American Sable Rabbit (Size, Color, Behavior, Temperament)

If a pretty rabbit can turn your head, you may be happy owning an American Sable rabbit.

American Sable rabbits are friendly. They are affectionate. The colors of an American Sable rabbit are a lot like the colors of a Siamese cat.

These rabbits are dark sepia on the ears, head, back, and top of the tail. Their coat fades to a lighter tab over the rest of their body. They usually have dark eyes with a glint of a ruby hue.

American Sable Rabbit

American Sable rabbits have been around since 1924 when they originated as the offspring of crosses of the then very popular Chinchilla rabbits.

American Sables is a breed recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).

These rabbits make great pets. But before you let an American Sable rabbit hop into your life, get to know a little more about its history, appearance, temperament, and requirements for care.

We will end this article with the answers to some frequently asked questions about American Sable rabbits. But first, let’s review the essential facts.

Essential Facts About American Sable Rabbits

  • Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
  • Care level, compared to other rabbits: About average, needs daily attention
  • Temperament: Sweet, docile, cheerful, playful
  • Color: Like a Siamese cat, maybe dark or faded
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Maximum size: 8-10 pounds
  • Dietary requirements: Hay, vegetables, pellets, lots of clean water
  • Compatible breeds: Silver Marten and American Chinchilla
  • Cage size: 21 by 36 inches (50 by 90 cm) for rabbits weighing up to 8 pounds (3600 grams). Unusually large American Sable rabbits may need 30 by 36 inches (77 by 90 cm)
  • Thrives indoors, or outdoors in temperate climates

History of the American Sable Rabbit

In the 1920s, Otto Brock of San Gabriel, California sought to breed a rabbit with a Chinchilla rabbit’s shape but an entirely different coat color.

He found this in a new species of rabbit, the American Sable.

Because American Sables are a different species, they cannot breed with Chinchilla rabbits.

American Sables became immediately popular across the United States.

The breed was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1929, and a breed standard was created in 1931.

Then the popularity of the breed fell off. By 1981, there was just one American Sable rabbit entered the annual show of the American Rabbit Breeders Association Convention.

The next year, however, an Ohio rabbit breeder named Al Roerdanz began promoting the breed.

The result was that American Sable rabbits are not endangered, and they are common at trade shows and competitions even today.

The Appearance of the American Sable Rabbit

You can’t really miss an American Sable rabbit in a fluffle of rabbits of different breeds.

American Sables have the distinctive shape of Chinchilla rabbits. They have the distinctive colors of Siamese cats.

They are highly photogenic rabbits that command attention at every show.

American Sables are a little more compact than other breeds. The top line of their backs forms a continuous curve from head to tail.

They have well-muscled physiques and rounded contours. Their heads are round, too, with dark eyes.

There is no pink in the American Sable’s relatively small ears. Does (females) are bigger than bucks (males), the female weighing about a pound (450 grams) more than the male.

Coat

American Sable rabbits have silky, soft, rollback fur resting on a soft undercoat.

The coat gets darker as the rabbit gets older. It is so dense that shedding is infrequent, but it requires regular grooming.

Color

American Sable rabbits come in darker and lighter combinations of a blackish sepia tone on the face, back, tail, and ears, and a lighter sepia tone on the rest of the body.

This breed has an albino gene, so occasionally, you will encounter American Sables that have white fur and pink eyes. If you breed two albinos, all of their offspring will be albinos.

Some American Sables display a “marten” or tan color pattern.

The American Rabbit Breeders Association categorizes these rabbits as Silver Martens.

Temperament

American Sable rabbits become beloved pets. They are good with children. They love to play, and they lighten the mood everywhere they go.

American Sables are so energetic that you may not get a lot of chances to cuddle them.

If you do, however, you will melt their tiny hearts. They will become docile and affectionate. Pet them on their backs and between their ears.

Requirements for Care

American Sable rabbits are versatile. They can adjust to indoor or outdoor living.

If you keep them indoors, however, be sure to provide them with play room outside their hutch.

When the weather is warm, and dogs and cats are kept somewhere else, these rabbits enjoy playing under supervision in a fenced yard.

Your rabbit’s hutch should be tall enough for it to stand on its hind legs without hitting its head. It needs floor space of at least four times the space it occupies when it is lying down.

American Sables enjoy a two-story hutch with ramps for exercise and nooks for hiding. Be sure to make the hutch escape-proof.

Bedding

Like all other rabbits, American Sables eat the soft pellets they produce after the first round suggestion.

Then they poop out hard pellets that you need to throw into the trash or recycle in your yard or garden.

American Sables will eat their bedding. That’s why the best bedding materials are hay and shredded paper.

Wire and hardwoods can hurt these rabbits’ delicate feet, so you want to make sure that they spend most of their time on grass, Astroturf, or hay.

Change your rabbit’s bedding twice a week, and do spot cleaning every day.

Temperature

American Sable rabbits prefer air temperatures of 58° to 72° F (18° to 21° C).

Lighting

Rabbits need about half an hour of sunlight every day to make the vitamin D they need for healthy bones and teeth.

If you do not let your rabbit go outside, give it a sun lamp for sunning during the day. Rabbits sleep better with all the lights off at night.

Diet and Nutrition

Hay

Hay is the most important part of my American Sable rabbit’s diet, making up around 70% of it.

I make sure to feed my rabbit a portion of hay that’s as big as their body size every day.

Pellets

Alongside hay, I provide my American Sable rabbit with pellets daily.

Pellets are an essential source of nutrients for my rabbit and should be based on their size, age, and activity level.

Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

In addition to hay and pellets, I also offer my American Sable rabbit fresh vegetables and fruits as part of their diet. However, I’m careful to limit the amount of fruits since they can be high in sugar.

  • leafy greens
  • vegetables
  • limited fruits

Water

I always ensure that fresh water is available to my American Sable rabbit. Proper hydration is essential for their health and overall well-being.

Grooming Techniques for American Sable

American Sables have soft, dense coat that needs more attention than the average short-haired rabbit.

Here’s what I do to maintain my rabbit’s coat:

  • Brushing weekly with a soft-bristle brush
  • Increasing brushing frequency during shedding seasons
  • Checking ears regularly for build-up or mites

Proper grooming not only helps maintain my rabbit’s appearance but also keeps them healthy and comfortable.

I ensure to always be gentle during grooming sessions and reward my bunny with treats!

Common Health Issues with American Sables

Although American Sable Rabbits don’t have any breed-specific health problems, they may be susceptible to issues that affect all rabbits.

Some of the main concerns I keep an eye on include:

  • Overgrown teeth
  • Ear mites
  • Respiratory infections
  • Obesity

Regular vet check-ups and providing a balanced diet can help prevent these issues.

Also, I make sure my rabbit gets plenty of exercise through playtime and exploration.

Breeding American Sable Rabbits

As a rabbit breeder, I find the process of breeding American Sable Rabbits to be fascinating.

Let’s discuss the mating process, pregnancy, and litter size, and the care required for the kits.

Mating Process

When I’m ready to breed my rabbits, I follow a simple process.

First, I place the doe (female) into the buck’s (male) cage. This is important because does can be territorial and may become aggressive if the buck is introduced to their cage.

Once introduced, rabbits typically mate quickly. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on them to ensure successful mating, which can be confirmed by the buck’s “fall off” behavior later on.

Pregnancy and Litter Size

After a successful mating, a doe’s pregnancy lasts around 28 to 31 days.

On average, the litter size of an American Sable Rabbit is 6 to 8 kits.

Before the doe gives birth, it’s essential to prepare a clean and comfortable nesting box for her and the kits.

Care for the Kits

As the kits are born, I make sure to provide the doe and her babies with a safe and comfortable environment. Here are some tips for care:

  • Keep the nest box clean
  • Provide fresh water and feed the doe a nutritionally balanced diet
  • Monitor the kits’ growth and well-being
  • Keep the cage or hutch in a quiet and secure location

You will notice that the kits grow up fast, and by the age of 8 weeks, they are ready to be weaned and separated from their mother.

This is an exciting time for the young rabbits as they begin exploring the world on their own.

Show Standards

As an American Sable Rabbit owner, you understand the importance of meeting the show standards set by the ARBA.

These standards help maintain the breed’s unique characteristics and aid in their success at rabbit shows.

Firstly, the most striking feature of the American Sable is its luxurious brown coat.

It shades from a dark sepia over the top to a lighter shade of sepia over the sides, resembling the color of a mink (ARBA). Their face, ears, feet, and tail are also dark sepia.

Secondly, weight is an essential factor in meeting the show’s standards. Bucks should weigh between 7-9 lbs, while does should weigh between 8-10 lbs (ALBC).

Your American Sable should have a body of medium length with a continuous curve from the base of the neck to the tail.

They should also have a well-shaped head with bright and bold eyes (ALBC). Their eyes should be dark, and their ears should be erect, standing on top of their head.

Lastly, your American Sable’s superb coat must be soft, fine, and dense to meet the show’s standards.

You should always make sure to groom your American Sable before shows to highlight their best features.

Popular Bunny Names for American Sable Rabbit

The American Sable Rabbit is known for its unique sable coat color, which has a rich sepia-brown shade on the ears, face, legs, and tail, fading into a lighter tan or cream on the body.

Many of these names in the table below are inspired by their striking coloration and gentle nature.

Boy Bunny Names for American Sable RabbitGirl Bunny Names for American Sable Rabbit
SiennaAmber
SepiaCinnamon
MochaHazel
ChestnutAutumn
SableSandy
EspressoToffee
CocoaHoney
TannerNutmeg
RustyFawn
WalnutSunrise

These names emphasize the beautiful coloration and overall elegance of the American Sable Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.

Also read: Popular Pet Rabbit (Bunny) Names (Girl/Boy)

Frequently Asked Questions About American Sable Rabbits

Q. Are American Sable rabbits rare?

A. Not many people own American Sable rabbits. But once they get to know the breed, they fall in love with their rabbits.

Although American Sables are not endangered, they are rare.

Q. How much does an American Sable rabbit cost?

A. In the United States, you can usually find an American Sable rabbit for about US $75.

A show-quality rabbit could cost you as much as $1000.

Q. Where can I buy an American Sable rabbit?

A. You can be assured of getting a healthy rabbit with known genetics from members of the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

However, you can also find American Sable rabbits at pet stores and even at Walmart.

Q. Do American Sable rabbits get along with other pets?

A. American Sable rabbits are compatible with other rabbits, especially American Chinchillas and Silver Martens.

They also get along well with most cats. Rabbits, in general, are not compatible with most dogs.

Q. How often do I need to groom my American Sable rabbit?

A. Most of the year, grooming an American Sable twice a week is enough.

In the spring and fall shedding seasons, you may need to groom your rabbit three times a week.

Q. Do American Sable rabbits have floppy ears?

A. The ears of the American Sable rabbit stand erect.

Q. How do I introduce American Sable rabbits for breeding?

A. Because the female rabbit is larger, the male rabbit is more likely to attempt to mate if you place her in his cage, rather than the other way around.

Don’t be surprised if rabbits play for a few days before they mate.

Q. Do American Sable rabbits get diseases?

A. American Sable rabbits are usually healthy pets. If you let them play on your lawn, check for mites in their ears and ticks anywhere on their bodies.

Keep your American Sable rabbits out of tall grass, brush piles, and firewood piles, which may house predators.

Q. Is there any downside to owning an American Sable rabbit?

A. American Sable rabbits take longer to housetrain than most other pets.

Their habit of eating their poop takes some getting used to. But they make loyal, affectionate, fun pets for everyone in the family.

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