Your Guide to Selecting a Rabbit
After researching and soul searching, you have decided to add a rabbit to your family. But with so many different breeds available, which one is right for you? Here are the most popular choices:
Netherland dwarf. Netherland dwarf rabbits are often called gems of the rabbit world – small, round creatures with big personalities. They are the second most popular breed among the 45 pure breed rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). They are also the smallest breed of all pure breed rabbits. A mature Netherland dwarf has an ideal weight of 2 pounds, and a maximum allowed weight of 2 1/2 pounds.
Polish. Despite the name, the Polish rabbit is thought to have originated in Belgium and has been exhibited in England since 1884. Today, the Polish rabbit is now considered more of a pet and is classified as a fancy breed. They are small rabbits with short ears that touch each other all the way to the tips. Due to their small size, the Polish rabbit is often confused with the Netherland dwarf, although the Polish is a little larger and the head is not rounded. The Polish rabbit weighs about 3 to 4 pounds.
Californian. The Californian rabbit is a true American original. The Californian has erect ears and is moderate in size, weighing around 7 to 10 pounds (3.5 to 4.75 kilograms). The original coloration of this breed was very similar to the Himalayan. With a predominantly white body and black on the feet, nose, ears and tail, this color pattern is called normal today. The Californian rabbit is now available in chocolate, blue and lilac, all developed in Great Britain.
Dutch rabbit. The Dutch rabbit, easily identifiable by his characteristic color pattern, was once the most popular of all rabbit breeds. Unfortunately, after dwarf rabbits were developed, the popularity of the small rabbit dwindled. However, he still remains in the top 10 and a favorite of rabbit lovers worldwide. This is a fairly small breed, weighing between 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 pounds. Its most striking aspect is the marking pattern, and it is available in eight different colors and a few unique multi-colored versions.
New Zealand rabbit. The New Zealand is a large rabbit weighing about 9 to 12 pounds. The ears are erect with a rounded tip. The coat color varies from red to white, black or blue and the hair is coarse. The New Zealand rabbit is considered the first utility breed developed in America. The name of the New Zealand may be based on earlier thoughts that the breed was developed from rabbits imported from New Zealand in the early 1900s.
Lop-eared rabbits. Lop eared rabbits, easily recognized by long ears flopping down alongside the head, may be the oldest breed of domestic rabbits. There are currently at least eight different breeds of lop-eared rabbits, all arising from the English lop. This breed has the longest ears of any rabbit and the ears drag the ground. Typically, the ears are measured from tip to tip and should be at least 21 inches or more. The English lop weighs at least nine pounds.
Angora. Because of its long luxurious coat, the Angora rabbit is a popular breed. Originally bred only for its wool, the Angora is now also bred for human companionship. Even though the Angora is an excellent pet, the wool can still be harvested, spun and woven without harming the rabbit, resulting in soft gorgeous blankets and clothing. In other words, you can have your Angora rabbit and wear it too.
However, they require frequent grooming and need to have hair removed every three months.
Jersey wooly. The Jersey wooly is one of the newer breeds of rabbit. Developed in the early 1980s by Bonnie Seeley in New Jersey, the Jersey wooly is a small rabbit with an easy-care coat. This is an ideal small pet rabbit with a beautiful very easy-to-care-for coat. This is now a popular pet breed and comes in a variety of colors.
The Jersey wooly typically weighs less than 3.5 pounds. The ears are small and erect, standing about 2 to 3 inches in height. The head is bold and the body wooly.