Tails Blog

Rabbit breeds and their characteristics

Steve Coppell - Saturday, October 08, 2011


Lops

Lops are a popular breed in New Zealand. They come in various forms, including Miniature, Dwarf, and Cashmere. Born with upright ears that flop as they get older, lops range in size from a mini lop which weighs about 1.6k, to the Cashmere lop, weighing approximately 2.4kg. Most Lop rabbits have good temperaments, although occasionally one might be a bit feisty. They are slightly more prone to Malloclusion - overlapping teeth than other breeds, so check the teeth carefully when selecting a baby.




Flemish Giants

Flemish Giants are just as the name suggests - giant! The largest of the pet rabbit breeds, Flemish Giant rabbits weigh about 6-7kg, but this shouldn't scare off prospective buyers. They are often more docile, and as  rabbits don't like to be picked up much anyway they are good for small children because they are less likely to hurt them. Also they are more cat proof. Flemish Giants are relatively intelligent and, like many rabbits, can be trained to use a litter tray.



Netherland Dwarfs

The Netherland Dwarf is the smallest breed available, weighing between 0.5kg and 1.5kg. They have round, baby like eyes and faces, even in adulthood, and perky upright ears. Netherland Dwarfs, despite their small size, have a reputation for being a bit feisty, but with careful handling and treatment from a young age, they can make good pets for older children.



Angora and Long Haired 

Angoras and other long haired rabbits have good temperaments, individual personalities and look amazing, but do require a lot of care. Only get one of these rabbits if you are prepared for daily maintenance. Because of their long fur, long haired rabbits are prone to wool block, where matted fur blocks up the intestines, causing the rabbit to starve.

Rarer Breeds

There are many other breeds available as well. Breeds such as Chinchilla, Harlequin, Californian, or Rex breeds. Harlequins are calm, curious rabbits that enjoy attention, while the California and Chinchilla also make good pets. Rex rabbits are available in mini and standard, both of which have velveteen fur that makes them cuddly.



Chinchilla


Harlequin


Californian


Rex


Care of Rabbits



Housing

These pets need a good sized hutch or cage where they can exercise, relax in the shade and be protected from drafts and flooding.


Bedding

Provide untanilised wood shavings, hay or shredded newspaper.


Toys

Give your rabbits a range of toys, such as cardboard boxes and balls, as well as branches and wooden treats to gnaw, which help to keep the teeth filed to a suitable length.


Food

Rabbits need unlimited access to good quality hay, a large selection of greens and vegetables. Also a small amount of rabbit mix pellets.


Grooming

Groom your rabbit once a week. Make sure you keep it's claws clipped.


Handling

When handling, hold them firmly while keeping in mind that they have powerful legs. Never pick up rabbits by their ears. It is strongly recommended that you neuter male rabbits to prevent aggressive behaviour.


Lifespan

6-8 years. As with any pet, you need to be able to care for your rabbit for the duration of it's life.