Top 12 Rabbit Breeds: Complete Guide of the Best Rabbits

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rabbit breeds

Rabbits are wonderful pets and companion animals.

There is a huge variety of types of rabbits, each with different looks and personalities, and it can be hard to tell which one is right for you and your family.

This guide to the best rabbit breeds will help you understand the top breeds and their differences, so you can choose the pet rabbit that is best for you.

American Rabbit

american rabbit

Size

The American rabbit is a medium to large breed, that weighs 10-12 pounds.

Coat

This rabbit has soft, silky fur that is either “blue” (dark bluish grey) or white.

Behavior

American rabbits are docile and easy-going, with a tendency to be lazy.

Lifespan

8-12 years.

Health Care

The American rabbit breed is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

American rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, the American Rabbit will enjoy the occasional treat.

Maintenance

American rabbits need a shelter that is large enough for them to stretch out and get some exercise.

They should be brushed every week or two, and given chewing toys, playtime, and attention.

Belgian Hare Rabbit

belgian hare rabbit

Size

The Belgian Hare is a medium to large rabbit breed that weighs 6-9 pounds.

Coat

They have a bright rust-colored fur with an orange tint over their whole bodies, with a lighter undercoat visible on their bellies and around their eyes.

Behavior

Belgian Hare rabbits are extremely active and curious, with a tendency to be skittish.

They need lots of room for exercise and are intelligent enough to be trained to do some tricks and play games.

They are sometimes unpredictable and startle easily.

Lifespan

7-11 years.

Health Care

The Belgian Hare breed is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Belgian Hares do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, the Belgian Hare will enjoy the occasional treat.

Maintenance

Belgian Hares need much more room than other domestic rabbits for activity and exercise.

It’s a good idea to give them a large run, either inside or outside, and give them toys and activities that encourage movement.

Some people recommend hanging a Belgian Hare’s water very high, to encourage the rabbit to stretch while drinking.

Their short, glossy coats need minimal brushing but rubbing their coats once a month will help keep them healthy. 

Californian Rabbits

californian rabbit

Size

The Californian is a large rabbit that weighs 8-11 pounds.

Coat

Californian rabbits have a thick coat of dense fur that is coarse to the touch.

They are usually white with Himalayan markings, which are grey or black noses, ears, tails, and paws.

Behavior

Californians are naturally mild and quiet, but, when well socialized, are an affectionate pet that loves to play and cuddle. 

Lifespan

5-10 years.

Health Care

Californian rabbits are not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Californian rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets. Like any rabbit, Californians will enjoy the occasional treat.

Maintenance

Californian rabbits have dense fur and a thick undercoat that makes them equally suited to be kept outdoors or indoors.

This large breed does need a good amount of space for exercise and thrives with lots of human interaction.

Their thick coat needs brushing at least once a week, and more often during shedding season.

Dutch Rabbit (also called the Hollander)

dutch rabbit

Size

The Dutch rabbit is mini to small in size, weighing 4-6 pounds.

Coat

They have short, soft, glossy fur, and all Dutch rabbits have white legs, bellies, shoulders, and a white blaze from their noses to their foreheads.

Different breeds of Dutch rabbits have different dark colors on their ears, tails, and rumps. Some have black rumps and ears, some have grey, and some have brown.

Behavior

Dutch rabbits are gentle, calm, and sociable.

They thrive with the care and company of people and other rabbits. They are friendly, curious, and trainable.

Lifespan

5-8 years.

Health Care

The Dutch rabbit breed is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Dutch rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, Dutch rabbits will enjoy the occasional treat.

Maintenance

Dutch rabbits need enough space for healthy exercise and interaction, but this small rabbit doesn’t need as much room as larger breeds.

Their coats should be brushed once a week, and daily during the shedding season.

English Lop

english lop rabbit

Size

The English Lop is a medium-sized rabbit that typically weighs 9-10 pounds.

Coat

The English Lop has a short, smooth coat and comes in a huge range of colors and patterns.

Behavior

These rabbits are calm and gentle, but also active, playful, and friendly.

They are intelligent and easier to train than some other breeds, and not as prone to chewing.

Lifespan

5-7 years:

Health Care

The English Lop is not prone to any specific diseases, but do need regular care and attention for their ears.

Lop breeds are susceptible to wax buildup in their ears, which should be inspected and cleaned regularly.

Lop breeds should also have regular nail trimming so that they don’t accidentally scratch their ears as they move around.

All rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

English Lops do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, the English Lop will enjoy the occasional treat.

Maintenance

The English Lop needs room to play and exercise and welcomes pets and interaction with humans.

Their coats do not need regular brushing but may need occasional brushing during the shedding season.

English Lops should not be exposed to freezing temperatures, as their ears may freeze when touching the ground, and ears should be inspected weekly and cleaned as needed.

English Spot

english spot rabbit

Size

The English Spot is a medium-sized rabbit that weighs 5-8 pounds.

Coat

English Spots are known for their distinctive spotted coats, with dark eye circles, cheek spots, and colored ears, the strip of color down their backs, and a butterfly-shaped nose marking.

They come in a variety of colors and have short, dense fur.

Behavior

The English Spot was bred as a show animal, so they are docile and calm, and easy to handle.

They are moderately active, but not especially energetic.

Lifespan

5-9 years.

Health Care

The English Spot is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

English Spot rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, an English Spot enjoys an occasional treat.

Maintenance

English Spots do need adequate space for exercise and activity for 1-2 hours a day, but they are fairly calm rabbits and do well indoors.

Their short coats can be groomed every couple of weeks, and more frequently during the shedding season.

Flemish Giant Rabbit

flemish giant rabbit

Size

As you might have guessed, the Flemish Giant is an extra-large rabbit and weighs 9-15 pounds.

Record-holding Flemish Giants have weighed up to 22 pounds and been more than 4 feet long.

Coat

They have short, dense, glossy fur and come in a wide variety of solid colors.

Behavior

Flemish Giant rabbits are often called “gentle giants” because they are sweet and docile.

They get along well with people and with other animals and are intelligent enough to train.

Lifespan

5-8 years.

Health Care

The Flemish Giant is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Flemish Giant rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but, due to their size, they need larger quantities of food.

All rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, the Flemish Giant enjoys an occasional treat.

Maintenance

Flemish Giants need particularly large hutches and runs to get healthy exercise, and they should not be given two-level hutches, as it is not easy for them to climb ramps or steps.

Flemish Giants are large enough and intelligent enough to be harness-trained, so they can be taken out on a harness, but that isn’t a substitute for free running and jumping exercise.

Like many rabbit breeds, Flemish Giants are prone to chew, but because they are bigger, they can do more damage, so healthy chew toys and good rabbit-proofing is particularly important.

They should be brushed every few weeks or as needed during the shedding season.

French Angora Rabbit

french angora rabbit

Size

The French Angora rabbit is a large breed and weighs 7.5 – 10.5 pounds.

Coat

The French Angora has long, thick, soft fur, called “wool.” They come in a huge range of colors and patterns.

Behavior

When given ample exercise and interaction, French Angoras are friendly, sweet, agreeable pets.

Lifespan

7-12 years.

Health Care

Due to their long, thick fur, French Angoras are particularly susceptible to “wool block,” and need to be brushed regularly (often every day) to prevent digestive problems from self-grooming.

Symptoms of wool block include reduced appetite, fewer droppings, and reduced energy.

Rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

French Angora rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, the French Angora enjoys an occasional treat.

Maintenance

While French Angora rabbits themselves are fairly agreeable and low-maintenance, their coat requires regular care for the health of the animal, even if you don’t intend to use their wool.

They need to be brushed as needed, which is usually several times a week and sometimes every day.

They need regular blow-dryings to keep the fur dry and free of debris (although rabbits should never be bathed).

A French Angora’s coat can grow as much as six inches every season and needs to be sheared or trimmed 3-4 times a year.

They also need regular exercise and healthy activities like any rabbit.

Harlequin Rabbit

Harlequin rabbit

Size

The Harlequin rabbit is medium to large and weighs 6.5 – 9.5 pounds.

Coat

Harlequin rabbits have short, soft fur with dramatic bands of contrasting colors in dramatic shades.

The breed standard should have ears that are different colors from each other, and from the face, but there is a huge variety in what the different colors are. 

Behavior

Harlequins are curious, outgoing, and playful.

They are intelligent and can learn tricks, and are good-natured pets. 

Lifespan

5-8 years.

Health Care

The Harlequin rabbit is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Harlequin rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, the Harlequin Rabbit will enjoy an occasional treat.

Maintenance

Harlequin rabbits need lots of space for exercise, and they are a more energetic breed that requires more activity than some.

Harlequins may be brushed every week or two, and more frequently as needed during the shedding season.

Holland Lop Rabbit

Holland Lop rabbit

Size

The Holland Lop is a dwarf rabbit breed, weighing only 2-4 pounds.

Coat

Holland Lops have medium-length fur that is thick and glossy.

They come in a huge range of colors and patterns.

Behavior

The Holland Lop was bred to be a pet, and they are known for being sweet and sociable.

They are relatively curious and energetic and are fun to play with.

Lifespan

7-14 years.

Health Care

The Holland Lop is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but lop rabbits do need special care and attention paid to their ears.

While the ears of the Holland Lop are not so low that they typically drag on the ground or risk being stepped on, they should still be regularly inspected and cleaned.

All rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate sickness, inspected frequently for any signs of illness, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Holland Lops do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Because they are so small, food portions should be smaller than with larger rabbits.

Like any other rabbit, a Holland Lop will enjoy an occasional treat.

Maintenance

Holland Lops are active and need room for exercise and play, but need less room than other breeds due to their small size.

Their hair is medium-length and should be brushed once a week or more often, and the ears should be checked and cleaned regularly.

Lionhead Rabbit

lionhead rabbit

Size

The Lionhead rabbit is a miniature breed, that weighs 2.5 – 3.5 pounds.

Coat

Lionhead rabbits have a distinctive “mane” of fine, soft hair that circles their head; they can have a single, thin, wispy mane, or a thicker “double mane.” They come in a huge range of solid colors but don’t typically have patterns.

Behavior

Lionhead rabbits are particularly affectionate and enjoy being picked up, cuddled, and held.

They are sweet, playful, and good-natured pets. 

Lifespan

7-10 years.

Health Care

The Lionhead rabbit is not prone to any specific diseases or health problems, but rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate illness, inspected frequently for any signs of injury, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Lionhead rabbits do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

This mini breed will eat smaller portions than full-sized rabbits.

Like any rabbit, Lionheads enjoy occasional treats.

Maintenance

The fine, soft wool of the Lionhead needs daily brushing during the shedding season and may need daily brushing all year long.

They also need space for healthy play and exercise but are small enough to need less space than a bigger rabbit does.

They will also enjoy simply relaxing in your lap for a cuddle.

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

netherland dwarf rabbit

Size

The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is a dwarf breed, weighing just 1 – 2.5 pounds.

Coat

Netherland Dwarf rabbits have short, soft hair in a wide range of colors and patterns.

Behavior

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are naturally shy and can be skittish, and need a lot of gentle socialization and interaction to overcome their shyness and bond with humans.

Lifespan

10-12 years.

Health Care

The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is prone to a jaw condition known as malocclusion, which makes them unable to wear down their own teeth.

Rabbits suffering from malocclusion need trips to the veterinarian to have their teeth filed, and it’s important to find a veterinarian who is experienced with rabbits because these tiny breeds can be fragile and difficult to handle.

All rabbits should always be observed for behavioral changes that indicate sickness, inspected frequently for any signs of injury, and get an annual checkup with a veterinarian who knows rabbits.

Food

Netherland Dwarves do not need any special food or diet, but all rabbits need access to clean water, fresh hay, and nutritious food pellets.

Like any rabbit, a Netherland Dwarf will enjoy an occasional treat.

Maintenance

The short hair of a Netherland Dwarf only needs brushing during shedding season, and only as necessary.

These tiny rabbits require very little space in order to have enough room for play and exercise and should be kept indoors because they need protection from the weather and from predators.

While most rabbits are prone to chew and need healthy chew toys, the Netherland Dwarf typically does less damage than larger breeds.

Related Questions

What breed of rabbit makes the best pet?

While every rabbit has its own personality, the best rabbit breeds for pets are the Holland Lop, the Lionhead, and the English Lop.

These breeds are sociable, adorable, and easy to care for.

How many rabbit breeds are there?

There are at least 305 recognized breeds of domesticated rabbits around the world, but there are potentially hundreds more that are not widely known outside of their country or community.

What is the smallest breed of rabbit?

The smallest breed of rabbit is the Netherland Dwarf.

Breed standards in the British Rabbit Council limit these rabbits to an adult weight of just 2.5 pounds.

What breed is the biggest rabbit?

The biggest breed of rabbit is the Flemish Giant, which are the biggest rabbits overall.

The largest individual rabbits, however, have been Continental (also known as German) Giants, which can weigh nearly 50 pounds and measure over 4 feet long. 

What is the calmest rabbit breed?

The calmest rabbit breeds are the Himalayan, the Flemish Giant, and the English Spot.

Conclusion

Rabbits make excellent pets because they are friendly, intelligent, and curious companions who are also adorably cute and soft to pet.

They are smart enough to learn simple tricks, and most pet rabbits can also be litterbox trained.

With some basic attention to food, housing, and rabbit-proofed safe places, they are fairly low maintenance and extremely enjoyable pets.

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