Argente rabbit

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A Champagne Argente rabbit

The Argente rabbit is one of the oldest breeds of French show rabbits. The British Rabbit Council recognises five colours of Argentes: Bleu, Brun, Creme, Champagne and Noir, while the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognises only Creme, Champagne and Brun. At birth, Argentes are of a solid color, with adult coloring beginning to show as early as 6 weeks and as late as four months of age. They are known as excellent pets due to their good nature.

Argente rabbits are small and neat with well-developed hind quarters and slightly arched backs. Extremes of cobbiness or raciness are undesirable in shows. With broad heads and straight front legs, they are short and fine in bone.

Argente Bleu and Brun[edit]

Argente Bleus[1] and Bruns[2] have ears that are short, rounded, and proportionate in breadth, and they carry them erect. Bleus and Bruns weigh about 2.72 kilograms (6.0 lb), and their coats are very dense, glossy, silky and lie close to their bodies.

In rabbit shows the following are considered faults: dark or too long ears, too dark muzzle, and/or washy undercolour. Creamy or yellow tint, especially around the neck and cheeks, large paunch, bony or angular frame, or fur that is too harsh, thin, wooly or short is frowned upon. Dewlaps in either sex are considered a serious fault. White-topped or very dark exhibits are discouraged. White toenails are a minor fault.

The undercolour of the Argente Bleu is lavender blue. In shows it is desirable for the colour to be even and moderately interspersed with longer dark blue hairs to give a distinct bluish effect when viewed from a distance. Eyes are bold and blue, and toenails are coloured.

For Argente Bruns, a brown undertone, as deep as possible, is desired. Body colour should be brownish white, evenly and moderately interspersed with longer dark brown hairs to give a distinct brownish effect when viewed from a distance. Eyes are bold and brown, and toenails are coloured.

Argente Creme[edit]

Argente Cremes weigh approximately 2.26 kilograms (5.0 lb) and, like the Bleus and Bruns, their coats are very dense, glossy, silky and lie close to the body.[3]

Argente Cremes have an orange undercolour that go down to the skin and their outer color is a silver giving them a creamy complection. In shows, it is desirable for the whole body to be evenly and moderately interspersed with longer orange hairs to give a distinct creamy effect when viewed from a distance. A white underbelly is permissible but a coloured underbelly is encouraged. Their eyes are bold and dark brown, and their toenails should be horn coloured.

In shows, Cremes follow the same guidelines for faults as Bleus and Bruns with the addition of: light soiling of the feet, ears and genital organs, bare pads, fur slightly soiled or matted, and/or long toe nails.

History[edit]

The Creme D'Argent originated in France in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, where they were quite popular for their unusual fur. In the 1920s and 30's, Creme d'Argents were exported to the United States from France, Germany and England. (The first rabbits of the breed were brought to this country in 1924 or shortly before.) Although the breed struggled at first, their lovely coloration appealed to American fanciers.

Today, the Creme d'Argent is a rare breed. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, an organization devoted to breed preservation, lists the Creme d'Argent on its "Watch" list. At the time of this writing, fewer than 100 Creme d'Argents are registered every year in the United States. Only 43 animals were shown at the 2006 ARBA National Convention & Show.

Argente Champagne[edit]

Argente Champagnes weigh approximately 3.62 kilograms (8.0 lb).[4] Their undercolour is described as dark slate blue, with a bluish white body. They are preferred to have long jet black hairs interspersed in their fur to create a silvery tone when viewed from a distance. They can also be all black.

In show judging, the following are considered faults: dark ears, creamy or yellow tint, especially noticeable around the neck and cheeks. A large paunch, or a bony or angular frame are discouraged. Fur should not be harsh, thin, wooly or too short. Dewlaps in either sex are a serious fault. White topped or too dark exhibits are discouraged. White toe-nails are a minor fault.

The Champagne d'Argent is one of the oldest known rabbit breeds. At that time known as the French Silver for its silvery coat, it was once prized for its pelt in spite of the fact that it was a common breed. Kits are born pure black and begin turning silver gray at about 3 weeks. By 6 months old they are typically a shade of silver grey.

Argente Noir[edit]

Argente Noirs weigh around 2.72 kilograms (6.0 lb).[5] Their coats are grayish white, with deep slate blue undertones to create a silvery effect from a distance. Their eyes are a distinctive bold brown.

In show judging the following are considered faults: dark or too long ears, too dark muzzle, or washy undercolour. Creamy or yellow tint is discouraged, most noticeably around the neck and cheeks. A large paunch or bony or angular frame are discouraged. Fur should not be harsh, thin, wooly or too short. Dewlaps in either sex are a serious fault. White topped or too dark exhibits are discouraged. White toenails are a minor fault.

Argente St Hubert[edit]

Argent St Hubert weigh around 2.72 kilograms (6.0 lb).[6] Their under colour is dark blue at the base with an orange intermediate band with narrow top chestnut band. Body colour is creamy white interspersed with black guard hairs to give a creamy chestnut shade.

Argente Clair[edit]

Argent Clair, called Light Groot Silver in Germany, is a rarely seen Argente and not currently recognised by the BRC or ARBA. They are much like Champagne d'Argents but with recessive dilute blue as an undercoat instead of black and are heavily silvered.

See also[edit]

References[edit]