The British Giant is a rabbit breed you’ve likely never heard of unless you live in the United Kingdom. These large rabbits were bred from Flemish Giants but have never reached the same level of popularity, likely because many people don’t consider them a separate breed.
Read on to learn more about the British Giant, how they differ from the Flemish Giant, and what you need to know if you plan to adopt one in the future.
Families with rabbit experience, families with older children
Sweet, affectionate, docile, friendly
The British Giant has its heritage in the Flemish Giant, a large rabbit breed that originates in Belgium. The British variety was bred from the Flemish stock in varying colors from the U.S. It arose as a separate breed in the United Kingdom during the 1940s. Though smaller than its Flemish ancestors, the British Giant has many of the same characteristics.
British Giant Rabbits Characteristics
How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?
The British Giant is a rare breed that’s difficult, if not entirely impossible, to find outside the United Kingdom. Their ancestors, the Flemish Giant, are popular pets worldwide, but this particular breed is not widely available. As a result, many people don’t even know that this breed exists at all.
Unfortunately, we could not find any British Giant breeders currently offering their services outside or even in the United Kingdom. Though, we can guess what the approximate cost would be.
Considering the Flemish Giant is the British Giant’s ancestor, you can expect to pay around the same price for both breeds. The price will depend on the rabbit’s age, quality, and where you live. Adopting a British Giant could cost anywhere between $20 and $500+. If you’re adopting from the United Kingdom and live in the United States, you’ll need to factor in the exchange rate and the cost of shipping your new pet, too.
Temperament & Intelligence of the British Giant Rabbits
The British Giant has the same calm and friendly demeanor as its cousin, the Flemish Giant. They’re docile and sweet but not as active as smaller breeds. The British Giant often prefers lazing around its hutch over running and jumping. However, they’re generally good-natured and rarely aggressive.
Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets? 👪
The British Giant is a wonderful family pet and house rabbit. They’re very laid-back and rarely aggressive, making them great for families with children. However, like most rabbits, they don’t particularly enjoy being picked up and, despite their size, are quite fragile. For this reason, British Giants (and any other rabbit breed) are best suited for families with older children who can exercise boundaries and spend time with their pets safely.
Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?
The British Giant can get along well with other animals, but you’ll need to use caution when introducing one into a home with an already-established dog or cat. While these rabbits are large and can hold their own, they still can fall victim to a predatory cat or dog. If you must have two different species living together, it’s best if they’re introduced to one another at an early age.
We recommend adopting another rabbit whenever possible because rabbits are highly social creatures that thrive in social environments. Wild rabbits live in large groups, so if possible, this environment should be recreated for domestic ones. The best match would be a neutered male with a spayed female.
Things to Know When Owning a British Giant Rabbit:
Food & Diet Requirements 🥕
The dietary requirements of the British Giant are much the same as any other domesticated rabbit. They need unlimited access to fresh hay, fresh veggies daily, some fruit, and rabbit pellets occasionally. Timothy hay is generally the most recommended hay option.
Since British Giants aren’t very active, they can easily put on weight, especially if you overfeed treats. So you’ll need to keep a close eye on your pet’s weight and ensure it’s getting plenty of physical activity to keep it at a healthy weight.
Habitat & Hutch Requirements 🏠
The British Giant Rabbit is a giant breed, so you’ll need a large enclosure and plenty of space for your pet to play. For this reason, many rabbit owners choose to keep their British Giants outdoors. Thankfully, its medium-length fur means it should fare fine outdoors, even in cooler temperatures. However, since this is a large breed, it may be more heat sensitive than others. If you’re keeping your rabbit outdoors, ensure the temperature stays at or just below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and isn’t too humid.
There are benefits to keeping your British Giant indoors, though. There is no risk of predators, and the likelihood of encountering parasitic bugs is minimal. In addition, it’s much easier to control the climate indoors, eliminating the worry of heatstroke or frostbite.
The minimum cage size should be three feet by four feet, as anything smaller than that won’t allow them to move about easily. They can jump high, so your enclosure should be high enough to not jump out.
Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐇
While the British Giant isn’t as active as other rabbit breeds, they still need plenty of play and physical activity time. You’ll need to encourage your pet to exercise, however, as it would happily spend most of its time lazing around. Because this large breed eats a lot, it must get daily physical activity. Without proper exercise, British Giants can become obese and be at risk for secondary health conditions.
Like many other rabbit breeds, the British Giant is easily domesticated. You can train them to use a litter box, but the sooner you start with training, the better.
You can also train your pet to perform tricks. Since they’re highly treat motivated, choose a tasty and healthy treat to use as a reward for your training sessions.
The British Giant has dense and soft medium-length fur. It requires regular grooming to keep its coat looking its best and to prevent matting. You’ll need to brush it on an as-needed basis, as frequently as once daily, depending on your individual rabbit’s lifestyle.
Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥
As with larger breed dogs, large rabbits have shorter lifespans. The British Giant typically lives just four to six years. Though it is a short-lived pet by most standards, it remains generally healthy throughout its lifespan, though it may be prone to the same health conditions as other rabbits. This can include GI stasis, dental issues, respiratory diseases, mites, and, for unspayed females, uterine cancer.
Myxomatosis is a viral disease that can affect rabbits of all breeds. It is typically fatal, though it is easy to prevent through regular vaccinations.
This rabbit’s size may make it prone to heart attacks and arthritis. They are more heat sensitive than their smaller counterparts, too. Keep a close eye on your pet for signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke during warm weather.
British Giants may be at risk of pododermatitis, also known as sore hocks. This occurs when they get sores on the heels of their hind legs. While this can happen to rabbits of any size, it’s most common in large breeds due to the excess weight on their bodies.
Since this breed prefers lazing around to being physically active, it may be at risk of obesity.
Male vs Female
There isn’t much physical difference between male and female British Giants, as they’re almost identical in height and weight.
Personality-wise, however, there are some key differences.
While male animals of many species tend to be more aggressive and territorial than their female counterparts, the opposite is true for rabbits. Male rabbits are more easygoing and docile, while females like to be in charge and assert dominance.
Neutered male rabbits are generally recommended for first-time rabbit owners. They’re friendlier and more open to interaction than females and their unneutered male counterparts. That’s not to say that a female rabbit can’t be pleasant or social, though. This breed is generally very friendly, regardless of gender.
3 Little-Known Facts About British Giant Rabbits
1. The British Giant is only recognized as a separate breed in one country.
The United Kingdom is the only country that recognizes the British Giant as a separate rabbit breed. Many people don’t distinguish between the two because they were bred from Flemish Giants and look almost identical. They think the British Giant is just an off-shoot of its Flemish ancestor.
2. The British Giant was bred for greater color variety.
British Giants were specifically bred to offer greater color variety than similar breeds. The Flemish Giant, for example, is only recognized in steel grey colors in Britain. British Giants, on the other hand, are available in various colors like white, blue, grey, opal, and sable.
3. The British Giant is rare.
This breed is almost entirely unknown outside of the United Kingdom. If you live elsewhere, you’ll struggle to find one to adopt. If you’re outside of the United Kingdom, the Flemish Giant is as close as you’ll get to the British Giant. There are very few breeding clubs, but this is an exceedingly rare breed you’re unlikely to even see in a show environment.
While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever stumble across a British Giant outside of the United Kingdom, these big beautiful rabbits do make great pets. However, since they are a large breed, there are some things that potential owners should consider before adopting. Do you have the space to house such a big rabbit? Will you be keeping it indoors or outdoors? Do you have time every day to play and exercise with your pet? Once you’ve considered these factors, you’ll better understand whether this breed fits with your family and lifestyle.
Featured Image Credit: Tony Austin, Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0