What to Know About the Satin Rabbit

Medically Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on November 30, 2022
5 min read

Known for their shiny coats, satin rabbits are considered one of the most beautiful breeds in the rabbit kingdom. Read on to learn everything you need to know about their coat colors, characteristics, personality, and more.

Satin rabbits are a medium- to large-sized hybrid breed of rabbit. They’re born with soft, satiny coats that glitter in the sun.

In the 1930s, an Indiana breeder named Walter Huey accidentally bred satin rabbits while trying to improve the coat color of his Havana rabbits. After selective inbreeding, he noticed that some rabbits had developed extremely shiny coats and decided to get them tested. Harvard University then discovered that these rabbits had a recessive gene mutation, which gave them their glittery coats. Hence, the National Havana Club decided to identify them as a separate breed called satin rabbits.

Two types of this hybrid breed exist — satins and mini satins (fondly called “team sheen”).

Adult satin rabbits are of a standard rabbit size and usually weigh around 6 to 8 pounds (or 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms) in the U.K. and around 8 to 11 pounds (or 3.5 to 5 kilograms) in the U.S.

Satin rabbits have long bodies and ears, along with wiggly noses. They have a compact, well-rounded, and muscular body with smooth and powerful hindquarters. Their head is shaped like a wedge, with small reddish-brown eyes and erect ears attached to the base of the head.  

Mini satin rabbits are around 3 to 4 inches in length and weigh up to 5 pounds, with a semilong body and ears.

Satin rabbits initially appeared in only two coat colors — white and grayish (chinchilla). Today, the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes many satin rabbit coat colors, like white, black, chocolate brown, blue, lilac, copper, golden red, orange, gray, and silver.

Satin rabbits have short, thick, and satiny coats with a rollback type of fur, which ranges from 1 to 4 inches in length. Despite having such an attractive and high-quality coat, these rabbits don’t have any special grooming requirements. You can groom them once every two to three weeks to maintain the natural sheen of their fur. During molting season, it might be a good idea to groom them every week to remove stray hair and maintain a presentable appearance.

Satin rabbits are famous for their fur and meat. Breeders like to display them, especially their coats, in competitions. Their pelts are also in high demand because of the translucent fur that reflects the light, giving them a satiny and shimmery appearance.

Satin rabbits are available in 11 varieties — black, blue, broken (any color mixed with white), Californian, chinchilla, chocolate, copper, otter, red, Siamese, and white.

Mini satin rabbits are available in 16 varieties — black, blue, broken, chinchilla, chocolate, chocolate agouti, copper, Himalayan, opal, otter, red, Siamese, silver Marten, squirrel, tortoise, and white.

Some new rabbit varieties that are still being studied and have yet to receive approval include lilac satin, lilac mini satin, lynx mini satin, and Himalayan satin. These varieties are expected to be recognized by December 2022.

Like many domestic rabbit breeds, satin rabbits exhibit the following general characteristics:

  • Females have decent-sized litters (two to six rabbits) and great maternal instincts, which makes them good mothers.
  • Females can be moody during mating season and irritable and protective when they’re breeding.
  • The young open their eyes around one to two weeks after birth. At this point, they can start eating solid food like pellets and drinking water.
  • Rabbit babies require their mother’s milk for at least the first eight weeks of life to maintain good health, sufficient growth and immunity, and a robust digestive system. So, they shouldn’t be weaned prematurely even if they’re able to eat solid food.
  • Rabbits reach sexual maturity four to six months after birth. They have short gestation (pregnancy) periods and can give birth many times in a year.

Satin rabbits aren’t particularly strong, so their average life span is around 5 years. With proper care and protection, they may even live for up to 7 to 8 years. The maximum lifespan is around 9 years.

To prolong the life of your satin rabbit, you need to provide adequate care and nutrition, a clean living environment, and regular health care, including vaccinations. If you don’t care for your rabbit well, they can become malnourished, pick up infections or diseases, and even die prematurely.

Satin rabbits have gentle, calm, and docile personalities. They make great pets because of their pleasant and well-mannered demeanor. They can live indoors or outdoors and can adjust well to people of all ages, including children and older adults.

However, children must be gently instructed on how to handle and care for these animals, as all rabbits can bite and scratch when provoked. 

If you’re planning to keep your rabbit outdoors, make sure that proper shelter suitable for all climates is available. Don't leave rabbits unsupervised in the backyard or an outdoor housing facility at ground level if you live in an area with predators. 

Most domestic rabbits are quite energetic and require exercise and stimulation. Make sure to provide a safe and secure area for them to run and play. You can also consider adding toys and tubes or an obstacle course in this area to help them burn their energy and improve their mental stimulation.

Here are some tips on how to look after your satin rabbit well.

Feeding. Consult your vet and feed your rabbit appropriately according to their weight. Don’t feed them old or stale food. Rabbit feeds are broadly grouped into three types:

  • Dry feeds (roughage) like timothy hay and straw
  • Succulent feeds like grass and leafy vegetables
  • Concentrated feeds like pellets, grains, and supplements

Provide clean water, preferably through a running water supply like a water fountain or water bottles to keep microbes from growing in stagnant water.

Grooming and health care. Use a soft moist cloth or Q-tip to clean your rabbit’s eyes, ears, nose, and mouth often to protect them from mites. Groom them regularly, using a comb, brush, or cloth, especially during shedding season. Don’t bathe your rabbit unless medically recommended as this could stress them out. Trim their nails and clean their bottom as required to maintain good hygiene. 

Don’t hesitate to consult your vet immediately if you notice any physical or behavioral changes in your rabbit. Timely treatment can ensure a good quality of life for your pet.