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History of domestication
As early as Roman times, people kept mostly wild rabbits for food animals. The first domestic rabbit was the European wild rabbit. Early French Catholic monks were the first to domesticate rabbits in the 5th century. The monks grew or made mostly what they needed since they lived in seclusion. Catholics did not eat meat during the lent season and ate fish but since they lived in seclusion, it was harder to raise any fish. In 600 A.D. Pope Gregory I officially classified rabbit as fish. They were bred and born within the monastery walls and thats how the domestication of rabbit began.
History of breeds
Records indicate that the long-haired Angora rabbits were praised in England for their fur and they became quite popular in the 1500's. The earliest documentation of domestic rabbits in America is in 1840 when Angora and Lop ear rabbits were imported there. There is no documentation regarding if there was domestic rabbits in America prior. The National Pet Stock Association of America which is now renamed as American Rabbit Breeders Association was formed by 1910 to set standards for any breeds developed and shown in America.
There are over 100 known breeds of rabbits. Rabbit fanciers develop new breeds by breeding rabbits by color, characteristics, fur and other genetic traits and continue to improve those breeds.
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