Silver Marten Rabbit – information and facts about the Silver Marten Rabbit Breed. Learn more about Silver Marten Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
The Silver Marten rabbits, highly regarded for being lovable and charming pets, are primarily raised to compete in both pet and agricultural shows. Originally, the term “Silver Marten” is both the color and breed’s name. The breed first appeared, and then was used for the introduction of the color as a variety in a couple of other rabbits, including the Netherland Dwarf, Jersey Wooly, and the Mini Rex.
It is to be remembered that this process is not new. Breeds such as the Lilac, American Sable, Standard Chinchilla and Chocolate Havana, all began with a new color mutation. Their genes were then lent later to contribute to the production of a new variety in already-accepted rabbit breeds.
Interestingly, the Silver Marten has one of the most captivating and striking colors.
Silver Marten Rabbit Facts
When the Chinchilla rabbits were listed under the “critical” status of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conservation Priority List, the early breeders of the Chinchilla made attempts in a bid to improve the breed’s color and pattern. They realized this through the introduction of black and tan bloodlines. Later on, these genes appeared as black “sports”, described as “strange little black rabbits”, as well as similar silver rabbits among the standard litters of the Chinchilla rabbits. Since genetics is not that well founded in this time, breeders didn’t realize that they were introducing the recessive tan pattern to their agouti Chinchillas. As a result, tan pattern carriers were bred together and the Silver Martens were produced. The unique breed was separated as a “Silver Marten” in the year 1924.
In the year 1927, the American Rabbit Breeders Association put in place a working standard for the black and chocolate colors of the Silver Marten rabbit breed. This paved way for the charter of the first Silver Marten Club.
In the year 1933, the blue variety of the breed was officially recognized. Many decades passed and the development of the breed continued. The last variety to be approved is the sable, which was accepted by ARBA in the year 1993, sixty years after the blue variety’s recognition.
2. Characteristics and Appearance
The Silver Marten is classified under the medium-sized rabbits. However, it is still one of the smallest breeds that are placed under the “commercial” body type category. While the type is supposed to be similar to that of a Californian rabbit, it will be a little shorter. Its weight is between 6.5 and 8.5 pounds when it reaches the age of seniority. Its ideal weight is only 8 pounds.
The rabbit is described as hardy and has a soft fur with a “beautiful polished look to it”. The top color is dark rich self-variety and contrasts with the markings underneath that are colored silver-white. For Silver Martens, the top color can be black, blue, chocolate, or sable. And the markings are composed of a white belly, chin, underside-of-tail, inside-of-ears, markings in the nostrils, and eye circles. Ideally, Silver Martens should have some “silvering” or white ticking up to the rabbit’s lower sides that edge the markings in the belly. This feature is a result of the marking pattern for the Silver Martens and not with the true silvering that is present among the Silver or Silver Fox rabbit breeds.
Let’s have a smooth run into the different varieties of the Silver Marten.
Starting off with the Black Silver Marten, this variety is deemed to be the most popular among the four. The specimens should show a jet-black color, which means that the fur is black as far down the hair of the breed as possible. Well-shaped and defined silver markings will then appear in contrast in the hair. The variety features dark brown eyes and an underside of dark slate blue.
Next to the black variety is the Blue Silver Marten, which is the second most popular color of the breed. They appear “dark blue” all over, and their eyes are bluish gray. The blue variety’s sharp markings develop slower compared to the black.
We also have the Chocolate Silver Martens that have a rich, dark brown color described as “semi-sweet rather than milk chocolate candy”. They also have brown eyes that perfectly match their color. With a lighter pigment only at the fur tips, the belly areas also have similar color. Rabbit breeders point out that the Chocolate Silver Martens’ fur has the affinity to fade over time especially when exposed to sunlight.
The last variety to be approved is the Sable Silver Marten. It’s also the least common among all the varieties. Sable Silver Martens manifest medium sepia brown “on the saddle, shading evenly down to the sides to a lighter color”. Some areas of the breed’s body, specifically the rabbit’s ears, face, tail, outside portion of the feet and the lower legs, appear very dark sepia brown and nearly black. This shift in coloration provides a distinct contrast to the body of the rabbit. If a Sable Silver Marten is correctly colored, it must be silvery at birth. And as it slowly ages, it takes on a blotchy appearance. Typically, the coat of the breed would darken throughout its lifetime. And every time a successful molting process happens, the contrast reduces with the points.
The pattern for the Silver Marten is similar to the Tan breed’s pattern, except that the Marten has a chinchilla gene instead of the normal full color. This implies that tan rabbit’s yellow factor is changed to white. To round that up, comparing a tan and a marten is just like comparing a chestnut and a chinchilla.
3. Personality and Traits
While the Silver Marten is often described as timid compared to the other larger rabbits, many breeders still are considering them as excellent pets.
They are playful and love to play toys that they can easily toss around in their cage. They love romping around their environment. The pet owner should be strategic in the size of the cage of the Silver Marten to cater to the active personality of the rabbit.
The Silver Marten is compatible for the introduction of color into the bloodlines of the Dwarf Rabbit. Due to its attractive color and its flossy flyback, a high quality Silver Marten would often be awarded the Best in Show award.