s best to get your lab moving for at least two hours per day. Daily walks and play sessions both count as exercise. Hikes, games of fetch, or just running around the backyard or park are fun ways to stay active with your pup. 

Fox red labs are extremely clever and require a lot of mental stimulation. They do best with families that can give them the attention they need. If you’re gone for long periods during the day, doggie daycare or a walker will help ensure your pet’s needs are met.


The short, reddish coats of these dogs don’t require much grooming. Still, some regular maintenance will keep your pet looking and feeling healthy and happy. Since these dogs have short, dense fur, it’s best to brush them weekly with a slick or bristle brush to keep it shiny and reduce shedding. 

Trimming nails about once per month can help avoid breakage and overgrowth that make it harder for a dog to walk. Labrador retrievers are prone to ear infections. Clean ears weekly and after any dips in the water to reduce the risk of ear infections. 

Dental and gum diseases are also common in all dogs, including fox red labs. Brush their teeth daily to keep them healthy. 

Diet and nutrition 

Fox red labs are prone to obesity, so a proper diet is essential. Dogs within the weight range for the breed standard thrive on large-breed dog food with the AAFCO seal. This seal signifies the food is high quality and meets dietary standards.

Your red fox lab’s regular food should make up about 90% of their diet. The other 10% can come from treats. Your vet is the best resource for food portioning, and they may recommend changing that portion if your pet has a condition like obesity. Generally, a 70-pound , neutered dog needs about 1,500 calories per day. These calories will typically come in two meals unless your dog is four months of age or younger. Young red fox lab puppies should eat three to four times daily.

👉 Dog food bags have portion suggestions, but it may be for the full day, not individual meals. Divide it by two after confirming instructions with your vet.

Training your fox red lab

Fox red labs make outstanding pets but need training from a young age to become the best dogs they can be. Labs of all colors generally take very well to training. They’re highly-intelligent people pleasers. Their ability to learn quickly has made them valuable guide dogs, service dogs, and members of search and rescue teams.

Though these pups are smart, start small with short commands. Think of one or two-word commands like “sit” and “come.” The Humane Society stresses that training should be positive and reward-based. Give positive reinforcements like small treats and praise instead of yelling at your doggie or putting them in timeout for breaking a house rule.

Breeds similar to the fox red lab

If you aren’t set on a red fox lab, there are similar breeds to consider. Even if you do have your eye on one of these pretty pups, it’s always good to research other breeds just to be sure. Here are a few you may also love.

  1. English cream golden retriever. These light-colored golden retrievers are as friendly, intelligent, and loving as a red fox Lab. Like labs, they come in many colors, including a range of yellows like English cream.
  2. American bulldog. They have rolls for days, but American bulldogs are friendly and active, just like the red fox lab. 
  3. Pomeranian. For a smaller breed that adores its humans, consider the spunky little Pomeranian

Frequently asked questions

Is a fox red Lab a purebred?

If a fox red Labrador is not mixed with any other breed, they are considered a purebred Labrador retriever.

Are fox red Labs aggressive?

Any breed of dog can display aggressive behaviors. Generally, fox red Labs are friendly and sociable. They typically get along well with strangers, small children, other dogs, and cats. Speak with a reputable breeder, shelter, or rescue about the specific Lab you want to welcome into your home. Also, enrolling your Lab in training and socialization classes at a young age is very important to minimize aggressive tendencies from arising.

What colors do Labs come in?

There are many colors of Labs. Black Labrador retrievers were the original Labrador dogs, but these days, you can find them in light yellow, chocolate, fox red, and silver.