With over 50 breeds of rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), it’s safe to say that rabbit fanciers and potential owners in the US have a huge variety to choose from! From the more well-known “pet” rabbits like the Rex and Lop types to the obscure and wild-like Belgian Hare, it’s truly amazing how diverse one species can be.
In this article, we’ll discuss 25 pet rabbits and showcase the beautiful variations in color, size, shape, and temperament. Read on to discover which type catches your eye the most!
The 25 Types of Pet Rabbits
The Angora rabbit is one of the most easily recognizable rabbit breeds in the world because of its amazingly fluffy coat! You can adopt four types of Angora rabbits: Giant, English, French, and German.
Angoras are an old breed dating back to the American Angora rabbit fur trade of the 1930s and originating in Ankara (formerly Angora) in Turkey. These rabbits need extensive daily grooming to keep them healthy and happy, as their coats are prone to knotting.
The Rex rabbit is a medium rabbit weighing between 6 and 7 ½ pounds and is renowned for its beautifully thick coat. Given the moniker the “king of the rabbits,” the velvety Rex was first imported into the United States by John Fehr and Alfred Zimmerman in 1924. Because of its stunning fur, it remains the most popular rabbit raised for its fur today.
3. French Lop
The large-eared, soft-furred French Lop was first developed in the 19th century by crossing the Giant Papillon with the English Lop. These are enormous rabbits, brought over to be shown in the US in 1921. Despite their size, they are very friendly and docile, making them good rabbits for children to handle under supervision.
4. Flemish Giant
The Flemish Giant is the famously massive rabbit that tops the table as the largest breed of rabbit in the world. Yet, despite tipping the scales at more than 20 pounds, the Flemish Giant is one of the gentlest and friendliest rabbit breeds around.
This behemoth was originally bred for the fur and meat trade but made its way into the rabbit fancier’s heart for its loving personality. These rabbits were first developed in Flanders, Belgium, in the 16th century!
- Related Read: How Much Is a Giant Flemish Rabbit?
5. Netherland Dwarf
On the other end of the scale, the tiny Netherland Dwarf is one of the smallest breeds of rabbits in the world. These little bunnies weigh a maximum of 2 ½ pounds and originally came to the US in the 20th century from their native country of the Netherlands.
Because the Netherland Dwarf is a brachycephalic (short-muzzled) breed, they are known for having problems with their teeth, such as malocclusion.
The Dutch rabbit is English in heritage, despite its name. These medium rabbits weigh up to 5 ½ pounds and were first developed in the 1830s for their distinctive coats. With a blaze of white and black, the Dutch rabbit’s striking appearance keeps them in the top 10 most popular rabbits in the US today.
It’s easy to see where the majestic Lionhead rabbit gets its name from: the beautiful mane of fur ruffled around its neck. This small, more timid rabbit is very popular in the US despite only being recognized by the ARBA in 2014!
Regular grooming of the fluffy Lionhead is essential, as the ruff of fluff around its neck can get easily tangled up with debris despite the other fur on its body being relatively short and easy to manage.
Bred in California (hence its name) by George West in 1920, the Californian has a handsome white and rich brown coat, which increased its popularity. The Californian rabbit is on the larger side, weighing 10 ½ pounds. However, it has a curious, calm, and friendly personality. They are known for being fairly laid back and enjoying human company.
9. Mini Lop
As another member of the tiny breeds, the Mini Lop is slightly bigger than the others on this list and weighs 6 ½ pounds. They have the same problems as other brachycephalic rabbit breeds, such as a tenancy to have maloccluded teeth.
They have the floppy ears of other Lop breeds and enjoy being around people if they are handled very gently. These little Lops came to the US, gained popularity in the 1970s, and were recognized by ARBA in 1980.
The Himalayan is a striking rabbit, one of the very oldest rabbit breeds, first appearing in European texts in 1857. They were shown in the UK at the end of the 19th century and are a quiet, gentle breed known to be more carefree than others. In addition, they are the only rabbit accepted by the ARBA with a “cylindrical” body type (as opposed to the rounded bodies of most other rabbits).
Harlequin rabbits are known for being playful jokers, nicknamed “clowns.” They have carefree personalities and beautiful, mottled coats resembling a tortoiseshell cat’s speckled orange and black.
The Harlequin is medium-sized, weighing up to 9 ½ pounds, and was first shown in two distinct types in Paris, France, in 1887. The Japanese type has a base of orange or fawn with black, blue, chocolate, or lilac speckles. The Magpie is the same, except the base coat is white.
12. Holland Lop
Holland Lop rabbits are the smallest of the Lop rabbits, only weighing around 4 pounds! These sweet-faced rabbits were first bred by Netherlands native Adrienne de Cock, and were accepted into the ARBA in 1979. The Holland Lop has been one of the top five most popular breeds of rabbits ever since; their cute features and adorable stature makes it easy to see why!
13. English Lop
The English Lop is a medium-sized rabbit with extraordinarily long ears that can sometimes trail to the ground. These proud-nosed rabbits were the original Lop-eared rabbits that came out of Victorian England in the 19th century, and their dog-like temperaments made them instantly popular.
However, despite this popularity, the English Lop can face severe health problems due to their ears, such as frequent ear infections and trauma.
14. Dwarf Hotot
This little German rabbit has a striking coat of white with signature black “eyeliner” around its eyes, giving it the name “eye of the fancy.” These rabbits have very short ears and only weigh around 3 pounds, making them one of the smallest breeds. However, the Dwarf Hotot is known to have a feisty, energetic personality despite its diminutive size.
15. Continental Giant
The Continental Giant is another of the giant breeds, but it also shares its calmer, gentle personality. The Giant is not recognized by the ARBA but is recognized by the UK and European rabbit fancy groups.
A Continental Giant holds the Guinness World Record for the largest rabbit, weighing 55 pounds! They need lots of space to live comfortably, and like other large breeds, they live shorter lives than their smaller rabbit cousins.
16. Giant Chinchilla
The Giant Chinchilla is a big breed but is less massive than the other giant rabbits on our list. It can reach up to 16 pounds in weight and has a luxurious coat favored by enthusiasts worldwide.
The Giant Chinchilla was bred for the fur and meat trade by Edward H Stahl in the US in 1921 and was recognized by ARBA in 1928. This rabbit became so popular that it earned the nickname “the million dollar rabbit,” alluding to the money Stahl made from selling breeding stock.
These beautifully furred rabbits are known as “the minks of the rabbit world” due to their plush and richly colored coats. First developed in Holland in 1898, the Havana rabbit was named after the chocolate-colored cigars from Havana. These rabbits moved to the US in 1916 and were quickly accepted into the ARBA. They can have chocolate, lilac, black, “broken,” or blue coats.
18. Dwarf Papillon
The little Dwarf Papillon was first known as the Dwarf Check (Zwergschecken) in Germany, where it was developed in 2015. It came to the US and was recognized by the ARBA in 2020. They can be shown in black or chocolate patched variants, pairing beautifully with their stunning white coats.
19. Florida White
Florida Whites are the typical “lab bunny,” which is precisely what they were first bred for. The small to medium rabbits were created by breeding albino Dutch rabbits and white Polish (Brittania White) rabbits, giving the Florida White its classic bright white fur and red eyes.
They weigh up to 6 ½ pounds and were accepted by ARBA in 1987. They are most commonly kept as pets these days and have calm and friendly personalities.
20. Britannia Petite
The Britannia Petite is known as the Polish rabbit in the UK and is another diminutive breed weighing in at 2 ½ to 3 pounds. However, this fiery breed is not as relaxed as some other rabbits and can be flighty and highly strung. Care should be taken when handling them, but they have a strong urge to play energetically.
21. American Fuzzy Lop
These sweet rabbits have lovely looks and temperaments. They have long, wooly coats that blend into their long, floppy ears; these rounded features make them popular pets! The American Fuzzy Lop was created by crossing the Angora and Holland Lop rabbits and was recognized by ARBA in 1989. They’ve remained popular since. However, they need daily brushing to keep their long coats free of knots and tangles.
22. Mini Rex
The Mini Rex shares the same luscious coat as the Rex but on a smaller scale. It was created by Monna Berryhill in Texas, US, in 1984 and has been very popular ever since. These little rabbits can be prone to stress and are very small, only 4 ½ pounds at their heaviest, so gentle handling is necessary. They come in various colors, including chocolate, black, and patterned.
The Palomino rabbit is named after the horses which share its unique coloring. It was created in Washington, US, in 1919 and was recognized by the ARBA in 1957 in both its varieties: pearly silver-grey and shimmering gold. Palominos can weigh up to 11 pounds and are used for meat, fur, and pets.
The Satin rabbit was named after the incredible luster of its fur. This glossy, shimmering breed was bred from Havana rabbits with the recessive gene mutation that made their coats so shiny and was first introduced in the 1930s. They are popular pets due to their fur and calm personalities.
25. Silver Fox
The Silver Fox rabbit was the third-ever breed developed in the US and started under the name “American Heavyweight Silver.” The Silver Fox was produced in Ohio by Walter Garland and was accepted by the ARBA in 1925.
The name has since been changed, first to American Silver Fox, then later to Silver Fox when the “American” was dropped. They are giant rabbits weighing around 12 pounds, and the silver sheen begins to grow in on their coats at about 4 weeks old. It can take 4 months for the color to mature.
With all the amazing types of rabbits available as pets, it’s no wonder they continue to be one of the nation’s favorites. However, all rabbits have particular needs that must be met, no matter their breed. Rabbits need company; otherwise, they get lonely and stressed. They need the proper diet to keep them healthy, and they need to be given the same care, love, playtime, and attention you’d give any other pet.
The variety in these lagomorphs is impressive, and each has its attractions. We hope you found a rabbit that stood out above the rest as your favorite!
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