Only the third rabbit breed to have been developed in the United States, the silver fox rabbit is an uncommon but beautiful breed of rabbit. The silver fox was originally known as the American heavyweight silver due to its larger size and silver- and white-tipped fur but despite the name change, these rabbits still make sturdy, affectionate pets.
Common Name(s): Silver Fox Rabbit
Scientific Name: Oryctolagus Cuniculus
Adult Size: Up to 12 pounds
Lifespan: Typically 5-7 years but can live up to 10 years
Silver Fox Rabbit Behavior and Temperament
Known to love attention and have good personalities as pets, silver fox rabbits are great for kids because they are gentle and large. They aren't small and skittish but are rather gentle and patient, which also makes them a great breed to show.
Silver fox rabbits are larger than many other rabbit breeds. They can grow to be as heavy as 12 pounds, but some males will only get to be 9 pounds fully grown. This is larger than a breed standard Chihuahua or Pomeranian!
You have a lot of options when it comes to housing your silver fox rabbit. Outdoor rabbit hutches can be built or purchased but should be very secure to ensure your little bunny can't escape and predators can't break in. Indoor enclosures can also be purchased but since rabbits need a lot of space to run around, it is recommended to provide your silver fox rabbit with a cage that is at least 4 ft x 4 ft in addition to a rabbit-proofed play area in your home.
Specific Substrate Needs
If you choose to use a substrate in your silver fox rabbit's cage, avoid cedar and pine shavings. These wood shavings can be aromatic and also contain oils that can cause respiratory and skin issues for your rabbit. Aspen shavings or recycled paper materials are better options if you want to give your bunny some bedding to sleep in or walk on. These same substrates can also be placed in your rabbit's litter box or you can use hay or unscented, dust-free cat litter to help absorb urine.
What Do Silver Fox Rabbits Eat & Drink?
All rabbits including silver fox rabbits need a variety of veggies and hay in their diet in addition to fresh water. About 1/4 cup of rabbit pellets (without seeds or food coloring) should be offered each day, but your rabbit should primarily eat grass hays and dark, leafy green vegetables. Less than 10 percent of their diet can consist of treats like sugar-free cereals, crackers, fruits, and vegetables that aren't green. Both a water bottle and bowl of water should be available at all times to encourage your silver fox to drink adequate water.
Common Health Problems
Silver fox rabbits are usually pretty healthy, but any pet rabbit is prone to developing some of the following health issues:
- Dental issues
- Ear mites and infections
- Skin mites and infections
- Eye problems
- Respiratory issues
- Reproductive organ issues
All of these health problems and many others will require the help of a veterinarian experienced in rabbit care.
Training Your Silver Fox Rabbit
Rabbits are very smart animals and can be trained to walk on a leash as well as use a litter box.
If you want to keep your rabbit close to you while still giving it some exercise outside, a harness and leash may be a good option. Make sure you choose a harness that is specifically designed for a larger rabbit's body and coax them to walk on the leash using treats until they get used to it. You should never drag your rabbit on a leash.
Litter box training your silver fox rabbit isn't very difficult and can help you keep your home clean. It will also encourage you to let your rabbit roam around the house to get more exercise if you know you won't step in a surprise. Since rabbits like to eat and poop at the same time, putting your rabbit's hay hopper in a place where they have to sit in the litter box to eat it is one of the easiest things you can do to start the potty training process.
Exercise is vital to any rabbit's mental and physical health. Silver fox rabbits need ample space to run and play every day so that they can forage for food, be mentally stimulated, find things to chew on, maintain muscle mass, and keep their digestive tracts moving. Gastrointestinal motility can decrease or stop due to stress as well as a lack of physical mobility, so if you don't give your silver fox rabbit exercise, it is likely to develop serious health issues.
The silver fox rabbit is known for its beautiful coat, so you'll want to ensure you do your part to help keep it clean and shiny.
Silver fox rabbits shed on a regular basis but major molts or sheds occur twice a year in the spring and fall. During these major sheds, more fur will be lost by your rabbit than normal.
Since silver fox rabbits have longer hair than you might expect, occasional brushing to help keep the fur free of knots, debris, and food is helpful. If your rabbit develops matting on their feet or hind ends, there is most likely an issue with the environment or a medical concern that should be addressed.
Like cats, silver fox rabbits will keep themselves clean on their own so unless it runs through a mess, is sick and gets a dirty hind end, or has a messy meal, you shouldn't have to bathe it. If a bath is needed though, make sure you use warm, not hot, water and dish soap.
Caring for a silver fox rabbit may cost more than you expect. Due to daily fresh vegetables, hay, and pellets, expect to spend around $50-75 a month on food and another $10-20 on toys and bedding. Additionally, you'll want to budget for routine and emergency vet visits for when your rabbit requires medical attention, or consider pet insurance.
Pros & Cons of Keeping a Silver Fox Rabbit as a Pet
Rabbits require a lot more space and attention than many people think, but they are also very personable pets. Silver fox rabbits are easy to handle and play with, but they do require fresh vegetables to eat each day and will need their litter box cleaned regularly.
Similar Pets to the Silver Fox Rabbit
If you’re interested in pet rabbits, you may also like these small mammals:
Otherwise, check out other types of rabbits that can be your new pet.
Purchasing or Adopting Your Silver Fox Rabbit
Silver fox rabbits are a rare breed, so don't expect to find one in a pet store or at an animal shelter. You will most likely need to find a breeder at a rabbit show or online if you want to acquire a silver fox rabbit. Expect to pay around $50 to over $100 depending on the color and show quality of the rabbit.
If you decide to get more than one rabbit and they are of opposite sexes, you'll want to get your female spayed to prevent unwanted litters. Alternatively, you can get two females. If you want to get two males, you'll need to get them neutered if you want to keep them from fighting with each other.
Do silver fox rabbits make a good pet for kids?
Yes! Silver fox rabbits make great pets for kids. They are large and sturdy but also affectionate.
Do silver fox rabbits like to be held?
Silver fox rabbits are not skittish and enjoy attention from their owners. This means they often also enjoy being held.
How much does it cost to buy a silver fox rabbit?
Since silver fox rabbits are not a common breed, expect to spend a little more to buy one. It is not uncommon for a silver fox rabbit to cost $50 or more.