Friday, June 3, 2011
Breed of the Day: Beveren
The Beveren was recognized in 1898 and was named after the town of its origins in the Waas region of western Belgium. The original color was a blue that was that mostly came about through selection of the self-blue St. Nicholas (St. Niklass). The early blue Beverens showed varying depths of color, but the preferred color by the furriers was a light lavender-blue. Early weights for the breed were also controversial issues and two types would eventually emerge: the Standard Beveren and the Giant.
Blue Beverens were imported into Britain by Mrs. A.M. Martin and showed for the first time at Norwich in 1905. Though the judges did not care for the breed initially, this soon changed. On May 29, 1918 in Birmingham, 17 people met and founded the Beveren Club. The breed quickly grew to become the most popular fur breed in the United Kingdom. The strong Beveren Club began to recognize other breeds of fur rabbits and in 1925, changed its name to the British Fur Rabbit Society and later to the British Rabbit Council.
Both Standard and Giant Beverens arrived in America about 1915, but were listed in the standards under the spelling of "Beverin". By 1919, the United States had a number of all blue rabbits: the American Blue, Beveren, Giant Beveren, Barbancon Blue, Blue Imperial, Blue Vienna and Blue Flemmish Giants. Edward H. Stahl of Holmes Park, Missouri imported the blue-eyed white Beveren in 1933 from England where they had appeared as Sports (mutations) in 1916. A black breed known as the Sitka, which was already in America, became known as the Black Beveren. For some reason the breed never became popular.
Today's Beveren is recognized in three color varieties; solid blue, solid black and blue-eyed white. The fur has a gentle rollback and the coat should be dense and glossy. Fur length is rather long at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. This breed has a pronounced mandolin-shaped body with mature bucks weighing in at 8 to 11 pounds and does at 9 to 12 pounds. They are certainly a multi-purpose rabbit used for meat and fur. Litters are large, the young grow fairly fast and the does are typically docile and make good mothers. The Beveren is a hardy breed that is easily reared in all-wired hutches.