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New Zealand: Rare
Importation: 1986

Silver Fox Rabbits

A Rare Breed of British Origin

Silver Fox rabbit
Silver Fox rabbit (Photo by Sitereh Schouten)

The Silver Fox rabbit appeared around the 1920s in Great Britain as a sport in a Standard Chinchilla litter. Breeding two sports together produced a litter identical to their parents. This is how it all started. Sports also appeared in litters in France and North America (where it is called the Silver Martin) at about the same time.

At a commercial level, the Silver Fox is bred purely for the fur market (rather than as a meat-producer), with all the value being placed on the pelts with their glossy, dense, silky coat.

The striking feature of this breed, with its cobby body and broad head, is the silver tipped guard hairs on the chest, flanks, feet and rump. The higher the ticking continues up the sides the more beautiful this feature is considered. This is not a breed that you can pass by quickly and not be taken in by its crisp, clean, black and white unique pattern.

Being a medium sized rabbit, fanciers can house a Silver Fox in a partly wired run off the ground, giving easy access to adults and children. Wooden floors may be preferred in cooler climates. Care of this breed requires some grooming during moult as the thick coat is replaced by a new one. Future inconsistencies in weather patterns could increase the number of moults, though they usually moult only once a year.

Silver Fox rabbit
Young Silver Fox rabbits (Photo by Sitereh Schouten)

An adult buck weighs around 2.48 kilograms; an adult doe around 3.17 kilograms.

In New Zealand, three colours are accepted by the Rabbit Council of New Zealand: Chocolate, Blue and Black, but only black is known to still exist here. The total population of Silver Fox rabbits in this country is estimated to be fewer than 60 – numbers have been slowly decreasing as longer-established breeders have given up for various reasons. In an attempt to prevent numbers getting too low, some Silver Foxes have been crossed back to Standard Chinchilla rabbits – the importation of new stock from overseas is not seen as a realistic option for the near future.

Thanks to Sitereh Schouten of Natures Pace for the above information and photographs.
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