The Silver Marten Rabbit is a unique breed insofar as the fact that it was never bred with the intention of becoming a unique bunny breed in itself. In fact, it was designed to be a Chinchilla rabbit variation.
Let’s discuss this breed in a bit more depth, shall we?
The Origins of the Silver Marten Rabbit
A long time ago, the Chinchilla rabbit was at risk of dying out. As a result, breeders decided to shake up the breed a little bit in a bid to save it. One of the things they did was try to create different color variations of the rabbit.
By doing this, they hoped the Chinchilla would become popular in the fur industry again.
As this breeding went on, the breeders started to produce two color variations of this rabbit; a black variant, and a silver variant. The two of these were bred together, and history was made.
It wasn’t long after this that the Silver Marten rabbit became known as its own distinctive breed of rabbit.
It is not the most popular breed of rabbit in the world, with the main breeder’s club in the United States not really being active since 2018, but you can still find it in shows around the country.
The Appearance of the Silver Marten Rabbit
The Silver Marten Rabbit is a commercial-bodied medium-sized rabbit. It should weigh around 7 lbs when it is fully grown.
There are four different variations of the Silver Marten rabbit on the color front:
- Black Silver Marten – This will have mostly black fur with silver markings. The bottom of the rabbit is slate blue.
- Blue Silver Marten – These are dark blue
- Chocolate Silver Marten – These are completely brown, with the underside of the rabbit being a lighter shade of brown.
The Silver Marten Rabbit for Fur and Meat
Since this is a rabbit that has a commercial body shape, and it has been raised from the Chinchilla rabbit, it is a perfectly fine breed for both meat and fur.
Although, do bear in mind that this is the smallest commercial-bodied rabbit in the world, and thus you probably wouldn’t really want to be raising it as a meat rabbit breed if that is your sole purpose for it.
Nowadays, most people wouldn’t use the Silver Marten rabbit for either of these purposes, even though it is perfectly possible.
For Show Purposes
The Silver Marten rabbit is a regular show attendee. However, do bear in mind that the breeders club in the United States no longer appears to be as active as it once was (based on their website), and this means that most of the shows where the rabbit is shown will be at the county or state fairs alongside other agricultural animals.
This rabbit is a fantastic rabbit to show off. Sure. The requirements for the breed are going to be quite strict, but there is still a lot of leeway for the development of the breed.
The one issue that many breeders have with this rabbit is that all of the colors are regarded as the same. This means that they are going to be competing against one another.
Many people do not enjoy this because the black rabbit always dominates the competition. This is because the markings are much more distinctive on black rabbits, and the breed guide loves the markings.
The Silver Marten Rabbit as a Pet
This is a popular pet breed of rabbit. They are great for somebody that wants something similar to a chinchilla rabbit but does not want it to be too large.
A lot of these rabbits are available as pets because many of the active breeders for the Silver Marten rabbit breed tend to sell the rabbits as pets during the culling as opposed to killing them.
This means that a lot of them enter the market, often at an affordable price.
There are no known health issues for the Silver Marten bunny. In fact, this is a good rabbit to raise for first-time owners.
All you need is a little bit of space for the rabbit to roam around in (it can be quite active) and feed it a good diet, and the rabbit will live a very happy life.
Do bear in mind that Silver Marten rabbits sold as pets will never be regarded as show quality.
This is because this rabbit has always been designed for the show industry. This means that the only people that are developing this breed are show breeders.
Any rabbit sold as a pet will be sold as a pet simply because it does not live up to the strict standards of the breeding club. It is going to be pretty tough to breed this rabbit back to being a show specimen. So, if you want a rabbit that is of show quality, make sure that you buy one like that.
Breeding the Silver Marten Rabbit
Breeding this rabbit is said to be pretty easy. It is a very fertile breed of rabbit.
The only real difficulty many breeders have is breeding for fur color. This isn’t difficult by any stretch of the imagination.
However, outside of black Silver Marten Rabbits, you have to wait for the rabbit to lose its first coat before you know whether it is going to be of a show standard or not. This means that culling the rabbits can take a little bit longer and it is a touch costlier.
This is partly why you see way more black Silver Marten Rabbits out there than any other breed. In fact, only 4 non-black rabbits have ever won officially sanctioned competitions.
It is worth noting that the blue rabbits are often seen as the most difficult of these rabbits to breed.
This is because when they are bred too much without shaking up the genetics, the blue color of their fur disappears and they become an unsanctioned lilac color.
If there is an issue with the color of the rabbit i.e. it takes on that lilac color, it will take three years of regular breeding to correct the issue
This rabbit is often bred with Dwarf Rabbits because the color from the Silver Marten can pass on to Dwarf Rabbits.