Breed: Flemish giant
Description: Color is of the utmost importance. The first color was steel gray. The gray must be very dark over the entire rabbit’s body. A darker face is allowed. Rustiness is a common failing with this color, perhaps due to the mixing of the colors, especially with sandy colored rabbits. The belly and underside of the Flemish is white with a dark under color. The legs should be strong in bone and carried firmly. Any tendency to light bone lends a baggy appearance to the Flemish.
The Flemish giant is the largest rabbit exhibited in England. The Flemish originated in the area of Flanders and is included in the list of early fancy rabbits. The Flemish was known by the name Patagonian for many years. The early Flemish were prized for their great size; as the standard was revised, color took first preference in the allocation of points. The weight is of secondary importance to size. The larger the better, no matter how much the rabbit weighs.
The main feature of the Flemish type is squareness and good width of body. Without this feature, the Flemish looks racy and does not display the huge proportions of good type. The forefront should be large and square, the hindquarters rounded and full. Between the head and rump, the body should be perfectly flat but yet large and wide. Does are allowed to carry a large dewlap, but it must be rounded and evenly spread.
The head is full and bold, 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.
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.