American Sable

American Sable Rabbit – information and facts about the American Sable Rabbit Breed. Learn more about American Sable Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.

American Sable Rabbit

Have you heard of the American Sable rabbits? Well, they’re not as popular as the others, but they’re ranked as one of the most handsome and useful ones. Despite the non-mainstream popularity, they ‘re far from extinction, thanks to a community of rabbit breeders who call themselves ‘Sablers’.

American Sables are called as such because of their lovely sable color. They have a commercial body type, which makes them easy to market to different types of rabbit enthusiasts.

More importantly, this makes them suitable for the 4-H meat pen project. The common options for this project are the Californians and New Zealands. But if you are up to new stuff, American Sables are definitely good options.


American Sable Facts

1. History

While the color sable is found in different rabbit breeds today, it has first appeared in the litters of American Chinchillas in the 1920’s. More than half of their rabbit population has made America their home. In the year 1924, Californian native named Otto Brock crossed two colored Chinchilla rabbit breeds, which resulted in a sepia-toned, soft, furred sable rabbit.

After this, rabbit breeders started developing the breed, which was later on accepted into the standard in the year 1931. The American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association recognized them.

In 1970s, the popularity of the American Sables declined. Around 1980s, the breed was almost dropped from ARBA, which marks some of the darkest years for the rabbit breed. But a dedicated rabbit breeder from Ohio, Al Roerdanz, passionately showed to ARBA why American Sables deserve the recognition by successfully locating 7 American Sables, and breeding them.

Today, Ohio still remains as one of the strongholds of American Sable.


2. Characteristics and Appearance

A breed with a regular commercial body type, American Sable rabbits are smaller when compared to other commercial breeds such as Satin and Californian. They weigh from 7 to 10, and could live from 5-10 years. More specifically, bucks live for 7-9 years and does live for 8-10 years. They are considered as medium to large rabbits, which gives a bit of confusion to rabbit breeders. So one must remember that American Sable is a four-class breed, most especially for those who participate in ARBA royalties.

American Sables have medium-sized head, with erect ears. American Sable’s eyes are usually dark with a ruby hue color. They are bold and bright, and generally brown and dark due to the excessive albino genes. Their eyes need to have the ruby glow in order to avoid disqualification from rabbit shows.

Their fur is soft, silky and rollback. They also have a dense undercoating.

American Sable rabbits have one standard color, which is a lovely sable. As a result of cross breeding with Chinchilla rabbits, American Sables closely resemble Chinchilla in terms of body conformation, despite having different coat colors. The top of the tail, feet, back, ears and head are colored with dark sepia or rich sepia brown. The coat quite fades to a lighter tan over the entire rabbit’s body, close to the coloring of a Siamese cat. Basically, it lightens in the rabbit’s sides and darkens to nearly black near the nose, ears, feet and tail.

Let’s take a closer peek on how the breeders achieved this kind of coloration for the sables. A gene that is called ‘chinchilla light’, which is symbolized by cchl or cch1, causes the coloration of American Sable. This gene, being incompletely dominant over the Himalayan and REW gene, which are below the chinchilla light, causes the darkish brown coloring of the rabbit. It’s so dark that it’s almost black already. This color that stands between dark brown and black is called seal. Ideally, an American Sable with a correct coloring has one copy of cchl and one of either the Himalayan and REW.

This also means that for a successful breeding of two correctly colored American Sables, a breeder can achieve a seal, Himalayan or ruby-eyed white offspring. Yet conclusively, a perfectly colored Sable is still very difficult to produce. During rabbit shows, any blotchiness of the shading is considered a fault. Blotchiness can be caused by sunburn or molt. White toenails can also be grounds for disqualification.


3. Personality and Traits

American Sable rabbits love to socialize. They enjoy the companionship of other rabbits. Despite being sociable, they’re also generally docile, which means that for most of the day, they just sleep. They also love to socialize with other pets such as guinea pigs, dogs and cats.

In terms of them being pets, American Sable rabbits enjoy the company of their owners. But this usually comes on their terms. They are calm and friendly, and are most active during sunset and sunrise.

They are also delicate, timid and can easily get stressed, which makes them not ideal as pets for small kids. When they are under distress, they make a grunting noise or thump their back foot on the ground, in their bid to scare away whatever it is that is bothering them.


4. Diet

American Sable rabbits are herbivorous, and hay is the most important food for them. They also need a diet that is rich in fiber, such as vegetables. Carrots, apples, plums, pears can also be included in the diet once in a while. A daily supply of freshwater is also required.

Ultimately lovable because of their friendly approach, American Sables are definitely worth acknowledging. With a growing population from 500-800 rabbits in 2005, to thousands of today, American Sables have carved their own rabbit history that is worth retelling.