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Rabbit Breeds – Which Rabbit Breed Should You Buy?

Rabbit Breeds

There are many, many different types of rabbit breeds. Some are huge, and some are tiny. Some have long hair, and some have short hair. It is important that you understand the different types of rabbits out there BEFORE you buy your rabbit.

So, what you need to consider are the following:

  • Types of Rabbit Breeds by Body Type
  • Rabbit Fur Type
  • Size (full grown weight)

Types of Rabbit Breeds by Body Type

rabbit-body-type

 

All rabbits that are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) are domestic rabbits. All other rabbits are considered wild breeds.

In many states, it is illegal to cage, raise, feed, or keep wild rabbits, so if you find one in the wild – leave it alone! Mama rabbits do not stay with their young babies in order to make sure predators can’t see where their nest is located. If you find a baby wild rabbit, Mama Rabbit will be within about 10 feet of the nest and will be worried sick if you take away her babies. Leave them alone and don’t mess with them!

Domesticated rabbits are much different than wild rabbits. They have been domesticated over a very long period of time. If you ever have the chance to buy a book that discusses how rabbits were domesticated over time, buy it! It is truly fascinating to learn about their origins and housing arrangements. Most domestic rabbits originated in Europe. Until they began to be caged, they were kept in colonies called rabbit warrens, and were used to feed the farmers, and their fur was used to make blankets, mittens, scarves, hats, and other clothes.

Over time as farmers selected rabbits that met their needs for meat, fur, personality, and size, new breeds were created. Some were out of necessity and others were as a fun hobby.

Domesticated rabbits are classified first by body type, and each breed fits into one of these body types.

Commercial Breeds

These rabbits are of medium length, with depth of body equaling the width of the body throughout. The high point of the top line should be over the hips. The side profile will taper from the hindquarters through to the shoulders. Fullness of body and firmness of flesh are important qualities.

Posing a Commercial Breed

Front feet should be directly under the eyes, and the toes of the rear feet should be aligned with the front of the hips. Posing in a tucked up or stretched out position is inappropriate.

List of Commercial Rabbit Breeds

  • American Chinchilla
  • American Sable
  • Californian
  • Champagne d’Argent
  • Cinnamon
  • Creme d’Argent
  • French Angora
  • French Lop
  • Giant Angora
  • Harlequin
  • Hotot
  • New Zealand
  • Palomino
  • Rex (AKA Standard Rex)
  • Satin
  • Satin Angora
  • Silver Fox
  • Silver Marten

Semi-Arched Breeds

These rabbits are longer in body and have a well defined rise starting at the or near the back of the shoulders, and it continues to the round of the tail. The high point of the rise should occur at the top of the hips. The side profile must be tapered from the hindquarters through to the shoulders.

Posing Semi-Arched Breeds

The front feet should be directly under the eyes, and the toes of the rear feet must be aligned with the front of the hips. Some breeds may be allowed to move naturally after initial pose, to better evaluate specific type features.

List of Semi-Arched Rabbit Breeds

  • American
  • Beveren
  • English Lop
  • Flemish Giant
  • Giant Chinchilla

Full Arched Breeds

This breed of rabbit must have an arch starting at the nape of the neck and continuing in a smooth, unbroken line over the shoulders, loin, hips, and finishing by rounding to the base of the tail. Most full arched breeds will show more depth than width of the body. The side profile will taper from the hind quarters through to the shoulders.

Posing Full Arched Breeds

All breeds should be allowed to move naturally to evaluate type, except the Britannia Petite, which is to be posed.

List of Full Arched Breeds

  • Belgian Hare
  • Britannia Petite
  • Checkered Giant
  • English Spot
  • Rhinelander
  • Tan

Compact Rabbit Breeds

This rabbit breed is lighter in weight and shorter in body length than animals of commercial type. Some compact rabbit breeds will have only a slight rise in the top line due to depth of shoulders being slightly lower than the depth over the hips. The side profile may be tapered or of equal width from hips to shoulders, as specified in the individual breed standard.

Posing the Compact Rabbit Breeds

The front feet are to be directly under their eyes and the toes of the rear feet aligned with the front of the hips. Posing in an excessively “tucked” position or allowing animals to move about the table is undesirable and strongly discouraged.

List of Compact Rabbit Breeds

  • American Fuzzy Lop
  • English Angora
  • Standard Chinchilla
  • Dutch
  • Dwarf Hotot
  • Florida White
  • Havana
  • Holland Lop
  • Jersey Wooly
  • Lilac
  • Mini Lop
  • Mini Rex
  • Netherland Dwarf
  • Polish and Silver

Cylindrical Rabbit Breeds

The cylindrical rabbit breeds are to show a straight top line with no arch or rise. The side profile is to show no taper.

Posing the Cylindrical Rabbit Breed

The front feet are to be even with the eyes, and the body is to be stretched out with forelegs and hocks flat on the table.

List  of Cylindrical Rabbit Breeds

  • Himalayan

Types of Rabbit Breeds By Fur Type

Each rabbit breed has a certain fur structure. Each of the rabbit breeds falls into one of five fur types: Flyback, Rex, Rollback, Satin and Wool. Fur structures are defined by several characteristics. In order to understand these you must understand some commonly used terms.

Qualities of Fur 

  • Density: The total number of fur fibers per area of skin at a location on the body. This is determined by the number of fur follicles per area and the number of fur fibers from each follicle.
  • Texture: The “feel” of the fur/wool and/or the reaction of the coat when stroked from the tail toward the head.
  • Finish: A coat with fully developed guard hairs, under fur and that is in good condition.
  • Molt: The act of losing fur from the pelt. This is a normal process that occurs periodically throughout the rabbit’s life. This is controlled by genetics, health, nutrition and environmental factors.
  • Broken coat: Exposure of the under coat due to the loss of guard hairs or the guard hairs being broken off at mid shaft. Will interfere with the uniformity of the texture over the body.
  • Guard hairs: The larger diameter and the longer fibers that protrude above the undercoat. Originates from the fur follicle; usually in lesser numbers than undercoat fibers.
  • Undercoat: The shorter, more abundant and fibers of smaller diameter. May originate from the same fur follicle as guard hair.
  • Fly back: A coat that lies smooth over the body and when stroked from tail towards the head returns to the original position very rapidly. Length of coat, diameter of guard hair, density and condition all will affect this character.
  • Roll back: A coat that lies smooth over the body — and when stroked from tail towards head returns to its original position gradually.
  • Stand-up coat: A coat that lies smooth over the body and when stroked from tail towards the head, the fibers remain in an upright position.
  • Up-right or perpendicular coat: The fur stands at right angles, or straight up and down, to the skin. The guard hairs are just slightly longer than under fibers. This gives a very plush appearance to the coat.

Flyback Rabbit Breeds

  • Rhinelander
  • Polish
  • Californian
  • Dutch
  • Silver
  • American
  • Palomino
  • Cinnamon
  • Havana
  • English Lop
  • Himalayan
  • French Lop
  • Harlequin
  • English Spot
  • Belgian Hare
  • Tan
  • Florida White
  • New Zealand
  • Silver Marten
  • Giant Chinchilla
  • Britannia Petite
  • Checkered Giant
  • Creme D’Argent
  • Champagne

Rex Rabbit Breeds

  • Rex (or Standard Rex)
  • Mini Rex

Rollback Rabbit Breeds

  • American
  • Standard Chinchilla
  • Satin
  • Lilac
  • Dwarf Hotot
  • Mini Lop
  • American Sable
  • Beveren
  • Holland Lop
  • Netherland Dwarf
  • Silver Fox
  • Flemish Giant

Satin Rabbit Breeds

  • Satin
  • Mini Satin

Wool Rabbit Breeds

  • French Angora
  • Jersey Wooly
  • Giant Angora
  • American Fuzzy Lop
  • English Angora
  • Satin Angora

Rabbit Breeds – A to Z Listing

There are multiple resources where you can find a full listing of rabbit breeds with pictures. Below are some links for you to check out. Most of these links will show you the average weight of the rabbit, where it originated, the type of fur, whether it is a rare breed or not, temperament, and a picture of the bunny.

 

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