November 29th is the 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of being in print for

The book exceeded all my expectations and has proved popular and high on rabbit owners’ wish lists around the world and its all down to you wonderful people… THANKYOU so much!

I would like to invite you to join me in celebrating its Anniversary. Its very easy and free – just takes a couple of clicks of your mouse by going to the link below.

All supporters will be entered into a giveaway draw for either a signed copy of my next rabbit book or a signed copy of Colour & Pattern Varieites
The chance to enter closes on 29th November at 12 noon so make sure you don’t miss out!

Keep an eye out for special offers on Amazon during the celebration which I will announce here too 🙂

So just follow the instructions in the link below



Colour & Pattern Varieties of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

My current publication was released 29th November 2016. I have been involved with the showing and breeding of Netherland Dwarf rabbits since my children were little some 30 years ago. In 2001 I had a break from it as the children had grown and flown and it just didn’t seem the same without them. Two years ago I decided to return to the UK Rabbit Fancy and now in my 50s I enjoy the whole social andcompetitive mix of people.

Lots had changed since 2001 with many new faces but with pleasure I found a lot of old faces too, some even remembered me from before so it was lovely to be welcomed back. Over the 30 years my interest in animal genetics had never waned and I was able to bring more to the table this time round so to speak. As before I decided to work on the rarer colours and patterns as they presented the greatest challenge and in return the greatest satisfaction when I hopefully achieve my goals.

It soon came to my attention that with social media being what it is a lot of misinformation was being given in answer to queries by rabbit owners and breeders regarding genes and modifiers – a lot were in my view also making big mitskaes in what they were breeding together. As people began to realise I knew a bit aout genes I began to be the ‘go to’ person if they had a query and so my next book was born!

It took a year to write, research the genes I was less familiar with and source the many photos required (116 images to be exact), I also had to wait for permission to be granted for me to use the British Rabbit Council (BRC) rabbit standards etc, so it was a long process.
The book has proved to be very popular around the world with many requests to have it translated into other languages too which I hope to do later this year (2017). Within its first week it became No1 Bestseller New Release for the Pet/Small Livestock category on Amazon and I am very grateful to all of you who purchased the book and have found it useful. Feedback is still coming through and the general consensus is that the book was a much needed tool for Netherland Dwarf owners and breeders who wanted to learn more about colour and pattern.

Colour & Pattern Varieties of the Netherland Dwarf is available to purchase on Amazon ( and … click -> Visit Divina Blackwell-Bates Author page on Amazon

Breeding Merle Dogs

So I am going to take this opportunity to recap on my current publications available on Amazon.. this post I want to talk about ‘Breeding Merles Responsibly’
As a life long dog breeder and exhibitor there were a few things that happened in the dog world – specifically the Chihuahua which had breed wide repercussions within the UK.
Back in the 80s imports stepped up a  gear and became more popular – dogs started to arrive from the USA and one of note was a Chihuahua called Chocolate Chops Ahoy, a chocolate merle Chihuahua – on his wave of popularity and demand came the wake of cross-bred merles being passed off as pedigrees and coupled with the lack of knowledge of how the gene worked the Chihuahua Club of GB called for a ban on merle Chihuahuas being registered, using the cross breeding and a lethal gene as their leverage. This ban was later extended across the board to other breeds.

It became apparent that breeders really didn’t know what they were doing with the gene – I knew a bit about it but didn’t feel qualified enough to go public with my thoughts so I spent 3 yrs studying science papers – articles – researching the history of the American Merle Chihuahua and seeking evidence that the merle Chihuahua had been around much longer than the anti-propaganda was saying – I read all the scare-mongering and anti- propaganda posts I could find and I bred merles myself for 3 yrs recording every detail of each litter to see whether they were indeed really unhealthy sickly animals.

The end result of all that work was my book .. I devised a breeding program that would cause the minimum of issues and recommended health testing before letting pups go to new homes, as well as ensuring the new owner was given a break down of the merle gene and what it should and should not be bred to.

All these details are in the book for anyone to use as well as a break down of the gene and the various patterns that appear. Definitely a must-have for those serious about maintaining a good reputation as a Merle Breeder.

Breeding Merles Responsibly can be purchased on AMAZON  … to visit my Author page click ->… Divina Blackwell-Bates on Amazon



Well after 3 x published books (non-fiction) I decided it was high time I created a little corner of internet presence for myself. I do have a Facebook page but felt I needed more scope to ramble and keep my fans/readers up to date with the news – views and ramblings of my mind – and so this blog was born.

I hope you will enjoy – laugh – feel sad (only on rare occasion) and become totally embroiled within my world of writing … characters … plot-lines … background research and how my ideas are born 🙂

There will also be the odd giveaway and competition – sneaky peek first glance at some of my books and any secret I choose to let you in on 😉

In the meantime – bear with me as I get used to the workings of this fan-dangled system we call blogs!

Love Divina xx