American Rabbit – information and facts about the American Rabbit Breed. Learn more about American Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
American Rabbits are perfect symbols of how time enables a shift of attitude in people. Before, American rabbits are one of the most popular rabbits in rabbit shows. But now, it is already deemed as one of the most rare breeds in the entire America. Do you have any idea on what caused this change of heart? Let’s try to slowly unlock the story behind this!
American Rabbit Facts
During 1910s, the development of American Breeds started. It was Lewis H. Salisbury, resident of Pasadena, California, who deserves the credit for developing the much-loved breed in its early times. While Lewis did not divulge the rabbit breeds that he used to come up with American Breed, it was believed that the following blue European rabbits were used in the crossbreeding process: Vienna, Beveren, Blue Imperial, as well as the Flemish Giant.
Despite being developed and reproduced in America, as the name suggests, American rabbits were first known as German Blue rabbits. This is the name that the breed held until the end of the World War I. In the year 1925, the second variety of American was added. This is the American White Rabbit, which was developed by selecting white sports or mutants, with the addition of red-eyed whites or albino Flemish Giants in the bloodline. Among all of the domestic rabbit breeds, they belong to the family Oryctolaguscuniculus, which pertains to the European wild rabbit.
A significant interest in the American rabbit breed declined after World War II. Fanciers opted to raise small and cute breeds, or those with interesting markings in the body. The rabbit producers that sell their rabbits for commercial purposes searched for deeper and faster-growing rabbits. As a result of this sharp decline, American rabbits had become the ‘rarest breed in United States’, with less than 200 known rabbits existing. Fortunately, some rabbit enthusiasts are on the rescue.
By the year 2005, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy took action against the declining number of the rabbits. The institute took the rabbits under its wing, which spiked the number of heritage breeds. 2006, when 40 White Americans were discovered in Alberta, Canada. The owners are two ladies who bought the rabbits from a Hutterite community, which is a similar domain to Amish. The rabbit line was traced to rabbits of 1920s, way back in the time when the rabbits are still very popular. This discovery paved way for a significant rise in interest towards American rabbits.
Now, they’re kept alive by passionate and committed members of the Breeders of American Rabbits National Specialty Club. The club holds the charter from the American Rabbit Breeders Association as the club in charged in promoting and preserving the breed.
2. Characteristics and Appearance
American Rabbits weigh around 9-12 pounds. And just like the majority of the rabbits, does weigh slightly heavier than their male counterparts. This size puts them under the medium-sized category.
American Rabbits have a well-toned mandolin body type. They are in the semi-arch rabbit group, which suggests that the top line of their body, especially when viewed from the side, does not rise immediately behind ears. The topline flattens over the shoulders, and then curves upward at the midsection’s start. They have a longer loin compared to common commercial or round-shaped rabbits like the New Zealand or Californian rabbits.
When they are being shown in rabbit shows, they are posed slightly differently than commercial rabbits in order to fully display the length of their bodies and the modified point of highest arch over the hips.
American rabbits are originally accepted into the American Rabbit Breeders Association as blue rabbits. The best American rabbits have uniform rich, dark slate-blue, white-hairs free, sandy or rust color.
In status quo, there are two recognized colors for American Rabbits, and these are the blue and white. The white rabbit is ruby-eyed while the blue rabbit is dark slate in color. The blue rabbit’s coloring is a direct contrast to the color of the American’s similar Beveren breed, which was colored lavender blue. Interestingly, a rabbit breeder in California was able to develop a red variety for the American rabbit. He didn’t apply for recognition of the variety as of the moment.
American rabbits’ fur is commercial flyback. Historically, they have been distinguished for having the deepest and darkest fur among all of the blue or grey rabbits.
3. Personality, Traits and Purpose
American rabbits are known for having good sweet temperament and good mothering abilities. They have a nice and very docile personality, which makes them good pets. There was a point in time when they were the most popular pets in the entire America. They are really nice companions. But extra care must be done in handling them.
American rabbits are bred for their fur and meat. They’re also being shown in different rabbit fairs and shows all over the country.
4. Challenges in Raising the Breed
There are challenges that hit the rabbit breed one time to another. It has to be remembered that when two breeds are crossed, a number of color genes that are recessive in the white generation will appear in the offspring. And these are all unrecognized colors. Consequently, fanciers wanted to solve this problem by breeding the unwanted genes, in a bid to produce true ‘albino blues’. This means that they want to produce rabbits that are genetically blue, with the exception of the albino gene sine it strips the segment from the fur and the eyes.
Another challenged posed for American rabbit breeders is the large size and availability of stock for sale.
Despite being rare, American rabbits still play a very important role in the American heritage and in American rabbit history in general. It surely pays to know your patriotic contribution to the country when you raise these interesting rabbits!