The Havana Rabbit

Last Updated : February 13, 2021
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You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Havana rabbit comes from Cuba.

Despite their name, they actually originated quite a distance away from the Caribbean… their country of origin, the Netherlands, is halfway across the world in Europe!

But there’s a connection to the Cuban city that gave these bunnies their name.

The Havana rabbit’s dark chocolate color reminded breeders of luxurious Havana cigars, and hence the name ‘Havana’ seemed perfect! 🐰🤎

If you’re thinking of adding a Havana rabbit to your family, you should know there’s more to this breed than just their beauty and their soft, luscious fur — they also have an incredibly gentle and sweet temperament that makes them one of our favorite pet rabbit breeds.

Let’s find out more about these cutie pies, so you can decide if a Havana rabbit is the right choice for you and your family.

History of the Havana Rabbit

As we quickly mentioned in the introduction, the history of the Havana rabbit breed started in Holland, way back in 1898, in the small town of Ingen.

The ancestor of the modern Havana rabbit was discovered by chance in a common Dutch rabbit doe’s litter. The breeders were so impressed by the baby bun’s unusual dark chocolate color that they were inspired to create a new rabbit breed. They quickly got to work and breed many more little Havanas into existence by crossing the young chocolate brown rabbit with other Dutch rabbits and Himalayans!

The chocolate Havana rabbit breed took Europe by storm in the early 1900s, thanks to its unique color and elegant body shape. It quickly became enormously famous, showing up in exhibitions in Switzerland, France, Germany, and England. This drove breeders from all across the continent to start working with this rabbit variety and further cement the Havana rabbit’s path to stardom.

It didn’t take much longer for the Havana rabbit breed to make it all the way over to the United States, where they were first introduced and bred in 1916. Havana rabbits were so popular stateside that they were recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in just under a couple of months that same year.

This meant only one thing for the Havana rabbit breed: its fame soon skyrocketed!

Over the course of the following decades, breeders worked on the challenge of developing different color rabbits out of the original chocolate brown Havanas… and they succeeded! The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognized and accepted blue Havana rabbits in 1965, black Havana rabbits in 1980, broken Havana rabbits in 2008, and finally lilac Havana rabbits in 2016.

Up to this very day, the Havana rabbit breed continues to be incredibly popular both in its country of origin and all across the rest of the world — having built up a reputation for being a phenomenal show animal and house pet!

Appearance

All it takes is a quick glimpse at this magnificent black Havana rabbit, and you immediately understand why Dutch breeders fell in love with this bunny:

You’d want to preserve this Havana rabbit for the rest of history too (and win a few shows and bragging rights along the way)!

How can you identify a Havana rabbit? Just look out for these characteristics:

  • A medium-sized rabbit with a compact body that is short, round, and creates a half-circle over the hips and rounds down towards the tail
  • Short, straight legs with dark toenails
  • Short, upright ears that sit close together
  • Medium-sized eyes (that are just simply irresistible)
  • A short head with full, fluffy cheeks
  • Soft, shiny, dense fur that’s medium in length — this is hands down the most impressive physical trait of a Havana rabbit!
a pair a black havana rabbits eating greens

Size

The Havana rabbit is a compact, medium-sized, medium-weight rabbit breed.

According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, adult Havana rabbits shouldn’t weigh more than 6.5 lb (3 kg), while their ideal weight is around the 5 pounds (2.3 kg) mark.

Coat

Without a doubt in our minds, the Havana rabbit breed’s defining factor is their lovely coat!

But it’s just not us that thinks so:

Havana rabbits are well-known across the rabbit show world by their nickname ‘Mink of the Fancy’ thanks to their incredible mink-like fur. This exquisite coat makes them top performers on the show table, and the envy of many show breeders!

But wait, we have more good information for Havana rabbit owners:

It’s incredibly straightforward to take care of this luscious coat! The short, soft ‘flyback’ fur only needs to be groomed once a week (twice during molting season) with a quality brush to keep it looking fab. Talk about having your (carrot) cake and eating it too! 🥕🧁

Color

Havana rabbits are primarily known for their chocolate brown coats, and this color easily remains the most popular choice amongst owners and rabbit breeders, but…

Havanas are actually recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in five different colors:

  • Chocolate,
  • Black,
  • Blue,
  • Broken (a mix of white with one of the other four accepted colors), and
  • Lilac.

Health

Havana rabbit owners can breathe easy.

This is a very healthy rabbit breed that doesn’t suffer from any hereditary disease and can easily live to be about 7 to 10 years old if adequately cared for.

A Havana rabbit is also very hardy and can survive well in any type of climate. It’s an ideal breed for people living (and often relocating) in large, diverse countries like the United States.

You’ll, of course, have to keep an eye out for common rabbit health issues that might arise in your Havana rabbit, such as:

  • Ear or body pests (mites, ticks, or fleas),
  • Discharges in the eyes or nose,
  • Digestive difficulties (bloating, stasis, loose stools, vomiting),
  • Poor appetite,
  • Overgrown teeth,
  • Restlessness, or
  • Teeth grating.

If you notice any of these problems or anything else strange about your Havana rabbit, then play it safe and take them straight to the vet for a full checkup!

Personality

The very best part about a Havana rabbit is that they have an extraordinarily calm and sweet temperament —trust us, this is even more remarkable than their fabulous fur (be it whatever color: chocolate brown, black, blue, broken, or lilac) and their outstanding track record as show animals!

You’ll be seriously impressed at just how fast a Havana rabbit can bond with their human owner… all you’ll need to do to win them over is:

  • Handle them properly and often,
  • Feed them a healthy diet, and
  • Spend plenty of time with them during the training period!

You should also be aware that the Havana rabbit isn’t the most energetic rabbit breed, and they tend to be quite content just cuddling and sitting in your lap. How horrible right? 🤗 This means you may need to mentally prepare yourself for some good old bonding sessions if you decide to bring a Havana rabbit into your home.

All of these gentle traits make Havana rabbits particularly suited to being house pets. Especially if you’re looking for a relaxed little buddy to bring a bit of peace and quiet into your hectic life!

We highly recommend this breed of rabbit for seniors, singles, first-time rabbit owners, and families with older children.

Caring for a Havana Rabbit

Don’t panic even for a second:

Despite the exotic-sounding name ‘Havana rabbit’ and a coat worth going crazy for, these rabbits are extremely easy to care for and won’t cause you any extra headaches!

You just need to follow the general best practices that apply to all pet rabbit breeds, and your Havana rabbit will live a long and happy life.

So, what exactly do you need to do?

Six easy steps:

One: provide your Havana rabbit with a large enough enclosure either indoors or outdoors. Make sure they have enough space to comfortably stretch their legs out and enjoy a hop or two, and pick a rabbit cage with a smooth bottom (no wires) to prevent paw and leg issues!

Two: fill your Havana rabbit’s cage with quality rabbit-safe bedding and tons and tons of yummy Timothy hay. Remember to keep their home hygienic by spot cleaning it daily and doing a full clean and bedding change weekly!

Three: feed your Havana rabbit a healthy, balanced diet to provide them with the right nutrients. You should aim for a rabbit diet that is very rich in Timothy hay (circa 70%), fresh greens, and rabbit pellets. Please remember not to give your pet rabbit too many treats or too much fruit as the excessive sugar will damage their small body!

Four: make sure your Havana rabbit always has unlimited drinking water, so they don’t ever get dehydrated!

Five: spend as much time as you can with your Havana rabbit. They are very social creatures, and they thrive off of companionship, attention, and social bonding. If you know you won’t have enough time to dedicate to them, then seriously consider getting two or three Havana rabbits!

Six: give your Havana rabbit plenty of time outdoors (at least a couple of hours per day) to run around, let loose, and soak in some sunshine. Use a rabbit playpen or exercise cage when they’re outside to make sure they can’t escape and that they’re sufficiently protected from the elements and predators… better safe than sorry!

Concluding Thoughts About the Havana Rabbit

Well, that’s it — thank you for reading and pat yourself on the back: you now know everything you need to about Havana rabbits.

These rabbits are an extremely popular choice because of their beautiful short fur, compact size, and notoriety as a prototype show bunny, but…

It’s their affectionate and docile temperament that really sets Havana rabbits apart in our hearts and minds!

This charming personality means you won’t just enjoy marveling at their cuteness and softness; you’ll also bond with a loving pet that will bring many years of relaxation and joy to your entire family! 🐰🤎

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