If you admire the beautiful coloration of a Rottweiler or Doberman dog, but want a pet that’s considerably lower on the maintenance charts, you might be interested in checking out the Tan rabbit. Dating back to England, during the 19th century, Tans are known for their striking appearance and rich coloration.
The History of the Tan Rabbit
The first recognized Tan rabbits were originally recorded back in Derbyshire, England, in 1887. Resulting from a cross between wild rabbits and Dutch-type rabbits, the offspring were strikingly marked and colored, but had notoriously bad tempers. Needless to say, this made them unsuitable for pets. The Belgian Hare was then bred into the line, resulting in a slightly larger sized rabbit with the same bright coloration, but with a noticeably better temperament. Since then, selective breeding has gradually reduced their size and perfected body style and coloration.
The diluted blue variety would appear during the 20th century and then the chocolate and lilac would follow soon thereafter, supposedly after the richly colored Havana breed was crossed into the bloodline. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Appearance of the American Tan Rabbit Breed
The original Tan rabbits were of the black variety; striking black coats trimmed with vibrant rust-orange, they quickly caught on and spread throughout Europe, making for a popular pet. The dilute version would then appear during the 20th century and, as breeders began to experiment with crossing lines, the chocolate and lilac would then emerge. To date, these four colors are the only recognized shades of Tan rabbits that are accepted by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA).
Tan rabbits have a very streamlined and trim body that possesses exceptional balance. They have a very bright and alert appearance, which compliments their intelligent and curious nature. Maturing between 4-6 pounds as full-grown adults, they are considered juniors up until the age of 6 months and then seniors after that.
Interesting to note is that the Tan possesses a unique sheen to his coat, rarely seen in rabbits, which further enhances the breed’s beautiful coloration. Due to their beauty and fine markings, they are often referred to as the “Aristocrat of the Fancy.”
American Tan Rabbits as Pets
The Tan rabbit is a highly intelligent and sweet type of bunny. Due to extensive breeding for temperament, finding one with a sour disposition is uncommon and, should you discover one, you should never enter it into a breeding program. Just because the Tan has a good nature, however, does not mean that they are the rabbit for everyone. The Tan rabbit is a very active breed that requires a great deal of interaction and mental stimulation in order to keep him happy. Additionally, while they are a smaller breed, they do require more exercise than some of the other fancy breeds. Keeping a Tan rabbit means that you have to pay attention to them, play with them and not expect them to be a sit-in-your-lap, cuddly type of rabbit.
If you enjoy an active and intelligent pet, you may find the Tan rabbit might fit your bill. The main problem with buying or raising Tan rabbits is that, while they are slowly regaining popularity, they are not as popular as other breeds. Finding a good breeder may take a little bit of searching and, when you do find one, don’t be surprised to pay a little bit more for your new pet bunny. If you don’t mind the difference in cost and questing a bit for your new pet, you may find the Tan rabbit is the perfect pet rabbit for you.
Personal experience as a rabbit breeder and exhibitor
American Tan Rabbit Specialty Club: http://www.atrsc.org/abouttans.htm – Information on the breed standards for Tan rabbits.