Everything You Need To Know About Fox-Red Labrador Retrievers

When it comes to the Labrador Retriever dog breed, there is a wide variation in coat colors. By genetic default, Labradors are either black or yellow in color. However, some dogs with yellow coats that lean toward a more brown shade are bred with each other to create dogs referred to as fox-red Labrador Retrievers.

Fox-Reds and Their Current Popularity Amongst Hunters

Fox-red Labrador Retrievers have gone in an out of popularity over the decades, but are currently on the upswing, thanks to finding favor with many hunters. Unlike yellow or black Labradors that don't blend in well when in the forest or in the tall grasses along the shores of duck hunting lakes, fox-reds have an ideal coloration for these types of activities, a naturally athletic build, and long strong legs.

Selective Genetics and Pheomelanin Pigment

The red color found in fox-reds comes from a pigment named pheomelanin. While the dogs are technically "yellow Labrador Retrievers," when classified by the kennel clubs, they do have more pheomelanin production than other yellows, giving their coats the desired red tint. By using selective genetics and breeding one fox-red Labrador to another, the red coloration can be enhanced. In general, the darker the red coloration of the parents, the darker the puppies will be when they reach maturity. 

However, it is important to note that the color of any puppy will often vary from its final color, once it grows into an adult dog. As the puppy matures, it can get lighter or darker, due to natural fluctuations in its cells' pheomelanin pigment production. This makes it nearly impossible for any breeder to guarantee the final coloration a puppy will have. 

Always Buy a Fox-Red Labrador Retriever from a Reputable Breeder

As mentioned above, the final color of a puppy is never a guarantee. If a breeder tells you that your puppy will get darker as it ages or promises it will be the exact color as the parent dogs, then this is a sign you might want to consider buying from a different breeder. There simply is no way they can know for sure. One of the only ways you can ensure the future health of your dog and that you are actually getting a 100% fox-red Labrador is to buy a puppy from a reputable Labrador retriever breeder known for producing high-quality dogs without any genetically-based defects or hereditary diseases.