Do Fox Red Labs Get Darker As They Get Older? Myth Busted

Fox Red Labs are unique for having bright orange or red coats, though it seems to change as they get older. If you want a specific color, how are you supposed to predict any change in their color as they get older?

Fox red labradors don’t get darker as they get older as their color is determined by their genetics, which influences the melanin found in their coat. Other influential factors include weather, diet, and location. You can predict their color by looking at their ancestry to find dominant traits.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following details about a fox red lab’s coat color:

  • Which factors determine their shade of red, orange, or brown
  • Whether or not all of them are influenced by their age
  • How you can know what color your red fox lab will be when they get older

Does a Fox Red Lab’s Coat Darken?

Are you thinking about getting a fox red labrador? Keep in mind that they’re mostly found from breeders since the color combination isn’t natural. 

Labradors are typically black, brown, or yellow, so these alterations aren’t guaranteed. In some cases, your fox red lab’s coat will change as they get older.

So, what should you know about their coat?

It Typically Lightens As They Grow

Most fox red lab’s coats lighten as they get older, which is the opposite of what most people think. 

Much like most aging animals, these Labradors are susceptible to hair and fur lightening. 

They get gray or white, which lightens their appearance around 7, 8, or 9 years old. Some dogs age quicker than others, though.

Visual Perspective Is Everything

Looking at a sun-bleached dog might change the way they look. They’ll look different under various light sources if they have a few light blonde strands mixed with brown and red. 

Your dog might look bright and soft from afar, but their coat could seem dark when they’re close. Sunlight can lighten their color, too.

They Might Change Colors

Dancey Quarter Horses claims that some fox red labs get darker because their puppy coat is their undercoat. 

It’s not the primary color you’ll see as they get older. When they are a few months old, their true shade pushes through the undercoat. 

If your dog’s hair looks darker, it’s not because the shade darkened; It’s due to their natural coat coming through their undercoat.

As you can see, their color might seem to get darker or lighter. In most cases, you can predict their color. 

Influencing a change is a bit difficult since it’s a result of years of breeding. Your fox red labrador will likely remain whichever color their hair is naturally. 

If you want to know what affects the shade before getting one, proceed to the next section.

What Causes the Color Change?

Many factors can alter what your fox red lab looks like. In fact, they might come out more brown, black, or yellow since these colors often become dominant. 

We’ll discuss predictions in the final part of this article. For now, let’s focus on five variables that will undoubtedly affect what your dog looks like as they get older.

Here’s a list of influential traits:

The local climate plays a significant role in their coat color

If it’s always sunny or cloudy, their coat will react. For example, sunshine lightens fur and hair more than anything (aside from aging). 

On the other hand, cloudy weather will limit the lightening process and make them look dark for a long time.

Pay attention to their parents, siblings, and grandparents

If their parents and siblings look the same, your pup will likely follow the trend. 

If their mom is one color and the dad is another, it’s crucial to figure out which parent holds dominant traits. 

A black lab and chocolate lab can make pure black labs. The same process can occur with fox red labradors.

  • A fox red lab’s diet is essential for proper coat hygiene. If you want their coat to stay vibrant and healthy, give them enough protein. Labradors need more protein than anything else since they’re athletic, energetic, and muscular. Protein is a building block for hair and fur, so it directly impacts your dog’s color.
  • As they get older, it might lighten due to common age issues. It’s no secret that aging lightens hair color. The same rules apply to your fox red lab’s coat shade. As they grow into the later years of life, they’ll have white or gray fur around their paws and mouth. Rather than darkening, it’ll lighten quite a bit.
  • Melanin is the most influential factor of all. Many sources claim melanin as the sole trait that affects your dog’s coat color. It’s driven by genetics, diet, and more. If your dog has enough melanin, it’ll look as red as it can be. The same intensity will darken orange, brown, and yellow coats.

While many things change your dog’s coat color, it’s unlikely to darken. Proper diet and good genetics will keep them looking the same for a long time. You can find more information about how to predict their color below.

How Can You Predict a Fox Red Lab’s Coat Shade?

You’re probably considering fox red labradors since they’re unique looking. 

They’re unlike any other species in the world. If you’re diving into the commitment, you’ll want to know the coat color. 

Let’s examine how you can find out what they’ll look like when they’re adults:

Look at their ancestry and talk to the breeder

The Labrador Site claims it takes two sets of genes to determine your dog’s coat color. The best way to find the genetic information is to talk to the breeder. 

Fox red labs are often found from high-end breeders rather than animal shelters, so you should be able to contact them easily.

Is it very sunny where you live

If you live in a place with over 250 days of sunshine annually, your dog’s coat will likely lighten quicker than a dog living in a cold, cloudy climate. 

As you hopefully read above, their color is heavily impacted by the local environment.

Keep in mind that it’s not easy to predict the exact color

Regardless of how hard you try to find out what they’ll look like when they grow older, it’s an unpredictable process. 

There’s no way to predict exactly what their coat will do. Instead, you’ll have to enjoy the journey and watch them grow and change.

If they have enough protein in their diet, they’ll follow suit. Other than the climate, the only factor you can control is their protein intake. 

Raw food diets and clean dog food brands yield enough nutrition to promote natural coats. To know their actual color, give them a good diet with adequate exercise.


Now that you know all about a fox red lab’s coat color, you can find the perfect puppy for your home. 

They’re loving and energetic, so make sure you give them plenty of attention. As they get older, their coat might seem lighter, but never darker.

Here’s a quick rundown of the process:

  • Age has minimal impact on a fox red lab’s coat color.
  • Their genetics, diet, and location can alter their appearance.
  • All dogs are different, so you might find a few outliers.
  • Although they’re called ‘red,’ they can appear red, orange, or brown.

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