Monday, May 9, 2011
Breed of the Day: American Sable Rabbit
The American Sable rabbit breed can trace it's roots to colored throwbacks from pure-bred Chinchilla rabbits belonging to Otto Brock of San Gabriel, California in 1924. The American rabbit breed was developed independently from the Sable breed known in England in the early 1900s. The coat of the American Sable is characterized by a rich sepia brown on the ears, face, back, legs and tail. The saddle and underside fur color fades from the sepia brown to a paler shade of brown. Their eyes are brown and show a ruby-red glow in reflected light.
The American Sable Rabbit Association was formed in early 1929. By December, 1929, a working standard was developed for the breed and by 1931 the breed was recognized by the American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association. The American Sable enjoyed popularity until the 1970s after which their population began to decline. By 1981, only one American Sable was shown at the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) conference, painting a bleak future for the breed. Through the efforts of Al Roerdanz of Kingsville, Ohio, seven pure-bred American Sables were located and used to revive the breed and increase the number of animals. In 1982 Mr. Roerdanz along with several American Sable fanciers formed the American Sable Rabbit Society, which included 13 charter members. That year the breed reached the required quota of animals shown to retain recognition of the breed's status in the Standard of Perfection, according to ARBA rules, thus saving the breed from extinction.
The American Sable is a medium-sized with bucks weighing in at 7 to 9 pounds and does weighing in at 8 to 10 pounds. The body is of medium length, with the top line of the back forming a smooth and continuous curve from the base of the neck to the tail. Their head is well shaped with eyes that are bright and bold. They have silky fur with a fine, soft, dense undercoat. Because of the thickness of their coat, they may require longer than average time to completely shed their fur than many other breeds. American Sables are known to be friendly and likable rabbits that enjoy attention from their owners. According to a 2005 report from ARBA, there are approximately 500 to 800 American Sables in the U.S.