How to Tell What Kind of Rabbit It Is

Determining the breed of a rabbit requires careful evaluation.
Determining the breed of a rabbit requires careful evaluation. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Pet rabbits are available in several different breeds and types. When you purchase a rabbit for a pet or find a rabbit and take it home, you might wonder what type of rabbit it is. According to the website Rabbitweb, 45 recognized breeds of rabbits are available in the United States with more potential breeds being evaluated by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA) as of 2011. A breeder would need to see a rabbit to determine its breed, but you can narrow the choices down to a few based on key characteristics.

Look at the ears. Ears are one of the main identifying factors of rabbit breeds. Notice whether the ears stand up straight or fall to the side in a lopped or floppy ear pattern. Only five recognized breeds have the lopped or floppy ear appearance while the other 40 breeds have ears that stand straight up. The floppy ear breeds are: American Fuzzy Lop, Holland Lop, French Lop, Mini Lop and English Lop. If the ears fall to the ground and drag, the rabbit is an English Lop. All other lop-eared breeds require additional considerations such as the rabbit's adult size and its type of fur.

Weigh the rabbit to determine its size. Wait until the rabbit is at least nine months old before evaluating it by size, as any large-breed rabbit will take at least nine months to reach adult size. Before adulthood, size is not a determining factor. Small breeds get no heavier than 4 pounds. Medium breeds range from a minimum of 3 pounds to a maximum of 7½ pounds, depending on the breed. Large breeds are between 5 and 12 pounds. Giant breed rabbits have no maximum size, but are never smaller than 9 pounds.

Look for differences in the fur. Some rabbit breeds have special fur that is more like wool, often 2 inches in length or longer. Other rabbit breeds have special fur, such as the Velveteen Rabbit plush toy-looking fur that is common to the Rex and Mini Rex breeds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Markings and coloration are often not enough to determine a rabbit's breed.

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