The Satin rabbit breed is known for its shiny coat and popular commercial options. From fur to meat to show, the Satin is a versatile rabbit that can carry your rabbitry a long way. Weighing in from 8 to 11 pounds, the Satin is an excellent meat product. It’s fur places it in a category next to the Rex breed in quality and their docile nature provides hours of pet enjoyment.
With roots in the 1930’s, the Satin rabbit breed began as the inbreeding project of Alter Huey of Indiana. In an attempt to bring a deeper chocolate color to his Havana collection, he stumbled upon a shiny kit in the littler box. Mr. Huey began collecting these shiny specimens and in 1936 sent them off to Harvard Univeristy for a genetic study. Upon testing, it was found that there was a genetic recession in the sheen and texture, but not the length of the fur, like the Rex mutation had occurred.
During this time, the Satin Havana was shown in national shows by Mr. Huey, bringing with it much discussion among the rabbit community. By 1938, the Satin Havana was being shown as a variety of the Havana, but not as a breed. After much discussion, many other breeders began cross breeding the Satin Havana in an attempt to “satinize” other breeds.
While Mr. Huey had formed a National Satin Club in 1936, it had folded upon his untimely death in 1937. The Havana Specialty Club sponsored the Satin breed in 1942, bringing the breed to another level in the rabbit community. The Satin was accepted in various colors at this time ranging from orange to a black Silver Martin variety.
In 1949, weights were established for this new breed. White Satins carried differing weight requirements than the colored varieties ranging from 7 to 9 pounds for a buck to 7 1/2 to 10 pounds for a doe. These differing standards were kept in place along with a varying point scale for both white and colored varieties.
While the standard was updated in 1965 to include the Siamese variety, the weight requirements remained a problem. Many breeders were struggling with the varying point systems in National Shows. By 1985, this problem was resolved with the new standard for Satin rabbits. A broken variety was added at this time and the weights made universal across the varieties.
In 2006, after cross breeding attempts with a Netherland Dwarf and Polish breeds, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) accepted the Mini Satin as the 47th breed.
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