I used to breed these some years ago from about 1999 to 2005. (At one point I had  "Satins" in three species - cavies as well as rabbits plus a Bengal cat). I had a lovely Castor buck, Rojeana King who with Rojeana Mummy, an Ivory does gave me some beautiful rabbits. Among these was Ch. Reguli Calpurnia, a stunning Opal.  She also produced an Opal doe, Reguli Calpurnilla who went to Adelaide as well as an Ivory buck, Reguli Candidus who found a home on the Central Coast as the totally spoiled pet of a cavy breeder. I always wanted to continue breeding the Agouti patterns in the Satins (Castor, Opal, etc.) but it was very hard to get them. All that was around were the Selfs. I had a series of Blue Satin bucks, none of whom seemed to know what a doe was for. If you put any of them in with one, they'd simply go, "Oh, another rabbit" and that would be that. Good for social cups of tea but not for much else, these bucks. When I lost King, that was the end as far as I was concerned - hence the re-homing of youngsters like Calpurnilla, Candidus and a Black I'd  bred. By this time they'd disappeared off the tables in Canberra (and Sydney, as far as I could tell) and well known breeders had got out of them.  I kept the Satin cavies going and still have them.

I always thought this a shame as they are truly beautiful rabbits with natures to match.  For more details on the breed, there is an article here. However, in Canberra, at least (though I have heard the same from some other breeders in NSW) though people admire them at displays there is absolutely no interest in buying them.

However, in 2008 I was able to buy a pair of Satins from some breeders who were selling off their rabbits. These came from Victoria, originally. They are Narview Churndash, a Cinnamon buck (a return to the Agouti patterns for me) and Narview Rose of Sharon, an Ivory doe. Rose took her time getting pregnant and then proved to be not much of a mother, failing to raise several litters. She did better when I moved her into a cage in the shed but even so only one of her most recent litter survived, an Orange Satin doe I named Aurelia.

Churndash was killed on 4 November 2011 by two malamutes (a breed of dog which ought to be banned in suburbs or, put another way, there's nothing wrong with malamutes which a Black Dalek couldn't fix.)  Aurelia died suddenly on 13 October 2011, leaving only her mother,  Rose of Sharon. Given the difficulty of selling any excess kits plus the fact that in recent years, it could be hard to get decent stock, I have decided not to breed them any longer. I say, 'hard to get decent stock' because of late, I have noticed some newer breeders either through ignorance, carelessness, bad husbandry, whatever, have developed some lines of Satins with the most appalling temperaments, something they should never have. Also, I have heard some horror stories about these lines in terms of poor health, genetic problems and so forth. "Modern" Satins are also smaller than those I recall from the late 90s-early 2000s. They have the sort of problems one associates with some lines of cavy Satins e.g. shorter life spans, birth defects, failure to breed at all and so on.  Satins should be big, teddy bears, robust, can't-kill-'em-with-a-boot.

I think this is a salutary lessons in the sort of thing that has also happened in parts of the cat fancy, people breeding for type (and show winners) without considering the fact that the animals may not be the best genetically, or compatible genetically; that they may be locking in faults in terms of health, robustness and temperament.


Narview Churndash born 21 July 2007


Narview Rose of Sharon born in 2007

Reguli Aurelia, daughter of Churndash and Rose, born 28 Nov. 2008. She is about eight months in this photo.