Types of Rabbits – Discover information about the different types of rabbits and their classifications.
Article by Gabriel Billones
Overall, there are 47 different breeds of rabbits, according to the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). These 47 breeds are classified into 5 groups according to different categories. They are commonly classified according to rabbit body type, rabbit fur type, rabbit sizes, rabbit purpose and domestic vs. wild rabbits.
According to ARBA, rabbits are usually classified according to body type. Under this category are 5 different classifications. These are commercial rabbit breeds, compact rabbit breeds, cylindrical rabbit breeds, full-arch rabbit breeds and semi-arch rabbit breeds.
Commercial rabbits, the most common ones, are actually being used for production and meat purposes. They have an ability to grow fast and also have large meaty loins. They are usually compared to ‘compact rabbit breeds’ even though they are relatively larger in size compared to them. Compact breeds, on the other hand, are typically identified because of their well-balanced statute most especially when sitting.
Cylindrical rabbit breed, which is made up of Himalayan rabbits only, are identified because of their cylindrical body shape that gets highlighted when they are placed on the table top. They are often compared to Californian rabbits because of their similar body characteristics, except the shape.
Full-arch rabbits are called as such because of the shape they form when they are standing. They seem to be always alert and energetic and are ready to run. They have erect ears and spotted fur coat.
Characterized with low shoulders and a high hip, the semi-arch rabbits are considered to be the largest ones in the breeds identified by ARBA, which is why they’re also called as ‘gentle giants’.
We also have the classification based on rabbit furs located in their pelts. The 4 classifications under this category are normal rabbit fur, rex rabbit fur, satin rabbit fur and wool rabbit fur.
The most common classification of rabbit fur, where majority of the breeds fall, is the normal rabbit fur. And there are two sub-types under this category – the fly-back fur and the rollback fur.
A fly-back fur coat shows a coat that will ‘fly-back’ to its original position when rubbed towards the opposite direction of the fur’s natural state. Roll-back fur coat just literally allows the fur to ‘roll back’ after running your hands into it.
A softer and more velvety texture fur coat is what the rare rex rabbit fur is known for. It’s so rare that only two rabbit breeds exhibit this kind of rabbit fur – rex and mini rex. Another soft fur coat is that of satin. It’s fur is generally softer compared to the normal rabbit fur. And just like that of the rex rabbit fur, only two breeds have this kind of coating – the satin and mini satin rabbit breeds.
The last breed classification under ‘rabbit fur category’ is the ‘wool rabbit fur’. It’s called as such because its fur is similar to the sheep’s wool except that it is of a higher density. Wool rabbit fur is also called Angora rabbit fur.
The next interesting classification for rabbit breeds is based upon their sizes and weight when they are already fully-grown. These are small rabbit breeds, medium rabbit breeds, large rabbit breeds and giant rabbit breeds.
All the rabbit breeds that weigh less than 6 pounds (2.7 kg) in their full-grown stage generally fall under the small rabbits. Medium rabbit breeds are those that are between 6 pounds (2.7 kg) through 9 pounds (4.1.kg).
Those over 9 pounds (4.1 kg) to 11 pounds (5 kg) are called large rabbit breeds. Lastly, those that are heavier than 11 pounds (5 kg) are considered giant rabbit breeds.
The next classification we have is based on the purpose behind the raising of the rabbit itself. Fancy rabbits are for showing purposes and generally to be pets in the house. Meat rabbits are those that are raised and sold so that their meat can be sold later on. Research rabbits whose purpose is to supplement research and development also are raised and bred specifically for that purpose alone. Textiles rabbits on the other hand are those who were raised because of their fur.
The last classification that we have is on their living habitat – the domestic and wild rabbits. All of the rabbit breeds that we have classified above are domestic and most pet rabbits are domestic rabbits. They are the ones that are able to survive in a domestic environment such as the house. Wild rabbits however cannot survive if removed from their natural habitat, which is the wild forest.
Rabbits are still some of the most lovable pets to have around in the world. And it’s important that we get to know who they really are so that we can improve our ways of attending to their needs.
Read the following books to get started with your rabbit adventure and or accelerate your success…
Description: A comprehensive guide to breeding and caring for rabbits. Highly acclaimed and now in its third edition.
Description: A very useful guide on the subject of raising and caring for pet rabbits. Written by author Aaron Webster and highly recommended. Great companion book to Raising Rabbits 101.