Choosing the right breed

If you live in a small space and cannot afford to buy a big cage for your bunny, you might want to consider getting a smaller breed of rabbit like the dwarf rabbit. If you have limited time, you will not want to get any of the woolly breeds, as they will require frequent brushing. If you have young children at home who will help to care for the bunny, you may want to consider a smaller breed that will be easy to handle.

When choosing your rabbit, remember that each and every rabbit has its own temperament and personality. Each bunny is unique in its own way and to-be rabbit owners are advised to interact with their potential pet to be assured that you are able to handle the animal.

There are 45 breeds of rabbits recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

The American rabbit, which has been in existence for nearly 100 years, comes in two colour varieties, blue and white. The blue variety has blue grey eyes, while the white version has pink eyes. Compact in appearance, the American is a medium sized rabbit weighing around 10 pounds.

The Fuzzy Lop
The Fuzzy Lop, originally created by crossbreeding the Holland Lop and the Angora, is found in a wide variety of colours.

American Sable
This rabbit is well known because for its coat. The result of several crosses with the chinchilla rabbit is its beautiful dark brown coat.

There are four types of Angora rabbits – English Angora, French Angora, Satin Angora and Giant Angora. Each one is a separate breed and has the long, woolly hair typical of the Angora family. Angoras come in an astounding array of beautiful colours. Because of the Angora's dense coat, which grows to about 3 inches in length, the breed requires a good deal of grooming.

Belgian Hare
Despite its name, the Belgian hare is actually a domestic rabbit. However, its long legs and ears do give it the appearance of a hare, hence its name.

Not as frequently seen in the US as some other breeds, the Beveren was developed in Europe and is either in white, blue or black. A large rabbit weighing about 10 pounds, the Bevern has a thick, silky coat.

This very popular rabbit looks very much like a Siamese cat, with its white coat and black tipped ears, nose feet and tail. Somewhat large in size, the typical Californian weighs about 9 pounds.

Champagne D'Argent
The coat of this rabbit contains a marvelous mixture of coloured hairs, resulting in a wonderful silver looking effect.

Checkered Giant
The Checkered Giant is available in black and blue colour varieties. The breed is typically white with dark markings, including a "butterfly" on the nose, dark ears, dark circles around the eyes, spots on the cheeks and various other dark patches on the body.

There are three types of Chinchilla rabbit – Standard, American and Giant. All three types have the colouring of an actual Chinchilla and are popular pets because of their attractive coats.

This breed is available only in reddish colour indicative of its name. The ears, face and feet bear a darker shade of this same colour. Occasional shades of gray on various parts of its body contribute to this breed's unusual appearance.

The Dutch is an extremely popular rabbit, and is easily recognizable because of its markings. Available in six colour varieties, the Dutch has a dark head with a white nose and blaze, and dark britches.

Dwarf Hotot
Found only in white and with dark eyes, the Dwarf Hotot weighs about 3 pounds. It is the result of cross breeding the Hotot with other breeds in the 1970s.

English Spot
The English Spot, or English for short, is reminiscent of a Dalmatian with its white coat and dark spots. A capped nose, dark ears, eye rings and a stripe along the back are all characteristic of this breed. It weighs about 8 pounds.

Flemish Giant
Massive in size, the Flemish Giant is the largest breed of rabbit and weighs more than 14 pounds. Found in steel gray, light gray, black, blue, white, sandy and fawn, this breed is very popular as a pet despite its large size.

Florida White
The Florida White, as its name implies, comes in white only and has pink eyes. It weighs about 5 pounds.

The Harlequin, an interesting medium sized and unusually marked rabbit of about 8 pounds, was developed in France in the 1800s. The heads of Harlequin rabbits are divided in half by colour; each rabbit can look like two different animals when viewed from one side and then the other. Harlequin base colours are black, lilac and chocolate.

The Himalayan breed has existed for many years, reportedly originating near the Himalayan Mountains. Distinctive because of its white coat and blue or black markings, this rabbit is small in size and usually weighs only 4 pounds.

In France, this breed is known as the Blanc De Hotot, or the "white of Hotot", Hotot being the area where it was developed. Available only in frosty white with thin black eye circles, the Hotot is a medium sized rabbit weighing around 9 pounds.

Jersey Wooly
A recently developed breed of rabbit created in the 1970s through crossbreeding, the Jersey Wooly was produced specifically for its luxurious coat. The fur of the Jersey Wooly is available in the agouti, pointed white, self, shaded and tan pattern colour groups. A small rabbit, the Jersey Wooly weighs about 3 pounds.

The Lop rabbits are probably the most distinctive and easily recognizable of all breeds. Lop breeds of the past included rabbits whose ears flopped forward over their faces and rabbits whose ears both flopped over to the same side. These breeds are extinct now and the Lop we see today is the Lop of choice.

The modern Lop has huge ears, which flops down beside its head like a Basset Hound and give it the special look unique to the breed.

There are four breeds of Lop rabbits, namely, the English, French, Holland and Mini Lop. Each breed is unique in both its appearance and history.

  • The English Lop is one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbit still in existence. Developed at least as early as the 1800s, the English Lop was the first of the lop-eared breeds.
  • The French Lop was first developed in France in the 1800s from breeding the English Lop with the Flemish Giant. The French Lop differs from the English in that it is characterized by a heavier stature and shorter ears.
  • The Holland Lop, a dwarf breed of Lops, was created in Holland in the 1960s. It displays the same colour varieties as the French and English: agouti, broken, pointed white, self, solid, shaded and ticked.
  • The Mini Lop is also a relatively new breed of Lop. The Mini Lop is similar to the French Lop, but its mere 5-pound weight makes it significantly smaller.

Mini Rex
The Mini Rex was developed using the standard size Rex. Weighing about 4 pounds, this breed is available in the same colour varieties and colours as its larger cousin, the Rex.

Netherland Dwarf
The very popular Netherland Dwarf is the smallest of all domestic rabbits, weighing no more than 2 pounds. Its tiny stature, wide range of colours, small ears and large eyes make it a very popular pet.

The fur of the Rex rabbit looks and feels like plush velvet. This breed, which comes in a wide variety of colours, is very popular as a pet and show rabbit.

The Satin is so named because of its soft, shiny coat. The Satin is a medium sized rabbit, which weighs about 9 pounds.

The Silver got its name from its coat's unique colouring, a silvery sheen created by a mixture of white hairs against a dark background. Available in black, brown and fawn, Sliver rabbits weigh between 4 to 7 pounds.

Silver Fox
Originally bred in Europe for its fur, the Silver Fox has an unusual coat. Measuring 1 inch or more in length with a thick undercoat, the fur of the Silver Fox comes in black or blue varieties.

Silver Marten
Created using the Chinchilla rabbit, the Silver Marten has guard hairs, which are grey tipped on a dark background of black, blue, chocolate or sable.

The colour and markings of the Tan are reminiscent of a Doberman Pinscher, particularly the black and chocolate varieties. The top part of the body is dark, while the underside is tan. The tan colouring also appears around the eyes and nose, under the neck and inside the rims of the ears.