Monday, February 21, 2011

Breed History

Lilac rabbits originated in a number of places around the same time.
The first known breeder was H. Onslow of Cambridge, England. In 1913 he showed Lilacs for the first time at the famous London exhibition.
In 1913, Mabel Illingworth crossed the Blue Imperial (a breed that she had newly developed) with the Havana and created a Lilac rabbit, which she called the Essex Lavender.
In 1922, Professor R.C. Punnet of Cambridge University crossed the Blue Beveren and the Havana to create a lilac rabbit, which he called the Cambridge Blue.
Eventually the 3 British lilac strains merged together and were recognized by the British Rabbit Council as the Lilac rabbit.

Another story of the history of the Lilac rabbit states that the breed first showed up in a litter of Havana rabbits as a sport.

Lilacs were being developed in countries other than England as well. In 1917, C.H. Spruty of Gouda, Holland, used Havanas and Blue Beverens to create a lilac rabbit which he called the Gouwenaar or Gouda. Gouwenaars are recognized today in Holland and the Scandinavian countries.

In America from 1922 to 1926 many shipments were being made from England to the United States and the breed was becoming quite popular. In the 1930's the Lilac was recognized by the ARBA and a National Lilac Club was formed. In 1951 the Lilac club became inactive and the Lilac began to loose most of its breeders but in the next year a few Lilac breeders reorganized the club and made it active again. Today, even though Lilacs have such lovely fur and sweet temperaments, they are still a very uncommon breed.

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