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British Giant Rabbit

Nicole Cosgrove

The British Giant Rabbit is a large breed of domesticated rabbit. They can weigh up to 15 pounds, have an average lifespan of around 5 years, and are considered a relaxed and easygoing rabbit that can be friendly and affectionate with their owners. Despite their positive attributes, the large breed is rarely seen outside the U.K. and is not considered popular anywhere besides their country of origin.

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Quick Facts About the British Giant Rabbit

Species Name: British Giant Rabbit
Family: Rabbit
Care Level: Moderate
Climate: Cold, hardy
Temperament: Friendly and loving
Color Form: Black, blue, brown, gray, opal, white
Lifespan: 4-6 years
Size: 12-15 pounds
Diet: Hay, pellets, greens
Minimum Hutch Size: 20-ft. square
Hutch Set-Up: Hutch, run, bedding, bowls, chew toys
Compatibility: Sociable and friendly

British Giant Rabbit Overview

The British Giant Rabbit was first bred in Britain in the 1940s. They were bred from the Flemish Giant to achieve a rabbit of the same size but in a greater variety of colors. The Flemish Giant only had one accepted color, which was steel gray, so breeders combined this breed with others of different colors to create something new. The British Giant never quite achieved the same large size as the Flemish Giant but was still large enough to be considered a giant breed.

The British Giant has not achieved popularity anywhere besides the U.K. It may be possible to find British Giant breeders in the U.S.A. and other countries, but they are considered a rarer breed.

If you can find a British Giant, this breed is considered a good choice for families with small children. The size and strength of the rabbit mean they are less threatened by small hands squeezing them. They are also loving and quite sympathetic to the needs of their handlers, regardless of age and size. They do need regular grooming, but contrary to popular belief, they do not eat much more than other rabbit breeds. Perhaps the biggest challenge of owning this breed is their size and the amount of room that they require.

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How Much Do British Giant Rabbits Cost?

For a high-quality British Giant, you should expect to pay around the same as a Flemish Giant, which is between $50 and $100, although they can also be bought for a little less. Their lack of popularity means that they are rarer to find. While this rarity increases the price, the lack of popularity keeps it in check.

You should also expect to pay $300 to $400 for a hutch and essential equipment, including enough food for the first week or two. Expect to pay approximately $50 per month on food and other ongoing costs.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Considered a friendly breed, the British Giant makes a good family pet. The size of the breed means that many people choose to give the rabbit a room of their own.

They are also considered intelligent and can be litter trained. Watch where they prefer to toilet and then place the tray in that area. Use wood pellet litter and be persistent, and you will eventually find that the rabbit will toilet inside the tray.

The breed is friendly with virtually any other animal and all family members, and they particularly enjoy lazing around. With regular handling, they can be cuddly and loving with their owners.

Appearance & Varieties

The most notable characteristic of the breed is, of course, their giant size. The British Giant can weigh as much as 15 pounds. While this might not be as big as the Flemish Giant, they are still a considerable size for a rabbit. They have a flat back, a powerful body, a round face, and full cheeks.

Their fur is medium length and soft and dense, so it’s great for cuddles. Although gray is the most common color, the breed comes in steel gray, sable, white, blue, and black too.

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How to Take Care of British Giant Rabbits

The British Giant Rabbit is a large rabbit breed. This does mean they need more room than other rabbit breeds but not too much more exercise, and they probably won’t eat as much as you might expect.

Indoor or Outdoor

The British Giant was first bred in the U.K., where the weather can be damp and windy and reach freezing temperature. Therefore, the breed is hardy and can handle cold conditions. However, if you intend to keep one outdoors, you must ensure that their cage is kept off the ground and that three-quarters of the hutch is fully covered and protected from rain and wind. You may want to provide a wendy house or even a full shed because of the space requirements of the breed.

The breed is popular as an indoor rabbit, though. Ensure that any room you offer is fully rabbit-proof. Remove wires, and ensure that any exposed wood cannot be easily chewed.

Hutch

The hutch for your Giant should provide a minimum of 20 square feet of space. This ensures that they will have enough room to stretch out and comfortably hop around. If you can provide more space, do so.

You will also need a run. This enables your rabbit to run around, although the breed is not known for being especially active.

Rabbits in general, especially the British Giant breed, thrive on human attention and interaction. If you intend to keep one as a pet, ensure that you have enough time to dedicate to spending with them.

Other Equipment

Provide a food bowl and either a bowl or bottle for water. A bowl more closely mimics how your rabbit would drink water in the wild, but a bottle takes up less space and is less prone to becoming filled with bedding, food, and poop. If you do offer a bottle, ensure that the mouthpiece is kept clean and that it doesn’t freeze during the cold winter months.

Provide chew toys because these, along with the hay that you give them, will help your rabbit naturally grind their teeth down.

Do British Giant Rabbits Get Along With Other Pets?

Well-known for their friendly and outgoing personality, the British Giant is a good choice of rabbit breed if you have a family or other pets. They will get along with all human family members, including children. The size and strength of the British Giant mean they can handle being scooped up and carried by small children.

The breed will also get along with other animals, including rabbits, cats, dogs, and so on. Although the Giant is still a prey animal, their size means that cats and some dogs will be less inclined to chase them or view them as prey. You should introduce the rabbit to other animals slowly and patiently, however, if you want the meeting to go well and for your pets to get along.

What to Feed Your British Giant Rabbit

Be prepared to feed your British Giant more than you would other breeds and regularly monitor their weight. This is one breed that is prone to becoming overweight, in part due to owners believing that the breed needs to eat more than what’s necessary. Weigh food carefully, monitor your rabbit’s weight, and be prepared to cut down feed levels if necessary.

Approximately 80% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay. This needs to be high-quality grass hay, such as Timothy hay, and it should be readily and permanently available. Hay not only provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but the gnawing action required to eat it also helps your rabbit naturally grind their teeth down.

Feed them rabbit pellets. These are made up of hay as well, but they contain a host of nutrients that they would not otherwise get in their diet.

Offer them leafy green vegetables too, including romaine lettuce, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, among others.

Provide a readily available and constant supply of fresh water.

Keeping Your British Giant Healthy

The breed is known to be a hardy rabbit. However, their size means that they may be prone to foot and back problems, as well as becoming overweight or obese. Monitor food levels and weight to ensure that the latter is not a problem.

Provide plenty of hay to ensure that their teeth grind down naturally. Otherwise, you may have to get the vet or another professional to do this for you.

The soft fur of the British Giant needs regular grooming. Brush weekly — more, if you both enjoy it — to help prevent matting and discomfort.

Breeding

You should only breed rabbits if you know that you have suitable homes for them to go to. There is already an abundance of unwanted rabbits in shelters, and it is difficult to make money from breeding, especially with a breed like the British Giant, which is not popular for showing or exhibiting.

Rabbits reach sexual maturity at a young age, and they can theoretically breed from the age of 4 months. But giant breeds like this should not be allowed to breed until they are at least 8 months old or possibly as old as 12 months.

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Are British Giant Rabbits Suitable for You?

The British Giant Rabbit can potentially make a great pet. They are loving and cuddly and can be kept as a house rabbit, assuming that you have the room. The breed is large, although not usually as large as the Flemish Giant from which they were first bred. Their size must be a determining factor when considering whether one is suitable for you because they require more room and have a greater appetite than smaller rabbits.

They also have more of a presence than smaller breeds, and the British Giant flourishes with human contact. They also get along well with small children and other pets, so as long as you have the space and time for a British Giant (and you can find one), this breed will suit almost anybody.


Featured Image: Tony Austin from Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom, Wikimedia Commons

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.