Since this rabbit’s name includes “silver fox”, you might imagine a gorgeous silvery rabbit, which is partly true. But they were actually named after the silver fox because they have strikingly similar coloring!
These gorgeous rabbits were the third breed developed in the United States in the 1920s and were known as the American Heavyweight Silver. Silver Fox rabbits were on the Livestock Conservancy Priority List as critical a while ago, but currently, their status is “recovering,” which is hopeful news.1
Chinchilla, Checkered Giants, Champagnes d’Argent, English Silver
First-time owners, families with children
Gentle, docile, patient
The Silver Fox rabbit was named because of how closely their fur resembles that of the silver fox. They are large rabbits with dense black coats and silvery guard hairs that are unique in appearance and texture.
The origins of this breed aren’t precisely known, but it’s believed the Champagnes and Checkered Giants were part of their creation, which would help explain the Silver Fox’s large size. These critters were popular for their meat and fur but became even more popular show and pet rabbits.
Silver Fox Rabbit Characteristics
How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?
Silver Fox rabbits aren’t as easy to find as the more common breeds, and the average price for one of these bunnies can range from $50 to $100. That said, it depends on the breeder.
They are rarer than other breeds, but since their numbers are in recovery, it might be easier today to find one. You’ll want to start with online searching and try posting on social media—a Silver Fox might even find you!
Double-check the reviews of any Silver Fox rabbit breeders, and spend time speaking to them to ensure that they have raised their rabbits ethically.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Silver Fox Rabbit
The Silver Fox is known to be a docile and friendly rabbit that is smart enough to take to training. Since they are relatively easygoing, they make excellent pets for just about anyone, including beginners.
They are large rabbits, which means they aren’t as skittish as small breeds tend to be, so they don’t mind being handled as much. They are affectionate and playful and love getting attention.
Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets?👪
They make excellent pets for the whole family, including children. Just bear in mind that young and boisterous children might scare them. There shouldn’t be a great deal of noise and unexpected movements around rabbits. They are prey animals and startle easily.
Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?
Rabbits are social animals but only with other rabbits. Since they are prey animals, it’s highly stressful for them to be around predators like dogs and cats. That said, some rabbits can form bonds with dogs and cats, but this usually requires a great deal of socialization between the rabbit and the other pets. A kit (baby rabbit) and a puppy might form a friendship because they are so young, but supervision is still always highly recommended.
Things to Know When Owning a Silver Fox Rabbit
Like any animal, rabbits have special requirements when caring for them, so let’s discuss what you can expect when looking after a Silver Fox rabbit.
Food & Diet Requirements🥕
The diet requirements of the Silver Fox are no different from those of any other rabbit—it’s all about the hay! Generally, about 80% of a rabbit’s diet should be high-quality hay, with timothy hay being the most recommended. Green, leafy vegetables can make up about 10%, 5% are rabbit pellets, and the last 5% can be treats.
Timothy hay should be left out for your rabbit to eat at all times and placed in different locations around your home. Also, ensure that they have constant access to clean water. Only sparingly give your rabbit treats in the form of fruits and other kinds of vegetables, like carrots.
Habitat & Hutch Requirements🏠
The Silver Fox is a large rabbit and will need an enclosure of about 4 x 4 feet and an area in your home that’s safe for them to run around. Some rabbit owners use playpens, exercise pens, and dog crates.
The substrate for your rabbit’s cage should be timothy hay, recycled paper materials, or aspen shavings (never use cedar or pine shavings because these can cause health problems in rabbits). You can use the same materials for the litter box.
The litter box must be large enough for your rabbit to sit comfortably on one end and for timothy hay to be placed on the other. Rabbits like to eat and poop at the same time, so there needs to be enough room to accommodate a rabbit the size of the Silver Fox.
Many rabbit owners use plastic storage bins or large cat litter boxes, along with paper-based pelleted litter.
Exercise & Sleeping Needs🐇
Rabbits need opportunities to stretch their legs, so they can’t be kept inside their enclosure all the time. You’ll need to set up a rabbit-proofed portion of your home so they can come out of their cage and roam.
Access to fresh air and sunshine is also essential, so give them supervised outdoor time in a safe space. Foraging will help keep your rabbit healthy.
Rabbits need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep daily, but you should know that rabbits are crepuscular. They are more active at dawn and dusk and will get their sleep from late morning until early evening.
Training the Silver Fox should be relatively easy; they can even be litter box trained with positive reinforcement and treats. You can also train them on a harness and leash, though you’ll need to ensure that the harness is the right size for a large rabbit. It will take time for them to get used to it, but as long as you are patient, use treats, and are gentle with them, the Silver Fox should take to leash training well.
Silver Fox rabbits have longer fur than many other breeds—about 1 ½ to 2 inches long—so they need occasional brushing. Just be aware that if they have matted hair around their rear ends and feet, there’s probably an issue with their health or living conditions. There will also be extra shedding in the spring and fall, so you’ll need to brush your rabbit more frequently at these times.
Baths usually aren’t necessary unless they get truly dirty and messy. Rabbits are actually great at keeping themselves tidy, but if you do need to clean them up, never fully submerge your rabbit in water; spot-clean them instead.
Your rabbit must eat enough fibrous material to prevent overgrown teeth. They also need their nails trimmed about every 1 to 2 months and their ears cleaned about once a month.
Lifespan and Health Conditions🏥
Rabbits generally have an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. The Silver Fox has an average lifespan of about 5 to 7 years, though many are known to live to 10 years.
The Silver Fox isn’t prone to any specific genetic health conditions but can experience various medical issues that all rabbits are susceptible to.
Male vs Female
The primary difference between male and female Silver Fox rabbits is their size. Males are typically heavier and larger than females.
Temperament-wise, male Silver Fox rabbits tend to be slightly more easygoing, and females might exhibit territorial behavior. Spaying and neutering your rabbit will prevent destructive and mating behaviors.
The 3 Little-Known Facts About the Silver Fox Rabbit
1. The Silver Fox rabbit’s fur is one of a kind.
Besides the unique color, the Silver Fox rabbit’s fur stands straight up when you brush it backward. Most rabbits have “fly back” hair, meaning it goes back into place when you brush them from tail to head. The Silver Fox is one of the only rabbits without that “fly back” fur.
2. The Silver Fox was bred primarily for their meat during WWI.
During World War I, food became quite scarce in the United States, so rabbit meat became a popular food source. It was readily available, cheap, and high in protein. The Silver Fox was primarily used for their meat at this time, but today, they are bred mainly for show and as pets.
3. The Silver Fox rabbit is not just black.
While the most common coloring and only accepted color by the American Rabbit Breeders Association is black, the Silver Fox can also have blue, chocolate, and lilac as their base coat.
If you’re looking for a unique pet, the Silver Fox rabbit is a stunning critter with a gentle disposition that isn’t as skittish as some other (usually smaller) breeds, making them an excellent choice for families and single people.
Keep an eye out on social media, and check out the National Silver Fox Rabbit Club when you start looking for one of these rabbits. While they aren’t as common as many other breeds, they aren’t impossible to find and are well worth the search!
Featured Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock