Help save one of the oldest domestic and rarest rabbits in the world today. The Silver rabbit breed is listed as critical with a worldwide population of 500 or fewer rabbits. What exactly is a Silver rabbit?
A Silver rabbit has black, brown, or fawn-colored fur with white guard hairs that give the rabbit’s coat a silvery luster. These rabbits live 7-10 years, and with their compact body, they weigh 4-7 pounds. With an active, affectionate, and friendly personality, Silver rabbits make great pets.
Let’s find out where these Silver rabbits came from, what they look like exactly, and how you can care for them.
What Is a Silver Rabbit?
The Silver rabbit breed is comparable to a Satin rabbit or a Havana rabbit.
With an easy level of care, these beauties make great pet rabbits for first-time rabbit owners or even those who are experienced rabbit enthusiasts.
Silver Rabbit History and Origin
The exact origin of the Silver rabbit breed will never be known. But one thing is certain: the Silver rabbit is one of the older domestic rabbit breeds we know of and that still exists today.
Researchers and historians think that a European wild rabbit mutated and appeared as a black sport. This mutant rabbit had silver fur.
There were apparently many of these Silver rabbits in Siam. Sailors then took some of these interesting-looking rabbits with them back to Portugal, and from there, the Silver rabbit breed became popular in Europe and England.
An early reference of the Silver rabbit breed found that Sir Walter Raleigh sailed to Portugal in 1592 and brought goods with him when he sailed back to England.
In North Yorkshire, Raleigh introduced “silvery gray” rabbits to the Nappa Warren at Askrigg.
The Silver rabbit is one of the most ancient domestic rabbit breeds that still exist. Its true origin will never be known, but it’s likely that a rabbit with silver hairs appeared as a black sport (mutant) of the European wild rabbit hundreds of years ago.
There are also other historical mentions of the Silver rabbit, then referred to as the Silver Grey rabbit. In 1631, Gervaise Markham wrote about the Silver Greys in A Way to Wealth – The English Hus-wife.
In 1778, a fleet of 11 ships left England for Australia. On the ship was livestock, including 5 Silver Grey rabbits. About half a century later, these bunnies were found all over Australia and New Zealand.
The Silver rabbit breed has been known as Silver Sprigs, Lincolnshire Silver-Grey, Riche, Lincoln Silver, and Millers.
The date when Silver rabbits were introduced to the United States isn’t known. However, they were already in the U.S. during the late 1890s when the Belgian Hare rabbit became popular.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association’s (ARBA) Book of Standard recognizes three Silver rabbit varieties: gray (later renamed black), brown, and fawn.
Interestingly, the Silver rabbit breed was one of the first breeds to be recognized by ARBA in 1910, which was then known as the National Pet Stock Association.
The Silver rabbit is a rare rabbit breed. The Silver rabbit breed is on the critical list of the Livestock Conservancy, meaning the global population of this breed is less than 500.
Fewer than 50 Silver rabbits are being registered in the United States every year at the moment.
The original kind of Silver bunny is bred only in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
Silver Rabbit Characteristics
Here are the physical and personality characteristics of the Silver rabbit so if you want to adopt one of these bunnies, you know what you are getting into (promise: it’s all good!):
The Silver rabbit has a stocky body that’s firmly shaped. The whole body shape is compact, so the rabbit’s body looks very well balanced when they lay down.
When these small- to medium-sized rabbits are fully grown, they weigh between 4-7 pounds. The Silver rabbit has short ears that usually stand upright on its head, forming a “V.”
With one of the densest flyback fur coats, you can run your hand up from the bottom of the Silver rabbit’s back to the top, and the coat will fall back into its original shape.
Despite the super dense coat, you don’t need to groom the Silver rabbit more than you need to groom any other rabbit.
Groom your rabbit with a rabbit-friendly brush once a week and increase the frequency of grooming to twice a week during shedding or molting season.
ARBA only accepts 3 color varieties of the Silver rabbit breed: black, fawn, and brown. There should be no other patterns or markings on the rabbit’s body.
White/silvery guard hair grows among the normal black, fawn, or brown fur. The guard hair is what gives the Silver rabbit a kind of silvery shine or luster when it hops and runs.
The fur coat of the Silver rabbit resembles the pelt of a Silver Fox.
The silver guard hair distribution should be evenly spread over the entire body of the Silver rabbit.
Baby Silver rabbits (kits) have a solid black coat or a solid blue coat. The silver guard hairs start growing when the kit is 6 weeks old.
The Silver rabbit is quite calm, and these rabbits have a gentle nature. Socialize your Silver bunny from a young age so they get used to human attention.
These rabbits are also quite active, and they are curious. Ensure your Silver bunny gets enough exercise time every day to stay healthy.
Let your rabbit explore their environment and go on rabbit-safe adventures in your house where you’ve rabbit-proofed rooms or in the garden while you keep an eye.
Silver Rabbit Care
Follow this guide to give your Silver rabbit the best care possible:
Silver Rabbit Enclosure
Any rabbit enclosure needs to be large enough so your bun can move around comfortably. Your bunny should have adequate space to eat, drink water, hop around, play, use the litter box, and sleep.
Work on at least 12 square feet for your rabbit hutch or cage, and get a bigger enclosure if you have more rabbits.
Then you also need an exercise pen that’s attached to the cage or hutch. This area needs to be a minimum of 36 square feet so your rabbit can play and exercise to stay mentally and physically healthy.
Three important reminders:
- Ensure the outside rabbit hutch is safe for your rabbit. You don’t want a predator to find their way inside and eat your bun.
- The outside enclosure should also be weatherproofed so your rabbit doesn’t get wet and then catch a chill.
- Rabbit-proof any rooms in your house your bun has access to.
Silver Rabbit Diet
The diet of a Silver rabbit is the same as for other pet rabbits. Feed your bun:
- 70-80% in high quality hay
- 10% in 2-3 types of leafy greens or herbs
- 5% in pellets
- Some treats when you litter train your rabbit, praise your bun, or just to show them you love your bunny
Silver Rabbit Health
Silver rabbits run about 3 miles in the wild every day, so ensuring your pet Silver rabbit exercises is vital. Let your bunny hop and run around in the exercise pen for at least 1.5 hours, twice a day.
Take your rabbit to your local vet for routine checkups. This will help ensure your Silver rabbit stays healthy and help catch any serious health issues early on.
Other typical rabbit health issues you need to watch out for include:
- Hypothermia and/or heat stroke in extreme weather conditions
- Overgrown teeth
- Long nails
- Ear mites
Breeding Silver Rabbit
The Silver rabbit used to be bred for fur purposes. These days, it is mostly bred as a pet rabbit.
With its gentle nature, the Silver rabbit makes an ideal pet for people who are single, married or have kids. If you do have children, teach them how to correctly handle, pick up, and pet a rabbit.
Since these Silver rabbits are small to medium in size, they are perfect for apartment and small house living.
Silver rabbits used to be bred for their stunning fur coats. The fur of many Silver rabbits was imported into China, and it’s noted that the Russian royalty particularly prized the Silver rabbits’ soft and dense coats.
Silver Rabbit Price
You’ll pay around $50 for a Silver rabbit. The price for a Silver rabbit is slightly more than most other rabbits because of the breed’s rarity.
However, you may also pay quite a bit more depending on the Silver rabbit’s pedigree, coat coloring, and where you buy or adopt the bunny from.
My Last Silver Bunny Thoughts
The Silver breed rabbit is quite a special rabbit to have as a pet. Not only is the rabbit really pretty with the silver coat luster, but their personality shines just as much.
Keep your Silver rabbit safe, ensure they stay healthy, and feed them balanced rabbit-friendly meals while ensuring their mental, physical, emotional, and social needs are met.
These are the keys to ensuring your Silver rabbit stays your fluffy short-eared bestie for a long time!