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20+ Fox Colors, Morphs & Mutations (With Pictures)

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There are 23 fox species, each with different colors. Some foxes, such as red and arctic foxes, change color depending on the season. Other foxes, such as Fennec foxes, keep their color throughout the year. Some foxes get unusual colors from mutations.

Most people think of foxes as red or white. But foxes have many more colors than that. 

There are 23 fox species, each having its own range of colors. Within the same species, there are several color varieties, also known as color mutations.

Some foxes change color depending on the season and the shedding period, while others maintain the same color throughout the year.

In this article, you will learn how many colors foxes have, what are color mutations, why arctic foxes change their color, and more.

How Many Colors of Fox Are There?

The color of foxes is unique to each species and varies within the same species. Some foxes change their color several times a year, while others maintain the same unique color for the rest of their lives. This is why it’s difficult to identify a fox species by color alone.

There are 23 species of foxes, of which 12 are considered true foxes. Each of these species has a specific color, with multiple color varieties. 

For example, the red fox is generally red or orange but can also be black, brown, silver, mixed, etc.

These color mutations occur naturally or are the product of breeding programs on fur farms.

Most foxes change colors as they transform from cubs to young adults and have several shedding cycles. Fox kits are born in one color, which changes after they grow into young adults.

Other adult foxes change their color several times a year, depending on the season and the shedding period. 

Good examples for this are red and arctic foxes as they molt before the hot season. It helps them cope with the heat, but also changes the color of their coat.

Desert foxes usually keep their color throughout the year. Some individuals change their coat color slightly when shedding.

How Many Colors of Fox Are There

10 Most Common Red Fox Color Mutations

The red fox species has several color mutations. They can be black, brown, silver, white, or classic red mixed with another color. These are called “cross foxes” – for example, a cross between red and silver.

Red and orange are the most common colors of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). This color varies from bright red to light orange, depending on the shedding season.

Red foxes can also have other colors, such as brown, black, silver, etc., or a mix of red and other colors (e.g. red with silver).

All silver foxes have black hairs, while some black foxes have a little silver in their coat. There are also completely black foxes.

Regardless of the color, red foxes’ coat color comes from certain mutations: [1]

  • Natural mutation
  • Brown mutation
  • Red mutation
  • Gray mutation
  • Marble mutation
  • Georgian mutation
  • Fire factor mutation
  • Whitemark (white face) mutations
  • Platinum mutations
  • Cross mutations 
  • Other mutations

Mutations (also called morphs) are color variations that occur in some species of foxes, including red and arctic foxes. Some mutations occur in the wild, while others are the result of fox breeding programs on fur farms.[2]

1. Natural Mutation 

Fox Color Natural Mutation 

Natural mutations in red foxes are mutations that occur in the wild. In other words, these are colors and mutations that occur in nature.

Natural color mutationDescription
Red foxesRed and orange.
Leucistic foxesPartially or totally missing pigment, giving them a diluted appearance. Most appear creamy or golden.
Silver foxesThe melanistic form of the classic red color.
Black foxesDarker silver foxes.
Red and silver crossThe result of mating red foxes with silver foxes.
Silver cross foxesFewer red markings than red foxes and more black fur.
Golden cross foxesThe result of mating Alaskan silver foxes with red foxes.
Albino foxesThey lack the pigment melanin and they appear white. They have light blue, red, or pink eyes and pink noses.
Smokey foxes (bastard fox)They have more black in their fur than classic red foxes.
Piebald foxesThey have white spots or irregular white patterns on their fur (e.g. one leg is white).

2. Brown Mutation

Fox Brown Mutation
Image Source

In brown mutations of the red fox, their classic red-orange color is replaced with shades of brown. There are many different brown morphs and mutations.

Brown color mutationDescription
Cinnamon foxes(burgundy foxes or Fromm’s brown)Rich chocolate brown color with silver highlights.
Amber foxesThe result of mating pearl foxes with cinnamon foxes. Yellowish-brown or grayish.
Lavender foxesRare mutation that is not fully understood yet. Brown with gray/blue tint or grayish-blue with brown tint.
Colicott foxesThe genetic background is not fully understood yet. Generally dark brown.
Copper fox (Chocolate or copper cinnamon foxes)Brown without silver highlights.
Bollert’s brown foxesRare color mutation. A mix of cinnamon and amber foxes.
Pastel foxesVary from dilute brown to dark brown.
Dawn glow foxesThe result of mating Bollert’s brown foxes with pearl foxes. Their fur is light-golden-brown to champagne.
Champagne foxes (pink foxes)Pale-golden with pink and peach highlights.
Polish beige foxesRare color mutation. Their fur is pale beige with blue or gray tint.

3. Red Mutation

Foxes with the red mutation are cherry red. The fur color varies from reddish-orange to dark red. For this color variety, the fur inside the ears is dark red, instead of white or yellow like the classic red color.

4. Gray Mutation

Fox Gray Mutation
Image Source

Foxes with the gray color mutation come in many different forms, depending on what other genes they carry. They all have a gray hue, light or dark.

Gray color mutationDescription
Pearl foxesLight or dark gray fur color. The pearl gene is a dilution gene, used to create other colors.
Fawn glow foxes (snow dawn foxes)Lighter fur than pearl foxes.
Mansfield pearl foxesA distinct type of pearl fox with a brownish tint.
Iris blue foxesA rare mutation that is not fully understood yet. They are silver or dark pearl with a blue tint.
Pearl amber foxes (sapphire amber or pearl sapphire foxes)The result of crossing the burgundy gene with one of the pearl genes. These foxes are lighter than pearl foxes.
Sapphire foxesThe result of combining the two pearl mutations.

5. Marble Mutation

Fox Marble Mutation
Image Source

Any solid color can come as a marbled variety. Their coloring is reminiscent of stone marble. These foxes are white with fine marble-like black, gray, or brown stripes.

Examples of marbled fox colors:

  • Red marble fox
  • White marble fox
  • Champagne marble fox
  • Cinnamon gold marble fox
  • Burgundy gold marble fox
  • Burgundy red marble fox
  • Cinnamon red marble fox
  • Colicott marble fox
  • Pearl cross marble fox

6. Georgian Mutation

Fox Georgian Mutation
Image Source

Any solid color morph can come as a Georgian variety. Georgian foxes have white fur with spots of other colors on the head, along the spine, and on other parts of the body.[3] 

Examples of Georgian fox morphs:

  • Georgian white fox 
  • Georgian red fox 
  • Georgian brown fox

7. Fire Factor Mutation

Fox Fire Factor Mutation
Image Source

Foxes with the fire factor mutation have specific shades of red. The fire factor gene affects the shades of red, resulting in unique appearances. 

It is also called the Ph factor in the US.[4]

Examples of fire factor mutations:

  • Fire and ice fox
  • Autumn fire fox
  • Snow glow fox
  • Moon glow fox
  • Golden sunrise fox
  • Cinnamon fire fox
  • Wildfire fox 

8. Whitemark (White Face) Mutations

Any solid color can come as the Whitemark variety. Foxes with this trait have a narrow light stripe from the muzzle and to the forehead. It can also reach the back of the head. 

Examples of Whitemark mutations:

  • Fire and ice whitemark fox
  • Cross whitemark fox
  • Champagne whitemark fox
  • Red whitemark fox
  • Pearl cross whitemark fox ​
  • Pearl whitemark fox
  • Amber whitemark fox 
  • Cinnamon whitemark fox
  • Sapphire amber whitemark fox (mystique whitemark)

9. Platinum Mutations

Fox Platinum Mutations
Image Source

All solid colors can come in the platinum variety. This color variation also causes a stripe, similar to the Whitemark mutation. The difference is the color of the coat, as the platinum gene has a diluting effect.

Examples of platinum mutations:

  • Gold platinum fox 
  • Amber platinum fox
  • Pearl cross platinum
  • Burgundy gold platinum fox
  • Glacier blue fox
  • Glacier red fox
  • Cinnamon platinum fox

10. Cross Mutations

Fox Cross Mutations
Image Source

Cross color variations occur after mating cross foxes (such as red with silver) with another color variety:

  • Pearl cross fox
  • Amber cross fox
  • Fire and ice cross fox 
  • Cinnamon cross fox 
  • Champagne cross fox (pink cross fox)

Other Red Fox Mutations

Apart from the already-mentioned color variations, mutations, and morphs, other mutations have also been observed. These include the Dakota gold foxes, Autumn gold foxes, and Cinnamon red foxes.

Other color mutationsDescription
Dakota gold foxes (sapphire sunrise or pearl gold foxes)They result from mating gold foxes with pearl foxes. Their color is pale orange to yellow.
Autumn gold fox (amber gold foxes)They have pale orange or yellow coats with light brown tails, ears, and feet.
Cinnamon red fox (burgundy foxes)They have red coats with dark brown tails, feet, and ears.

12 Arctic Foxes Colors & Mutations

Arctic foxes have two basic colors: white and blue. These colors can undergo different mutations, changing the color. White polar foxes turn brown in summer, and blue foxes turn pale gray.

The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) has three natural colors:

  • Albino
  • White
  • Dark variety (blue-gray)

Apart from these basic colors, there are a dozen different color mutations[5], all created by man.

  • Bluestar arctic fox 
  • Haugen platinum arctic fox
  • Tundra arctic fox
  • Lapponia arctic fox
  • Sognilibles arctic fox
  • Sognilibles shadow arctic fox
  • Sognilibles lapponia arctic fox
  • Swedish sapphire arctic fox
  • Finnish sapphire arctic fox

Why Do Arctic Foxes Change Color?    

Arctic foxes change color because they shed their fur before summer. The white polar foxes change their color to brown, and the blue-gray ones become a lighter shade of gray.

Desert Fox Colors

Desert foxes keep the same color throughout the year. Sometimes, when they shed, they slightly change their coat color shade, but the difference is insignificant.

Desert foxes come in many shapes and sizes, the most popular being the Fennec fox

These foxes generally have shades of cream and tan or peppered colors similar to gray foxes, such as the bat-eared fox.

Most desert foxes do not change their coat color when they shed, and if they do, the color difference is not significant.

FAQ

Are Blue Foxes Real?

Yes, blue foxes are real. They are color mutations of red and arctic foxes. The Alaska blue fox is native to the islands and peninsulas of Alaska’s southwest coast.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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