The Fascinating History of Fox-Red Labradors

The Fox-Red Labrador is a darker shade of the yellow Labrador Retriever, and with their striking beauty – it’s no surprise that they’re growing in popularity. With that, we thought we’d share a bit more about their history and background.

The Origin & History of Fox-Red Labradors

Red labs have always had the potential to exist within the Labrador breed. However, at one point, almost all labs were black. While this is partially due to nature, it’s due to human interference as well. In the past, chocolate and yellow labs were not only harder to breed but were also less desirable. As time went on, though, the need for a hunting dog surpassed the preference of coat shades, and in recent years, these rarer colors (like fox-red) have been becoming more popular.

Fox-Red Labradors VS. American Labradors

Today, there are two types of Labradors, the working American Lab and the show-bred English Lab. American Labs are built slimmer, with less stocky heads and chests. They have a stronger drive towards prey and are less forward and playful. With this in mind, you won’t be able to find a Red Labrador with a show background. Dogs that are advertised as English Fox-Red Labradors will most likely have a pedigree that is a mix of American and English dogs. We mostly get the beautiful fox-red labrador from the pool of working retrievers since they are more often the American rather than the English Lab type.

Fox-Red Labrador Genetics

While we probably don’t have to say it, genetics are complicated, so it’s not very unusual for breeders to get puppies in colors that they weren’t expecting.

  • Think of a Labrador as basically a black dog by default with their black coat being created with the genes called “B genes.”
  • A puppy inherits one gene from their mother and one from their father, creating a pair that looks like this: BB.
  • B genes can come in big B or little b, so a pup could also have something that looks like this: Bb.
  • The little b carries the code necessary to make a brown coat instead of a black one. HOWEVER, the big B dominates the code and turns the little b off.
  • Therefore the little b only gets a say if there are two of them, which would look like this: bb.
  • The genes Big E and little e work similarly, but with yellow labs.
  • When a lab has a pair that looks like this: ee – it switches off the black and brown coat and gives you yellow.
  • Now, the fox-red comes in with a pigment called pheomelanin, which is responsible for the depth of the red coloring in the yellow (ee) lab’s coat.
  • With the fox red, the A gene controls the production of the red color, while the C gene controls whether or not it is fully expressed or diluted.

Long story short, fox-red labradors are becoming more popular, and it’s no wonder why when you see their vibrant, gorgeous coats. They’re a bit more challenging to breed, but that’s what makes them even more special.

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TK Hot Retrievers
Pocatello, ID

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