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Rabbit Breeds: part two

Welcome to our second installment of bunny breeds. Here, we learn about breeds recognized by ARBA--the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Today, we'll be exploring pattern/color breeds; those who are judged most on what their color or pattern appearance is. In truth, their pattern or color makes up the whole of their breeding in many cases. Let's learn about some rainbow bunnies.

English Spot

The wonderful English Spot is an incredibly active rabbit that is perfect for those wanting a bunny party every day. You've seen rabbits participating in agility? These little guys are a great candidate for that kind of training and will love you for the extra attention and the exercise. English Spots must be allowed at least two hours of free play per day or they will get neurotic. They may even begin to self-harm. If you cannot keep up with this, and not everyone can, look for a more docile breed.

English Spot rabbits come in black, blue, chocolate, lilac, tortoise, gray, and gold. While color is incredibly important in this breed, so are markings. The herringbone stripe down the back should reach from the base of the ears to the tip of the tail. The butterfly-like marking at the nose should be complete. Spots should adorn both sides of the rabbit and each eye should have a complete ring of color. If you are looking for a pet, this matters a bit less. Those looking for a show prospect should try to find the closest match possible.


The Dutch rabbit is the night to the English Spot's day. These rabbits would much rather hang out on your lap and watch tv (and maybe eat a whole bag of carrot chips) than race around an enclosure. If you're a laidback person, a Dutch would be a great pal for you. They also warm up to strangers quickly with a treat or two and tend to make incredible educational animals for zoos and pet demonstrations.

One of the greatest characteristics of the Dutch is their belted appearance. The split face and belting are absolutely required for show. Acceptable colors are black, blue, chinchilla, chocolate, grey, tortoise, and steel. It must be mentioned, however, that Dutch rabbits in show may not have any stray colored hairs within their white patterning or they may be disqualified. For those only wanting a pet, many Dutch breeders will place mis-marked rabbits in homes without pedigrees. These bunnies are still pure Dutch and just as sweet as their show-marked siblings.


The Harlequin rabbit finds its origin in the Dutch breed nearly 200 years back. It's kept the relaxed personality and are an excellent, showy first pet for rabbit enthusiasts. Harlequins are shown in two different categories; the orange-based Japanese and the white-based Magpie. The pattern should alternate, like a tiger's stripes. Colors accepted by ARBA are blue, black, lilac and chocolate in both categories.

Pattern variation or mis-marking is very common and should not be a turn-off to prospective pet owners. Keep a lookout for part three of our Rabbit Breeds mini series!

#breeds #mini #english #spot #englishspot #dutch #harlequin

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