American Sable Rabbits

Learn more about the American Sable Rabbit Breed. Discover cool facts, pictures, resources and find information about caring for American Sable Rabbits.

This rabbit breed information page is part of our rabbit breeds article series.

American Sable Rabbit Resource Links: Free Rabbit Breeders Newsletter | American Sable Rabbit Breed Info | American Sable Rabbit Information and History | American Sable Rabbit Care | American Sable Rabbit Resources

American Sable Rabbit Breed Info

American Sable Rabbit BreedRecognized colors:  one standard color

Size: Maximum weight of 10 pounds

National Specialty Club:

American Sable Rabbit Breed Photo Credit:



American Sable Rabbit Information and History

The American Sable is one of those little-known breeds that is actually very handsome and useful.  It has commercial body type and is suitable for 4-H meat pen project, if you’d like to try something different from the usual Cal’s and New Zealands.  The fur is a rollback.  The namesake feature of this breed is its lovely sable color.  The back of the rabbit is rich sepia brown, which lightens on the rabbit’s sides and darkens to nearly black on the nose, ears, feet, and tail.  This breed is not very popular, but not in imminent danger of extinction thanks to a community of breeders who call themselves “Sablers.”

The American Sable has regular commercial type, but is slightly smaller than other commercial breeds such as the Satin or Californian.  This is a tricky one for ARBA royalty participants, who must remember that although a fairly large rabbit, it is actually a four-class breed. 

The Sable coloration is caused by a gene called “chinchilla light,” symbolized by cchl or cch1.  This gene is incompletely dominant over the two below it (Himalayan and REW.)  When a rabbit has two copies of cchl, it looks so dark brown as to be almost black.  This color is called seal.  A correctly colored sable has one copy of cchl and one copy of a lower C-series allele: Himalayan or REW.   Therefore, breeding two correctly colored sables can result in seal, Himalayan, or ruby-eyed white offspring.   The non-showable colors are useful to a breeding program, however, because breeding a seal to a himie or REW will result in 100% correct sables.  Some breeders have crossed Californians (Himalayan-colored breed) into their American Sables to improve type and add some genetic diversity.  As is the case with any crossbreeding project, you will find some people for and others strongly against this practice. 

A perfectly colored Sable is difficult to produce. Any blotchiness of shading –which can be easily caused by sunburn or molt — is a fault.  The eyes must possess a ruby glow to avoid disqualification on the show table.  A white toenail is also cause for disqualification.

The color sable is now found in many rabbit breeds, but it first appeared in litters of Standard or American Chinchillas in the 1920’s. Breeders started developing these shaded bunnies and they were accepted into the standard in 1931.  The darkest period in the breed’s history was in the early eighties, when it would have probably been dropped from the ARBA standard if not for the dedicated effort of an Ohio breeder, Al Roerdanz.  Ohio remains one of the strongholds of the American Sable today.

American Sable Rabbit Care

Here is a list of resources to help you care for your american sable rabbits…

American Sable Rabbit Resources

Here is a listing of american sable rabbit resources to help you out with your rabbit project…

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