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Blanc de Hotot Rabbit

Kathryn Copeland

Introduction

The Blanc de Hotot rabbit received her name from the region of France from which she hails. These rabbits were developed in Hotot-en-Auge, an area found in Normandy, France, and the name roughly translates to “Hotot White.” These rabbits are indeed white and have a distinguished black circle around their eyes.

Eugenie Bernhard is credited for breeding the Blanc de Hotot in 1902 and having produced the first Blanc de Hotot rabbit in 1912. These rabbits were introduced in the 1920s into North America and Europe, but today, they are a threatened species.

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Quick Facts about the Blanc de Hotot Rabbit

Species Name: Blanc de Hotot
Family: Leporidae
Care Level: Medium
Temperament: Sweet-natured, energetic, docile
Color Form: White with black bands around the eyes
Lifespan: 7–10 years
Size: Medium to large – 8 to 11 lbs
Diet: Hay, fruit, vegetables, pellets
Minimum Cage Size: 4 square feet per rabbit

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Blanc de Hotot Rabbit Overview

The Blanc de Hotot (pronounced Blonk deh O-toe) was created by Eugenie Bernhard, who crossed the Papillon with the White Flemish Giant and White Vienna rabbit breeds. She initially started showing the Blanc de Hotot in 1920. These rabbits were first recognized as a breed in 1922, while the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognized them in 1979.

The Blanc de Hotot was bred primarily for the meat and fur, but she makes a great family pet as well. Unfortunately, they are considered a critically endangered species by the Livestock Conservancy. This means there are less than 50 annual registrations in the United States and fewer than 500 of this species around the world.

The Blanc de Hotot is a robust and friendly rabbit that makes an excellent pet for the family and thrives with attention. They have exceptional hearing, eyesight, and smell, which gives them excellent survival instincts. They are known to live for up to 10 years or sometimes even longer.

blanc de hotot rabbit eating
Image Credit: Carly & Art, Wikimedia Commons

How Much Do Blanc de Hotot Rabbits Cost?

Because the Blanc de Hotot is a threatened species of rabbit, you should expect to pay more for one in comparison to the more common rabbits. At the time of this writing, these rabbits were available for $50 and up to $150.

If you’re interested in finding one, you can contact a breeder, such as through the Hotot Rabbit Breeders International website. There’s also a number of Facebook pages devoted to this breed.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Blanc de Hotot is a very friendly and sweet rabbit and makes a great pet for single people, seniors, as well as families. They are calm and affectionate rabbits as long as you raise them with love and lots of positive attention. They are quite energetic and lively rabbits that you can handle easily and are healthy and hardy.

blanc de hotot rabbit close up
Image Credit: Marshtackynut, Flickr

Appearance & Varieties

What makes the Blanc de Hotot distinguishable is the white rollback fur (fur that rolls back into place when you stroke the fur from the backside forward) with the black spectacles around their eyes. The black band around the eyes is usually 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch, and the eyes are brown with black eyelashes. The fur is thick and soft and has long guard hairs that give the coat a beautiful silvery sheen. The male tends to weigh up to 10 pounds and the female up to 11 pounds.

One of the varieties of this breed is the Dwarf Hotot, which was bred in Germany by crossing the Blanc de Hotot with the Netherland Dwarf. They are almost identical to the Blanc de Hotot except that they are generally 2.25-3 pounds in weight.

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How to Take Care of Blanc de Hotot Rabbits

Habitat, Cage Conditions & Setup

Cage

Because the Blanc de Hotot tends to be a medium to large-sized rabbit, she will require a cage that is 4 square feet and is a minimum of 14 inches high. They do well in a wire cage, and because they are sturdy rabbits, they can also thrive outdoors, as long as the weather is moderate — they won’t manage well in extreme cold or heat. Just be sure that you keep the cage elevated and protected from inclement weather and predators. You can use an enclosure that is climate controlled if you live in a location with extreme temperatures.

Bedding

According to the ARBA, bedding isn’t always used in wire bottom cages, but straw or hay can be utilized, particularly for rabbits outside in cooler weather. If the cage has a solid base, you can use straw, wood chips, or wood shavings. You should avoid cedar chips as they can cause upper respiratory issues in rabbits.

blanc de hotot in a cage
Image Credit: Thomon, Wikimedia Commons

Environmental Conditions

The optimal temperature for most rabbits is 55 °F to 70 °F, but typically, most rabbits will not be able to handle temperatures above 85 °F. Be sure to provide your Blanc de Hotot with shade and keep them sheltered from wind, rain, and snow. Artificial lighting is only required if you’re keeping your rabbit in an enclosure that does not have natural light. If this is the case, the lighting would need to mimic the natural day/night cycles.

Cleaning the Cage

The bedding should be changed weekly at a minimum, and cages with wire bottoms need to have any buildup of fecal matter and excess hair removed. When cleaning the cage, you should use a sanitizing product to eliminate mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Do Blanc de Hotot Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?

The Blanc de Hotot is a docile pet that would do best in a household without other pets. However, if she is raised with other animals, she will get along with them quite well as it will give your pets the opportunity to bond. Naturally, your Blanc de Hotot will get along very well and be the most comfortable with another rabbit.

Do your homework if you decide to introduce a new animal to your rabbit, as it will take lots of patience and time. Many common pets (ferrets, cats, and dogs) are natural predators of rabbits, so expect a long introductory period and very close supervision on your part.

blanc de hotot rabbit in cage
Image Credit: Maja Dumat, Flickr

What to Feed Your Blanc de Hotot Rabbit

The overall recommendation for your Blanc de Hotot is to provide her with high-quality grass hay. Fresh grass in addition to grass hay (Timothy, oaten, wheaten, pasture, meadow, ryegrass, and paddock hays) should make up about 80% of your rabbit’s diet. Avoid clover or Lucerne (alfalfa) hays as they can lead to urinary stones.

In addition to hay, you can give your Blanc de Hotot pellets, oats, hay, sunflower seeds, fruits, and vegetables, but only as a supplement or treat. Your rabbit’s age and weight should be considered when choosing the pellets, and be sure to check the expiry date for a product that is no older than 6 months.

Leafy vegetables should make up about 10-20% of the diet (endive, broccoli, spinach leaves, etc.) and no more than 1 tablespoon of pellets every day.

The recommendation is to feed your rabbit just once per day, but they should have constant access to clean water. Be sure to check the water every day to ensure the water is available and keep the food and water containers clean.

Keeping Your Blanc de Hotot Rabbit Healthy

One of the main concerns for your Blanc de Hotot is to watch for overgrown teeth. Your rabbit should have her teeth checked by a vet experienced with rabbits on an annual basis. Giving your rabbit hay as well as leafy greens can help with extra chewing, which will wear down her teeth.

Keep an eye out for signs of dental disease:
  • Increased drooling
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Eye discharge
  • Picky eating or decreased appetite

Take your Blanc de Hotot to the vet if you observe any of these signs. Also, keep an eye on your rabbit’s ears as they are prone to ear mites.

You should also take your rabbit out of her cage every day to give her the opportunity to exercise and bond with you and your family. She should have an average of 4-5 hours outside of her cage daily but be sure to rabbit-proof any space you’re letting her run around in.

Grooming your rabbit usually consists of trimming her nails and brushing her when she is shedding.

blanc de hotot outdoor
Image Credit: 15681259, Pixabay

Breeding

Blanc de Hotots are usually great mothers and can start breeding at about 8 months of age. Breeding should occur in a neutral environment, or you could take the female to the male’s enclosure. Pregnancy lasts about 28-32 days, and you need to set up a nest box (which should be big enough for her to turn around in) for the pregnant female by day 28.

They have good-sized litters that should be weaned by 6-8 weeks of age, and they mature at about 12 weeks. The female can have about 5 litters in a year at a maximum.

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Are Blanc de Hotot Rabbits Suitable For You?

The Blanc de Hotot makes a wonderful pet for a family with or without children as well as single and elderly people. They are affectionate and calm yet energetic rabbits that you can take outside on a harness to allow them to explore a small part of their world. You will need lots of patience if you try to train your Blanc de Hotot, particularly if you need to introduce her to a new pet. Just be sure to keep her habitat clean and spend quality time with her. If you follow this advice, you could end up with an adorable and sweet rabbit as your companion and friend.

You might also be interested in: Blanc de Termonde: Facts, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide (with Pictures)


Featured Image: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.