Looking for a large rabbit breed with a commercial body shape and soft silver fur? What about the Champagne d’Argent rabbit?
The Champagne d’Argent rabbit, also called the French Silvers rabbit, has a stunning silver coat, weighs 9-12 pounds, and lives 7-9 years on average. The hardy, large breed rabbit is curious and affectionate, making an excellent pet bunny for first-time or experienced rabbit owners.
Let’s learn about the Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed, where it originated, and how you can identify and care for this rabbit.
What Is a Champagne d’Argent Rabbit?
The silver Champagne d’Argent rabbit originated in France and is one of the oldest d’Argent rabbit breeds.
In fact, there are 7 d’Argent rabbit breeds today but the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) only recognizes two:
- The Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed
- The Crème d’Argent rabbit breed
Champagne d’Argent Rabbit History and Origin
In the 17th century in Champagne, France, the Champagne d’Argent rabbits were bred. “Champagne d’Argent” means silver (rabbit) of Champagne. However, there are stories that these commercial-sized bunnies may have been bred by monastery monks even earlier.
In France, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit is called the French Silvers.
In 1912, the Champagne d’Argent rabbits were exported to the United States. In 1920, these rabbits were exported to England and called Argente de Champagne.
Back then the bunnies had long and loose coats, similar to a silver fox dog. U.S. breeders worked on the coat through selective breeding so that it’s what it is today – short and soft.
The breeders also bred the rabbits to be bigger than the English or French Argente de Champagne rabbits to now weigh up to 12 pounds.
Between 1955-1959, the “e” in the rabbit breed’s name was dropped from the ARBA’s Standard of Perfection. Most breeders call this breed simply Champagne or Champagne d’Argent.
Champagne d’Argent Rabbit Characteristics
To recognize the Champagne d’Argent, learn the rabbit breed’s physical characteristics:
Body Shape and Coat
With its commercial-shaped body, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit is medium in length. The back of the rabbit arches quite high but it has a roundness to it with no gaps underneath the belly.
The Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed has full and muscular hindquarters and shoulders. Their ears are medium to long, reaching halfway down their backs. However, their ears are usually upright.
These Champagne d’Argent rabbits weigh a minimum of 9 pounds and a maximum of 12 pounds when they are mature.
When a Champagne d’Argent doe kindles, the kits in the litter will first have a black coat when their fur grows.
As they grow older, from around the 6-8 month mark, the silver color in their coat will start around their tummy area and then grow upward over their back and face.
The coat of these bunnies continue to lighten as they age; however, their ears and nose are usually darker than the rest of their body.
The Champagne d’Argent rabbits have a short coat. Like all rabbits, this breed also molts during the year.
When it isn’t a molting season, groom your rabbit once a week. This is a good way to get your rabbit used to your touch and to bond with your rabbit.
During molting or shedding season, increase how often you groom your rabbit to twice weekly.
There are 7 color varieties of the Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed. The ARBA only recognizes two colors, which are champagne and crème.
In the UK, 5 color varieties of the d’Argent rabbit breed are recognized: blue, Brun, crème noir, and champagne.
The personality of Champagne d’Argent rabbits is loving, caring, and curious. If you want a large rabbit, a Champagne d’Argent bunny will be a great addition to your home – whether you are single, married, or have kids.
These rabbits are also ideal for senior citizens, as well as for indoor or outdoor living environments.
Socialize your Champagne d’Argent rabbit from an early age to prevent them from being anxious and to learn to enjoy human attention. This will also help your rabbit bond with you.
If you can’t spend a lot of time with your bunny, it’s best to find a rabbit partner for your Champagne d’Argent rabbit. This ensures they always have a friendly rabbit face and company, and it prevents them from getting lonely and suffering from depression.
Like a well-mannered cat, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit isn’t overly active. They prefer to nap when they can or just laze around.
They do need to exercise, so the Champagne d’Argent rabbit will hop around. And you can keep them entertained and exercised with the help of rabbit-friendly toys.
Champagne d’Argent Rabbit Care
Learning how to care for your pet or show rabbit is essential to ensure your bun grows and thrives. Follow this mini care guide for the best results:
Just as all other pet rabbits, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit also needs a healthy and balanced diet.
Around 70-80% of your bun’s diet should be high-quality hay to keep the rabbit’s digestive system going and to help them wear down their teeth.
Next, 10% of your rabbit’s diet per day should be 2-3 kinds of fresh leafy greens. Here’s how much leafy greens your rabbit needs per day according to its weight:
- 9 pounds > 4.5 cups
- 10 pounds > 5 cups
- 11 pounds > 5.5 cups
- 12 pounds > 6 cups
Remember to split the cup amount in two as your rabbit eats twice a day. So a 10-pound Champagne d’Argent rabbit needs 2.5 cups of leafy green veggies in the morning and 2.5 cups of leafy green veggies in the evening.
Pellets should comprise around 5% of your rabbit’s diet. Here’s how many pellets your Champagne d’Argent rabbit needs according to its weight:
- 9 pounds > 1 tablespoon + ½ cup
- 10 pounds > 2 tablespoons + ½ cup
- 11 pounds > 3 tablespoons + ½ cup
- 12 pounds > 4 tablespoons + ½ cup
Just like with the leafy greens, divide this quantity in two. Feed the pellets with the leafy greens to your Champagne d’Argent bun at dusk and dawn.
Your rabbit also needs access to drinking water all day long. And you can give your rabbit treats in the form of fruit and high-calorie vegetables when you litter train them, bond with your bun, or just as a treat:
- 9 pounds > 3 tablespoons
- 10 pounds > 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
- 11 pounds > 4 tablespoons
- 12 pounds > 4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
The large breed Champagne d’Argent rabbit shouldn’t be forced to live in an apartment or small house. Providing adequate space for your bun ensures they can get the exercise they need and not feel cramped in.
The indoor or outdoor rabbit enclosure needs to be large enough for the rabbit to comfortably sleep, potty, eat, and drink water in. The rabbit run should be at least 3 times larger than the enclosure so your rabbit can hop, exercise, and play.
Remember that you need more space if you keep more than one rabbit.
Any outdoor rabbit hutch needs to be weather and predator-proof to keep your rabbit safe. Any rooms inside your home your rabbit has access to needs to be bunny-proofed – both to protect your belongings and to protect your bunny.
Luckily, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit isn’t susceptible to any specific diseases. But like with all rabbits, there are common health issues you need to watch out for:
- Overgrown teeth
- Sore hocks
- Ear mites
- GI stasis
Breeding Champagne d’Argent Rabbit
The Champagne d’Argent rabbit has been bred for the following reasons:
These days, one of the popular reasons the Champagne d’Argent rabbits are bred is to be petted. The rabbits are attractive and have a great personalities.
The Champagne d’Argent rabbits are sociable and friendly, so they can get along with their human owners, other rabbits, and even other pets if you take the introduction process slowly.
The short, soft, silver coat made the Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed perfect to be bred for its fur. With the decline of the fur industry in the 1940s, rabbits aren’t really bred for rabbit fur production anymore.
With its commercial body shape, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed is ideal for meat production.
Thus, in the early stages when the breed was being developed and for some time afterward, Champagne d’Argent rabbits were prized meat rabbits.
For Show, Exhibition, or Competition
Because the Champagne d’Argent rabbits are so beautiful with their stunning coat, and rabbits are intelligent animals, this breed is perfectly suitable for shows, exhibitions, or rabbit competitions.
Champagne d’Argent Rabbit Price
The price for a Champagne d’Argent rabbit depends on factors like whether it is a purebred rabbit or whether the rabbit is show-worthy and from winning stock.
You can easily pay between $50 to $100 for a show-quality Champagne d’Argent rabbit, or even more for a Champagne d’Argent rabbit that has show-winning parents.
If you are looking for a pet Champagne d’Argent rabbit, then you’ll pay a lot less at $20 to $50.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
As one of the oldest French rabbit breeds, the Champagne d’Argent rabbit is quite special. Its silvery fur is velvety soft, and its lazy and friendly personality makes this rabbit a great pet in any home.