Rabbit fanciers love Havana rabbits because of their soft, (usually) brown, huggable fur.
Havanas are considered to be one of the calmest breeds of rabbits, and they often take top honors at shows.
Compact in size and weighing around 5 pounds when fully grown, Havanas are a great choice for families and rabbit enthusiasts alike.
In this article, we will give you the essential facts about Havana rabbits, and then we will tell you everything you need to know about the origins of the breed and how to keep a Havana rabbit as a happy, healthy pet.
Essential Facts About Havana Rabbits
Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
Care level, compared to other rabbits: No special needs.
Temperament: Often considered to be one of the calmest breeds of rabbits.
Color: Usually chocolate, but also available in blue, black, and lilac, as well as multiple colors in a broken pattern.
Lifespan: Usually 5 to 8 years, but sometimes lives to be 12 with good care.
Maximum size: 6.5 pounds (2.9 kilograms).
Dietary requirements: Primarily timothy hay.
Compatible breeds: Gets along well with other medium-sized rabbits.
Not the most active breed, but needs outdoor playtime in a protected location every day, preferably for 2 or 3 hours.
History of the Havana Rabbit
Havanas are one of the oldest known breeds of rabbits. Despite their name, Havana rabbits did not originate in Cuba.
The first Havana rabbits were bred in Holland, where a beautiful brown rabbit appeared in a litter of Dutch (“Dutch” being the breed, as well as the location of the rabbis) rabbits a little more than 200 years ago.
Havana rabbits were first locally known as “Fire Eye of Lingen.” Because of their luxurious brown coats, they were also known as mink rabbits.
Initially, the Havana breed was called the “Castor” due to its resemblance to the color of a beaver.
When this breed spread to the United Kingdom and the United States, it became known as a Havana because of the resemblance of the color of its coat to the color of Cuban cigars from Havana.
Since then, the breed quickly gained popularity, not only for its striking appearance but also because of its mink-like fur texture and quality.
Over the years, the Havana rabbit breed started to develop further as breeders selected specific colors, leading to the emergence of different varieties such as Chocolate Havana, Lilac Havana, Black Havana, Blue Havana, and Broken Havana.
This breed was brought to the United States in 1916 and was accepted by American Rabbit Breeders Association soon after. The blue Havana rabbit was recognized by the ARBA in 1965, and the black Havana rabbit was accepted by ARBA in 1980.
Appearance of the Havana Rabbit
Havana rabbits are often referred to as dwarf rabbits, but they really aren’t.
Size and Weight
Havana Rabbits are medium-sized rabbits with a compact body type.
They typically weigh between 4.5 and 6.5 pounds, making them a perfect size for various living situations, such as apartments, single-family homes, and even outdoor setups.
Coat and Colors
The coat of a Havana Rabbit is thick, soft, and shiny.
These bunnies are known for their strikingly rich and beautiful colors.
They look something like a round mound of chocolate-colored fur.
They come in a variety of color types, including Chocolate, Brown, Black, or Blue/Lilac.
These vibrant colors make them easily recognizable and greatly admired among rabbit enthusiasts.
These rabbits have short, flyback fur. They can easily groom themselves. It sheds minimally, but during the two weeks of the year it molts, its fur should be combed twice a week.
Havana Rabbits have short necks and a short heads with full puffy cheeks.
Their prominent top line displays an attractive curve that rises over the hips and rounds down to the tail.
This distinct shape adds to their cute and compact appearance, which is loved by many.
Ears and Eyes
The ears of a Havana Rabbit are short and upright, typically spaced close together.
Their medium-sized eyes are set wide apart and are usually dark brown. These features lend to the breed’s friendly and approachable appearance.
Legs and Tail
Havana Rabbits have short, straight legs with dark-colored toenails that complement their coats.
These legs allow for mobility and playfulness, further adding to their overall charm. Their tails are also proportionate to their body size, following the curve of their top line.
Temperament of the Havana Rabbit
People are drawn to Havana rabbits because of their soft fur and their deep brown colors, but owners quickly discover that these rabbits can be very affectionate.
They are not aggressive.
They love to run around and play. Havana rabbits usually become beloved family pets.
They enjoy human interaction and can easily become part of your family. Some of their key traits include:
- Friendly: Havana Rabbits are gentle creatures who love to bond with their human families. They are affectionate and will enjoy cuddling and interacting with you if given time and space to socialize on their own terms.
- Energetic: These rabbits are quite active and love playing and running around. It’s essential to provide them with enough space to move freely and exercise. You could set up a play area with toys to keep your Havana Rabbit entertained.
- Mid-Air Hop: Surprisingly, Havana Rabbits can perform a unique mid-air hop when excited, called a “binky.” This behavior is a sign of happiness and occurs when they leap into the air while twisting their bodies.
Care of the Havana Rabbit
Havanas aren’t especially difficult to care for, but they have certain basic requirements.
Food and Drink for Your Havana Rabbit
Rabbits mostly eat dried grasses and dark, leafy greens. They need a volume of hay about as large as their bodies every day.
Alfalfa hay is OK for growing rabbits, but it is too high in calcium for adult rabbits. Adult rabbits that eat alfalfa hay may develop kidney stones.
Up to 10 percent of a rabbit’s diet can be raw carrots (they may like the tops better than the roots), other crunchy raw vegetables, and a few tablespoons of commercial rabbit feed pellets every day.
Never give a rabbit sugar. Their bodies cannot digest it.
Keep a rabbit water bottle full of fresh, clean water every day for all of your rabbits.
Temperature Control for Your Havana Rabbit
Havanas do well in cold weather as long as temperatures stay above freezing and they are sheltered from the wind.
If temperatures drop below freezing, they need supplemental heat.
Heat is a bigger problem than cold.
When temperatures exceed 85° F (about 30° C), bring your rabbit indoors to an air-conditioned room, or place a bottle of frozen water in their cage, one bottle of ice per rabbit.
It also helps to make sure the hutch or cage has a fan running.
A Leash for Your Havana Rabbit
Rabbits need outdoor time. Not everyone has a safe, fenced backyard where their rabbits can play.
Pet stores carry very small leashes for rabbits that enable you to pull back your rabbit from danger should a problem arise.
Keep in mind that the leash is attached to a harness around your rabbit, not to your rabbit’s neck.
Practice being gentle when you control your rabbit on its leash.
Housing for Your Havana Rabbit
Havana rabbits need play space. The minimum size for them to roam around in would be about 3 feet by 3 feet (a square meter), plus space for their litter box (which needs to be available 24/7) and their cage or hutch.
Your rabbit’s home should have a floor, either to protect your floor or to protect it from predators if it is staying outside.
Be aware that wire mesh can break their toes, so never place bare wire in the bottom of your rabbit’s cage or kennel.
Rabbits make a delicious snack for many kinds of wildlife.
Some dogs, such as Basset Hounds, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Greyhounds, and Huskies, will instinctively attack and kill rabbits.
Of course, larger snakes also eat rabbits, especially the young. Rabbits and predator pets just don’t mix.
Litter Box for Your Havana Rabbit
The good news about taking care of Havana rabbits is that it is easy to train them to use a litter box.
The bad news about Havana rabbits is that the way they use their litter boxes takes some getting used to.
A small amount of fat is essential for rabbits to stay healthy.
Rabbits don’t eat fatty foods in nature, but there are bacteria that can convert fiber into butyric acid.
This is the same fat found in butter. Rabbits need butyric acid to nourish the cells in the lining of their intestines, and as a source of steady energy.
The probiotic bacteria need oxygen to transform fiber into fat.
Nature has made rabbits, so they eat grass and other high-fiber foods and then excrete soft pellets of feces.
The rabbit lets its soft pellets lie on the ground for a while for the bacteria to do their work.
Then, the Havana rabbit eats its own poop. The soft pellets go into a separate pouch in the rabbit’s gut called the cecum, where the fat is extracted.
Then it poops the pellets a second time as hard, inedible feces.
Your rabbit will figure out what to do if you just put its soft pellets into its litter box for a few weeks.
Healthcare for Your Havana Rabbit
Havana rabbits that receive good care don’t have a lot of health problems.
Just being sure your rabbit always has hay will prevent excessive growth of teeth, or malocclusion.
If rabbits don’t constantly wear down their teeth by chewing high-fiber grasses, the teeth grow so long that they no longer fit together.
Giving your diet a high-fiber diet will also prevent gastric stasis. Lumps of partially digested food can get “stuck” in your rabbit’s digestive tract.
This forces liquified food from the stomach to pour out as diarrhea before the rabbit can absorb water and nutrients from it.
Or, if the blockage is big enough, it may cause severe constipation. Both conditions can be fatal if not treated by a veterinarian.
It is always a good idea to take out a pet health insurance policy on your rabbit.
With pet health insurance, you will be able to afford life-saving care for your family’s beloved pet if you ever need it.
Care for Baby Havana Rabbits
Care for Baby Rabbits
Baby Havana rabbits will open their eyes around 10-12 days old and will start to explore their surroundings.
By three weeks, they will begin nibbling on hay and pellets, although they will still rely on their mother’s milk.
Gradually introduce solid food, and by six weeks, they should be fully weaned and able to eat a regular rabbit diet.
Popular Bunny Names for Havana Rabbits
Here’s a table with popular Havana Rabbit names, reflecting their breed characteristics.
The Havana Rabbit is known for its medium size, rich chocolate or black coat, and calm temperament.
Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and relaxed nature.
|Boy Bunny Names for Havana Rabbit||Girl Bunny Names for Havana Rabbit|
These names emphasize the rich dark coat, medium size, and calm personality of the Havana Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.
Also read: Names for Pet (Girl/Boy) Rabbits
Frequently Asked Questions About Havana Rabbits
Where can I buy a Havana rabbit?
Check the Breeder Directory of the Havana Rabbit Breeder Association.
How much will a Havana rabbit cost?
Expect to pay US $20 to $100. Pets are less expensive than show rabbits.
Are Havana rabbits rare?
The Havana rabbit breed is not rare, but some colors, such as black, blue, lilac, and broken patterns of multiple colors, are hard to find.
Will Havana rabbits bite?
It is very unusual for a Havana rabbit to bite. Bites can happen if it is picked up by its ears, or confronted by a dog or wild animal.
Do Havana rabbits need any vaccine shots?
There are no recommended immunizations for Havana rabbits.
However, they can be silent carriers of some kinds of bacteria that cause lung infections in hamsters and guinea pigs.