American Sable

  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
  • USES: Show, meat
  • WEIGHT: 10 pounds (4.5 kg) max., senior does
  • BODY TYPE: Commercial
  • FUR TYPE: Rollback; fine, soft, dense
  • COLORS: Sepia brown with paler shading on flanks

DEVELOPMENT OF THE AMERICAN SABLE BREED began in 1924 with atypically furred Chinchilla Rabbits from Otto Brock’s rabbitry in San Gabriel, California. By 1931, rabbit breeders had established a distinct, predictable color variation of the Chinchilla. The name separated it from the Chinchilla and the Sable Rabbits of England, whose development occurred before the American breed.

The overall appearance of the American Sable is a medium-sized, erect-eared rabbit with Siamese cat–like coloration. Its coat is sepia brown on the ears, face, back, legs, and upper tail, with lighter brown shading elsewhere. The fur is silky with a soft, dense undercoat.

The breed declined dramatically in the 1970s, despite its high-quality fur. In 1981, just one American Sable was exhibited at the ARBA national show! The breed was rescued from oblivion by Al Roerdanz of Kingsville, Ohio, in the early 1980s, when he located seven purebred American Sables. He and a few others introduced new blood to the American Sable gene pool, largely from sable-colored Silver Marten and Rex Rabbits. The breed remains uncommon but is no longer on the threshold of extinction.