About Silver Fox
The third breed of rabbit to be developed in the United States, the Silver Fox rabbit is an American heritage breed. Developed by Walter B. Garland in Ohio, the breed became recognized in 1925. The Silver Fox, originally known as the American Heavyweight Silver, was specifically bred as an alternative to highly sought after fur of the wild silver fox, a genetic mutation of the red fox. Over harvesting of the wild silver fox caused scarcity and the fur trade was in need of an alternative. The Silver Fox rabbit was able to fulfill this need while also providing a domesticated and renewable resource. Additionally, it created an easy to raise meat source for people during one of the hardest periods of American history, The Great Depression.
The breed was originally recognized in two colors, black and blue. By the 1970's, however, the numbers of Silver Foxes in the US dwindled, and blue was dropped from the ARBA recognized colors. The lack of interest in the breed also led them to be listed as "Endangered" by the Livestock Conservancy. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of rabbit breeders here in the United States, the Silver Fox is now a "Recovering" breed today. The ARBA currently recognizes the black and chocolate varieties with blue currently undergoing COD for recognition approval.
It's important to note that the Silver Fox here in the United States is not the same as those seen in other countries. The Silver Fox breed recognized in Australia, England and many other countries is what is known as the Silver Marten in the United States. These are two very different breeds with completely different standards, bodies and fur types.
Silver Fox rabbits are a large-bodied rabbit with full hindquarters and proportional heads. Adult does reach weights of 10-12 lbs while adult bucks reach 9-11 lbs. Standards for this rabbit keep in mind their history of fur and meat, with rabbits dressing out to 65% of their live weights. The breed grows out fairly quickly reaching 5-7 pounds by about 12-16 weeks and full adult size by 8 months.
What really sets this breed apart from others is their unique coat. Not only does this rabbit have stunning silvering and soft fur, but the fur itself is different. When stoked backwards, tail to head, the fur stands perpendicular to the body rather than falling back down to the body. This is known as a "standing" coat and is a staple of the breed. This standing coat is found in no other breed of rabbit, and flyback coats are considered a disqualification per breed standards. Silver Fox rabbits can be seen in black, blue, chocolate and lilac, however only the black and chocolate, with only the black and chocolate being currently approved. Silvering of the fur begins to appear around 4 weeks of age and is fully seen around the age of maturity.