Rabbits and hares are not the same

Our domesticated rabbits are so closely related to their wild ancestors that they are both regarded as the same species. They are descended from the European Wild Rabbit which came from south west Europe. The latin term for the species is Oryctolagus Cuniculus, and they belong to the family Leporine. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not rodents. However, like rodents, their teeth continue to grow throughout their life. Many different rabbit breeds have been developed over the course of their domestication. This has resulted in a great variation of sizes, colouration and fur properties.

Wild Rabbit


  • Lives in big groups
  • Body size: up to 45cms
  • Ear-size: shorter than the head
  • Weight: approx. 1.5-2.0kg
  • Gives birth to altricial young
  • Born naked, hairless and closed eyes
  • Gestation period: 30-32 days
  • Eye colour: dark brown
  • Hindlimbs: relatively short and strong; less springiness; suitable for digging and burying
  • Forelimbs: radius and ulna same thickness and next to one another
  • Chest is same high as wide
  • Scut is distinctly shorter
  • When moving scut is upright
  • Number of chromosomes: 44
  • Typically lives asocially
  • Body-size: 50-70cms long outstretched
  • Ear-size: longer than the head
  • Weight: approx. 5.0-6.5kg
  • Gives birth to precocial young
  • Born with hair and open eyes
  • Gestation period: 40-44 days
  • Eye colour: light yellow to orange
  • Hindlimbs: long and strong; great springiness; runner type (up to 40mph)
  • Forelimbs: radius and ulna weak, and behind one another
  • Chest is higher than wide
  • Scut about 7-12cm
  • When moving, scut hangs slightly
  • Number of chromosomes: 48

Domestic Rabbit

Small, Normal Hair Breeds
2.0-3.5 kg
Eg. Mini Lop, Dutch

Medium, Normal Hair Breeds
3.5-5.5 kg
Eg. Rhinelander, Rex

Giant, Normal Hair Breeds
Over 5.5 kg
Eg. Flemish Giant, Checkered Giant

Dwarf Breeds
Up to 2.0kg
Eg. Netherlands Dwarf, Dwarf Lop

Short Hair Breeds
Up to 4.5kg
Eg. White Rex, Blue Grey Rex, Mini Rex

Long Hair Breeds
Very long hair or wool
Eg. Angora

Hair Structure Breeds
Up to 4.0kg
Eg. Blue Satin, Black Satin

Dwarf Rabbit
This term includes all small rabbits. Breeds such as Netherland Dwarf, Britannia Petite, Teddy Dwarf, Dwarf Hotot, Jersey Wooly, Polish, Lionhead, Miniature Lion Lop, Miniature Lop, Miniature Cashmere Lop, American Fuzzy Lop, & Plush Lop (Miniature).

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