Tag Archives: champagne d’argent

Arizona State Convention 2017 Show Report

One of the door prizes handed out at the banquet. It's missing it's movie theater gift card in this pic!

One of the door prizes handed out at the banquet. An Arizona coffee mug, theater candy, and a movie gift card. (It’s missing it’s movie theater gift card in this pic!)

Last weekend we attended Arizona State Convention. The state convention is a wonderful time to meet new breeders, see friends, and compete against a wider pool of exhibitors. Many breeders who aren’t able to attend shows regularly will attend the state show, which is a wonderful treat.


We took a full carload of rabbits in six breeds: Cinnamon, Champagne d’Argent, Blanc de Hotot, Silver Fox, New Zealand and mini satin. Many bunnies. Much fur. My body is still telling me we were busy shifting those carriers around! A carton of approximately 30 lbs. is not so bad when you first move it… but when you move it over and over… yikes! Oh my achin’ bones!


It’s really exciting to report that we came home with a Best of Breed or Best Opposite of Breed in all the ones that we took except mini satin. (We only took one mini satin and he just couldn’t compete against the animals there. Arizona has some phenomenal animals! But we listened, took notes, and know where to work for the future!) What an encouragement that we’re doing something right!


I think that encouragement is pretty huge. It’s very, very easy to get consumed with the hard things of raising rabbits – the litters that don’t work out, the poop that needs to be scooped, the grumpy intermediates who scratch you and make your hands look like they’ve been through a blender… there are plenty of things about rabbit raising that aren’t at the top of the “fun” list! For us, while receiving the recognition of having a top animal is great, I’ve learned that listening carefully to the judges will help encourage me about the strongest attributes of even our worst rabbits! Encouragement is awesome!


The thing is, very few rabbits have nothing to commend them. If may be that this rabbit has a great head or strong shoulder or wider hindquarters. Maybe they don’t compete with the top animal, but there is always some thing encouraging to work with in the future if you’re able to see them all lined up together on a judging table. Even if it’s just validation that the rabbit I think it pretty awful is actually awful, going to a show is a great encouragement!


I also really can’t talk up the folks who put on the Arizona State Convention enough. They know what they’re doing and they’re kind. There’s always a bit of drama (people being people) but the show committee isn’t the start of it or spreading it. Whether it’s addressing difficult decisions or making sure the judges are able to maintain a constant flow of rabbits on their table, these people are amazing. If you’re looking for a great show to add to your routine, consider Arizona!

How Do You Find Starter Stock?

Asking the right questions is the first step to locating great foundation stock.

Asking the right questions is the first step to locating great foundation stock.

I loved this post over at Rabbit Ranching and got permission from Ms. Cahill to reprint it on Mad Hatter Rabbits. If everyone who contacted us for rabbits followed this advice it would be so awesome! (I have added a few thoughts at the end.)

Q&A Session #2 from Rabbit Ranching by JuliCahill

This is the first part of an ongoing series allowing readers to ask questions about the rabbit hobby. There are no rules or guidelines. Have a question? Ask away! Post your question as a comment on our blog or email oakridgerabbits@gmail.com.

Readers are encouraged to share their own ideas or opinions in the comments below.

What questions should you ask a breeder when choosing “show” foundation stock?

Ah, the age-old question. When you’re starting out with rabbits or starting a new breed, your foundation stock will ideally carry you through the first generations of creating your own line. But it’s easy to get burned by lesser quality animals or fake pedigrees if you’re not sure how to search wisely.

The best place to start is ARBA’s recognized breed page, which can be found HERE.

From this page, you can click on the photo of any currently recognized breed, and it will take you directly to the breed’s specialty club. To my knowledge, every (or at least most) breed clubs post sweepstakes standings on their website. Sweepstakes is a contest based on show wins, and only club members are eligible. Look to see who is at the top of the list and keep those names in mind.

Next, visit the registered breeder directory, which should also be available within the breed club website. Keep in mind that this will only list contact information for breeders who are currently members of their specialty club. ARBA has a more general breeder directory on their website. If you don’t find the name you’re looking for on one, check the other.

I would choose about five names of people local to you (or within the distance you’re willing to travel). There is usually an email or phone number listed for contact.

Now…what to ask? …

How should a newbie, who wants to show their favorite breed, approach a show breeder to purchase stock?

Tell them them exactly what your goals are:

Example: “I want to show and raise Holland Lops.”
Example: “I am looking for two Satins to keep as pets and show locally.”
Example: “I want a pet Dutch.”

The breeder needs to know exactly and directly what you want the rabbits for. If you just email asking, “Could you send me a list of rabbits for sale?” you’ll probably find few who take the time to respond. Everyone has rabbits for sale at some point in time, but they need to know exactly what you’re interested in.

Other information to include:

– The number of rabbits you’re interested in buying.
– The time frame in which you’re looking to buy.
– Your location.

Example: “I would like to start with one buck and two does. I am hoping to find my starting stock this spring, and I’m located in Dallas, TX.”
Example: “I want to find two bucks and three does before September. I’m located in Trenton, NJ.”

This is all of the information specifically needed to get you started, and I recommend leaving the rest up to the breeder. If they have other questions, they will ask. Mentioning other specifics (wild, unusual colors being a common one) not only narrows your search, but also makes most serious breeders question your intentions.

Instead, ask the breeder whether they have rabbits available that meet your criteria. If you are unsure of which color, group, or variety is strongest and most developed – just ask! This is what you will want to start with, and an experienced breeder can guide you directly to it.

So, how do you know you’re speaking with someone reputable?

Ask everyone within your original inquiry – “I am new to this breed. What lines do you recommend working with?”

This is the golden question because it will reveal the authority in the breed of your choice. Like it or not, the success of every breed is strongly influenced by a handful of very dedicated, very successful breeders. They are the names you’ll see over and over again on pedigrees all over the nation. If you ask five breeders this question, you are likely to find out quickly which lines are “go to” in the breed.

If you can (whether they are local or whether you have to arrange transport from a national convention), try to purchase stock directly from those people. If you can’t, try to find someone who has used their rabbits to build their herd.

A name doesn’t mean everything, but it does mean a lot. A reputation is something that’s built by word-of-mouth and personal experience. If people, in significant numbers, speak highly of someone in particular, they are likely to be a trustworthy source. If it’s someone no one has heard of or mentions without prompting, it’s generally not a good starting place.

I could talk more about this topic, but I think I’ll save that for another day. This is where I recommend starting. From there, many reputable breeders will be interested in helping you learn more.


A few thoughts from Mad Hatter:

I completely agree about the recommendation to follow breed sweepstakes… and I don’t. We have six different breeds here and are members of the national clubs of only three. Some national clubs have far too many politics for us to want to get too involved right now… or it just isn’t the right time for us to have many memberships… what not. So, while I believe sweepstakes points are one factor in determining a reputable breeder, I would consider it with other knowledge as well.

Another research option is to check the Domestic Rabbits publication from ARBA for those owners who have Grand Champion rabbits in their breeds.

Being completely clear about your intentions is important! For us, since we raise mostly dual meat/show rabbits this is especially significant around here. If you tell us you are going to show rabbits we will set you up with the best-typed rabbit we can. If you tell us your entire purpose is for meat we won’t put as much emphasis on show promise as your desired outcomes will likely have more to do with production, making weight by a specific age, and mothering abilities than the length of shoulders or whether their body is conformed to the Standard of Perfection!

Rare and Heritage Breeds

Credit Devon Mary Ward / The Whimsy Dog Studio

Credit Devon Mary Ward / The Whimsy Dog Studio

As our rabbitry evolves, we find our attention shifting to those breeds classified as Rare or Heritage.


A “Rare” breed is self-explanatory. These rabbits are extremely difficult to find and in danger of extinction. The “heritage” breed classification is monitored by the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory and designates the animals were developed in the United States. These classifications make note of animals that offer something special to the rabbit world and to the United States.


We raise Silver Fox and Cinnamon rabbits and are very proud to do so. Additionally, the Champagne d’Argent is a breed that has flirted with the rare breeds list over the years, although it is very common in Europe. We love the personality of these rabbits and their usefulness as a multi-purpose animal, both cuddly, showable, and nutritious!

Meet Duchess

Duchess is a beautiful Champagne d’Argent doe. She comes from championship lines on both father and mother. She’s a little shy and quite the observer.

Meet Bucky

Bucky is our Champagne d’Argent buck. He’s quiet and laid back.

Champagne d’Argent Rabbits


Also known as the French Silver, the Champagne d’Argent is one of the oldest known breeds of rabbit in the world. Originating in the Champagne province of France more than 400 years ago, he was prized for both his meat and for his beautiful silvery coat. Born pure black, Champagne d’Argents begin to develop their beautiful silvery ticking at about 3 weeks of age and will continue to change until they mature at about 6 months of age. At this time, they will be a striking silvery-gray throughout, with black shadowing along the ears, tail, face and legs.

The French Silver’s History

Rabbits have been domesticated for hundreds of years, but the selective breeding of rabbits began in Europe during the Middle Ages. Much as they enjoyed selectively breeding their prized hounds, the art of rabbit breeding quickly caught on and, as early as the 1500’s, various breeds of rabbit and different color varieties were already being cataloged and traced. The Champagne d’Argent would be one of the first and would quickly gain popularity throughout his native France and the rest of Europe.

Champagne d’Argents can be found in the United States, though it may take a bit of searching. While strikingly beautiful, they are a commercial breed and are often overshadowed by larger and more compact breeds, like the Californian or New Zealand White. Equally troublesome is that, while their pelt is beautiful, it is often passed over in favor of more versatile white-furred rabbits. This makes the Champagne d’Argent less desirable to some. Still, fanciers of the breed stand behind the Champagne d’Argent, as well as the more popular variety, known as the Creme d’Argent or Orange Silver. Gradually, the breed has been gaining more and more popularity throughout the United States and Canada.

The Champagne d’Argent’s Appearance

So what does a Champagne d’Argent look like? Well, that can be a very good question, depending on when you take a look at him! Believe it or not, the Champagne d’Argent is much like a Lipizzan horse, in that he’s born pure black and slowly silvers out as he matures. By 2-3 months, they can appear almost downright comical with their mixture of black baby fuzz and silver adult coat. Some even sport Lone Ranger-like masks and unique swirling patterns – you can never be bored, raising Champagne d’Argent bunnies!

Champagne and Creme d’Argents were both bred for meat, as well as their beautiful pelts and, because of this, they were expected to bulk up and mature quickly. By the time an Argent is 3 months of age, he should weigh at least 4.5 pounds. As a mature adult, the Champagne usually weighs an average of about 8 pounds. While they still produce a good amount of meat, it’s obvious why they are usually passed over for the 9-11 pound rabbits that are commonly bred for commercial use.

Champagnes As Pets

Champagne d’Argents are known for their docile temperament, as well as their striking color. Due to their size, however, they are not a very common household pet bunny. Additionally, the fact that this is still a relatively uncommon breed often makes them a little harder to come by, as well as often making them a little more pricey to purchase. Advocates of the breed, however, are quick to say that they are worth every penny, between their beautiful “old silver” coloration and sweet temperaments. If you’re looking for a unique bunny, you just may find a Champagne d’Argent to be what you want.

So how do you find a reputable Champagne d’Argent breeder? I highly recommend going through the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association, local Champagne d’Argent Breed Clubs, or even your local Cooperative Extension office for more information. Another good way to choose a bunny is to attend a local rabbit show in your area – not only is it a good way to spend the day, but it also gives you the opportunity to watch different rabbits being judged, hear the judge discuss the good qualities of the breed, and grants you a perfect opportunity to speak to a wide variety of different breeders. Beware, though – those bunnies are so adorable, it’s hard not to come home with a whole car full!


A.R.B.A. (American Rabbit Breeder’s Association) Standard of Perfection

http://www.arba.net/ – ARBA’s website


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