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History of the Silver Brown rabbit

I thought that young fanciers would like to know the origin of this variety. They originated with me in my rabbitry nearly forty years ago and I bred the first browns. My mode of operation was this: We occasionally bred what we called a Silver Cream, and this rabbit, when born was tortoise or sandy coloured, with dark shaded head. These rabbits used to silver off like silver Greys with dark head and ears. I set myself to work to breed more of them, and to get rid of the dark shadings.

Silver Brown Rabbit

These Silver Creams only came once now and then from a light shade strain of Silver Greys that emanated from London. I had one of these Cream does, and she had done a lot of winning, but I wanted something more even and better than her. I said to myself that if I could get a sandy red Rabbit and mate her to it, I should be on the road to get what I wanted.

There was a show being held at Northampton and as I was exhibiting largely at that time I, of course was at the show. The Rev C Beasley was exhibiting Belgians, and amongst them was a buck short in limb, no lacing on the ears, nor ticking on body, and a very bright golden red colour. I said to myself, “ Here is just the Rabbit I want”, so I secured it at once. I struck the Cream doe with him, the result being five young ones- one black, one brown, and three sandy coloured ones. I had the satisfaction in a few weeks to see the latter silvering off nicely on their heads. I kept on mating the Belgian and Cream doe together, and I soon got a quantity, but not many Browns. The late Mr W Allison of Sheffield called on me, and was looking round my Rabbits, and when he came to the above young Browns he said:” what ever have you got here?” He looked him over and was so taken with him that he said: “we must have them in the show pen; they will be sure to take.”

Until then I was not thinking of cultivating Browns. When the young black one, which had now become a nice even Silver Grey was old enough to breed with, I mated her to her father, the result being that most of her young were browns. I then bred her as fast as I could by using Dutch does for foster mothers, and I soon had a quantity of Browns, which won at all the shows. I had a good demand for them, and I supplied Mr Entwistle with his first Browns, also with blue Dutch does to breed his Silver Blues from. I also supplied Mr Frith of Bramley with a number. I sent him one doe in kindle, and he afterwards wrote that he had 24 young ones in that litter, and that he had got them on six does. I have never had so many young ones in one litter in all my long experience, never having had more than 15 in one litter. It is 66 years since I had my first Rabbit, so I am not quite a juvenile. I have not exhibited for some years, but still I have a few Rabbits, and I suppose I shall have as long as I can keep them.

G Johnson.(Kettering) June 10th 1910