Doglike in appearance with an elongated, pointed muzzle, large pointed ears that are usually held erect and forward, moderately long legs, and a long, heavily furred, bushy tail that is circular in cross section. The fur is long, thick and soft. The pupil of the eye is vertically elliptical. Upperparts are reddish yellow, becoming slightly darker on the back. The tail is similar but mixed with black and tipped with white. The nose pad is black and backs of the ears blackish. Cheeks, throat and belly are whitish. The legs and feet are black.
Gray foxes resemble red foxes in general build but are distinguished by their grayish coloration, slightly smaller size, black-tipped tail that is triangular (not circular) in cross section, coarser body fur and dark brown (not tawny) iris of the eye.