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History of the Silver Fawn rabbit

One of the first mentions of the Silver Fawn is in the Cottage Gardener Journal which reads, ‘ at the Crystal Palace Poultry Show in 1863, first honours were awarded in the foreign class to a buff Silver Grey doe, exhibited by Master J De La S Simmonds’.

Silver Fawn Rabbit

The next mention is by Mr H Gilbert, who writes a gentleman in possession of imported Silver Greys some twenty seven years ago frequently found in the litters, yellow or fawn shade off- spring. These youngsters silvered up in the same way as normal Silver Greys. A pair of these were shown at York in around 1871. As the same exhibitor showed a Dutch rabbit at the same show which was similar in colour, probably Tortoiseshell. This may have given rise to the opinion that creams or fawns were bred from Fawn Dutch, especially as quite a few had putty noses.

In 1878 an article again written by H Gilbert claimed that Fawns had originally been bred from Sandy Coloured rabbits and Silver Greys. During the following months various correspondence were written. Mr S Hudson claimed he had bred the first Fawns. Mr E Hutton also declared he bred the first one’s out of his strain of Silver Greys, which threw fawn young.

Previous to Mr Hudson breeding his first fawns he paid a visit to Paris and had seen the Belier Chamois Buff rabbit, which resembles a small hare, but being a beautiful deep yellow or fawn in colour. In all probability he could have brought some of these back with him, as it is known that one of the gardens around Paris exported some of these to England at this time. If these rabbits were crossed with Silver Greys they would give Fawns.

Also around this time people were experimenting to improve the colour of the Silver Grey by crossing various different breeds of rabbit into them. One of the rabbits used was the Argent Gris. The strains with this cross sometimes threw fawn-coloured rabbits as mongrels.

All the above fawn coloured rabbits were really Tortoiseshell of various shades, over the years English fanciers improved on the colour by crossing with Hares and Silver Browns, to turn the breed into the bright orange agouti based rabbit we know today.