The origin of the Silver Marten rabbit breed dates back to 1921 in the United States where they first appeared. At the time, Chinchilla rabbit breeders introduced black Tan rabbit genetics into the genepool to improve the fur of their Chinchillas. The result was that on occasion a color mutation, also known as a “sport”, would appear in some of the Chinchilla litters. The breeders at the time referred to them as the “strange little black rabbits”. The animals had a black top color with white under the chin and belly, under the tail, inside the ears, in the nostrils, and in delicately rimmed eye circles. Silver ticking also adorned their amazingly glossy coat in the bottom section of the black area along the bottom of the side of the belly. This color combination was known as “silver marten” in reference to the mink-like wild marten that has a similar color pattern on its coat. The silver marten sports, when crossed, bred true and produced offspring that looked like their parents and not like their Chinchilla grandparents. These animals became the foundation of what we know as the Silver Marten breed, a strikingly beautiful rabbit named for its unique color pattern. Not long after its creation, the Silver Marten Rabbit Club was formed by enthusiasts of these rabbits by 1927.
Silver Martens are known to be gentle rabbits reaching a maximum weight of 9 ½ lbs. The breed has endured but is rare. These rabbits have been used to introduce their unique color to other breeds such as the Mini Rex and Netherland Dwarf. Other color varieties of Silver Marten have been accepted into the breed standard including the Chocolate, the Blue, and the Sable Silver Marten.