Welcome to the third post of the series, covering an A-Z of rabbit breeds. This post will cover breeds from G-I; including some basic titbits about the breed, and some interesting facts. As per my two previous A-Z series, for Dog breeds and Cat breeds, between 1-3 breeds will be covered per letter – accompanied by photo’s of the breed.
In the follow up posts, continuing down the alphabet, I will be writing posts covering breeds from, J-L, M-O, P-R, S-V, and W-Z. If you missed the first post, covering A-C, click here or if you missed the second post, covering D-F, click here.
Weight: 2.9-3.8 kg
Lifespan: 9-12 years
Colours: All colours accepted, including in the butterfly pattern.
Docile in nature with an amicable personality, the German Lop was originally bred as a show rabbit but they also make lovely pets. The French Lop and Netherland Dwarf were bred together in the 1960’s to produce a medium sized lop rabbit. This breed was officially recognised in Germany in the 1970’s and in Britain (by the British Rabbit Association (B.R.A.) in 1990. Today it is one of the most popular breeds of lop amongst pet owners.
Weight: 3-4 kg
Lifespan: 9 years
Colours: All colours and patterns accepted.
The Gotland rabbit has been kept on farms in Sweden, since the 1500’s, mainly for their pelts (skin/fur) and/ or for their meat. Due to the wide farm use of this breed, the genetic diversity of the breed was well preserved – hence the range of accepted colours and patterns. until the 1970’s when showing the breed became quite popular. With the breeding of show variety on the rise, the farm variety were on the decline, which has caused this breed to become very rare; you may not come across many as pets. However, breeders are working at preserving the breed.
Origin: France or Japan
Weight: 2.5-4.3 kg
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Japanese variety: orange and either chocolate, lilac, black or blue.
Magpie variety: white (instead of orange) and either chocolate, lilac, black or blue.
The origin of this breed is somewhat debated: (1) In the late 1800’s in France, the Harlequin rabbit was bred by cross-breeding wild rabbits with Tortoiseshell Dutch rabbits, and later recognised as an official breed around the 1920’s in the USA.
(2) The Harlequin rabbit was bred in Tokyo, Japan – the first record of this breed was in 1872 in Japan and the breed was originally called the Japanese but was renamed during WW2. A breeding pair were brought to France from Japan, by a French rabbit fancier in the late 1800’s. The breed spread throughout Europe and had reached the USA by 1917.
However, what does seem to have been agreed is the two modern varieties: Magpie Harlequin and the Japanese Harlequin – which are different in colouration (as noted above). Mostly seen as pets and/ or show rabbits, this breed remains popular today.
Weight: 2-3 kg
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Colours: Chocolate, black, blue, and broken (similar to a Dalmatian dog coat)
A Dutch rabbit doe, in Holland, had a litter of kits (baby rabbits); one (or more) of the kits being a rich brown in colour – this inspired breeders to create a new breed. Named after the Cuban Havana cigar, due to the colouration of the rabbit resembling the cigars, the Havana rabbit was developed in the 1800’s. In the 1900’s the Havana was recognised in the USA and Europe as an official breed – some colour varieties taking longer to be accepted than others. This breed is a popular family pet.
Weight: 1-2 kg
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Colours: White body with black, blue, chocolate or lilac points (points: ears, nose and feet)
Thought to be one of the oldest rabbit breeds, it would seem the origin of this breed has gotten lost in history. Some believe this breed originated in Asia, some say it originated in the Middle East, whilst others believe it originated somewhere in the Himalayan mountain area – as the name suggests. However, in the early 1900’s this breed is recorded in the USA. Due to their small size, they can be fragile, which makes them unsuitable for small children – in case of accidental injury – however, they are still popular pets.
Inconclusive! No bunny breeds beginning with “I”!
All images are either open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.
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