The Champagne dArgent rabbit is a medium breed that is known for it’s silvery color. As the name suggests, this breed was developed in the Champagne region in France but has since become known throughout the world. While it isn’t in the top 10 most popular rabbits, these bunnies are still commonly seen as pets and, thanks to their good temperament, make a great companion to the family.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Champagne d’Argent and seeing whether they might be the rabbit breed for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Champagne dArgent Rabbit
The name “Champagne d’Argent” means “Silver [rabbit] of Champagne” and today there are at least seven breeds of “Argente” rabbits worldwide. The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognizes two of these seven breeds: Champagne d’Argent and Crème d’Argent. The Champagne rabbit is the oldest of them all.
The exact origins of the Champagne d’Argent is unknown, but documents suggest that these rabbits were present in France in the mid 1600s. They were originally known as French Silvers in France, but were called “Argente de Champagne” when exported in large quantities to England around 1920.
In 1912, this breed was also exported to the United States. However, these bunnies had long, loose coats such as that of a silver fox (the dog) and their coats were improved, so the standard became a short, soft coat. Alongside the new coat, the breed also became bigger than the English or French Champagne Argenetes.
Between 1955 and 1959, the “e” was dropped from the name by the ARBA’s Standard of Perfection and most breeders abbreviate the breed’s name to “Champagne”.
Characteristics Of The Champagne d’Argent Rabbit
The Champagne d’Argent is one of the oldest breeds of French rabbit, and was originally designed to be used as a show rabbit. This is down to their unique silvery coat that grows in once they are born. They have also been used as meat rabbits.
Genetically, Champagne rabbits are black with the silver gene, symbolized by si. The gene is incompletely recessive, meaning that rabbits with one copy of the silver gene and one copy of the normal gene will appear lightly silvered. This gene can also cause solid white spots, which would disqualify them according to the ARBA Standard of Perfection.
These bunnies are a medium to large breed of rabbit that usually weigh between 9 and 12 lbs. They have a commercial body shape with full shoulders and deep hindquarters. Their long ears stand erect on top of their head.
The Champagne d’Argent has a short, soft coat that is flyback fur. This means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it returns to its original position.
They do not shed very much and therefore do not require much grooming, unless it is shedding season. We will go into more detail about grooming your Champagne d’Argent later on.
As we have mentioned above, the Champagne d’Argent has a silver color. Their ears and noses are usually darker than the rest of their bodies.
Champagnes are actually born solid black and the silver hairs develop as the rabbit matures. They silver out from the underside up, finishing last over the back and face between 6 and 8 months of age. The color will continue to lighten as the rabbit matures.
These French silver rabbits are often compared to a well-mannered cat — they will enjoy spending time with you when they want to, but can also be independent and will want to spend time alone. While they are not particularly affectionate, this doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy a cuddle every now and again.
The Champagne d’Argent needs to be socialized properly with their family from a young age. Once socialized, they will feel very comfortable around you and will like to be close to you, even if this isn’t time spent in your lap!
Like any with rabbit, you should always respect your Champagne’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The Champagne d’Argent has an average life expectancy of between 7 and 9 years, although they can live longer when cared for properly.
Known Health Issues
Fortunately, the Champagne is not susceptible to any breed-specific health problems. However, they are prone to many of the same issues all breeds are prone to. We have laid out the main health concerns below.
– Malocclusion — this is when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned so that the normal process of chewing doesn’t wear down your rabbit’s teeth. Regular dental checkups are very important. You should also make sure your rabbit eats plenty of hay.
– Ear Mites — this is a common parasite of pet rabbits. You may see your rabbit shaking their head a lot if they are affected. Your vet will be able to treat them.
– Flystrike — this is when flies lay their eggs on soiled patches of fur and, when their eggs hatch, they begin to eat the rabbit from the inside out. Symptoms include seizures, loss of motion (listlessness) and skin irritations. Always ensure your rabbit’s rear end is clean, especially as they get older.
Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped, particularly because of their large size.
Regular vet checkups will ensure that you catch any health problems before they become too serious. You should also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Champagne d’Argent rabbit breed, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these rabbits on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs, their grooming requirements and their living space requirements.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your Champagne d’Argent rabbit should be based on their size, age and activity level. Of course, you are going to be feeding them more than you would a smaller rabbit, purely because they are a medium to large breed! However, you should be careful not to overfeed them as weight gain can be detrimental to their health.
They should be eating a portion of hay that is at least as big as their body size every day, alongside pellets and fresh vegetables. Fresh water should also always be available to them.
Hay is very important as it helps to keep your Champagne’s digestive system moving, as well as helping to wear down their teeth so they are less prone to dental issues. At least 70% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay.
High-quality supplementary pellets help to provide extra vitamins and minerals that keep your rabbit healthy and to give them a balanced diet. Take a look at a supplementary pellet food we recommend below.
Best Food For The Champagne D’Argent
We recommend the Kaytee Fiesta rabbit food for the Champagne rabbit. This is a nutritionally fortified diet made of a premium blend of fruits, vegetables, seeds and grains. This food contains prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health and the rich ingredients list gives your rabbit variety.
With larger kibble pieces, these pellets help to promote your Champagne’s dental health as they chew. This food also contains antioxidants for immune system support and, being made in the USA, you can ensure this food is safe for your bun.BUY ON AMAZON
In the wild, rabbits run around three miles a day. Therefore, it is very important that you give your pet rabbit enough exercise every day to keep them active and entertained. They should have at least three hours of free-range time, whether this is out of their hutch in the garden or just around the house.
The Champagne d’Argent rabbit is not one of the most active rabbit breeds and therefore may need some encouraging! They will like to do some occasional hopping and exercise, but toys and treats can help them to become more active. They are a sociable rabbit and will also like to spend time with you, so if you get involved with their exercise they may be more inclined to participate.
If you want to leave them alone outside unsupervised, they will need a large secure enclosure. This can be stand-alone or attached their hutch. This will keep them safe from predators and means you won’t need to be on the lookout all the time.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
The Champagne d’Argent makes an excellent pet to many households. They can get on well with individuals, couples, the elderly and families with children. As we mentioned above, they do need to be socialized properly from a young age but will quickly learn to love their owners. As a large breed, you should always supervise your Champagne around very small children because dropping a rabbit can harm their backs.
While training a rabbit isn’t as easy as training a cat or a dog, it can be done! You can teach your Champagne to use a litter box. You can also try teaching them to come when their name is called!
The Champagne d’Argent can live either indoors or outdoors — it is up to you. Some owners prefer to keep their Champagne outdoors because there is more space and, as a large rabbit, these bunnies need lots of room to hop around in. However, they can also live very happily indoors and will like to spend time with their family members. If you do house them outside, you should make sure their hutch is protected from the elements.
Whether they are inside or outside, their hutch should be large enough that they can easily move around inside. Try to stay away from hutches with wire floors as these can cause sore hocks within rabbits. Take a look at the hutch we recommend below.
Best Hutch For The Champagne D’Argent
We recommend the Petsfit outdoor rabbit hutch for the Champagne d’Argent rabbit. Made from sturdy wood and wire, this hutch is durable and will last outside for many years. There are two levels to this hutch which can be accessed through a ramp. The upper, enclosed level will keep your rabbit dry if it rains while also giving them somewhere to sleep. The downstairs area gives them a good amount of space to move and there is a door so they can also have access to the garden.
Both the upper and lower areas have a pull out tray for easy cleaning. The three doors on this hutch are lockable to keep your Champagne safe from predators, too. This hutch is easy to assemble with pre-drilled holes and, although it is designed to be used outside, it can also be used inside.BUY ON AMAZON
Fortunately, the Champagne d’Argent does not require a lot of grooming. You should only need to brush these rabbits once a week to keep their fur in good condition. However, during shedding season they can shed a lot more, during which time you may need to increase grooming to two to three times a week. This will help to keep your house and your clothes fur-free!
You should very rarely bathe your rabbit. It is not really necessary, unless they are really dirty. Bathing can also be a traumatic experience for them. You should also trim their nails as and when is needed.
Champagne d’Argent FAQ’s
How big should my rabbit’s cage be?
The rule with rabbits is: the bigger the better! If you have the space for a big hutch then your rabbit will always appreciate the extra room to roam and exercise. No one wants to be stuck in a cramped space!
If you do not have a lot of space, then the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24″ by 36″ for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs) or 30″ by 36″ for larger rabbits. Hutches with multiple stories are also popular as they give your bun more space.
What toys will my Champagne dArgent Rabbit like?
It all depends on your bun! There are many different rabbit toys out there and finding which ones your bunny is going to like can seem difficult! It is advised you purchase a range of different toys to start with. These can be chew toys, food toys, activity centers and toys they can chase, such as a ball. From there, you can see which toys your rabbit prefers and which ones they aren’t interested in!
What vegetables can I feed my Champagne dArgent Rabbit?
There are many vegetables that your Champagne d’Argent will love! They are an important part of their diet, however you shouldn’t overfeed them. Some rabbit favorites are cabbage, cauliflower leaves, radish, rocket, kale, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
The Champagne dArgent rabbit is a medium to large rabbit breed known for their wonderful silver coat. While these rabbits excel at rabbit shows thanks to their unique appearance, they can make a fantastic pet too and are becoming more popular around the world. They have a laid-back nature and do not have very high care needs, but will need to be socialized from a young age with their family members. As a large breed, they can be housed either indoors or outdoors — just make sure they get enough exercise otherwise they can become lazy! Do you think a Champagne rabbit could be the bun for you?