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The Pros And Cons Of Different Rabbit Breeds

by Andrea Austin,

There are nearly 4 dozen breeds of rabbits—46 to be exact—as recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association. Here, as with fur color, choosing a particular breed is more a matter of personal taste, as well as what your hopes are for the rabbit. However, there are some important exceptions, as we will discuss throughout this section. And, of course, if you are hoping to breed your pet rabbit, its breed is important (see the chapter on breeding for more on this).

Different breeds have different features, and these features can make a pet more or less suitable to your lifestyle. Therefore, you should be aware of what to expect from each breed to see if it will be appropriate for you, your family, and your living space.

Large breeds (12 to 16 pounds, or even bigger!) generally make better pets for families with young children, as smaller animals may be more prone to getting hurt by an infant or toddler’s hands. Moreover, as rabbits don’t tend to like to be picked up, a large rabbit that sits on the floor beside a child will make for a better situation all around. Larger rabbits are usually less skittish than smaller ones, and they are more capable of taking care of themselves when they feel anxious.

In addition, the lifespan of a rabbit generally increases in proportion to his size. Larger rabbits tend to live the longest, up to 15 years in some cases.

On the downside, larger rabbits obviously require more space. This is an especially important point to consider if your pet is going to be spending lots of time inside a cage—since, obviously, the cage will need to be bigger and therefore probably more expensive. (More on cages later in this book.)

Large breeds:

Flemish Giants (up to 20 pounds!)
Giant Lops
Tan checkered giants
White giants

Medium Breeds

Medium breeds generally weigh in at around 7 to 12 pounds, falling right between small rabbits and giants on the size spectrum.

Again, if you have a responsible child who wants a pet rabbit, a medium breed as opposed to a small or dwarf breed is recommended. This is, as in the case of giant breeds, largely due to the fact that bigger rabbits are better able to fend for themselves. Medium and large rabbits are easier to pet because their heads are bigger, making them more appropriate for children, who love to stroke the fuzzy creatures.

Medium breeds:

English lops
Red New Zealands
Blue Viennese
Castor Rex
Japanese- Fox Rabbit

Small Breeds

Small-breed rabbits tend to fall somewhere in between 3 and 7 pounds, making them adorable but more delicate than larger rabbits. As a general rule, the smaller the rabbit, the more excitable he will be. Therefore, small breeds are not recommended as highly for children as larger breeds.

However, a smaller rabbit may be ideal for a living space in which there are close quarters. A small breed will require a smaller cage, of course, so if space is at a premium for you, this may be an important consideration.

Small breeds:

· Himalayans
· Small Chinchillas
· Dutch
· Black and-tans

Dwarf Breeds

As the name suggests, dwarf-breed rabbits are the smallest of all, weighing in at as little as 2 pounds. They are incredibly cute to observe, but their temperaments are not necessarily as charming as their appearance. Whereas giants are tamer and more docile, dwarfs tend to be quite aggressive and full of energy. (Keep in mind, of course, that individual rabbits have their own unique personality, much of which does NOT depend on breed!) This can be great if you also have a lot of energy, but if you want a rabbit who can take care of himself and does not necessarily need your attention all the time, perhaps choose a larger breed.

Dwarf breeds:

· Dwarf lops
· Dwarf rabbits
· Dwarf fox


While most rabbits commonly sold in pet stores have an average hair length of about 1 inch, there are some breeds which have noticeably shorter hairs. This can be a plus when it comes to grooming.

All rex breeds fall into this category, with hair length of about .62 of an inch.


As I have just mentioned, most rabbits have a normal length hair coat. But breeders throughout history have sought to produce rabbits with longer, even more luxurious coats, and this has created a serious problem with grooming when it comes to longhaired breeds. Rabbits in this category are beautiful to observe, but they have a tendency to accumulate a lot of hair in their stomachs, even when following a careful diet. You should only consider buying one of these breeds if you are willing to groom your pet regularly and thoroughly.

Longhaired breeds:

Fox rabbits and dwarf fox rabbits
Jersey Woolys

by Andrea Austin,

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