One of the largest breeds of domestic rabbits is the British Giant. They’re not well-known outside of the U.K. and aren’t nearly as popular as the Flemish Giant. But since they’re slightly smaller than the Flemish Giant and have more coat colors than steel gray, they’re steadily becoming more popular as pets.
These rabbits aren’t as popular as their ancestors or outside the U.K., so we’ve put everything that you need to know in this guide.
|Weight:||12 – 15 pounds|
|Lifespan:||4 – 6 years|
|Similar Breeds:||Flemish Giant|
|Suitable for:||Seniors, singles, families with pets and/or children|
|Temperament:||Sociable, friendly, affectionate, gentle, docile|
First introduced in the U.K. in the 1940s and bred from the Flemish Giant rabbit, the British Giant is smaller but no less friendly. They share many of the same traits—often leading to the belief that they are the same breed—but have a much larger range of coat colors than their predecessor.
Although they don’t reach the massive size of the Flemish Giant, the British Giant still needs plenty of space to stretch out and hop around in. They are friendly, sociable, and gentle and suit seniors, singles, and families with or without other pets and children.
British Giant Rabbit Breed Characteristics
How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?
The British Giant rabbit isn’t a breed that you’ll find in many places outside of the U.K. where they originated. While the Flemish Giant rabbit is a popular pet throughout the world, the British Giant is difficult to find despite being bred to provide a larger variety of coat colors.
They are incredibly rare outside of the U.K., and many people around the world simply consider them to be slightly smaller Flemish Giant rabbits. It will be difficult to locate a breeder of these rabbits or find individuals in your local shelter. Perhaps more surprisingly, the British Giant rabbit isn’t one of the most popular breeds in the U.K. either, though it is easier to find them there.
If you do find a breeder, you’ll find that the rarity of the British Giant pushes up their price, but the lack of demand means these rabbits aren’t the most expensive that you can buy. You’ll likely spend $50–$100 to purchase one, but that cost doesn’t include their hutch, food, and veterinary expenses throughout their lifetime.
Temperament & Intelligence of the British Giant Rabbit
You’ll need plenty of space to keep a British Giant rabbit, but they’re friendly, affectionate, and calmer than many other breeds. Their temperament is so similar to the Flemish Giant that they’re descended from, they’re often confused with the older breed. They are considered by many people to be a more colorful variation.
Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets?👪
These rabbits are excellent pets. They are calm and rarely aggressive, with a natural inclination to laze around with you all day. Their size means they’re hardier than many smaller breeds, and they get along well with children. That said, always make sure to teach young children how to interact with rabbits safely to prevent either the animal or human from getting hurt.
You will need plenty of space for these rabbits, whether you keep them indoors or outside. Indoor British Giants need to be kept in a completely rabbit-proof room. Covering electrical cables and anything else that might pose a danger to your rabbit is essential for their safety. You’ll also need to supervise them if you give them the run of the house at any time.
Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?
All breeds of rabbits are social animals, and they form strong bonds with other rabbits and humans. The British Giant, due to their size, has also been known to get along with some cats and dogs. However, you do have to be wary about placing your prey animal with a predator like a cat or dog.
Some dogs—particularly breeds bred for hunting rabbits—will have an instinctive desire to chase your rabbit. Try to avoid leaving your British Giant rabbit with your dog or cat unattended. This will help you supervise their interactions and prevent your rabbit from being scared by larger predators.
Things to Know When Owning a British Giant Rabbit
There is a great deal to remember when it comes to taking care of a new pet. Fortunately, British Giant rabbits are incredibly similar to Flemish Giants. They might be smaller, but they are still a giant breed and have many of the same care needs.
Food & Diet Requirements🥕
British Giants are herbivores, and their diet needs to contain plenty of hay, fresh vegetables, and pellets to keep them healthy. Most of their diet needs to consist of hay. Timothy hay is recommended, but any high-quality grass hay is acceptable.
A hay-based diet helps the British Giant rabbit manage their digestive health and naturally wear down their teeth. Fresh vegetables can also be given to your rabbit as tasty treats and to provide an extra boost to their health.
Habitat & Hutch Requirements🏠
Although the British Giant rabbit isn’t nearly the same size as the Flemish Giant rabbit that they’re descended from, they are still large bunnies. They often weigh between 12 and 15 pounds and have long bodies. Their size alone means they need plenty of space, more so if you have a bonded pair.
You need to purchase a hutch or a pen that’s big enough for the rabbits to move around or stretch out. They’ll need at least 20 square feet, and while they do well as indoor pets, they aren’t well-suited to small homes. A yard can be useful, and a secure outdoor pen is a good way to give your British Giant rabbit a place to stretch their legs and enjoy the sunshine.
The space requirements of this breed are why many owners of the British Giant rabbit prefer to keep this breed outdoors. They’ll often dedicate a small shed and a large area to their pet to give them plenty of space. If kept indoors, the British Giant is often given a room to themselves.
Exercise & Sleeping Needs🐇
Despite their size, the British Giant isn’t one of the most energetic rabbit breeds. Like the Flemish Giant, they are quiet and friendly but prefer lazing around over being active. Their preference for long naps and stretching out in the sun when they have the chance makes them prone to obesity, so you’ll need to carefully manage their diet.
Some individual bunnies might be more willing to hop around, but they definitely won’t ever be one of the most energetic rabbit breeds. You’ll still need to give them plenty of space in their hutch or pen, even though they don’t move around much.
You might not think about training your rabbit if you’re new to owning this type of pet. Like other rabbit breeds, though, the British Giant is highly intelligent. You’ll need their favorite treats, consistent commands, and plenty of praise—as well as time and patience—but you can train these rabbits. Most British Giant owners train them to use a litter box, but you can also teach them basic tricks like coming when called.
The British Giant has a soft but dense coat of medium length. They don’t require as much grooming as some of the long-haired rabbit breeds, but regularly brushing their fur will keep it sleek, shiny, and free from tangles. You’ll also be able to better manage their shedding by brushing out the loose hair in their coat, which can be helpful if your British Giant is kept indoors.
A regular grooming schedule provides good opportunities to clip their claws and check their teeth. Both need to be managed, as they grow continuously and can cause problems if they get too long. You can also use grooming sessions to check your rabbit for sore spots, parasites, or other skin issues that can make your British Giant uncomfortable.
Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥
Similar to dogs, giant rabbit breeds are shorter-lived than small breeds. The British Giant rabbit is no different and will only live between 4 and 6 years. Despite this short life expectancy, they are a mostly healthy breed, a trait that they get from their Flemish Giant ancestors. That said, British Giant rabbits can acquire several common health issues that the Flemish Giant and other breeds are also prone to:
Male vs. Female
For first-time rabbit owners, it’s usually recommended that you start with a neutered male. While intact males can be aggressive and domineering, neutered male rabbits tend to be friendlier, and they will also interact more with their owners than females will. The same is true for the British Giant rabbit, though the breed doesn’t tend to be aggressive at all.
This doesn’t mean you can’t choose a female rabbit if you prefer. British Giants are friendly as a breed, and this goes for both sexes. While the females tend to be less affectionate with their owners, some individuals might be more willing to cuddle, and others will be more aloof. The same can be said for male bunnies too.
If you have a rabbit already, aim to get the opposite sex. Two intact males will fight more often than a male and a female will. However, you will need to make sure they’re spayed or neutered to avoid unwanted pregnancies. In the end, the choice comes down to your preferences and how much time you’d like to spend cuddling your rabbit.
The 3 Little-Known Facts About the British Giant Rabbit
1. They Are Descended From Flemish Giant Rabbits
In the 1940s, the British Giant rabbit was bred from Flemish Giant rabbits. This was due to the limited colors accepted by the Flemish Giant breed standard in the U.K. Only steel gray coloring was recognized, so breeders crossed them with other rabbit breeds to create a giant breed with more coat colors. This led to the development of the British Giant.
Despite their greater range of coloring and smaller size, the British Giant shares the same temperament and other traits as their European cousins. While they’re recognized by the British Rabbit Council, they’re not recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association or other breed registries around the world.
2. The Breed Isn’t Well-Known Outside the U.K.
Outside of the U.K., these rabbits are virtually unknown. Although the Flemish Giant is recognized as a breed across the world, the British Giant isn’t nearly as popular. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for rabbit owners outside of the U.K. to find a breeder dedicated to developing this breed.
3. They Were First Bred for Meat and Fur Production
They might be commonly kept as pets these days, but many rabbit breeds were first developed for their meat and fur. The Flemish Giant initially had this purpose too, and so did their descendants, the British Giant rabbit. But their docile, affectionate, and quiet natures, along with their intelligence, size, and coat colors, slowly drew the attention of pet owners.
The British Giant rabbit is sizable and still often used for meat and fur production, but for many people in the U.K., they are affectionate and friendly pets.
Initially, the British Giant rabbit was introduced as a breed that shared all the traits of the Flemish Giant while expanding on the older breed’s single accepted coat color. Since they are so similar to the Flemish Giant, they are often not considered to be a separate breed at all. Due to this, they are rare outside of the U.K. and aren’t recognized by any breed registries except the British Rabbit Council.
Despite their rarity, the British Giant is sociable and rarely aggressive. They are a hardy breed that handles cold climates well and is relatively healthy despite their short lifespan. This breed is sometimes used for their meat and fur but is more commonly kept as pets.
Provided that you have enough space for them to move around comfortably, the British Giant gets along well with other pets and children. Just remember to supervise your rabbit’s interactions with cats and dogs. If you’re lucky enough to find a British Giant and can keep one as a pet, they’ll adapt well to all types of families.