Description: The ideal coat is one inch long, very dense and glossy, fine in texture and lying close to the body. Strangely, thin-coated Havanas excel in color. But because color is of secondary importance, these specimens should probably be disregarded in favor of the better coated rabbits.
Although the fur is soft, it should lie very close to the body, which makes it extremely attractive. Any woolliness renders the coat open and staring, losing the deep, glossy sheen that adds the final finish to the perfect Havana.
The Havana is a very well-known fur breed of European origin. Although its ancestry is uncertain, it is known that the first Havana appeared in a litter bred from a Dutch doe that was stabled with other breeds. The sire of the Havana was never established. Bred in a stable near Utrecht, Holland, the Havana was first exhibited at Utrecht in 1899.
Known at that time as the beaver, it was known under that name in France several years later. The popularity of the breed spread quickly; it was shown in Switzerland in 1905 and in Germany in 1907. One year later it was imported into England by a Miss Illingworth who exhibited the first Havana at a show in Cambridge in 1909. The Havana rapidly became popular all over England. In 1920 the National Havana Club was formed. In 1916, the Havana was introduced into the United States, where the blue Havana was produced by Owen Stamm several years later. The Havana is exclusively a fur breed. Its deep, rich, chocolate brown pelt has been compared to the Havana cigar. As the Florida white, the Havana type is inclined to be short and cobby. The head is small, the neck very short. The rump and hindquarters are rounded and full, sloping to well-developed shoulders. The bone is fine; very few specimens have the fineness of bone of the ideal Havana.
One of the most attractive features of the Havana is the rich, ruby-eyed glow of the eye. Although the eyes should be the same color as the body, they glow ruby red in a darkened room.
The main faults concerning type are that many rabbits appear too long in barrel and flat along the spine. This type of Havana should be avoided because type is allotted almost as many points as the coat. Compact does not indicate a very short rabbit, but rather one that is well-proportioned and well-balanced.
An important feature of the type is the shape of the head and ears. The head is relatively short and broad, especially in the buck. Pinched noses and long ears are often related to long bodies. A rabbit that has one of these faults has bad type. The ears should be held erect, broad at the base, tapering gently to pointed tips and carried closely together.
The rich color of the Havana should be even all over the body with no light patches or odd white hairs. Ginger patches were a common failing in the early Havanas, but these patches are now more rare. Yet the Havana should never be shown while it is molting as the different colored parts of the rabbit are evident. New, darker fur contrasts with the old, lighter fur. Although the color and coat quality are closely coupled, the coat is slightly more important. Without good coat quality, the color cannot look its best.