The Silver Fox rabbit is the third breed of rabbit developed in the United States, in North Canton, Ohio. They are noted as being one of the true multipurpose breeds, providing tasty meat and high quality fur. Originally two colors were approved, blue and black, however in the 1970s, blues were dropped and the only current color that is approved for the breed is black. This simply means that only blacks may be shown for points and towards legs (championships). Despite this, the breed also comes in blue, chocolate, lilac, and red-eyed white (REW). Blues and chocolates can currently be shown as a COD (certificate of development), in an effort to have both color varieties added to the breed standard.
– Quick color overview: the basic gene for the base color is B, each rabbit has two copies of the B gene, either B or b. BB and Bb display black color. bb displays chocolate color. The secondary gene is dilute, D, again two copies either D or d. DD or Dd displays the original base color (either black or chocolate), and dd modifies the base color to a dilution. Blue is a dilution of black and lilac is a dilution of chocolate. So blue and lilac rabbits are both homozygous recessive for the dilute gene and display dd. Lilac rabbits are also homozygous recessive for the base gene and their genetic color makeup is ALWAYS bbdd. White is an exception and works as a “cover up” gene, therefor a rabbit can display the white color but have any combination of the base and dilution genes, which it will carry and pass to offspring.
The Silver Fox is a large breed of rabbit, with senior (adult) does weighing 10 to 12 lbs and senior bucks between 9 and 11 lbs. Body should be medium length with filled, meaty shoulders and hindquarters. The most important breed features are the long fur and an evenly silvered coat. The coat displays a slight coarse texture and when brushed backwards, should stand erect and not fall back down into place.
Silver foxes are known for superior mothering ability and have a gentle, calm disposition. Litters generally range between 4 to 8 kits, and kits should be able to easily reach 4 lbs by 8 weeks, minimum. The breed was originally produced to dress out at 65% live weight, and current breeders strive to achieve this goal (including myself) with their grow out stock.
Origins of the Silver Fox are speculated to include Checkered Giants, Champagne D’Argents, and American Blues. They are suitable for the novice rabbit keeper, and are generally a healthy breed.
I choose to breed Silver Fox due to their size and temperament. I fell in love with the breed when I lived in SC, and I purchased a purebred doe who was already bred. She herself wasn’t the kindest rabbit, however her silvering was gorgeous. She kindled four blacks and a blue – the blue rabbit was my keeper, a buck whom I named Blueberry. He became like a dog, and was one of only two rabbits that trekked from SC to GA with me (he and Delilah, my first breeder doe ever). Sadly, I lost Blueberry to heat stroke about 2 summers ago, and since then I have been working in an attempt to develop a more heat-hardy breed, with larger litters, displaying the same beauty and general qualities of the Silver Fox.