Havana Rabbit

Havana Rabbit. Get the history, description, standards, photos of the Havana breed. Is this breed of rabbit right for you?

When you think Havanas, think cigars, not Cuba. The rich dark brown coloration of the original Havanas was reminiscent of Havana cigars to the early breeders, hence the name was applied to the newly developed breed.

History of the Havana Rabbit

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The Havana Rabbit had its beginnings in a small Dutch village near Utrecht, Holland (not Cuba), in 1898, by total accident.

A rabbit farmer named Mr. Honders tossed a newly acquired common farm rabbit into the stable with his other communal rabbits. The black and white doe was bred by who knows which of the bucks in the farmer’s warren, and soon gave birth to a litter of brown and white rabbits with modified Dutch markings.

Because of their unusual chocolate color, the farmer retained these offspring for further breeding. Being chocolate, their eyes had the typical ruby glow in them when viewed in bright light. It was anything but usual to Mr. Honders. He named these new rabbits “Fire-Eyes of Ingen” (Ingensche Vuuroog). The rabbits were a dark reddish brown, and weighed around 7.5 pounds.

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Chocolate Havana Rabbit

Breeding and showing immediately commenced.

In the first decade of 1900, the new chocolate rabbits quickly made their way through Europe via Switzerland and Germany. They varied wildly in type, size, and quality. Little by little, Havanas began to look like Havanas, as breeders used outcrosses to correct faults and enhance fur quality.

They showed up in the UK in 1909. England’s National Havana Club formed in 1920.

Havanas in the USA

The breed also made its way to the USA in 1916. The Havana Club in the US was formed in 1920. At the time, the rabbit was still 7+ pounds, and reportedly difficult to breed. 

Over the next 30 years, Havanas took two shapes - large and small. The heavyweight variety never caught on, but the medium-sized Havana we know today was well-received.

Satin Havana Mutation

In 1934, the Satin mutation occurred in Indiana. For a short time, they were recognized as a variety of Havanas, however they were unfair competition since the satin shine was so striking.

By 1946, breeders of satinized rabbits organized a national club for a dedicated Satin Rabbit breed. See Satin Rabbits.

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Description and Standards

In the USA, Havanas weigh 4.5 - 6.5 pounds. They have a compact body type, and are useful for show and pets. And additionally, their fur has a special glossiness, which makes it great should you also wish to utilize their pelts.

One is not limited to Chocolate. Four additional varieties have been accepted in the US: Blue, Black, Brokens, and the newest, Lilac, which was recognized in 2016.

In the UK, Havanas are dark chocolate “with a purplish sheen.”  The glossy normal fur is approximately 1 inch in length. Havanas should weigh 2.722 kg (6 pounds) with a half-pound latitude permitted either way.

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