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Harlequin Rabbit Breed: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

harlequin bunny rabbit in antique chair

The lovely Harlequin rabbit originated in France. It got its name from the marbled color variations in its fur. Each one looks unique and one-of-a-kind. It is very much revered for its physical appearance, although they make splendid pets all the way around the board. Let’s get to know the details of this rabbit breed.

Size: Standard
Weight: 6–9 pounds
Lifespan: 5+ years
Similar Breeds: Rex, Holland Lop, Himilayan, Havana
Suitable for: Virtually anyone
Temperament: Gentle, intelligent, agreeable

The Harlequin rabbit is an absolutely stunning domestic pet. They have exciting patterns and colors with desirable temperaments. Everything about the Harlequin makes them a wonderful pet for any rabbit enthusiast. Their markings look like clowns or jesters, making them stand out in a crowd.

If you’re wondering what makes this rabbit special, we’re here to tell you all about it. In this article, we will go over all of the details about the breed so you can decide if it’s right for you.

Harlequin Breed Characteristics



How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?

The Harlequin rabbit costs between $20 and $100 on average. The ultimate price depends on the breeder, the rabbit’s quality, and the pattern’s rarity.

When selecting a Harlequin, always buy from a reputable breeder with a history of outstanding litters. The better genetic quality you can get, the fewer health problems and temperament issues you will face.

Try to avoid pet shops and online purchases, as these rabbits might not be in the best health. Some only breed and sell for profit without making sure that the parents are genetically sound to breed.

Getting your Harlequin from a reputable breeder eliminates a lot of the issues that come from poor breeding regulation. You can access the rabbit’s breeder directory online to scope out licensed rabbit breeders in your area.

Harlequins are decently popular, though sometimes rare. You shouldn’t have too much of an issue finding one. However, it would be best if you kept in mind that travel might be necessary depending on your location.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Harlequin Rabbit

Many people find the Harlequin rabbit a desirable choice because they are very intelligent and docile. These rabbits can learn several concepts that might be more challenging for certain other breeds.

The Harlequin rabbit can recognize its name, how to use a litter box and a few other tricks. Litter training is easier than you might think it would be in rabbits, but it does take persistence and consistency.

It’s best to start as early as possible because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; rabbits have trouble too.

harlequin Gotland rabbit sitting outside
Image Credit: LNbjors, Shutterstock

Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets? 👪

A Harlequin rabbit can make an excellent pet for you. These bunnies are very easy to handle, and they are never skittish or reserved, (permitting they are socialized correctly). These rabbits will keep you in stitches! They are comical, cheerful little pets that are beautiful to boot.

The Harlequin rabbit makes an excellent pet for virtually any age. Naturally, if you’re buying one of these sensitive creatures for your children, they should be old enough to understand the concept of proper handling and respect.

We recommend the Harlequin rabbit for children six and older, with direct adult supervision.

Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?

The Harlequin rabbit can get along very well with its own species. In fact, we highly recommend having two or more rabbits whenever you choose to have them as a pet. They are social creatures that thrive on being around their own kind, forming deep bonds with each other.

In addition, rabbits can get along with cats and dogs in the home, permitting you provide proper introductions. The other animals should be calm around the rabbit. If your rabbit is around a very hyper dog, it could stimulate a fear response, as rabbits are prey animals.

Rabbits can be very skittish and afraid, and it can even cause a spontaneous heart attack if they are scared enough. So, make sure that no other animals in the household are tormenting your rabbit. Always watch any interactions with other pets with a very watchful eye.


Things to Know When Owning a Harlequin Rabbit:

Food & Diet Requirements 🥕

Like any other rabbit, your Harlequin rabbit will have a specific diet regimen. These bunnies must have a high-fiber diet, including fiber-rich hay. They should have continual access to fresh hay, either Timothy or alfalfa. The hay helps them stay regulated in their gastrointestinal tract.

For a well-balanced diet, rabbits should always have commercial rabbit pellets specifically designed for them. This food source contains all the right balance of ingredients that your rabbit needs in their daily diet without getting too much or too little of a specific nutrient.

Of course, in addition to feeding them a pellet diet, you should supplement them with fresh fruits and veggies. Raw nutrition will help boost their system and keep them healthy. But it is important only to choose rabbit-appropriate fruits and vegetables—and portion them correctly.

Habitat & Hutch Requirements 🏠

No matter if you have a house rabbit that you let out of the enclosure for the majority of the day or a caged rabbit, proper hutch size is essential. They need lots of room to run around and stretch their legs, and they need privacy and security within their enclosure.

A harlequin rabbit, based on size and activity needs, needs a hutch of at least 3 feet x 3 feet. You should consider how many rabbits you have and increase the size accordingly. Rabbits aren’t very good climbers, so gradual ramps and single-level homes are often ideal.

harlequin gotland rabbit sitting outside
Image Credit: LNbjors, Shutterstock

Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐇

Your rabbit will need to get their kicks in. They should have at least 3 hours of exercise per day. Your bunny will very much enjoy getting out to run around. They will even entertain each other by chasing and foraging for goodies. You can encourage rabbit play by getting them ramps, toys, and other forms of entertainment.

Sleep is equally important. Your bunny should have a private, dark hut or hideaway to snooze. Rabbits don’t like being exposed to the open elements during sleep, so an enclosure is crucial for relaxation.

Training 🥎

Training a rabbit might be easier than you think. When it comes to learning their name and other singular words, you can generally bank on them to make the association. Litter training is a relatively easy concept, permitting it is learned early enough and you have the consistency to make it happen.

Ultimately, ensuring they’re catching on will be up to you. A litter-trained rabbit, cool enough, can be in your house to roam freely (but not without supervision, of course).

In addition to litter training, you can teach them their name and a few other recognizable words. There are tons of tutorials on sites like YouTube that teach you how to work with your rabbit.

adult harlequin gotland rabbit in a hutch
Image Credit: LNbjors, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Rabbits are very clean animals. The Harlequin sheds infrequently, meaning you have to brush them every day. But anytime you notice a buildup in the fur, giving them a few passes with a bristle brush is important.

As with any rabbit, you must keep their hocks clean and dry. If they are constantly dragging their hocks in wet bedding, it can cause infection leading to otherwise avoidable vet bills.

Check your rabbit’s teeth regularly. They have teeth called incisors that grow continuously. They naturally file them down by munching on hay and sticks. If they are having any issues with their teeth getting too long, it’s something you want to get ahead of before it becomes a major problem.

Lifespan & Health Conditions 🏥

Harlequin rabbits are generally very healthy, especially if a reputable breeder breeds them. They have a lifespan of approximately 5 years or longer. Even though it is not as common that you will have to take your rabbit to the vet, it’s always best to have one in place.

Before even getting a rabbit, research exotic veterinarians around your area, so your rabbit is protected if they should ever become ill. Some insurance companies, like Nationwide, cover rabbits under pet insurance care plans. While pet insurance is not for everyone, you can check it out if you desire that extra layer of protection.

Minor Conditions
  • Dental problems
  • Pododermatitis
Serious Conditions
  • Respiratory illness
  • GI Stasis
  • Uterine problems

Male vs Female

Whether you own a male or female Harlequin rabbit, equally, they can make great pets. However, there are some things you should know about both.

First, females are more prone to getting uterine cancer. So, it’s best to have them spayed when they reach the appropriate age to avoid this as well as territorial tendencies. Females also tend to be a little bit more active and less cuddly. They prefer a life of adventure.

Males, on the other hand, tend to be much cuddlier and also less territorial. Males often make a better choice for first-time bunny owners because they handle physical attention in a calmer fashion.


3 Little-Known Facts About The Harlequin Rabbit

1. Breeders’ associations recognize the Harlequin Rabbit.

The Harlequin rabbit is recognized by the British Rabbit Council and American Rabbit Breeders Association.

2. The Harlequin Rabbit has two different color types.

The Harlequin rabbit has two main color types: the Magpie and the Japanese. They are known for their split coat appearance and clown-like markings. But they can have chocolate, lilac, blue, and black colors—many with orange and tortoiseshell banding.

3. Harlequin Rabbits are from France.

The Harlequin rabbit first came about in 1887 in Paris. Initially, they were used as meat rabbits throughout World War II.

male harlequin rabbit
Image Credit: LNbjors, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

The Harlequin rabbit is a wonderful addition to any bunny-loving home. They have the temperament and brains to learn and easily bond with their owners. Their beautiful appearance will make them even more unique to have as a pet in your home.

Just make sure you learn all you can about the breed itself and contact a reputable breeder to ensure they will live happy and healthy lives.

Featured Image Credit to: Golden Photo Design, Shutterstock

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