SILVER FOX - Nikki White (Reguli Cavy & Rabbit Stud)
Another cuddly pyjama-case of a Fur rabbit, the Fox is not particularly popular out here and is quite rare, being largely in the hands of a few dedicated breeders. This despite the fact that it is one of the most popular show rabbits in Britain. Please note that what the Americans call a Silver Fox is not the same as what is meant by the term in Britain, New Zealand or here. The "American" Silver Fox is an American-developed large, silvered rabbit which looks more like a black Silver. They call our Silver Fox, "Silver Marten". So if you are Googling "silver fox rabbit", just be aware you may be directed to the wrong rabbit. So check the photos carefully. If it doesn't look like the rabbit above (a tan pattern) but resembles a black Silver, then it isn't "our" Silver Fox.
The BRC standard calls for a moderately cobby rabbit with a slightly arched back, a broad head on a short neck, weighing between 2.494 to 3.17 kg. The coat is worth 40 points and should be dense and exquisitely silky. Markings are worth 20 points and require the chest, flanks and feet to be evenly ticked with silver-tipped guard hairs, any ticking up the side and/or over the back not to be a fault, the eye circles to be neat, the triangle on the nape to be as small as possible and white. Faults include rusty shade in the body colour, pale undercolour, silver or brindled patches, excessive dewlap or woolliness. Disqualifications include yellow or any other colour in the white pattern, any deformity, putty noise, suffering from cold. Colours come in black, blue, lilac and chocolate.
The Silver Fox was developed in Britain in the 1920s, the result of crossing Chinchillas and Tans. The original idea was to breed a rabbit which resembled the Canadian silver fox (which was very popular as a fur coat in those days). Some sources claim they were a natural sport in some Chinchilla lines and were eventually developed as a separate breed. Other colours followed soon after. After a slow start, they became one of the most popular exhibition breeds and spread to other countries.
SO, A SILVER FOX THEN/
With its luxuriant, thick soft black, chocolate, lilac or blue coat and contrasting white underbelly, eye circles and nape triangle, set off by the sparkling white longer hairs of its chest and flanks ticking, this is a splendid looking rabbit. It is a robust animal with a lively, friendly temperament and makes a good pet, as well as a show animal. The colour and pattern can be found in other breeds such as any of the Lops, Standard and Mini Rex, Polish and Netherland Dwarf.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The colour should extend all the way down the hair shaft. The belly should be white without groin streaks in the top colour. The coat should be dense which can be felt between the finger and thumb. The coat should roll slowly back when brushed forward, and not spring or fly back. The idea length of the coat is about 3.13 cm.
CARE AND HANDLING
As this is a medium-sized rabbit it will need a hutch either 110-120 x 50 x 50 or 80 x 80 x 60. Feed is as for other breeds - pellets, mix, fresh fruit and veg, as treats. Don't over feed. Their coats can be brought to a fine sheen by brushing with your hands and/or a piece of silk or satin cloth or mitt. Like all rabbits, they should be brushed with a slicker brush or comb in moult and given plenty of roughage (meadow hay or lucerne) during these times. They are basically an easy care rabbit provided you observe commonsense as outlined above.
National Silver Fox Rabbit Club (UK) does not appear to have a website (Jan. 2015) check BRC affiliation national breed club listings.
British Rabbit Council, Standards of Rabbit Breeds 3rd ed. 2011-2016.
Russell, Gary, Mini Encyclopedia of Rabbit Breeds & Care. Dorking, Interpet Publishing, 2008
Sandford, J.C., The Domestic Rabbit 5th ed. Blackwell, Science, 1996
Verhoef-Verhallen, Esther, Encyclopaedia of Rabbits and Rodents. Lisse, Rebo Productions, 1998
Vriends-Parent, Lucia, The New Rabbit Handbook. Hauppage, NY, Barrons, 1989
Whitman, Bob D., Domestic Rabbits & Their Histories: Breeds of the World. Leawood, KS : Leathers Publishing, 2004
Williams, A.E. Ted, Rabbit Breeding for Perfection. Melbourne, AE Williams, 1992.