The Silver rabbit is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated rabbit and are known for their unique, dense coat. Friendly, docile and affectionate, these bunnies make a great pet to many and do not have very high care needs so are suitable to first-time owners. They’re also an active rabbit that likes to be outside of their hutch exercising and will benefit from a yard to run around in.
While the Silver rabbit has many desirable qualities, they can be very difficult to get your hands on! A rare breed, they can be difficult to find even in the United States. That being said, there’s a lot to learn about this bunny and if you’re interested in finding out more, keep reading below.
History Of The Silver Rabbit
The Silver rabbit is rare and the original type is only available in the United Kingdom or United States. However, they are also one of the oldest breeds and one of the first breeds to ever be accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), which happened in 1910. Back then, the ARBA was called the National Pet Stock Association. Let’s take a look at the breed’s origins.
These bunnies can be dated back to at least the 1500s, although their beginnings are quite unknown. It is thought that Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the breed to England from Portugal in 1952 and kept them in warrens, which were large plots of land surrounded by stone walls.
However this breed got started, they were fist brought to America in the early 1900s, before their acceptance into the ARBA.
Characteristics Of The Silver Rabbit
The Silver rabbit’s fur is what makes them stand out from the crowd and this, including their rarity, makes them a great show rabbit. They can also make a fantastic house rabbit because of their temperament, but they can be difficult to find! You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent rabbits before purchasing.
These bunnies have quite a unique body that will feel different to any other rabbit. They usually weigh between 4 and 7 lbs and have a hard, stocky body that is a compact body type. They are medium in length and have short, erect ears that stand vertically on their heads in a “V” formation.
As we have mentioned above, the Silver rabbit has a unique coat. They have one of densest flyback fur coats of all rabbit breeds, which means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it snaps back to its original position.
Luckily, despite their coat, they don’t require any more grooming than other rabbits. We will go into more detail about grooming your Silver later on.
The Silver rabbit is only accepted in three colors by the ARBA — black, brown and fawn. They do not have any markings. However, among the normal fur grow white guard hairs. These white hairs give the coat a silvery luster when the rabbit moves. The proper fur type is very important to producing correct silvering.
The Silver rabbit has a fantastic temperament — they are friendly and laid-back and love their family! These bunnies thrive off human interaction and will love when they have attention from you. They will particularly like playing with their toys with you and socializing with those that they love.
Although they are a calm rabbit, the Silver rabbit is also a very active bun! They need a lot of time every day outside of their hutch to explore and play and won’t like to be cooped up. If they don’t get enough time outside of their hutch, they can begin to exhibit destructive behaviors out of frustration.
Like any with rabbit, you should always respect your Silver’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The Silver rabbit has an average lifespan of between 7 and 10 years.
Known Health Issues
Fortunately, the Silver rabbit doesn’t have any breed specific health problems, but they can be prone to many of the same issues all rabbit’s can face. We have laid out these main concerns below.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
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 Silver rabbit, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these rabbit’s on a day to day basis is really like. Fortunately, they do not have very high care needs and are great for first time owners. Keep reading on to find out more.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your Silver rabbit should be based on their size, age and activity level. 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 Silver’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 Silver Rabbit
We recommend the Sherwood Pet Health rabbit food for the Silver rabbit. This food helps to improve your rabbit’s digestive health by supporting the growth of healthy microflora. With no grain or soy, this food is ideal to promote urinary health too and the ingredients are all natural, ensuring your Silver isn’t eating anything they shouldn’t be.
A pellet food, there is no chance of selective feeding, and the vitamins, minerals and amino acids all add to a balanced and complete diet. There are also essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat.
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 Silver rabbit is a fairly active rabbit and needs lots of time outside of their hutch to exercise. They have high energy levels and, if they don’t have an outlet for all this energy, they can become destructive due to boredom and frustration.
Think about purchasing some toys for your Silver to play with. This will keep them mentally stimulated and is also a great way for you to engage with your rabbit and build a bond with them.
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 Silver rabbit is an active breed, but they are also calm, docile and even-tempered. This means they do well in a variety of homes — with individuals, couples, the elderly and families with children. These bunnies like human interaction and will love to spend time with their owners, so make sure you have lots of time for them.
While training a rabbit isn’t as easy as training a cat or a dog, it can be done! You can teach your Silver to use a litter box. You can also try teaching them to come when their name is called!
The Silver rabbit can live happily inside or outside — it depends on your personal preference. Some rabbit owners prefer to keep their Silver outside because it gives them more space to move and, as an active rabbit, they need lots of exercise. However, they can also live happily inside with their family members if you have the space for them. If you live in a colder environment, your Silver should be kept in an indoor hutch to protect them from the weather.
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 Silver Rabbit
We recommend the Merry Products Tudor for the Silver rabbit. Measuring 24.21″ D x 38.98″ W x 45.08″ H, this hutch is large enough to house the Silver and is even big enough to home two bunnies if you decide to give them a friend!
With two stories, the upper level is lockable so you can keep your rabbits safe at night if you keep them outside and there are doors on the lower level to allow your rabbit free rein over the yard during the day. There is also a removable bottom pan for the upper area as well as two extra doors that makes cleaning much easier. Even better, this rabbit hutch is made of durable wood and metal and is waterproof and weatherproof.
Despite their unique coat, the Silver rabbit doesn’t require very much grooming. You should brush them once a week with a slicker brush to remove any loose furs. During shedding season, you may need to be brushing them more.
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.
Silver Rabbit 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.
Where can I find a Silver rabbit?
These domestic rabbits are rare and so finding one can be a challenge. The original type is only available in the United Kingdom or United States. A quick search online will show any breeders in your area and you can contact rabbit organizations who may be able to help you track down this breed.
While the Silver is a rare rabbit breed, if you can get your hands on one then they can make a great companion to many! Their unique coat certainly makes them stand out, but they do not have higher care needs than any other rabbit and are perfect for first-time owners. Active and energetic, these bunnies love to be outside playing, but they will love it even more if you join in with them. Friendly and affectionate, the Silver will become your best friend in no time. Do you think they could be the right rabbit for you?