|Common Name:||Alaska Rabbit|
|Scientific Name:||Oryctolagus cuniculus|
|Life Span:||Around 7 to 10 years|
|Weight:||7 to 9 pounds|
|Country of Origin:||Germany|
Best Suited For: All rabbit owners with different types of experiences in care
Temperament: Friendly, Gentle, Good-natured, Outgoing, Social
Comparable Breeds: Himalayan rabbit and Champagne d’Argent rabbit
Alaska Rabbits are famous for their well-rounded and balanced bodies, and despite not being compact if compared to other rabbit breeds, the Alaska Rabbits still exhibit a balanced and strong bone development. These rabbits are often described as blocky, solid, and thickset. The males can be a bit heavier, while the females will have characteristics that will showcase a dewlap.
Compared to other similar breeds, the ears of the Alaska Rabbits are short. Their ears are also broad, held upright, and rounded at the edges.
These Alaska Rabbits have short coats, but though their length is unlike the length of others, they are dense and luxurious.
On the other hand, in terms of their coloring, the Alaska Rabbits have one single color, and that is black. If you go further in the color investigation, you might notice that the fur nearest to the skin can be described as a deep slate blue, but the color changes into jet black even more towards the surface.
Additionally, their noses, their bellies, and the pads of their feet all feature a matte black hue. But, the fur towards the top and at the sides is vibrant and shiny black. Overall, the fur all over their bodies is glossy, shiny, silky, and lustrous.
Some might notice some stray white hairs all over their fur, but these are far apart and only a few, without white patches, white spots, and white hairs.
Origin of the Breed
When you hear about the breed Alaska rabbit, you would think that this rabbit was first discovered in Alaska. But in reality, that is not the case. Alaska rabbits are actually produced by cross-breeding using Havana, Himalayan, Dutch, and Champagne d’Argent rabbits in Germany. A rabbit judge named Max Gotha created this breed through the help of a fellow breeder.
Originally, the goal of the breeders is to produce a breed that is similar to the Alaskan Fox because this breed was popular in the fur trade during the 1900s. Gotha and his partner were looking to create a breed that would showcase long white guard hairs partnered with a black coat so that they would profit from selling these pelts.
However, their plans have failed because what came out was a rabbit with an intensely dark coat. Its guard hairs were quite long, and the color it has is glossy black. But, even though their initial plans have failed, they decided to keep the breed the way it was because of the uniqueness and beauty of this breed. So, they were satisfied with the end result and quit on their plans of moving the breed in a different direction. Later on, though, they also used the Alaska Rabbit to develop the Black Rex Rabbit.
Alaska Rabbits were first presented and exhibited at a rabbit show for the first time during 1907 in Europe. Once more people were able to see this breed, it gained recognition very quickly, and the breed will eventually reach the United States and Canada. In the middle of the 1970s, the Alaska Rabbit was finally recognized as a breed.
Unfortunately, in the 1980s, the breed lost their recognition within the 1980s when breeders developed the Black Havana Rabbit, and they considered it in the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Up to the present, breeders are still working on helping this breed to make a comeback in the United States. In spite of this, the Alaska Rabbit breed is considered and recognized by the British Rabbit Council.
Alaska Rabbits are fairly calm, docile, and possessing a good temper. Their outgoing personality is perfect to match families, especially those who have young children who will enjoy playing with these fluffy creatures. They are also not aggressive but very loving and gentle. Alaska Rabbits crave spending time with their human families, whether for playing around or just simply spending time together. Moreover, these Alaska Rabbits are intelligent, so owners can train them with regards to their litter.
Another thing to note about these Alaska Rabbits is that they are more active in the early mornings and during the evenings. They also require regular sessions for playtime for a few hours per day, so that they can use and release their pent-up energy. When they are energetic, prepare to spend time snuggling with them. When they get tired and are now ready to relax, you can take some time to cuddle and snuggle with them.
But, you should remember that Alaska Rabbits have personalities and they can be a little skittish. Though they are very friendly, it is still essential that owners handle them with gentleness and care so that they will not be shocked, surprised, or agitated. This will prevent them from being aggressive, as well as preventing injuries for both the owner and the rabbit.
Common Health Problems
Just like all the rest of the rabbit breeds, Alaska Rabbits face the threat of Viral Hemorrhagic Disease and myxomatosis. But, owners can protect their pets by having them vaccinated against these fatal illnesses. Aside from these two, rabbits are prone to have fleas, ticks, and worms, especially if they live outside. These require treatment on a regular basis to help the Alaska Rabbits recover.
Another problem that all rabbit owners share is teeth overgrowth. As owners, dental health must be a major priority. In this case, prevention is very important, and it can be achieved by altering their diets. They must be fed regularly with green vegetables that are high in fiber like cabbage and kale, plus supplying them with high-quality hays. Aside from this, owners can also buy chew and gnaw toys that are specifically designed for rabbit teeth.
An Alaska Rabbit’s must be made up of the following food items:
This should make up the majority of the entire rabbit’s diet, and this should be made available at all times. Most mature Alaska Rabbit can consume oat hays, timothy hay, and grass hays, while the young one must be fed with alfalfa.
Hay is important for rabbits because of the fiber content that they need for good digestive health. It also helps wear down the teeth of these rabbits to avoid overgrowth. When choosing hay, make sure that it looks fresh and smells fresh as well. Do not choose hay that looks brown, moldy, and does not smell like fresh-cut grass. Store hay in a cool, dry place in a container that allows airflow to keep it from getting moldy. For more economic savings, you can buy hay in bulk from a local farmer instead of getting bags from your local pet store.
A varied assortment of vegetables should be a part of the daily diet of the Alaska Rabbit. When looking for vegetables, you should consider those who are free of pesticides and fresh. Before feeding them to your rabbit, you should also wash them thoroughly. If you are introducing a new kind of vegetable to your pet, you should feed them with small quantities at first, and see if they react well to the new food item and if they enjoy eating it.
Alaska Rabbits can be fed with a variety of these vegetables: watercress, parsley, mustard greens, mint, romaine lettuce, dark leaf lettuce, kale, dill, dandelion leaves, collard greens, clover, cilantro, celery, carrot tops, broccoli leaves, basil, and bok choy.
Alaska Rabbit must have regular access to freshwater. If they are living in a cage, a hanging water bottle is a fine option. If they have other living situations, a water bowl will be more than enough. On a hot day, owners can add an ice cube or two for the water of the Alaska Rabbits. If the Alaska Rabbit seems to not be drinking enough water, you can provide their vegetable meals a little wet when you serve them to your pet.
As fording supplements, pellets must also be provided to Alaska Rabbits. They must be fresh because bunnies will ignore stale pellets. They must be high in fiber and low in protein, but the amount of the pellets that you provide must be limited as your pet ages. Pellets that are high in protein can lead to rabbit obesity and lead to other health issues in rabbits. Alaska Rabbits should also not be given pellets that have treats mixed in, like dried corn or other grains. These additional fillers can just lead to digestive problems.
You should give occasional treats to your Alaska Rabbit to reward them every once in a while. The best option will be to give them fruits, but only in small amounts because of the high sugar content. Your best fruit options are apples, bananas, pineapples, raspberries, and strawberries. The fruits must also be organic and free from pesticide content. They must also be thoroughly washed to make sure that they are clean.
Do not feed Alaska Rabbits with treats that are high in carbohydrates like cookies, pretzels, bread, pasta, crackers, chips, and cereal. Although branded for rabbits, most treats that are available in pet stores are high in sugar and fat content. Lastly, never give chocolate to your rabbits because it is toxic to their systems.
Environment and Housing
Most experts of rabbit care advocate that Alaska rabbits must live inside the house, instead of living outdoors in a hutch. Not only with this ensures that these rabbits will be protected against severe weather conditions, but this will also make your pet bunny feel that they are indeed a member of your family because of better social interaction.
There are many options for housing a pet Alaska rabbit, which includes bunny-proofed rooms, rabbit cages, rabbit condos, and puppy pens. These are the advantages of each option:
Living In A Rabbit-Proofed Room
If you want your rabbits to be allowed free reign, they can be kept inside an unused room like an office or a guest bedroom. You just have to place a litter box in one corner of the room, besides their hay feeder box and food or water dishes. It would largely help to use a chair mat so that there will be something to catch any accidents or spills. This living condition will allow your pet Alaska rabbit the freedom of exploring their environment at their own pace or running if they ever desire to.
If you want your Alaska rabbit to have the illusion of freedom while still making sure that they are secure, you can go for puppy pens. These cages can be bought from most pet stores and other online retail sites. Puppy pens are perfectly large enough to store all essentials for the Alaska rabbit, and these pens can also be moved when needed if in case you want to transfer them to a different room. Should you be concerned about carpet or flooring in the room, you can use chair mats, old rugs, or linoleum at the bottom of the puppy pen. Just make sure that the rabbits will not play and chew on these materials because it can cause a blockage. Owners should also keep the edges of these materials out of reach of the Alaska rabbits so that they can limit this behavior. Puppy pens do not have top covers on them, so the owners must look for ones with a considerable height, at about 36 inches, so that the Alaska rabbits cannot jump over them.
Puppy pens are also a great option if you want to train your rabbit with responsibility before transitioning their living conditions into free reign in a room. A puppy pen will limit their space in the beginning but will eventually allow them to be accustomed to the location of the food in the section you allow for them. Then, slowly increase the space per week until the Alaska rabbit will not be overwhelmed to stay in a large and spacious area.
If you love DIY and designing small living spaces, the sky is the limit in building bunny condos. Owners can use metal, wood, re-purposed furniture, and other materials to build a bunny condominium. One thing to note is never to use chicken wire as a building material because these wires can be chewed on and destroyed by Alaska rabbits. Moreover, if you decide to build with metal, the spaces must be close enough that the head of the rabbit will not fit through. If not, the Alaska rabbits may get strangled or injured.
The easiest way to create bunny condos is by using wire storage cubes. These organization cubes can be brought in retail stores, even online. These can also be customized into different arrangements. Although creating them like a bunny condo can be time-consuming, this is an inexpensive option and can also be an entertaining home choice or an inexpensive option.
Out of all the housing options, rabbit cages are the least spacious. So, if you decide to house your bunny inside a large cage, make sure that you still give them enough time outside the cage for at least a few hours in a day. There are many options for cage design but requires a few basics for the overall well-being of the rabbit.
The cage that you will choose must be large enough to accommodate your Alaska rabbit because bigger is better for this case. The rabbit must have space to move around and lie down, as well as space to store food, toys, water, and their litter box. Never use glass aquariums for rabbits because air circulation is better using metal cages. If you can, it would be best to provide them a cage with a front door so that they can go in and out on their own.
When taking care of an Alaska rabbit, these are the things you should prepare:
A puppy cage or crate about 36 inches tall, and wider if you can, is most appropriate for the Alaska rabbit and will be high enough that they will not be able to jump out.
When allowing your pet Alaska rabbit to explore the house, you should make sure all electrical cables and wires are covered with plastic sleeves or flex tubing that you can connect to your wall and bundle your wires with.
You can purchase large split flex tubing that you can use to cover the wooden table or chair legs to protect them from chewing or gnawing.
Baby Gates and Puppy Pens
If you want to give your Alaska rabbit a space to roam around, but you want to limit the space that they occupy, you can block off areas and confine your rabbit in a limited and safe play area for them.
Owners can opt for using a shallow storage container or purchase a cat litter box in medium size with no top cover.
There is unscented and recycled newspaper pellet litter that is safe to purchase for Alaska rabbits.
Food and Water Bowls
For their feeding and drinking needs, owners should go for heavy and ceramic dishes that are heavy enough to not be easily tipped off by the Alaska rabbits.
Alaska rabbits adore hay, so having a feeder will make sure they will have access to it at all times.
Regular trimming is required to make sure that Alaska rabbit’s nails do not grow too long.
Because rabbits require regular trips to the veterinarian, you should ensure that you have something to use when they travel to and fro their home. You can choose any standard hard plastic animal carrier then line it on the bottom with something soft like a blanket.
Fun Facts about the Alaska Rabbit
The Alaska rabbit, despite its name, came from Germany and not Alaska.
- The Alaska rabbit mostly breeds for meat production, because of their weight averages between 3 to 4 kilograms.
- The male Alaska rabbits tend to be larger than the females.
- The Alaska rabbits are strong and hardy and are able to survive in almost all kinds of weather.
- The Alaska rabbit was formed by crossbreeding the Havana rabbit, Himalayan rabbit, Dutch rabbit, and the Champagne d’Argent rabbits.
- The Canadian Bert Reurs imported the Alaska rabbits to North America around the 1970s.
- Alaska rabbit breed was developed by Max Fischer of Gotha and Schmidt of Langensalza.
Where Can You Get a Pet Alaska Rabbit?
If you want to own an Alaska Rabbit, there are things to consider before you take their lives in your hands. First, do some research on the breed and observe if you can provide them with the care that they need. Do not solely decide on their appearance alone, but also look at your availability to care for it, as well as the known temperament of this breed.
You can get an Alaska Rabbit from an actual rabbit breeder. If you can, request for a few hours or a day with the rabbit at the breeder’s so that you can have a feel of how they are and observe their behavior. A good breeder is helpful in answering questions and educating you about the breed. It would be perfect if you can also acquire a health guarantee from the breeder. If they are not open in communication or if you notice that their area is unclean, you should not push through with your transaction. The Alaska Rabbits that you might acquire are most probably untame, hasn’t been handled well, or sick.
Pet stores can also be a source for an Alaska Rabbit, but these are more expensive than getting from breeders. Just be careful in making your decision and make sure that these rabbits are living in ideal conditions beforehand.
Alaska Rabbits can also be found in pet shelters that have a supply of bunnies that were given up by people who couldn’t take care of them well. You can check with local animal shelters, small animal rescue groups, and different rabbit care societies.
How to Care for a Pet Alaska Rabbit?
Before you get an Alaska Rabbit to care for, you should be aware of the important care requirements.
Owners can opt for keeping the Alaska Rabbits inside or outside the house, depending on the climate conditions in your residence. Just ensure that you will provide the rabbits with a secure living enclosure where they will be also enjoying the sunshine while feeling safe at the same time.
Even though the pet might have a place where they can sunbathe, it is still important to provide Alaska Rabbits with a shady spot where they can retreat should they choose to rest and sleep. If they stay outdoors, they must have a hutch that is both waterproof and weatherproof. For enclosures placed outside, sawdust would serve as a perfect substrate option.
On the other hand, if the Alaska Rabbit will continue to stay indoors, owners should provide them a spacious housing option, where they can rest undisturbed and live their lives in peace. A cage that is the size of a regular dog crate would be more than enough. If you have other animals, these rabbits must be introduced to your other pets while they are young for better familiarity. Additionally, since you will occasionally let out these rabbits, you should make sure the area will stay rabbit-proof so that there will be no chances for this rabbit to chew on things that are toxic to him or her. It would also eliminate the chance for them to chew on important documents, cables, and wires.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big is an Alaska rabbit?
The Alaska rabbit is medium in size, and they weigh about 5 pounds to 7 pounds on average.
Do Alaska rabbits make good pets?
Alaska rabbits are great pets for all kinds of rabbit enthusiasts, regardless of caring experience.
How was the Alaska rabbit created?
The Alaska rabbit was created to look similar to the Alaskan Fox. It took a combination of Havana rabbit, Himalayan Rabbit, Champagne d’Argent rabbit, and the Dutch rabbit.
What do Alaska rabbits eat?
The diet of Alaska rabbits usually consists of high-quality pellets, along with vegetables and other greens.
How long do Alaska rabbits live?
It is said that Alaska rabbits can live up to 10 years in captivity.