The American Blue rabbit orginally comes from Pasadena, California, developed and introduced by Lewis H. Salisbury in 1917. Like many American people, the American breed rabbit is a combination of immigrants welded together by blood to become a distinctly different and American creation. At least three different breeds of rabbit were used. The American White variety was introduced in 1925.
But, we can see the heritage of this rabbit when we look at it: we see the Flemish, the Vienna, and the Imperial in the mandolin shaped American. This unique shape is shared in the U.S. by the Beveren, English Lop, Flemish Giant and the Giant Chinchilla. Before the European War (WWI), the American Blue was known as the German Blue, but was re-named after the war, just like many immigrants who naturalized here.
Intended as a meat and fur rabbit, the American standard calls for bucks to weigh 9 - 11 lbs and does to weigh 10 - 12 lbs at senior weight. Long in body, topline starting behind the shoulder, the topline rises high over the hindquarter and down again, with a wide meaty loin.
Since the development of compact and commercial type rabbits like the New Zealand and Californians, the American breed has lost its position as a leader and is now completely ignored by the commercial market. Currently there are a small number of faithful breeders keeping this American original alive.
By the standards of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, this breed has been rated as "critical" for potential loss (extinction). The Blue Imperial is already extinct. The Vienna Blue is gone from the U.S. and hard to find in Germany. We encourage breeders to take on the American Blue and White as a heritage animal, to preserve this breed that is unique to our national history and culture.
Not just a historical curiosity, the American is a good meat, fur and show rabbit. With some breeding care, the American can be a large and hardy animal, with large litters and fast weight gain potential. A good American is large and hard to ignore on the show table.
The reason it has survived for almost 100 years is because of the potential that was developed by Lewis H. Salisbury. The potential is in there, waiting to be tapped by the American rabbit breeder.