Are you considering buying an Alaska rabbit? Here is all you need to know about this cute, friendly and social bunny breed.
- Country of origin: German
- Alaska rabbit size and bodyweight - It is a medium-size rabbit that weighs around 7-9 lbs. or (3-4kgs)
- Purpose – pets, show animals, rabbit meat.
- Color and coat – It has a deep black coat with long “glossy black fur, any color other than black is a fault for this breed” (Source – Wikipedia).
- Lifespan – the Alaska rabbit has a lifespan of 7 -10 years
- Temperament and behavior– It is docile, good-tempered, friendly (not aggressive), gentle, social (it will enjoy spending some time with you), outgoing and a well-natured breed. It can be trained to use its litter box. This makes it a good pet.
- Breeds that resemble it - Champagne d’Argent and, Himalayan Rabbits
- Who can own it – New and experienced rabbit owners as well as families that have older children and/or other pets. Note that it can be skittish - excitable but easily scared therefore is not a good pet for young children. When scared it will want to escape, and its powerful back legs can injure the handler or it will get injured if dropped down.
- Creator – A rabbit judge Max Fischer (Gotha), and Schmidt (Langensalza) both from German working together with their fellow rabbit breeders.
- A crossbreed of - Havanas, Champagne D'argent, Dutch and Himalayans rabbits
- Popularity – It is not a very popular breed. However, it is not rare; you can find some Alaska rabbit breeders in Europe and North America.
- Food – Clean water, hays, small amounts of vegetables, leafy greens, and high-quality rabbit pellets like Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting "Perfect Blend" Timothy Hay Pet Food. Usually, the standard rabbit diets are ok for this breed.
History and origin
Despite its name, this rabbit breed did not originate from Alaska in the USA but instead, it originated from German. Furthermore, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA ) does not recognize it. However, the British Rabbit Council (BRC) acknowledges this breed as an ordinary fur rabbit.
In the 1900s, Max Fischer and Schmidt created the Alaska rabbit by crossbreeding the Havanas, Champagne detergents, Dutch and Himalayans rabbits.
They intended to come up with a rabbit that resembled the Alaskan fox, which was valuable for its fur and consequently to get profits from this fur, i.e., they wanted to “create a breed of rabbit that would showcase long white guard hairs on a black coat so that they could profit from the pelts.” (Source – Petguide.com) i.e., with long silver hairs.
Unfortunately, they did not achieve this objective, ending up with this black Alaskan rabbit which can be described as a bunny with an intensely black fur that is silky, glossy and lustrous.
Their first showcase was in 1907, and they became extinct for a while but resurfaced in the 1970s when Bert Reurs of Canada imported them to this North American country and used them to breed the Black Rex Rabbit.
Initially, this rabbit was added to the American Rabbit Breeders Standard for being unique in appearance but later removed since many people did not show any interest in breeding it. Instead, people opted for the Black Havana Rabbit, a breed that was popular in the 1980s.
Body type, build and ears
The Alaska rabbit's body is described as 'thickest and blocky' since it has a well rounded and balanced body that is not as compact as other breeds. Their bones are well developed. Usually, the males are slightly bigger than the female and the female has a dewlap.
When compared to breeds that resemble them, their ears stand upright, are shorter, broader, and have round ends.
Color and other characteristics
This bunny has a black solid color with the fur close to its skin looking deep slate blue that turns to jet black as you move away from their root towards their tips. It has a matte black hue on its feet’s pads, nose and belly while its side and the top color is vibrant.
Its overall fur color is best described as black lustrous, silky and glossy with there being a possibility “of just a few white hairs scattered throughout the fur, but there shouldn’t be a high number of stray white hairs, white patches, or white spots.”
Finally, the Alaska rabbit has dark toenails as well as dark brown eyes.
Indoors and outdoors care
This breed can tolerate all climates, and it is both an outdoor or indoor rabbit. If indoors and you let it roam freely, rabbitproof your house and ensure you provide it with a secure area (it needs to feel safe) and hide. A dog crate can serve this purpose. Rabbit-proofing will stop if from eating the wrong foods or your valuables.
Also, these bunny need to sunbathe especially in your backyard garden. This fenced area will also provide a place it can run around and exercise and will be ideal if it is under a shade.
If you opt for an outdoor hatch, ensure it is water and weatherproof. A sawdust substrate on the hutch's solid base will work just fine and is recommended since it is easier to clean. Ensure the hutch is of the recommended size to allow it to stretch in all directions and stand upright.
When indoors and with other pets (including dogs and cats), ensure you introduce it to other pets carefully, most preferably when it is still young.
Finally, handle it with care and be gentle to avoid it getting injuries.
If you live in the United Kingdom or where rabbit vaccinations are required, vaccinate your bunny against viral hemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis since they are fatal diseases that quickly spread through bedding, toys, utensils from sick bunnies. Also, check for and often treat your rabbits against fleas, worms, and ticks especially if your bunny often spends time outside.
Secondly, keep a good oral and dental hygiene to avoid bad breath, Overgrown rabbit teeth is another common problem that your bunnies may end up with. To deal with overgrown teeth, give them high-quality hay and fibrous vegetables such as cabbage, and kales to help wear their teeth down. Also, buy safe rabbit gnaw toys.
Do not forget to check their nails to ensure they are not too long. In such a case, you can clip your rabbit’s nails.
We recommend having your females spayed if you do not want them to interbreed as well as neuter males if they are too aggressive. It will also make them live longer.
Remember to keep their hutch very clean (free from debris and droppings) and dry. Remove droppings daily and spot clean it. At the end of the week, thoroughly clean it, replacing their bedding.
Where to buy it – Alaska rabbit breeders
If you are interested in the Alaska rabbit, there are many breeders in almost every state. Also, you can rely on the many sites and classified ads of bunnies on sales where you can get nearly any breed you need including on social media sites like Facebook.
When buying, ensure you get your rabbit from a reputable breeder and if possible, get pedigreed or purebred.
Before buying them, consider their buying and rearing costs. According to pet-owners.org.uk, “it is estimated that two rabbits together could cost around £1800 a year throughout their lives” since they should be kept in pairs. This money will cater to feeding and bedding, neutering, insurance, dental care, vaccinations and so on.
This cost is beside the one for buying a pedigree Alaska rabbit that will be about £20 i.e. one Alaskan rabbit ill cost $25+.