Silver Fox Rabbit – information and facts about the Silver Fox Rabbit Breed. Learn more about Silver Fox Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
Following the American Blue rabbit breed, the Silver Fox rabbit was the second breed to originate in the United States. However, it’s ironic to note that despite being the earliest breeds, these two rabbits are now considered as some of the rarest breeds in the country.
On a lighter note, despite being classified under the “threatened” status by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the Silver Fox boasts a following of fair size. This following comes from show breeders who are astounded by the unique features of the Silver Fox, as well as those rabbit breeders who prefer a “more interesting” meat rabbit compared to the standard, Californians and New Zealands.
Silver Fox Rabbit Facts
According to some documentation, the silvering gene from the Champagne d’Argent was used to produce the Silver Fox. Walter B. Garland, a rabbit breeder from North Canton, Ohio, developed the breed around 1920s. In total, it took him 14 years to develop the standard. While he opted to not disclose the exact mix of the breed, it was presumed that he used Champagnes and Checkered Giants to make up the breed simply because he normally raises the two. However, later accounts say that a cross between a black Checkered Giant and an English Silver, a rabbit of unknown heritage, enabled the production of the Silver Fox rabbit.
When the first working standard for the Silver Fox was made in the year 1925, the breed was then known as the American Heavyweight Silver. Four years after, in the year 1929, the name of the breed was changed to American Silver Fox. Years after that, the name was shortened to Silver Fox.
It was in the year 1981 when the National Silver Fox Rabbit Club was founded. There were only 18 members of the club that time.
2. Characteristics and Appearance
The weight of senior bucks is between 9 to 11 pounds, while the senior does weigh around 10 to 12 pounds.
Silver Fox rabbit has a heavy commercial body type. Its body produces a fryer that can dress out at 65% of its live weight.
One of the unique features of the Silver Fox is its fur. Do you know that the Silver Fox is the only rabbit that has a normal fur called “standing coat”? The standing coat fur is a long fur, standing at 1 ½ inches of length. And when it is stroked beginning from the tail down to the head, it will stand nearly straight up, thus called standing coat. In comparison to other rabbits’ coats being ‘flyback’ or ‘rollback’, the coat of a Silver Fox returns to its natural position after getting smoothened by hand. Flyback or rollback fur returns to its original position after being stroked against the grain. This unique quality of a Silver Fox’s fur makes the pelt of the breed closely resemble that of the arctic canine.
The name of the breed also tells a lot about the physical appearance of the breed. The Silver portion of the name hails from the number of white and white tipped guard hairs that are evenly distributed throughout the coat. Due to the dark base color of the coat, a “ticked” appearance is created as a product of the contrast between the two colors. It’s worth noting that when the rabbits were born, they don’t bear this silver color yet. But as they slowly age, specifically reaching its fourth week, the silvering of the guard hair begins. This continues to increase throughout their entire life.
A recessive gene bearing the symbol si is the one responsible for the silvering of the rabbit’s coat. In the United States alone, there are four rabbit breeds that manifest the features of this silvering gene: Crème d’Argent, Champagne d’Argent, Silver, and the Silver Fox. The standard for each breed calls for different degrees of silvering.
In status quo, the only color recognized for the breed is black. The blue and chocolate varieties are still under development. Meara Collins of Princeton, Minnesota bears the Certificates of Development for these two varieties of Silver Fox.
While the blue was in the breed standard before, it was eventually removed around 1970s due to a rapid decline in the number of blue Silver Fox rabbits that are being shown in rabbit shows.
3. Personality and Traits
Silver Fox rabbits are known for having very gentle temperaments and docile personality. They are known for being friendly. They enjoy the attention of their pet owners, and love to be handled by them. Also, they are easy to pose in the table.
The National Silver Fox Rabbit Club continues to develop the rabbit breed that they are sponsoring, and are proud to promote the breed under the tagline “one of a kind since 1929”. This goes to show how passionate the Silver Fox rabbit breeders are to the breed.
Other than the “threatened” status that the breed has received from the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, a catalog of U.S. foods, also label the breed as in danger of extinction.
Today, the breed is only found in the United States. The “Silver Fox” breed of Europe and Australia is equivalent to American’s “Silver Marten”.