Developed by Lewis H. Salisbury as a meat and fur breed the American rabbit, formerly named the German Blue, originated in Pasadena, California and became a recognized breed of the American Rabbit Breeders Association in March 1918. The American rabbit was originally only available in blue with blue-gray eyes. The blue color of the American rabbit is a dark slate blue color and has the richest blue of all the blue rabbits.
In 1925 ARBA approved the white American rabbit as a new variety. The white is the albino counterpart to the blue with clean white fur and pink eyes.
The blending of at least three distinct breeds went into its creation. The Flemish Giant, Vienna Blue and Blue Imperial all played significant roles in the Americans development and it’s semi-arch body type. The same mandolin shape is shared with the Beveren, Flemish Giant, Giant Chinchilla and English Lop.
Designed to be a fur and meat rabbit, the American Rabbit Breeders Association standard for the American rabbit calls for senior bucks to weigh 9 – 11 lbs and senior does weighing 10 – 12 lbs. They are to be long in body with the arch of the back starting behind the shoulder and reaching its high point just forward of the hip joint. Ideally they should have a well filled loin with broad hips and well developed thighs. The majority of the points when judging the American rabbit go to the body type (40) followed by the fur (20) , color (15) and condition (10). The remaining points, bringing the total to 100 are on the various body parts.
The full breed standard is available in the ARBA Standard of Perfection. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has this breed rated as “threatened”, meaning there are less than 1000 registered rabbits and an estimated global population less than 5000. The Blue Imperial is already extinct.
Since the decline in the demand for fur and the development of more desirable commercial type rabbits like the New Zealand and Californian, the American breed has lost its position as a leader in the meat and fur trade.
The Vienna Blue is gone from the U.S. and is becoming increasingly harder to find in Germany.
Currently there are a small number of faithful breeders keeping this American original alive. We encourage you to consider this great American classic for your meat, fur and show purposes.
American Rabbit Breeders
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