With over 50 breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, rabbit owners have plenty of options when selecting a pet bunny. But a handful of breeds stand out as truly rare finds in the rabbit world. These uncommon varieties are prized for their unique coat colors, markings, body types, and temperaments that set them apart. For experienced rabbit owners, the appeal of owning a rare breed allows them to form an extra special bond and helps preserve the continuation of the breed. While these rabbits may not suit first-time owners, they are covenant treasures for devotees who appreciate their rarity. Read on to learn about some of the most exceptionally rare rabbit breeds that bring unique qualities to the rabbit fancy.
Rare Rabbit Breed List
There are over 50 different rabbit breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), but some breeds stand out as being particularly rare. Rabbits like the Blanc de Hotot, Silver Fox, Cinnamon, Lilac, Sable Marten, Palomino, Beveren, Giant Chinchilla, Checkered Giant, and Crème D'Argent are considered rare breeds due to their lower population numbers compared to more common breeds like the Netherland Dwarf or Mini Rex.
Rare rabbit breeds often have very specific coat colors, markings, or body types that set them apart. Their unique characteristics coupled with smaller gene pools make them harder to find than mixed breed "mutt" rabbits. While the rarest rabbits may not be ideal pets for first-time or casual owners, they are prized by experienced breeders and exhibitors who appreciate their rarity and special qualities.
Some of the rarest rabbit breeds have fewer than 200 registrations in the ARBA breed census each year. However, even breeds with modest numbers under 1,000 can still be challenging to locate compared to popular breeds with tens of thousands of registrations annually.
Rarity is subjective, but when you start researching rabbit breeds, you quickly notice that certain breeds pop up far less frequently compared to the Dutch, Mini Lop, or Lionhead rabbits that dominate the pet market. If a breed has less than 500 registrations per year, it likely qualifies as "rare" in the broader rabbit world.
While not endangered, rare breeds often benefit from dedicated breeders focused on preserving bloodlines and promoting the unique traits of the breed. Owning a rare rabbit is a labor of love that comes with the responsibility of protectively stewarding the breed.
Blanc de Hotot Rabbit
The elegant Blanc de Hotot (pronounced "blahn de hoh-TOE") is distinguished by its solid white body color accented by black eye bands and black tipped ears. True to its name, this breed originated near the village of Hotot-en-Auge in Normandy, France in the early 1900s.
In 1922, the breed made its way to the United States and was accepted into the ARBA standard in 1925. However, rabbit losses from WWII nearly decimated the breed. Fortunately, it was revived in the 1970s using stock imported from Europe.
The ideal Blanc de Hotot has a compact, rounded body type weighing 9-11 lbs. The head is bold and round topped with ears that stand perfectly upright. Fine dark eye bands circle the dark ruby eyes. The all-white coat should be dense and glossy.
True to their refined appearance, Blanc de Hotot rabbits have a calm, friendly disposition. Their medium size makes them a good choice for families with children. Despite the striking eye bands, they do not have vision problems like some spotted breeds.
While beautiful, the Blanc de Hotot is one of the rarer ARBA breeds. The 2020 census reported just 115 registrations, making it the 7th rarest breed. The striking coat commands attention at shows, but extensive grooming is required to keep the white coat pristine. Owners must be diligent about protecting their rabbits from soiling and yellowing of the fur.
Those willing to put in the effort will find the gentle, affectionate Blanc de Hotot can make a delightful pet. But as a rare breed, finding breeders can be difficult and availability is limited. Pet owners may need patience to locate these eye-catching rabbits.
Silver Fox Rabbit
The handsome Silver Fox rabbit descended from a genetic mutation that occurred inbreeding Chinchilla rabbits in the 1920s. These early silvered rabbits caught the eye of breeders looking to develop a new variety. By the 1930s, the ideal traits were being refined by selective breeding.
The breed was first exhibited in Ohio in 1932 and gained ARBA recognition in 1979. Today, the Silver Fox remains a relatively rare find compared to many rabbit breeds. The striking silver coat continues to charm rabbit enthusiasts.
A medium-sized rabbit, the Silver Fox weighs 6-9 lbs. The body type is compact and well-rounded similar to the American Rabbit breed. The head is full and rounded with medium sized upright ears. The coat color is a rich silver-tipped black base color. The silver guard hairs and black undercoat combine to create a lustrous silver appearance.
In temperament, Silver Fox rabbits are energetic but can be handled easily. They are an active breed that enjoys playing. Proper socialization allows them to become quite friendly. Despite their activity level, they do not have a reputation for skittishness or aggression.
While a beautiful breed, the Silver Fox requires dedicated care to maintain their stellar coat. Regular grooming to remove loose fur is a must. Owners should be prepared to deal with molting twice a year when old fur is shed. Patience during shedding season is a virtue!
For those enamored by their gleaming silver fur, the Silver Fox can be an ideal pet rabbit. But with just 342 registrations in the latest ARBA census, they are challenging to source. Silver Fox rabbits are a stand-out rare breed for the owner willing to spend time keeping their coat in top form.
With its distinctive reddish-brown coat, the Cinnamon is one of the most uniquely colored rabbit breeds. Originally called the Redwood Rabbit when it was first exhibited in California in 1932, the name was changed to Cinnamon in 1939. In 1944, this warm-toned breed was officially recognized by ARBA.
The ideal Cinnamon has a compact, well-rounded body weighing 4.5-6.5 lbs. The head is boldly rounded with erect ears. The rich cinnamon-brown coat color should be uniform across the body. The fur is soft, dense, and roll-back on the haunches to expose a darker undercolor.
Cinnamon rabbits are active and curious. When socialized, they become quite docile and friendly. Their medium-small size makes them a suitable pet for families with older children. Despite their high energy, they can be gentle and sweet.
Thanks to their distinct color, Cinnamon rabbits really stand out. But with just 161 registrations in the ARBA census for 2020, they are a challenging breed to find. Breeders specializing in rare varieties are the best source for locating these warm-colored rabbits.
Cinnamon rabbits require conscientious care of their light-colored coats. Regular brushing prevents staining or fur yellowing. For owners enamored with their cinnamon hue, the breed can make an excellent pet. But their rarity means interested owners will need persistence to find this uniquely-colored rabbit.
Sometimes called Lavender rabbits, the Lilac breed is distinguished by its pastel gray-pink coat resulting from a dilute gene that modifies normal black pigment. After originating as a genetic mutation in Holland Lops in the 1980s, the variety was introduced in the U.S. in the late 1990s and recognized by the ARBA in 2002.
The ideal Lilac rabbit is compact and commercial-type in build. The head is broad and rounded. Large, erect ears stand up from the head. Weighing just 3.5-5.5 lbs., they are a small rabbit breed. The coat color is pale frosty gray shaded with light pink and fawn tones diluted from the normal black pigment. The pinkish eyes match the coat color.
Despite their petite size, Lilac rabbits have lively personalities. They can be skittish if not socialized properly. When handled frequently from a young age, Lilacs become friendly and bond strongly with their owners.
While their soft pastel coat is gorgeous, Lilacl rabbits do require diligent grooming to prevent fur yellowing. Special shampoos may be needed to brighten the coat occasionally. Due to two dilute genes, they can be prone to health issues like bone fragility. Reputable breeders screen carefully for problems.
With just 80 registered in the latest ARBA census, the Lilac is among the rarest of rabbit breeds. But those captivated by the Lilac's fairytale-like fur will find their upkeep worthwhile to own one of these darling rabbits. For owners willing to seek them out, Lilacl can make enchanting additions to a family.
Sable Marten Rabbit
Sometimes called Black Martens, the Sable Marten breed was developed in the 1970s by breeding Sable Tan rabbits with Siamese Sable Rabbits. The goal was to produce an all tan-patterned rabbit with darker points. ARBA recognition swiftly followed in 1979.
True to their origins, Sable Martens have a commercial-style medium body weighing 5-8 lbs. The head is broad with upright ears. The coat pattern has tan fur over the main body with dark sepia to black fur on the ears, nose, tail, and feet. The tan coat can range from pale to a rich orange-brown.
In temperament, Sable Martens are moderately active but not overly energetic. They tend to be calm rabbits that enjoy human interaction once accustomed to handling. Owners comment on their inquisitive and friendly nature when socialized properly.
While a handsome breed, the Sable Marten's elaborate coat requires conscientious care. The light tan fur stains easily and needs protection. Grooming is essential to remove fur and prevent matting. Molting can be extensive with the breed's color pattern.
Sable Marten rabbits are rare with just 116 registrations in the latest ARBA report. But their devotion-worthy temperament combined with their eye-catching coloration make them worth seeking out. Those who connect with the breed's unique look will delight in adding a Sable Marten to their family.
With their golden coat, Palomino rabbits resemble miniature Palomino horses. The breed originated from breeding programs in California and Washington State in the 1990s. The goal was to develop a commercial-style rabbit with a gold-tinged cream coat. ARBA recognition soon followed in 1998.
The ideal Palomino has a compact, muscular body weighing 5.5-8 lbs. The head is broad and bold with upright ears. The striking coat is cream to pale gold over the main body. The fur is tipped in black with rich gold guard hairs. The ears, tail, nose, and feet exhibit darker gold to brown shading.
Palominos have energetic personalities. They are active rabbits that benefit from lots of space for exercise. When socialized patiently, Palominos become quite friendly and bond strongly with their owners. Despite high energy, they respond well to handling.
Grooming is key for maintaining the Palomino's eye-catching gold coat. Shedding can be heavy during molting seasons. Diet can also influence coat color with some vegetables altering shade.
With just 70 registrations in 2020, the golden Palomino is challenging to source. But their devotees find their radiant color and loyal personality well worth the search. For the right owner, the Palomino's golden beauty helps them shine as stunning pets.
Hailing from Beveren, Belgium, the Beveren is one of the larger rabbit breeds. Records indicate they were bred by monks in the 1600s using large rabbits from the French Flanders region. Imported to America in the 20th century, the breed gained ARBA recognition in 1939.
As a larger breed, the Beveren averages 10-12 lbs. The body type is elongated and slender with a broad head and medium-sized ears. The coat is short, glossy, and dense in either a solid blue, black, or white color. Eye color matches the fur.
The docile, gentle nature of Beverens suits them for handling. They tend to be calm rabbits that thrive on attention and interaction with owners. Despite their large size, they are not aggressive animals. Minimal grooming needs also make them low maintenance pets.
Beveren rabbits are less common to encounter with just 241 registrations in 2020. Their larger size can make housing them challenging. But fans of giant rabbit breeds will delight in the Beveren's mellow personality that defies its size. When provided enough space, they make calm, friendly companion rabbits.
Giant Chinchilla Rabbit
Despite the name, Giant Chinchilla rabbits are not related to small Chinchilla pets. Instead, they were developed in the early 1900s by breeding Chinchilla-colored Flemish Giants to produce massive rabbits. By 1919, the breed made its way to America and earned ARBA recognition in 1924.
As one of the largest rabbit breeds, Giant Chinchillas average 15-20 lbs. The body is long with a broad, rounded head. Large drooping ears frame the face. The fur is velvety-soft in a dove gray color sprinkled with black ticking that creates a "chinchilla" effect.
The Giant Chinchilla personality contradicts assumptions about giant prey animals. They tend to be gentle, mellow rabbits that crave affection from their owners. Despite huge size, they often lap-sit and lending themselves to cuddling. Proper socialization enhances their calm demeanor.
Given their larger size, Giant Chinchillas are not common household pets. Just 177 were registered in the latest ARBA census. But fans of giant rabbit breeds will find them an affectionate, sweet-natured breed perfect for the right owner able to provide them ample space.
Checkered Giant Rabbit
The Checkered Giant is a very large rabbit breed known for its striking black and white spotted coat. Originating from a breeding program at the University of California in 1923, the breed was ARBA-recognized just three years later in 1926.
With an average weight of 11-15 lbs., the Checkered Giant has a commercial-style medium to long body. The large head has drooping ears. The broken-pattern coat has black and white spots distributed evenly across the body and head. The eyes are black.
Despite impressive size, Checkered Giants have calm dispositions. They become quite docile when bred and handled frequently. Owners describe them as gentle, friendly rabbits that enjoy human interaction. Their temperament belies their intimidating heavyweight size.
Given caging needs for 15 lb. rabbits, Checkered Giants are not common pets. Just 102 were registered in 2020 making them one of the rarest ARBA breeds. But fans of giant rabbits will delight in the striking checkered coat coupled with an easy-going personality.
Crème D'Argent Rabbit
With their elegantly frosted fur, Crème D'Argent rabbits are essentially the white chocolate version of the Chocolate breed. Originating in France in the early 1900s, the breed spread to England and North America where it became ARBA-recognized in 1927.
The Crème D'Argent has a compact commercial body type. The ideal weight is 6.5-9.5 lbs. The head is bold and broad topped with medium-length upright ears. The coat is dense and roll-back, colored an overall glistening snowy-white shade described as "crème." The pink eyes complete the angelic appearance.
In keeping with their heavenly looks, Crème D'Argents tend to be gentle rabbits with sweet, friendly personalities when well-socialized. They enjoy human interaction and generally have a tolerant, amiable temperament. Their medium size suits them well for handling.
Given their pristine white coat, CRèmes do require diligent grooming to prevent fur yellowing or staining. Owners must take care to protect them from soiling and wet conditions. Providing a clean environment is essential.
Just 78 Crème D'Argents were registered with ARBA in 2020, making them extremely scarce. But their creamy dreamy looks appeal greatly to rabbit lovers. Devotees of the breed will delight in pampering and showing off this angelically-colored rare rabbit variety.
While common pet rabbit breeds are widely available, certain breeds like the Blanc de Hotot, Silver Fox, Cinnamon, Lilac, and Palomino remain quite rare in the rabbit world. Breeds recognized by ARBA can still number under 200 registrations per year and be hard to source. Patience and persistence is needed when acquiring more uncommon rabbit varieties.
Rare breeds often need experienced owners ready to invest time into proper care and grooming. But the appeal of owning a unique rabbit allows devotees to form close bonds with their uncommon bunnies. For those excited by unique coat colors and patterns, a rare breed rabbit can be the perfect match.