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Rabbit Breeds
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Breed Organizations

American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA)
The British Rabbit Council (BRC)
The House Rabbit Society

Native Country
United States of America
Other Names
American Blue, American White
Fur Type
ARBA Registry Accepted:
Ear Type
BRC Registry Accepted:

Breed Appearance
The American Rabbit was originally accepted into the ARBA as a 'Blue' rabbit, and historically has been characterized as having the deepest, darkest fur of all blue or grey rabbits. The color at its best is "uniform rich, dark slate-blue, free from white hairs, sandy or rust color". A white variety named American White Rabbit was recognized in 1925. It was developed by selecting white sports (mutants), and adding in white red-eyed white (albino) Flemish giants in the bloodline. It is an albino variety of rabbit (otherwise known as red-eyed white) - while blue-eyed whites have appeared, they are considered sports in the American breed and can not be shown.

Breed Description
Body: The American has a mandolin body type with a moderate arch starting at the back of the shoulders, and rising to a high point slightly forward of the hip joint. The back needs to be broad and meaty, with a well-filled loin. The hindquarters must show well developed thighs and broad hips. The body should taper slightly from the hips to the shoulders. Americans must have medium bone, and a small dewlap is allowed on does.
Head: The head must be well shaped and narrow. It should not be blocky or too long.
Ears: Ears must be in proportion to the body, carried erect, and taper to a slight point.
Eyes: Eyes must be bright and bold.
Feet & Legs: Feet and legs must be straight with medium bone. Toenails must be white on whites and dark on blues.
Tail: Color must match the body color and be carried straight.
Fur: ARBA Commercial Standard
Color: Blue, White

The blue American rabbit was developed in Pasadena, California by Lewis H. Salisbury in 1917. Some suggest that the America was the first rabbit breed developed in the United States, however, the New Zealand Red predated the American Blue by several years. Mr. Salisbury did not disclose what breeds were used to come to this variety. The body shape suggests that it may well have been bred from blue Vienna, Beveren, Imperial and Flemish Giants. Replication of the development of this breed would be difficult to impossible to accomplish, due to the extinction of the Imperial breed. The white variety was formally accepted by the ARBA in 1925.

The breed was originally known as the German Blue Vienna, but was renamed after World War I to the American Blue Rabbit. In more recent years, rabbit keepers - especially rescue organizations - unfamiliar with the history of rabbit breeding in the United States have been referring to mixed breed or "mutt" rabbits as "American". This has led to some confusion over the actual status of this historic breed.

American Rabbits were popular animals up until the 1950s, kept for their fur and meat. As late as 1949, Americans (both Blue and White) were listed among the five or six most popular and most ideal rabbits to raise commercially for meat and fur. Since the development of the commercial rabbit breeds, such as the Californian and New Zealand, and the collapse of the domestic fur market, the Americans have been pretty much ignored by the commercial market. Following a population contraction in the 1980s, they are now among the rarest breeds of rabbit in North America. In 2005, when rabbits breeds were added to the American Livestock Breed Conservancy, Conservancy Priority List, Americans were listed among the rarest 'Critical' category. The White variety was especially in danger of being dropped from the ARBA's active role in 2004, due to lack of representation at the annual ARBA convention. Since then, the American Rabbit has undergone a resurgence in population, and in 2012 ALBC shifted the American Rabbit from 'Critical' to the less-endangered 'Threatened' category. Among the significant events leading to the revival of the breed was the dedicated effort of breeders to ship breeding stock across the United States, and the discovery of a line of White American Rabbits among a Hutterite farming community in Alberta, Canada.

Americans are included in the Slow Food USA project under Ark of Taste, Meat and Poultry. This has led to an increased interest in the American Rabbit as a heritage or homestead rabbit breed.

Rabbits can make good pets for younger children when proper parental supervision is provided. As prey animals, rabbits are alert, timid creatures that startle fairly easily. They have fragile bones, especially in their backs, that require support on the belly and bottom when picked up. Older children and teenagers usually have the maturity required to care for a rabbit. Rabbits may grunt, lunge and even bite or scratch. Usually they do not bite hard enough to break skin. Rabbits become aggressive when they feel threatened or are cornered.