To help understand the Alaska, the breed details are divided in to the following categories:
The Alaska is recognised by the British Rabbit Council (BRC) and was included as a breed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) but has since been dropped due to a lack of popularity.
Type & Weight...40
Despite the name, the Alaska rabbit doesn't come from the cold extremities of North America. They were actually first developed in Germany and descend from Argente and Himalayan rabbits.
A German rabbit judge, Max Gotha and a fellow German rabbit breeder created the Alaska to mimic the popular Alaskan Fox, which was very popular in the 1900s fur trade, earning big dollars at the time.
They wanted to create a rabbit with a pitch-black coat and long white guard hairs, resembling the popular Alaskan Fox believing they would have a good market for their rabbit pelts.
Unfortunately, as any good rabbit breeder will know, the genetics rarely go according to plan, so instead of getting a the black rabbit with the long silver hairs, the Alaska rabbit turned out to have an intensely black colour and long glossy black guard hairs that gave the rabbit a beautiful sheen. With the uncommon dense black coat, rich colour shade and unique intensity, they chose to keep the breed they had created and let it remain as it was, rather than keep the breeding process going.
Interestingly, probably because of the thick, dense coat, the Alaska was used in the creation of the Black Rex.
In 1907, the first Alaskan rabbits were exhibited at a rabbit show in Europe and the breed quickly gained recognition.
Years later, Gotha took the Alaska rabbit to Canada and eventually into the United States, where they became recognised as a breed during the mid-1970's. Alaskan rabbits were extinct in Britain and were reintroduced in 1972.
Their recognition in the US was sadly short-lived, as the even more popular Havana rabbit came along in the 80s and the Alaska was dropped from the ARBA registry. The breed has yet to make a comeback in the United States.
There's only one variety of Alaska - the black one!
See Colours below for more...
The Alaska rabbit is classed as a medium sized rabbit.
(Ring Size L)
3.17 kgs to 4.08 kgs
7 lbs to 9lbs
They have a well-rounded and balanced body with a solid block type and, while not as compact as other breeds, they have good bone development for their size.
Bucks (males) have a little heavier type, while does (females) tend to have more feminine features and are permitted to have a dewlap (a roll of skin at the neck, often giving the appearance that the rabbit's head is resting on a cushion of fur).
The ears are upright and quite short in comparison to other similar breeds. They are quite broad and rounded at the ends.
A self or solid-coloured breed, the Alaska rabbit only comes in one colour - black.
The under-colour of the coat, near the skin, is usually a deep slate blue and turns jet black the closer it gets to the surface.
The belly and pads of the feet are often a matte black, the top and sides of the Alaska rabbit are vibrantly coloured, the fur being silky and lustrous black, with a glossy sheen.
The Alaska should have all-dark toenails and dark brown eyes; while a couple of white hairs sprinkled into the fur are permissible, an abundance of stray white hairs are a flaw and white spots or patches are a disqualification.
Satin / Short
This should be free from moult and a richly intense black colour, with a dense, soft, silky texture.
The Alaska rabbit has a well-tempered behavior and are relatively non-aggressive when compared with other rabbits so they make great pets.
Although they have a rather bubbly, outgoing personality, they are gentle, very loving and will love to spend hours at a time with you!
Originally intended as a fur rabbit, to mimic the coat of the Alaskan Fox, it is still a beautiful breed that is a popular show breed in the UK.
Their fur is really rather something to behold. If you ever get the chance to stroke one of these beautiful rabbits, you'll see exactly what I mean!
Although not re-instated as a breed in the US yet due to it's unpopularity (unpopular according to the ARBA, that is), the Alaska rabbit is not a rare breed and I'm sure there are quite a few Alaska breeders around the world.
Let's help get them back up the popularity charts and let us know if you are a breeder!
Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rabbits…
Alaska Rabbit Breeders – locate Alaska rabbit breeders using the online rabbit breeders directory, search or submit your own rabbitry.
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