D.Campbells Silver Foxes

The American Silver Fox...
      ...also known as the Teddy Bear of the Commercial World, it has been our main breed since March 2009.

Nope, no New Zealands here!

Meet Trinity Hallow Simbelmyne, my prize white Silver Fox from Lisa Root, a breeder in New Mexico.  Simbelmyne is dedicated to several different breeding programs, including the re-creation of the "red" fox and an experiment to correct the fur faults created in the American Chinchilla from breeders who have crossed in New Zealand and Satin.  More about this latter project will be discussed on the American Chinchilla page.

White Silver Fox...the controversial topic.  To cull or not to cull?  To breed or not breed?  Are they good or bad, are they a sign of impurity?  Indeed, these guys are sorely misunderstood amongst rare breed enthusiasts in general...

The Ever-Controversial White

     I can't tell you how many times I've seen people arguing over the albino, its genetics, whether or not to cull it, and whether or not you are a bad breeder if you use them in your program.  And not just among Silver Fox people...among rare breed enthusiasts in general.  It is a common misconception that the whites are a sign of impurity in the lines, and that they are proof that someone crossed something in a while back.  This is old news, and so I'll throw in a bit of new news here...albinism occurs in EVERY breed, it's an extremely common occurrence, and you are bound to encounter it sooner or later if you raise rabbits, regardless of what breed you have selected.  So, how to respond to this occurrence?  Well, let me share my philosophy regarding the whites.
     Okay, so what are the pros and cons of having the gene for albinism lurking in your herd?  Let's start with the cons.  First, you can't show them, nor are you ever likely to.  The whites cannot be judged on the ticking and therefore it is generally agreed that they should never be a recognized color, because this just isn't quite a "Silver" Fox without the ticking.  Also, keep this in mind...it can be extremely disappointing for a 4h youth who buys a pair from you to have their meat pen project ruined by the appearance of too many oddball-colored kits in a litter.  As for the pros, whites tend to have better type and fur than the blacks for some reason and throw outstanding litters in many cases, possibly due to them tracing back to a common exceptional ancestor.  Lots of breeders swear by using them in their programs, and to be quite frank, I buy into that somewhat since my main herd buck is both an excellent animal and the grandson of a white.  White is a recessive color and therefore will not be predominant unless you are deliberately breeding for them, you can use it to weed out other genes on the C locus that would be far more damaging to your color, and in the meantime it has no effect on the color of your herd, as all white ever does is remove all color from an albino animal, and unlike other genes it doesn't modify the color.
     Taking these things into consideration, I merely fall back on a simple rule which I recommend everyone follow - never throw out superior genetics, but practice full disclosure.  The fact is, too many people cull quality out of the gene pool based on an animal being or carrying white, and that does more damage to the breed in the long run than people realize.  There are other ways to deal with the headache of the white lurking in your herd, which include keeping some whites around for genetic testing and eventually culling out anything that carries white.  It's not the end of the world if you have to deal with it for a while.  Some breeders will test breed everything to a white as many as three times to be entirely certain it isn't a carrier, and this is an advisable practice for the sake of making sure you can warn potential buyers of the possibility of any white in the lines.  There's nothing wrong with using them...and everything wrong with not being open and honest with your customers.  Also, I recommend doing your best to sell pairs to 4h customers in which at least one parent does NOT carry the gene, so that the kid won't have mismatched kits for their meat pens.  Always leave it open for people to refuse to buy based on not wanting a given variety, don't try to force anything on them.  It's worth it in the long run