Flemish Giant Rabbit

(Oryctolagus cuniculus)



In the last several decades, breeders have been enamored with small rabbits.  However for many years, the only very small breed in this country was the Polish. Then in the late 1970’s and 80’s,  Holland Lop, Mini Rex, Jersey Wooly, American Fuzzy Lop, Britannia Petite, and Dwarf Hotot were accepted in quick succession.  But in the late 19th and early 20th century, big bunnies were all the rage.  From Flanders, Belgium comes the biggest bunny of all, the Flemish Giant.


At least, very big rabbits were being bred in Belgium by the mid-1800’s, and our Flemish of today certainly got its name from that region.  But some stories tell of Dutch sailors that travelled to the Argentine Republic in South America in the 16th and 17th century, and brought back giant rabbits to Europe.  It’s possible that our current Flemish are crosses from the Belgium rabbits and the Argentinian ones.  The breed was well established by the turn of the 20th century, desired for its meat-producing qualities.  The first Flemish Giant club in the United States was established in 1915.


These days in America, the Flemish Giant comes in a number of attractive colors – black, blue, fawn, white, sandy, light gray, and steel gray.  The latter three are unusual names for fairly usual varieties: sandy is a chestnut agouti, light gray is a chinchilla, and steel gray is a black silver-tipped steel.  Colors are best kept fairly pure: breeding certain colors to others, such as sandy to fawn, can muddle the color quality.

The English Lop has a minimum ear span length, but the Flemish is the only breed where the standard specifies a minimum rabbit length.  This happens to be the same number as for the English Lop ear span: 21 inches.  Weight is at least 13 pounds on senior bucks and 14 pounds on senior does.  No maximum weight is specified, but some Flemish have pushed even to 20 pounds.  However, when judging the Flemish it is important to remember that big is good, but balanced is better.  Bone should be heavy, the ears large, and the standard actually calls for a reposeful expression in the eye.  These are gentle giants.

The Flemish these days is primarily a fancy breed, raised for show and pets.   People who first see them sometimes think these biggest ones must be meat rabbits, but Flemish consumes too much feed for the meat yield to be a very efficient commercial breed.

Info By http://rabbitbreeders.us/

Pic By small-pets.lovetoknow.com