The Silver Fox rabbit is a magnificent, rare domestic breed that was developed in the United States in the 1920s by Walter B. Garland. Their most striking feature is a beautiful coat lined with silver-tipped hairs.
Thanks to this gorgeous fur and their love for striking poses, Silver Foxes are mainly known as a show animal. But don’t let it fool you, these gentle giants are more than a pretty face! They enjoy handling and make phenomenal pets, suitable for even novices and children!
Thinking about adding a Silver Fox to your family? Here’s everything you need to know!
Despite its deceiving name, this breed is not a strange type of rabbit fox. And it definitely doesn’t have any genetic connection to foxes! 😊 But when it comes to Silver Fox genes, this might be the only thing we know for sure!
Walter B. Garland of North Canton, Ohio, developed the Silver Fox breed. He spent 14 years selectively breeding these beauties into existence. He, however, never shared their exact genealogy. All we have is several hypotheses based on the rabbits’ characteristics and Walter’s breeding goals.
The most widespread theory, advocated by The National Silver Fox Rabbit Club (NSFRC), states that Silver Foxes were developed from Checkered Giants, for their large, muscular bodies, and English Silvers, for their coarse fur and stocky body shape. Others, such as The Livestock Conservancy, agree that the Checkered Giant was an ancestor of the breed, but believe that Walter B. Garland used Champagne D’Argents and American Blues rather than English Silvers.
The Silver Fox was the third breed to be developed in the United States. It was also the third breed to be recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1925.
It was originally called American Heavyweight Silver due to its size, but its name was changed to American Silver Fox in 1929. Later its name was changed again and it became known as the Silver Fox.
In the early 1970s, the Silver Fox breed was on the brink of extinction. Luckily fifteen breeders came together to form the NSFRC and save it. Through their hard work and dedication, the Silver Foxes rabbit is no longer a ‘critically endangered’ breed.
Silver Fox Rabbit Appearance
All it takes is one glance at this curled up Silver Fox before we can conclude that these rabbits are adorable! But let’s talk facts to learn more about the stunning Silver Fox breed.
This rabbit breed was once called American Heavyweight Silver for a reason!
They are large, commercial body type bunnies, that weigh between 9 and 12 pounds (4 and 5.5 kgs). They also display well-rounded hindquarters and shoulders. Does tend to be heavier than bucks, usually weighing in at 1 or 2 pounds more. Despite their weight, Silver Fox rabbits have a medium-length body. They are about 20 inches tall when they stand up.
The Silver Foxes’ crown jewel is their incredibly dense, coarse and shiny coat. Their fur is between 1½ to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cms) long and their guard hairs are lightly silvered. This creates a beautiful, evenly dispersed silver-tipped effect on the rabbit’s entire body.
Silver Foxes’ fur ‘stands up‘ when you stroke the bunny from tail to head. The only way to lower the fur again is with another stroke in the opposite direction. If you forget, then your bunny will be extra poofy!
No other rabbits possess this trait; the only other animal with a similar coat is the Arctic Silver Fox. This explains why the breed’s name was changed from American Heavyweight Silver to Silver Fox!
P.S. Despite this magnificent fur, a Silver Fox Rabbit does not need any special grooming!
Despite having silver-tipped fur, these bunnies can’t be described as fully silver. Their soft underfur colour shows through and can come in a variety of different shades.
The most common, and only recognised colour by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in the United States, is black. The other non-recognised Silver Fox fur colours include blue, chocolate, lilac and the very rare white.
Blue used to be an official American Rabbit Breeders Association fur colour until the 1970s. However, thanks to the NSFRC, the blue and chocolate varieties are being developed for readmittance. Fingers crossed!
Silver Fox rabbits are a healthy breed well suited for all climate types. They don’t present any extra disease risks. You’ll just need to follow all the usual rabbit health procedures to keep them healthy and living a long, happy life. Their average lifespan is 7 to 10 years, so expect plenty of bonding opportunities!
Silver Fox Rabbit Personality
Silver Foxes rabbits are sweetie pies! They are very gentle, calm creatures that love being at the centre of attention. They also tolerate being handled extraordinarily well. These characteristics make this breed a fantastic choice for:
- Families with children.
- Inexperienced owners.
- Seniors looking for a companion animal.
- Breeders and enthusiasts looking for a show-worthy bunny.
If you’re ever lucky enough to experience a litter of Silver Fox kits, then you’ll also see that the does are exceptional mothers with plenty of milk for their numerous offspring (even over 10!).
Caring for a Silver Fox Rabbit
The Silver Fox breed is well suited toboth indoor and outdoor living. Be sure to pick a home for your Silver Fox that is large enough for them to hop around and stand upright! If you decide that your rabbit will live outside, their hutch must be waterproof, protected from direct sunlight and predators, and well-lined with soft straw bedding. Indoor or outdoor, remember to clean out your rabbit’s cage at least once a week and pick out droppings daily!
Every Silver Fox needs to spend at least 3 hours every day exercising outdoors outside of its cage. They love running around, digging, playing with a variety of pet toys and bonding with their owners. This will keep your Silver Fox happy and lead to a much friendlier temperament.
The last thing to ensure is a good diet and plenty of fresh drinking water. 70% of a Silver Fox’s daily feed should be grass hay. The remaining 30% should be mainly fresh leafy vegetables (i.e. romaine lettuce and watercress) and rabbit pellets. Only give fruits as treats twice a week due to their high sugar content.
Silver Fox rabbits are a distinctive breed thanks to their beautiful silver-tipped fur and their docile, laidback nature. Anyone lucky enough to have the opportunity to own one shouldn’t hesitate for a moment. These wonderful, rare bunnies are sure to bring you joy!