Bouncy, fluffy, and oh so cute – who doesn’t love rabbits? With over 50 breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, rabbits come in all shapes, sizes, colors and personality types. Are you curious about your own rabbit’s breed and background? Unravel the mystery of your bunny’s genetics with this comprehensive guide! Learn to identify distinctive characteristics like body type, ear carriage, markings, and weight to pinpoint the breed. From the tiny 2 pound Netherland Dwarf to the 20 pound Flemish Giant, find out what to look for in small, medium, large, and giant rabbit breeds. Get ready to hop down the rabbit breed identification trail!
How to Know the Breed of Your Rabbit
There are many different breeds of domestic rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). Knowing the breed of your rabbit can provide insight into their size, appearance, temperament and care requirements. This article will cover how to identify common rabbit breeds according to their size category.
American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) Recognized Rabbit Breeds
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes over 50 different rabbit breeds. These breeds are categorized by the ARBA into 6 groups: 4 heavyweight breeds, 6 lightweight breeds, 13 medium weight breeds, 19 heavyweight breeds, 5 giant breeds, and unstandardized breeds. Rabbits range in size from 2-20 pounds. Some breeds are classified based on their fur type, body type, color patterns, or origins. When identifying your rabbit's breed, consider their full grown size, ear shape, fur characteristics, color patterns and body type.
Small rabbit breeds (up to 5 lbs)
Small rabbit breeds typically weigh less than 5 pounds as adults. They make great pets for people with limited space. Small rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA include:
American Fuzzy Lop
The American Fuzzy Lop is a small breed with lop ears that hang down on both sides of their head. They have a compact body type and grow to be 2-4 pounds. Their coat is rollback fur that appears wooly. Common colors are broken marked like tortoiseshell.
The Britannia Petite is the smallest ARBA recognized breed at only 1.5-3.5 pounds. They are compact with short ears that stand upright. Their fur is rollback with a dense undercoat. Common colorations are black, blue, chocolate, lilac, chestnut agouti, opal, siamese sable, and broken marked.
The Dwarf Hotot is all white with black eye bands encircling their eyes. They have compact bodies with rounded hindquarters. Their ears are short and upright. Average weight is 3-4 pounds.
Himalayans were derived from the Crossbreed between a white domestic rabbit and a wild Argente Brun rabbit. They weigh 2.5-4.5 pounds and have compact bodies and short upright ears. Himalayans are distinguished by their white fur accented with black points on the nose, ears, feet and tail – similar to a Siamese cat.
The Holland Lop is another dwarf lop-eared rabbit that weighs 2-4 pounds as an adult. Their fur is rollback and dense. Common colorations include broken marked, solid, shaded, agouti, pointed white, and tortoise.
The Jersey Wooly is a compact small breed with rollback fur that resembles wool. They are 1.5-3.5 pounds with short upright ears. Jersey Woolies come in many color variations – both solid and broken marked patterns.
The distinctive feature of the Lionhead rabbit is a mane of longer fur around their head. Their bodies are compact and rounded. Average weight is 3-3.75 pounds. Lionheads have upright ears and rollback fur over their body. They come in many color variations.
The Mini Rex breed was derived from breeding small Rex rabbits. They have plush, dense fur with upright ears. Average weight is 3.5-4.5 pounds. Mini Rex rabbits come in a wide variety of solid and broken group colorations.
Mini Satins are a smaller version of the Satin breed. They weigh 3-4.5 pounds with compact bodies and upright ears. Their fur has a fine silky texture. Common colors include red, black, chocolate, opal, copper, blue and broken marked variations.
Netherland Dwarf rabbits are naturally small, weighing 2-2.5 pounds as adults. They have compact rounded bodies with upright ears. Their fur is rollback and dense. Netherland Dwarfs come in a wide variety of solid and broken marked color patterns.
The Polish rabbit breed has a distinctive mane of standing fur behind their head and soft rollback fur over the rest of their body. Adults weigh 2.5-3.5 pounds. Polish rabbits have compact bodies with upright ears. Broken and shaded color patterns are common.
Medium (5 – 8 lbs)
Medium rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA typically weigh between 5-8 pounds as adults. Some of the most popular pet rabbit breeds fall in this category. Medium breeds include:
The Belgian Hare is an elegant, slender breed that can reach 6-8 pounds. They have long slender legs, upright ears, and fine glossy fur. Common colors include red, black, and tan.
The Dutch breed has distinctive color markings – a white blaze on their face and chest, white front and rear paws, and colored saddle marking across their center. They weigh 4-5.5 pounds with compact bodies and upright ears.
The English Angora is easily distinguished by its long, soft, silky angora fur coat. They weigh 5.5-7.5 pounds with compact bodies and upright ears. English Angoras require extensive grooming. Common colors include white, ruby-eyed white, sable, and broken marked.
The signature markings of the English Spot breed are colored spots across their white fur and bodies. Average weight is 5-8 pounds. They have compact bodies with upright ears.
As the name implies, Florida Whites are all white in color. They are medium-sized rabbits weighing 4-6 pounds with semi-arched bodies and short upright ears.
The Harlequin rabbit exhibits a unique Japanese pattern in their fur. Base colors are orange, chocolate, or lilac with white or yellow bands on the tips of the fur. They are compact rabbits with upright ears weighing 5-7 pounds.
Havanas have short, plush fur that is blue-grey in color described as "havana fur". They are medium-sized rabbits with commercial body types and upright ears weighing 4-6 pounds.
The Lilac breed has soft gray fur described as a dusty lavender lilac color. They are compact rabbits with upright ears weighing 4.5-6.5 pounds.
The Mini Lop is a dwarf version of the French Lop with signature lop ears that hang down on both sides of the head. Average weight is 4.5-6 pounds. Mini Lops have compact commercial style bodies and come in a wide range of color patterns.
The Satin Angora breed has medium-length silky angora fur with a satin sheen. Their compact bodies weigh 5.5-7.5 pounds with upright ears. Satin Angoras require regular brushing and grooming.
Silver rabbits are gray in color over their whole body including belly and eyes. They are compact rabbits with commercial style bodies weighing 4.5-7 pounds with upright ears.
The Silver Martin is distinguished by their deep charcoal gray and white color pattern. Charcoal covers the back, face feet, legs, and tail, while the belly and underside are white. They are medium-sized rabbits weighing 5-7.5 pounds.
Despite the name, Standard Chinchillas are not related to chinchillas. Their fur resembles a chinchilla coat in coloration. The fur is creamy white ticked with black across the back and sides. Average weight is 5.5-7 pounds.
Tan rabbits are a medium-sized commercial breed ranging from pale fawn to dark red tan in color. They weigh 4-6 pounds with compact bodies and upright ears.
The Thrianta is named for its unique orange coloration resembling a ripe orange. They are medium-sized rabbits with commercial style bodies weighing 4.5-6 pounds.
Large (8lbs or larger)
The large rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA weigh a minimum of 8 pounds at maturity. Some giant breeds can weigh up to 20 pounds. Popular large breeds include:
The American rabbit breed is all white in color with pink eyes. They have commercial style medium to long bodies weighing 9-12 pounds.
Despite the name, American Chinchillas are not related to Chinchillas. Their fur resembles a chinchilla, colored pearl gray ticked with black. They have commercial style bodies weighing 9-12 pounds.
American Sables have fur that is black or gray tipped in black with brown undercolor. They are large commercial rabbits weighing 8-11 pounds with upright ears.
The Argente Brun breed exhibits a slate blue color with fawn banding. They are medium to large sized rabbits weighing 8-11 pounds.
The Beveren is a large rabbit breed weighing 8.5-12 pounds. They are long with commercial style bodies. Common coat colors include blue, black, white and brown.
Blanc de Hotot
Blanc de Hotot rabbits are all white with black around the eyes and nostrils. They have upright ears and commercial style bodies weighing 8-11 pounds.
Californians are distinguished by their white fur and pink eyes. They have commercial style bodies ideal for meat production weighing 8-12 pounds.
Champagne d’Argents have silver fur described as a warm gray with peach undertones. They are medium to large rabbits weighing 7-12 pounds.
The Checkered Giant breed exhibits a distinct checkered pattern of white and colored fur. Average weight is 10-12 pounds. They have commercial style bodies.
Cinnamon rabbits have reddish brown fur described as cinnamon in color. They are large rabbits with commercial style bodies weighing 9-11 pounds.
Creme d’Argents have smooth, creamy fur similar to the Champagne d’Argent breed. Average weight is 8-11 pounds for this medium-large rabbit.
English Lops are distinguished by their extremely long lop ears that drape below their head. They have broad, muscular bodies weighing 9-14 pounds. Many color variations are recognized.
The Flemish Giant is one of the largest breeds, weighing 12-20 pounds. They have semi-arched commercial style bodies and upright ears. Many color variations exist.
The French Angora breed has long soft angora fur up to 7 inches in length. Their bodies are commercial in style and weigh 7.5-10.5 pounds. Regular grooming is essential.
Like the English Lop, French Lops are known for their long lop ears that hang below their head. They have commercial style bodies weighing 8-14 pounds.
Giant Angoras are distinguished by their long angora coats up to 6 inches long. They weigh 8.5-12.5 pounds and require frequent grooming.
Giant Chinchillas have chinchilla colored fur – pearl gray ticked with black. They are large rabbits with commercial style bodies weighing 12-15 pounds.
The New Zealand breed exhibits a muscular commercial body type ideal for meat and fur production. Average weight is 9-12 pounds. They come in a variety of colors.
Palomino rabbits have golden fur similar to a palomino horse. They are medium-large rabbits weighing 8-11 pounds with upright ears.
Rex rabbits have plush, velvet-like fur that is dense and soft. They have commercial style bodies and upright ears weighing 7.5-10.5 pounds. Many color varieties exist.
The Rhinelander breed exhibits a tricolor pattern of black, red, and yellow fur. They are large rabbits with commercial style bodies weighing 8-12 pounds on average.
Satin rabbits are distinguished by their fine, silky fur with a satin sheen. They have commercial style bodies and upright ears weighing 8-11 pounds.
Silver Fox rabbits exhibit silver fur that is black ticked with white. They are large rabbits with commercial style bodies weighing 10-12 pounds.
Identifying your rabbit's breed can provide useful insight into their adult size, appearance, temperament and care requirements. The ARBA recognizes over 50 breeds that range in size from 2-20 pounds. Consider your rabbit's ears, fur type, body shape, coloration and markings when identifying their breed. Knowing your rabbit's breed will allow you to better understand their behaviors, personality, and needs as pets. Proper care and housing can ensure your rabbit lives a long, happy, and healthy life.