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New Zealand Rabbit: Breed Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

new zealand rabbit on grass

Rabbits are popular pets for many families and individuals around the world. These furry creatures make great companions because of their cute looks and loving personalities.

If you are considering getting a pet rabbit, choosing a rabbit may be difficult. But with all the different rabbit breeds available, you might want to consider an adorable and easygoing breed with an interesting background like the New Zealand rabbit!

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about this adorable rabbit breed!

Size: Medium to Large
Weight: 10–12 pounds
Lifespan: 5–8 years
Similar Breeds: Belgian Hare, Flemish Giant Rabbit
Suitable for: Families with children, senior owners, single owners, novice rabbit owners, apartment and house living
Temperament: Calm, quiet, affectionate, easy-going

Despite the name, these rabbits do not actually come from New Zealand. In fact, New Zealand rabbits are a breed of domestic rabbit that was first bred in the United States in the early 20th century. They were originally bred for their meat and fur, but over time, they became popular as pets because of their docile and friendly temperament. New Zealand rabbits come in several different colors, including white, black, red, and blue.

New Zealand Rabbit Breed Characteristics



How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?

New Zealand rabbits are one of the most common rabbit breeds, and they are relatively easy to find. The cost of this rabbit native to California can vary depending on the age and color of the rabbit, as well as the breeder’s location.

If you’re looking to buy yourself a New Zealand rabbit, you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 for a New Zealand rabbit. Overall, New Zealand rabbits are an affordable rabbit that are relatively easy to find!

New Zealand Rabbit
Image Credit: volodimir bazyuk, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the New Zealand Rabbit

New Zealand rabbits are known for their docile and friendly temperament. They are generally easy to handle and are great with both children and other pets. These rabbits are also intelligent and can be trained to perform tricks and commands.

New Zealand rabbits may have aggressive tendencies towards other rabbits, but these behaviors are largely hormonal and reproductive in nature. Having your bunny spayed or neutered as soon as they’re old enough should reduce the likelihood of aggression. For male rabbits or bucks, neutering can be done as early as 3 months old while female rabbits, also known as does, can be spayed at 6 months old.

Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets? 👪

Yes, New Zealand rabbits make great pets! They are friendly, docile, and easy to care for. They are affectionate and enjoy the company of their owners, making them a great choice for families with seniors, smaller children, or for people living alone!

When left with children, however, be sure to supervise them at all times to prevent injury. Note that New Zealand rabbits can easily experience stress, so remember to teach your children how to properly handle this rabbit and how to respect their boundaries!

a new zealand rabbit in a pen
Image Credit: Jeremiah W Terry, Shutterstock

Does This Rabbit Get Along with Other Pets?

New Zealand rabbits generally get along well with other pets, including cats and dogs. However, it’s important to supervise any interactions between your rabbit and other pets to ensure that they are safe.

As mentioned earlier, it is best to have your New Zealand Rabbit fixed as early as possible to prevent any aggressive behaviors towards other rabbits and pets.


Things to Know When Owning a New Zealand Rabbit:

While New Zealand rabbits make great pets for families because of their affectionate personality and calm, docile nature, owning a pet rabbit is still a responsibility and proper care is needed to keep them happy and healthy.

Food & Diet Requirements 🥕

New Zealand rabbits require a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat. They should have access to water and fresh hay at all times, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits. Some vegetables that are good for your rabbit include lettuce, Bok choy, and even carrot tops!

Note that not all vegetables are good for your New Zealand rabbit, especially non-leafy ones. Some vegetables may be high in sugar which can be unsafe for your rabbit.

You can also feed your rabbit commercial rabbit pellets, but make sure that they are high-quality and free from harmful additives.

One thing to look out for your New Zealand rabbit is their weight. New Zealand rabbits will eat as much as they can, so it is important to control the portions being fed. For proper diet recommendations, consult with your veterinarian to provide your rabbit with the best nutrition available.

new zealand rabbit close up
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

Habitat & Hutch Requirements 🏠

New Zealand rabbits are a larger breed compared to other rabbits, so it is important to provide a spacious and comfortable living space.

A hutch that is at least 24 inches wide, 36 inches long, and 18 inches high is recommended for one rabbit, and potentially larger if they have companions. The hutch should be placed in a cool and dry area, and it should be cleaned regularly.

Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐇

New Zealand rabbits need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. You should provide your rabbit with a safe and secure area where they can run and play.

You can also provide your rabbit with toys and other items to keep them entertained. New Zealand rabbits sleep for several hours a day and are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.

Take note that New Zealand rabbits are prone to obesity, so be sure to provide them with the opportunity to exercise and move while also maintaining a healthy diet.

Training 🥎

New Zealand rabbits are intelligent and can be trained to perform tricks and commands. Being a sociable rabbit breed, training your New Zealand rabbit with treats can be a great way to bond with your rabbit.

You can use positive reinforcement to train your rabbit, such as offering treats and praise when they perform the desired behavior.

Grooming ✂️

New Zealand rabbits require regular grooming to keep their fur clean and healthy. Unlike other pets, you don’t need to give your New Zealand rabbit a bath. To stay clean, New Zealand Rabbits groom themselves along with their routine brushing.

It is important to brush your rabbit at least once a week to remove any loose fur and prevent matting. Rabbits are also seasonal shedders, so it is best to brush their hair 2 or 3 times a week during shedding season.

You should also trim your rabbit’s nails regularly to prevent them from becoming too long, typically every 6 to 8 weeks.

Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥

New Zealand rabbits have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years. However, with proper care and attention, they can live up to 12 years!

New Zealand rabbits are generally healthy, but they are prone to some health conditions. To monitor their overall health, routine veterinary check-ups are recommended.

Remember, a healthy lifestyle and a clean environment are the keys to preventing any health complications for your New Zealand rabbit. Health conditions that your New Zealand rabbit is susceptible to include:


Male vs Female

Male and female New Zealand rabbits have some differences in their physical characteristics and behaviors. Male rabbits, or bucks, tend to be larger and more muscular than females, or does.

Aside from build, males may also be more territorial and aggressive, especially during breeding season. Female rabbits, on the other hand, may be more docile and affectionate, and they may be more prone to nesting behaviors.

3 Little-Known Facts About the New Zealand Rabbit

1. They Are a Common Rabbit Breed

New Zealand rabbits are one of the most common rabbit breeds in the world and are bred for their meat, fur, and as pets.

2. They Come in a Variety of Colors

New Zealand rabbits come in several different colors, including white, black, red, and blue.

3. They Do Not Come from New Zealand

Despite their name, New Zealand rabbits actually come from California in the United States and not New Zealand!


Final Thoughts

New Zealand rabbits make great pets for families and individuals who are looking for a docile and friendly companion. With proper care and attention, these rabbits can live a long and healthy life.

As with any pet, it’s important to research and understand their needs before bringing them into your home. By following this New Zealand rabbit care guide, you can ensure that your furry friend is happy and healthy for years to come!

Featured Image Credit: pritsana, Shutterstock

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