Rabbits

Top 8 Giant Rabbit Breeds That Make Great Pets

giant rabbit breeds
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Have you ever thought, “I love rabbits, but are there any that aren’t so small and hyperactive?” Then let us introduce you to the large, lazy, and lusciously lumpy giant rabbits that we’ve come to know and love.

Of all the pet rabbits in the world, giant bunnies are some of the chilliest and sweetest you’ll ever encounter. Here, we’ve collected the most common large rabbit breeds in America and loosely define “giant” to mean any breed that regularly grows over 12 pounds.

Filled with historical breed information and interesting tidbits, get your big bunny fix with a little help from our list of 8 giant rabbit breeds!

1. Checkered Giant Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Weight: 11 pounds and up
  • Colors: White with distinctive blue or black markings on eyes, ears, muzzle, flanks, spine, and tail

The Checkered Giant is a handsome, high-energy rabbit that usually grows to around 11-16 pounds.

This is one of the few ARBA recognized “full arch” breeds. The arch designation means that when a Checkered Giant sits up, his belly is completely off the ground, giving a hare-like appearance.

The breed first appeared in Germany in the 1800s but was further refined by the breeder Otto Reinhardt. In the early 1900s, Otto mixed Flemish Giants with Great German Spotted Rabbits to get the white and black or blue Checked Giant we know today.

2. Continental Giant Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Weight: 15-20 pound and up
  • Colors: Varies widely

The undisputed King of Giants Rabbits is the Continental Giant, also known as the German Giant or “Conti.” The largest recorded Continental Giants measure up to 4 feet and 4 inches long, with some reaching a whopping 53 pounds!

Though their prodigious size is their claim to fame, Continental Giants are also well known for their winning personalities. They are curious and playful but also remarkably calm, making them great pets for kids and adults.

There is not much standardization of breeding, so each rabbit’s lineage will vary widely. They are the only breed on this list that is not a recognized by the ARBA.

3. English Lop Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: England
  • Weight: 10.5 pounds and up
  • Colors: Almost any color or pattern, including white, black, chinchilla, blue, chocolate, lilac, sable, pearl, seal, silver, steel, fawn, orange, and red.

Love a lop? Then feast your eyes on absurdly long ears of the English Lop. These giant rabbits generally top out around 12 pounds, and their ears can stretch up to 30 inches! Careful where you step around these big bunnies.

The origins of the English Lop are not well documented, but this breed is thought to be where all other lop-eared rabbit types sprang from. In the 1820s, English Lops were the only game in town when it came to rabbit shows.

But by the 1940s, their popularity had declined due to poor breeding. A dedicated Scottish breeder named Meg Brown infused the dying breed with French Lops in the 1960s, and English Lops have been doing great ever since.

4. Flemish Giant Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: Belgium
  • Weight: 14 pounds and up
  • Colors: Black, blue, fawn, sandy, white, light gray, and steel grey

The gentle and friendly Flemish Giant is the signature giant rabbit breed. They have an excellent reputation as pets and generally weigh anywhere between 10-20 pounds.

Relatives to the Flemish Giant have been recorded by Belgians as far back as the 16th century. They are thought to have been bred from the enormous Patagonian Rabbit (which is now extinct) and the Stone Rabbit.

A particular favorite of Belgian breeders, Flemish Giants, made their way to the United States around the 1890s and has captured the hearts of Americans ever since. Fans also call them “Flemies.”

5. French Lop Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: France
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds and up
  • Colors: Almost any color and pattern imaginable, including white, black, blue, chocolate, chinchilla, lilac, sable, pearl, chestnut, opal, seal, silver, steel, cream, fawn, orange, and red

French Lops are reminiscent of slightly larger English Lops, but a little stubbier and lacking the exceptionally long ears. Many report them to be excellent house pets.

In the mid-19th century, French Lops started as an offshoot of the English version. Through breeding with other giant breeds of the time like the Normandy, French Butterfly, and Flemish Giant, their ears shrank to more manageable proportions.

French Lops were not a recognized breed in France until 1922 and were rare in the United States. But their popularity in America rose with the founding of the Lop Rabbit Club in 1970 and have continued to be a well-loved breed today.

6. Giant Angora Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Weight: 10 pounds and up
  • Colors: ARBA specifies white fur and ruby eyes, but non-standard colors exist as well

The wildest looking giant rabbit by far is the Giant Angora. Looking rather like a huge, furry marshmallow, these bunnies have incredibly long and dense fur covering most of their body, including the ears.

Giant Angoras require a significant amount of grooming to keep healthy and clean. But their amazing wool is prized for its softness and can be used in a variety of crafts.

This particular breed was created by Louise Walsh of Massachusetts and recognized in 1988. In an effort to stand apart from English Angoras in shows, Walsh mixed the small, relatively rare German Angora rabbit with French Lops and Flemish Giants to make these prodigious puffs.

7. Giant Chinchilla Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Weight: 10 pounds and up
  • Colors: Chinchilla

Also known as the “Great Chin”, Giant Chinchillas are the largest of the three varieties of Chinchilla rabbits. They have the same beautiful, silvery, salt & pepper fur but usually a touch darker than their smaller relatives.

The eye-catching color of the chinchilla was first developed in France in the early 1900s. And when the breed came to America in 1919, the breeder Edwin H. Stahl of Missouri created an even larger bunny from Chinchillas, white New Zealands, American Blues, and white Flemish Giants.

Stahl’s ideal Giant Chinchilla doe in 1921 was dubbed the “Million Dollar Princess” by her devoted owner. Though the breed did not live up to her optimistic title, enthusiasts have continued to keep the breed healthy and viable.

8. New Zealand Rabbit

 

 
 
 
 
 
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  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Weight: 11 pounds or so
  • Colors: ARBA requires solid colors in red, black, white with pink eyes, but patterns can also be found

Oddly enough, this easy-going bunny is not a Kiwi but a Yankee. Though rabbit experts and historians are baffled by the origin of the name, everyone can agree that New Zealands make wonderful pets.

The iconic red color of a New Zealand comes from the first variety of the breed developed in California in the early 1900s. They are thought to be a mix of Belgian Hares and the now-extinct Golden Fawn.

Due to their size and temperament, New Zealands are one of the most popular breeds of rabbit in the entire world.

Conclusion

Which is your favorite? The titanic Continental Giant with their unflappable demeanors? The beautiful Giant Chinchilla? Or, perhaps the most classic and well-loved of the giant rabbit breeds, the friendly Flemish Giant?

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran rabbit fancier, we hope this article has helped you find a fluffy new friend or taught you a little something about giant rabbits.

And as the traditional rabbit saying goes: Live, laugh, lump.

Happy lumping!

Lauren
About author

Lauren lives in Memphis with her giant, black, raw vegan roommate: Güstav, the Flemish Giant. A lifelong love of all animals has led her to writing and education. Her critter care resume includes rabbits, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and hamsters... to name a few! She has also worked as a dog trainer, farmhand, and multi-species foster mom for many years.

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