The Argenté rabbit breed is popular, and it is one of the oldest domestic rabbit breeds in the world. The origins of the Argenté rabbit breed go back to the 17th century, but the rabbits only became popular from the early 20th century onward.
There are 10 Argentè rabbit varieties in the world; however, two of these are currently rare (Argenté Clair and Creme d’Argent rabbits). Other varieties of the Argenté breed are: Argenté Bleu, Argenté Brun (US), Argenté Brun (UK). Argenté Crème (UK), Argenté de Champagne (UK), Champagne d’Argent (US), Argenté Nior, and Argenté St Hubert rabbits.
Let’s learn more about the Argenté rabbit breed, the histories of each variety, as well as their physical characteristics.
What Is an Argenté Rabbit?
An Argenté rabbit is a rabbit breed with 10 varieties.
Some of these are recognized by the British Rabbit Council (BRC) and the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), others are recognized by one of these organizations, and one variety is new and not yet recognized.
The Argenté rabbit varieties include:
- Argenté Bleu
- Argenté Brun (US)
- Argenté Brun (UK)
- Argenté Crème (UK)
- Crème d’Argent (UK)
- Argenté de Champagne (UK)
- Champagne d’Argent (US)
- Argenté Noir
- Argenté St Hubert
- Argenté Clair
These rabbits fall in the medium-size or large-size classes. The color in the rabbits’ names doesn’t refer to the rabbit’s topcoat. Instead, it refers to the lower parts of their fur, which is closer to their skin.
Argenté Rabbit History and Origin
The Argenté rabbit breed is an old rabbit breed, and one of the oldest when it comes to showing rabbits in France.
Six of the Argenté rabbits’ origins trace back to 17th century France. However, these rabbits only became popular in the United Kingdom from 1919 onward.
Let’s have a look at the history of each of these Argenté rabbit varieties, and then we’ll also look at their physical features and personalities.
1. Argenté Bleu Rabbit History
The Argenté Bleu rabbit was imported into the UK in the 1920s. Unfortunately, the Argenté Bleu bunny became extinct, but somewhere between 1939 and 1941, DH Dowle recreated this particular rabbit breed.
2. Argenté Brun (UK & US) Rabbit History
The Argenté Brun (which means brown) was bred in the mid to late 19th century in France. During this time, people loved these rabbits for their fur.
In the 1920s and 1930s, North America imported the Argenté Brun rabbits from France, England, and Germany.
In the 21st century, Canadian Ed White sold some Argenté Brun bunnies to a lady by the name of Charmaine Wardrop in Washington. Wardrop was looking for a rabbit breed, and the Brun was what she was looking for.
Over the next few years, Wardrop further developed the Argenté Brun (US) and presented it to ARBA in 2016. The Argenté Brun (US) rabbit is the latest Argenté rabbit to be accepted by ARBA.
The Argenté Brun is also recognized by the BRC and the breed is denoted as Argenté Brun (UK), while the ARBA-recognized rabbit goes by Argenté Brun (US).
3. Argenté Crème (UK) Rabbit History
The Argenté Crème (UK) rabbit was imported into the United Kingdom from 1919 onward. The rabbit is similar but not the same as the ARBA-recognized Crème d’Argent rabbit.
One of the earliest mentions of the rabbit goes back to 1877 when the Argenté Crème rabbit was exhibited at the Jardin d’Acclimatation exhibit near Paris. The rabbit quickly became popular, mostly for its fur.
The Argenté Crème (UK) is recognized by the BRC. It is one of the smallest rabbits in the Argenté rabbit breed.
4. Créme d’Argent (US) Rabbit History
Similar to the Argenté Crème (UK) rabbit, the history of the Créme d’Argent (US) rabbit goes back to 19th century France.
The Champagne Argenté rabbit variety is documented to be the oldest, so it makes sense that the rabbit plays a part in the creation of the Argenté Créme and Créme d’Argent rabbits.
The Créme d’Argent (US) rabbit was first imported to the United States sometime before 1924. The American Créme d’Argent was mostly bred for rabbit meat production.
While some rabbits were purebred, others were crossed with other rabbit breeds like the Golden Palomino rabbit.
First shown in 1936, it took two years before a working standard for the Créme d’Argent rabbit was established.
But then Harry Clauss further bred the rabbit to have a commercial body. The rabbit breeder also bred out what he viewed as “common faults” like dark ear lacing.
Around 1940, ARBA recognized the Créme d’Argent (US) rabbit. Currently, it is one of the rarest rabbit breeds in the world, with a global population tallying to fewer than 1,000.
However, the breed is on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s “recovering” list since breeders are working hard to make sure this breed doesn’t become extinct.
5. Argenté de Champagne (UK) Rabbit History
The Argenté de Champagne (UK) rabbit is one of the oldest Argenté rabbits, with its origins going back as far as 17th century France.
It used to be called French Silvers because the rabbit has a silvery coat, and the Argenté de Champagne rabbit was also most likely used in the creation of the English Silver rabbit (because of its coat color).
The rabbit was very popular for its fur and its meat. Because of overproduction in 1870, the number of breeders of the Argenté de Champagne (UK) rabbit fell, but then the market recovered. From 1895 to the start of the 20th century, the breed was thriving.
In 1902, the Argenté de Champagne rabbit was recognized in France. The rabbit made its way to the UK in 1920.
6. Champagne d’Argent (US) Rabbit History
The Champagne d’Argent (US) rabbit is the ARBA version of the BRC-recognized Argenté de Champagne (UK) rabbit.
When the rabbits were imported to the US, they had long and loose coats. Through selective breeding, the Champagne d’Argent (US) rabbit has developed the dense and silky coat we see on the bun today.
The US breeders also bred the bunny to be larger than the English Argenté de Champagne.
Between 1955-1959, the breed became known as the Champagne d’Argent rabbit in ARBA’s books.
7. Argenté Noir Rabbit History
No history on the Argenté Noir rabbit is available, but we do know that it is one variety of the Argenté rabbit.
8. Argenté St Hubert Rabbit History
The Argenté St Hubert rabbit is a recent (2008) Argenté rabbit color that was standardized in the UK.
9. Argenté Clair Rabbit History
The Argenté Clair rabbit is a rare Argenté rabbit that the BRC nor ARBA currently recognizes.
In Germany, the Argenté Clair rabbit is called Light Groot Silver.
Argenté Rabbit Characteristics
Let’s have a look at each of the Argenté rabbit’s physical characteristics, but before we do, here’s some general info about the Argenté breed:
When born, Argenté kits have a solid colored coat and their coloring changes as they mature around the 6-week mark. However, the coat of the Argenté bunny can also only change when they are 4 months old.
All Argenté rabbits should have slightly arched back and hindquarters that are well developed. These rabbits also have broadheads, and their front legs are straight.
They make excellent pets and show rabbits because they are used to being handled. The Argenté bunnies are sweet, sociable, and friendly.
1. Argenté Bleu Rabbit Characteristics
The Argenté Bleu rabbit, which is a medium-sized bunny, should ideally weigh 6 pounds.
The coat of an Argenté Bleu bunny is dense and glossy. The Argenté Bleu’s under color is lavender blue. Their coat is white with long dark blue hairs that give their fur a bluish tint.
The rabbit’s eyes are blue.
2. Argenté Brun (UK & US) Rabbit Characteristics
Argenté Brun (UK) rabbits weigh 6 pounds when they are mature. The undercoat color should be as deep a brown as possible, while the topcoat color is a brownish white. Like the Argenté Bleu, the UK Brun rabbit also has long hair, but these are dark brown.
Contrastingly, the Argenté Brun (US) can weigh 10.5 pounds. The coat color of this variety should be frosted or silvered brown. The American Argenté Brun rabbit should also preferably have a darker butterfly muzzle, feet, and ears.
The under color of the Argenté Brun (US) should be rich chocolate, and the color should go all the way to the bunny’s skin. The long guard hairs should also be dark brown and evenly interspersed over the entire rabbit coat.
3. Argenté Crème (UK) Rabbit Characteristics
As the smallest Argenté rabbit, the Argenté Crème (UK) bunny weighs 5-5.1 pounds.
The Argenté Crème (UK) also has a glossy and dense coat, just like the Argenté Brun and Bleu rabbits.
The under color of the Argenté Crème (UK) is orange, and this hair color goes all the way to the rabbit’s skin. The outer coat color is a creamy white, and with the longer orange guard hairs, the coat of the Argenté Crème (UK) rabbit appears creamy.
These rabbits can have a white underbelly, but it’s preferable that Argenté Crème (UK) rabbits have a colored underbelly – the same color as their coat.
They also have dark brown eyes, and toenails should be a horn color.
4. Créme d’Argent (US) Rabbit Characteristics
Because the breed was bred for meat production in the US, the Créme d’Argent (US) rabbit is bigger than its UK cousin.
Créme d’Argent rabbits have a commercial body and weigh between 8.5-11 pounds. The rabbit should have a creamy-white coat that has a light-orange cast.
The undercoat is bright orange and the bun has long orange guard hairs, which is where the light orange hue comes from.
5. Argenté de Champagne (UK) Rabbit Characteristics
The Argenté de Champagne (UK) rabbit is a medium-sized bunny with a well-rounded, arched body. The rabbit typically weighs between 9-12 pounds.
The coat of the Argenté de Champagne (UK) rabbit is a dark slate blue, and the long guard hairs that are evenly found all over the rabbit’s coat should be black. Thus, the rabbit has a bluish-white or silvery coat.
The kits of the Argenté de Champagne (UK) rabbit are born with a pure black coat that only starts turning silver when the bunnies are 3 weeks old.
6. Champagne d’Argent (US) Rabbit Characteristics
The Champagne d’Argent (US) rabbit has a commercial body and also weighs a maximum of 12 pounds these days.
The undercoat of the Champagne d’Argent (US) rabbit is a washed-out blue, old silver, or a skimmed milk color. The long guard hairs are black. As such, the rabbit has a silvery coat.
7. Argenté Noir Rabbit Characteristics
The Argenté Noir rabbit weighs a maximum of 6 pounds. The undercoat of the Argenté Noir rabbit is a dark slate blue color, while the topcoat is a grayish-white. From a distance, the rabbit has a silvery shine.
The eyes of the Argenté Noir rabbit are dark brown.
8. Argenté St Hubert Rabbit Characteristics
The Argenté St Hubert rabbit also weighs around 6 pounds. This rabbit has a dense and glossy coat.
The undercoat is dark blue, and then the fur strands change color to an orange intermediate band and then finally, a narrow chestnut band at the top.
Thus, the coat color of the Argenté St Hubert rabbit is a creamy white, and the blackguard hairs give the rabbit’s fur a creamy or light chestnut shade.
9. Argenté Clair Rabbit Characteristics
The Argenté Clair rabbit looks similar to the Champagne d’Argent rabbit. However, its coat is very silvered, and the under color is a recessive dilute blue.
Breeding Argenté Rabbits
The Argenté rabbits are popular show rabbits. However, because of their great personalities, they also make wonderful pet rabbits.
In short, here’s what the Argenté bunnies have been and are bred for:
- Argenté Bleu: pet, show
- Argenté Brun: pet, show, meat, fur
- Argenté Crème (UK): pet, show, meat, fur
- Créme d’Argent (US): pet, show, meat, fur
- Argenté de Champagne (UK): pet, show, meat, fur
- Champagne d’Argent (US): pet, show, meat, fur
Prices of the Argenté Rabbits
Here’s the pricing information for the Argenté rabbit varieties:
- Argenté Brun: $50-300
- Créme d’Argent (US): $75+
- Champagne d’Argent (US): $50-100
My Last Bunny Thoughts
The Argenté rabbits are popular domestic rabbits that have been bred for fur, meat, show and exhibition, and pet purposes. Some of these rabbits are rare, but if you can adopt one of the Argenté rabbits, know that they are well-tempered and do well when you handle them – unlike other rabbits that are nervous.