Silver Fox Rabbits
The Silver Fox rabbit is the third breed developed in the United States. It was created by Walter B. Garland of North Canton, Ohio. The Silver Fox is truly a multi-purpose breed, raised for meat and fur. The breed was recognized, and a standard approved in 1925 under the name American Heavyweight Silver. In 1929 the name was changed to the American Silver Fox and later to Silver Fox. The breed has always been recognized in two varieties - blue and black. During the 1970s, however, the blues were dropped from the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) standards due to lack of numbers being shown. They are currently listed as "in recovery" on the American Livestock Conservancy after being in the "threatened" catergory for years.
The genetic make-up of the breed has never been divulged. What is known is that Garland was one of America’s earliest breeders of the Checkered Giant breed and kept Champagne D’ Argents as well. Crosses in more recent years using Champagne D’ Argents with self-colored rabbits have produced reasonably nice examples of a Silver Fox type rabbit. It is likely that Garland used self-colored Checkered Giants for the very large size; Champagne D’ Argents for the silvering, fur length, and meat qualities; and perhaps an infusion of American Blue to improve on the meat producing qualities and the blue color.
The kits are born either solid black, blue or chocolate and begin to show silvering of their fur at about 4 weeks. The silvering process takes 4 months to complete. The fur is one of the most attractive and unusual features of the breed. It is extremely dense and 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length. When the fur is stroked from tail to head, it will stand straight up until stroked in the opposite direction. This trait is found in no other breed and greatly resembles the pelt of the silver fox of the Artic.
The Silver Fox is a large breed weighing 10-12 pounds as adults. The breed is not recognized in other countries, although in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom there is a breed called Silver Fox, which is actually the same rabbit breed as the Silver Marten in America.
As of December 2021, the chocolate is now a recognized color under the ARBA show in the Silver Fox rabbit breed. The blue currently has a certificate of development with the ARBA to be evaluated for recognition again in 2024.
Due to their docile nature, some people keep Silver Foxes as pets. The bucks are generally more friendly than the does, but after some treats and loving the girls normally come around. They do best in cool to cold environments due to their unique coats. Does have large litters up to 12 or 13 kits, produce plenty of milk, are excellent mothers, and make wonderful foster mothers.
Silver Fox rabbits are also l as a lean, clean source of protein. At the age of 12-16 weeks they have a 60-65% dress out rate (meat to bone ratio). Due to the plush quality of their fur, it is also a great for lining of cold weather gear. They are the only breed of rabbit with a "standing" fur meaning you can stroke the fur from rear to head and the fur should stay upright due to density and texture. Fur is soft being stroked in any direction.