Men's Articles

Breed Talk

Breed: Dwarf Hotot

Origins: A relatively new breed that gained official recognition only in the 1980s. It was developed in Germany, with red-eyed whites, Netherland Dwarfs and Blanc de Hotots in its ancestry.

Size: Small. Weighs less than 3 pounds.

Looks: This rabbit's most distinctive markings are its eyebands- a narrow, neat, black ring around each eye. The bands should be the same width all around the eye. Has a round, compact body with fine, dense fur, and a rounded g head. Erect, well-furred ears about two inches long.

Characteristics: Active, alert, eager and affectionate.

Colors: White with black markings.

Special facts: Dwarf Herons meant for showing should be all-white, with only the black eye-bands as markings. However, it is common for pet Dwarf Hotots to have other markings on their bodies and ears - as this is such a new breed, it is still a "work in progress"!

Breed: Dutch

Origins: One of the oldest known rabbit breeds, believed to have originated in Holland or Belgium. It was developed into the modern-day breed after it reached England in the latter half of the 19th century.

Size: Size, Medium. Weighs around 3 and 1/2 pounds to 5 pounds.

Looks: This is one "well-dressed" bunny! Its smart appearance comes from its well-defined markings on cheeks, neck and saddle,, with a white blaze, white feet and chest. The body is compact, stocky and well-rounded. Ears should be in proportion to the rest of the body, and stand erect on a rounded head. Clear, bright eyes. The medium-shock coat is glossy, with a fine undercoat.

Characteristic: Lively, sociable, gentle, energetic, needs quite a lot of space to run about in. Poorly handled Dutch cabbies can be jumpy and wary.

Colors: Up to 16, including black, blue, chocolate, tortoise, steel, brown gray
and yellow.

Special Facts: Never breed from a female Dutch rabbit that is one year old or older, because after that age, her pelvic bones fuse. Gestation and delivery could involve surgery, or worse.

Breed: Lionhead

Origins: The origins of Lionhead rabbits are still under debate. They are believed to have bred in Belgium in the 1990's by crossing Swiss Fox and Belgian Dwarf rabbits, and possibly Jersey Woollies or Dwarf Angoras also. However, some experts believe the Lionhead dates back much further than that, and its exact ancestry is not certain.

Small. Weighs about 3 pounds.

Looks: Cobby, well-rounded body with a well-formed head and muzzle. Ears are short-furred, and stand erect at no more than 3 inches long. The mane is long and distinct, forming a full circle around the head, with a "fringe" between the ears. The rest of the coat should only be of medium length. Eyes may be red or blue.

Characteristics:  Good-tempered, friendly, gentle, loves attention and affection.

Colors: Many marking types including self, shaded, agouti, harlequin, pointed white and others, each of which may cover many color variations like black, blue, lilac, Siamese sable, chinchilla, opal and others.

Special Facts: The gene that expresses itself in the Lionhead's pronounced mane is the first dominant genetic mutation to be recorded by rabbit breeders in many decades. The last previous documented mutation in fancy rabbits was that for satin fur in 1932.

Breed: American Fuzzy Lop

Origins: These rabbits were descended from Holland Lops, as a result of attempts to develop different markings (Holland Lops initially only had solid colors). Crossing with English Spots and French Angoras apparently had varied effects, such as the "right" markings but "wrong" fur type, and a "wool" fur type from a recessive gene. Around 1980, American breeder Patty GreeneKarl worked with the recessive "woolly" gene to breed "fuzzy" Holland Lops. From there, she developed a new breed, the American Fuzzy Lop, officially recognised in 1988.

Size: Small to medium, 3 and 1/2 pounds to 4 pounds.

Looks: This cute bunny has a round and cobby body, short lop ears that hang about one inch below the jaw, and a flat, wide face. It has a "no neck" appearance, with a proportionally large head. Fur is dense and long.

Characteristics: Affectionate, loving, sweet-tempered.

Colors: Nineteen recognised colors, including tortoiseshell, chocolate, lilac, chinchilla, squirrel, fawn and others.

Special Facts: Adult American Fuzzy Lops are easier to groom than juvenile ones. Youngsters have soft coats that matt easily, so they need careful daily grooming. Once they mature and grow their "woolly" adult coats, these will be easier to care for.

Breed: Rex

Origins: The Rex rabbit is believed to have originated in France, when a gene mutation in wild rabbits resulted in individuals whose outer guard hairs ended up shorter so that they were the same length as the softer undercoat. This made the entire coat feel very thick, plush and velvety. The breed was improved over a number of years, then exhibited in 1924. Rex rabbits were initially bred for the fur trade, but have since become popular pet and show bunnies too.

Size: Medium. About 7 pounds.

Looks: The hairs seem to almost be at right angles to the skin, and look as if they have just been trimmed. The same gene that causes the shortening of the guard hairs is also responsible for the rabbit's curly whiskers and brows, and in some individuals, slight curling of the hairs behind the head. The body is fairly muscular.

Characteristics: Intelligent, playful, generally sweet-tempered, but some males can get bad-tempered when mature, and may bite.

Colors: Many colors in both solid and broken patterns.

Special Facts: Rexes need plenty of exercise, and should be cared for by adults or older children. Because they are rather substantial in weight, they must be lifted properly by carers with more physical strength than a small child. Adult Rex rabbits that are lifted incorrectly may struggle, scratch and bite.

Breed: Mini Rex

Origins: Mini Rex rabbits have Rex and Netherland Dwarf blood in their ancestry. A Texan breeder, Mona Berryhill, started developing the breed in 1984, with a male Dwarf Rex and a small-sized female Rex. After some improvements, a number of color varieties of the Mini Rex were recognised in 1988 by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Some others, including Chocolate and Black, took up till the early 1990's to gain official acceptance. New colors are still being developed.

Size:  Medium. About 4 and a 1/2 pounds.

Looks: Short-bodied, with short, thick, erect ears. Well-proportioned. Especially when viewed from behind, a well-bred Mini Rex on all fours should look about as tall as it is wide. Coat looks lustrous and feels very plush and velvety as the guard hairs are the same length as the undercoat hairs.

Characteristics: Generally good-tempered, affectionate, loving, active.

Colors: Many colour types, including himalayan, opal, tortoise, white, chocolate, blue.

Special Facts: Like other Dwarf breeds, Mini Rexes have a chance of producing young that inherit dwarfing genes from both parents, resulting in "double dwarfing" and a smaller-sized offspring than normal. These small "peanut" offspring usually die within days or weeks.

Breed: Mini Lop

Origins: This relatively new breed of rabbit originated in Germany, as a small variety called Klein Widder, which was probably descended from bigger German lops. An American breeder took it to the United States where he attempted to further reduce the breed's size and introduce more colours. The rabbit was exhibited as the Mini Lop in 1974. It underwent further improvements through other American breeders, and was fmally recognised in 1980.

Size: Small. Below 3 and 1/2 pounds.
Muscular, compact body with broad shoulders, sitting atop short, heavy legs. Well-formed, sturdy head, with long, well-furred ears hanging close to the cheeks. This bunny has a thick and glossy coat too.

Characteristics: Generally friendly, good-tempered and gentle.

Colors: Many color groups and patterns.

Special Facts: Mini Lops, like Dwarf Lops, should be groomed well and regularly to remove shedding hair, because these little rabbits can die if they ingest too much fur when licking themselves.

Breed: Brittania Petite

Origins: The Brittania Petite is also known as the Polish rabbit, or the English Polish rabbit, In spite of these names, it is believed to have originated in Belgium, from Dutch, Himalayan and other common rabbits! The Belgians bred it for its meat, but it became a popular pet and show rabbit. It was exhibited in England as early as 1884.

Size: Small to medium. Between 2 and a 1/2 and 4 pounds. Early examples of the breed tended to be bigger than the generally smaller individuals popular today.

Looks: Compact but delicate looking. Has longer front legs than many fancy breeds. Erect ears atop a neat, wedge-shaped face. Coat is short and silky. Active, high-spirited, can be nervous and sometimes aggressive.

Colors: Its most popular show color is the "red-eyed white" - these are true albinos, unlike those with blue eyes. From the 1950's, colored Polish rabbits were recognised, with color patterns like black, chocolate, blue, sable marten, and chestnut agouti.

Special Facts: They may look sweet and be very popular as pets, but Polish rabbits are not always easy to handle, so they do not make ideal pets for inexperienced owners, or for children, who may accidentally drop and hurt them.

Breed: Lionhead Lop

Origins: Lionhead Lops were bred by crossing Lionhead rabbits with Holland Lops to get a bunny with the pronounced mane of the Lionhead, but with the floppy ears of the Holland Lop. They were introduced at around the same time as the Lionhead, in the late 1990's. It is still not recognised in most countries as having a consistent breed type.

Size: Small. Usually around 3 pounds.

Looks: Cobby, well-rounded body with lop ears and a distinct mane. Head well-formed and seems big in proportion to the body. Appearance is not always consistent as the breed is still being improved and standardised.

Looks: Generally affectionate, friendly, loves attention.

Characteristics: Various colors, many still being developed by crossing with other breeds.

Special Facts: The Lionhead Lops mane can be more prone to matting than that of the Lionhead. And just because a young rabbit has a mane, it does not mean it will keep it for life. Some individuals' manes may moult and then never grow back.


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