- Origin: United States
- Average weight: 9-12 lbs with senior bucks weighing 9–11 pounds and does 10–12 pounds
- Lifespan: 5-8 years
- Body type: Commercial body shape
- Who can have them: First-time pet owners, families with older kids, singles, and seniors
- Purpose: Showing, pet, meat, and pelt.
- Similar breeds: Checkered Giant, Champagne D’Argent Rabbit
History and origin
It was Walter B. Garland of North Canton, Ohio in the US who developed the Silver Fox rabbit using rabbit breeds that are disputed but believed to be Champagne (or English silvers) and Checkered Giants. The ARBA recognized them in 1925 accepting the Black and Blue colored varieties.
Initially, they were known as the American Heavyweight Silver. However, there was a name change in 1929 to its current one. With plummeting numbers, eighteen breeders decided to create the National Silver Fox Rabbit Club in 1971 to help reverse the situation.
In the 1990s, the blue variety was dropped due to its few numbers in ARBA conventions. Therefore, you can only show the black ones.
Although still considered threatened by American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, their numbers are springing back due to its excellent meat and fur. The Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, which is a catalog of foods that in danger of extinction in the US recognizes it.
According to the Ark of Taste, the breed is “critically endangered with fewer than fifty annual North American registrations, and there is a global population of less than 500.”
By 2014, the bunny was not listed among the 15 rarest US breeds in the Rare Rabbit Breeds List of 2014.
Appearance, size, and body type
This bunny has a commercial body type characterized by as Wikipedia notes,“well filled, wide straight hindquarters, a deep profile which allows for a deep loin, the width of the body to equal the depth of the hindquarters and a short shoulder.”
Their commercial body type ensures maximum meat production with its dressing out about 65%, and it should have black toenails.
Does are excellent mothers, producing a lot of milk and a large litter of kits, usually 4 to 8.
Its coat is covered by evenly silvered long fur about 1.5 inches long which is dense and unique, comparable to that found on the Silver Fox’s pelt (on an overall black coat). This fur is unique since it is a ‘stand-up’ kind which if stroked forward will remain standing up until you stroke them backward.
The ARBA only accepts a perfect breed that has the ‘stand up fur’ on fur standards. The fur and body type are the most critical considerations in the Silver Fox Standard of Perfection.
Young ones are born with a solid blue or black color, and after about four weeks, they begin silvering. The process goes on until they are about four months.
As already noted, the ARBA only allows breeders to show a black Silver Fox rabbit. However, there are other colors such as blue, white, chocolate and lilac. The blue and the chocolate Silver Foxes have development certificates, meaning you can also show these two colors.
To be shown, Raising-Rabbits.com notes that the “silvering, distinct, sharp, bright; not too heavy, not too light.”
Caring for your Silver Foxes
Primary care involves giving them the right rabbit foods in their correct proportions, grooming these bunnies by brushing them with a soft-bristled brush once a week or as required, clipping their nails and cleaning their cages or enclosures.
Unlike those for meat, if you intend them to be for show, then consider giving higher protein amounts i.e.,18 to 21%. Hay such as Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food or Kaytee Timothy Hay should account for at least 80% of their diet.
Both indoor and outdoor cages must of the right size, i.e., be spacious for the bunny to hop around, stand and stretch and have a sleeping area.
Also, remove any droppings daily and clean the whole enclosure and remove their beddings weekly. Having rabbit litter trays for collecting droppings, urine, and other wastes will make cleaning easier if you go for wired cages. However, they may cause sore hocks.
Outdoor hutches should be raised, safe from predators and bad weather. Preferably, put it under a shade where there is free air circulation.
Rabbits bond and love to spend quality time with their owners. Ensure you have a fenced area in your backyard where they can play and spend time with you. For indoor ones, ensure your house is rabbit-proofed before you let them freely interact with you.
Besides noticeable symptoms showing you that your bunny is not ok. If you live in areas where vaccination is required, take your rabbit to a vet for vaccination against myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease and ensure they are free of fur and ear mites, fleas, and ticks.
Always check for overgrown teeth, signs of wool blocks, and ensure you regularly deworm them.
Finally, check for changes in eating behaviors (increase or decreased appetite), lethargy, drooling, hair loss, nasal or eye discharges, sneezing, coughing, stool and urine changes, hair loss, among others.
Temperament and behavior
The Silver Fox rabbits are docile, friendly and love attention making them easy to handle.
If you socialize them well while still young, they can enjoy being held and petted. Therefore, spend time with them while they are still young to help grow a bond with you.
However, before handling these bunnies, ensure you know how to properly carry them since if it is down wrongly, expect them to feel unsafe, uncomfortable and vulnerable. All this can trigger them to struggle and being large, they can injure you or themselves.
For quality playtime, get a few rabbit toys (dog and cat toys will also be ideal) from a nearby pet store or modify safe ones at home. They are also intelligent, and you can train them to use their litter boxes. However, this requires a lot of patience.
As we said, besides showing, and their good Silver Fox meat, these bunnies are suited for singles, first-time pet owners, families with children (younger children may need supervision) and seniors. Most bunnies, prefer being in pairs or trios.
Silver Fox rabbits for sale
The average cost of a Silver fox rabbit is $ 25 to $ 50+ with the pedigreed breeds and those for show attracting a higher price.
Due to their small numbers, it is not easy to get these bunnies readily available for sale. You may need to get into a waiting list or travel several miles to rescue centers, rabbitries as well as reputed Silver fox rabbit breeders.
Try searching online to see if you can locate any Silver Foxes near you for sale.