The origin of the checkered giant rabbit remains a subject of debate today. But the consensus is that they originated from Europe after French Lops, spotted rabbits, and Flemish Giants were bred together. The breed first came to the United States in 1910 and is recognized by the American Rabbits Breeders association. Although it is heavier than most rabbit breeds, it is bred for show rather than meat. But what sets the Checkered Giant rabbit apart from other breeds? Read on to find out.
Quick Facts about Checkered Giant Rabbit
|Species Name:||Checkered Giant Rabbit|
|Temperament:||Gentle, affectionate, energetic, active|
|Color Form:||White with black or blue markings|
|Diet:||Hay, pellets, fruits, and vegetables|
|Minimum Hutch Size:||24” x 24” x 36”|
|Compatibility:||Singles and couples, the elderly, older kids|
Checkered Giant Rabbit Overview
The Checkered Giant rabbit breed was only introduced in the United States in the early 1900s. Shortly after, it was acknowledged by the American Rabbits Breeders Association. Today, the breed is mainly reared for show and is recognized for its arched body type and unique markings.
The Checkered Giant is one of the largest rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA. It is slender and muscular and can grow up to 25 inches long and 30 inches high. Adults can weigh up to 15 pounds. However, what makes the Checkered Giant stand out from the rest is its unique color combinations.
According to ARBA, there are only two varieties of the breed: white with black markings and white with blue markings. These markings appear in distinct patterns around the nose, on the cheeks, on the ears, and along the back.
Checkered Giants are not the most affectionate of rabbits. But they are friendly, gentle, and playful and will enjoy the occasional human affection. They are also very active and require lots of space to hop around. Although they love the outdoors, you can also keep them indoors. However, you should allow them to roam around the house for a few hours every day.
How Much Do Checkered Giant Rabbits Cost?
Buying a Checkered Giant rabbit will cost you between $50 and $80. But it will cost you significantly more if you want to get a show-quality breed. It is always advisable to buy from a reputable breeder. You will get not only a pure-bred rabbit but also one that has been screened for diseases. If your budget is tight, you can also consider adopting one.
However, buying a Checkered Giant rabbit is not the end of the story. You have to factor in other costs, including buying a hutch, food, and toys. If you intend to neuter or spay your pet, you should factor in those costs as well.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Compared to other rabbit breeds, the Checkered Giant rabbit is not as affectionate. But it is friendly and will enjoy your affection every so often. Once you bond, it will learn to trust you and become more willing to spend time with you.
It is worth noting that the Checkered Giant rabbit is very energetic and active. And it requires an owner who can maintain the same level of energy. It loves the outdoors, and plenty of toys are necessary to keep them occupied. Otherwise, the animal will chew through anything it comes across, including furniture and clothing.
Appearance & Varieties
As the name suggests, the Checkered Giant rabbit is a giant breed. Although it is slender, it has a muscular build with long, powerful legs and a wide head with broad ears. Its body is semi-arched with a close resemblance to the hare. And the fur is short-to-medium, thick, and soft to the touch.
The ARBA only recognizes two varieties of the Checkered Giant rabbit. They should either be white with black or white with blue markings. The marking form rings around the eyes and takes on a butterfly shape on the nose. They also appear as flushes on the checks and as a straight line running from the ears down to the tail.
How to Take Care of Checkered Giant Rabbits
When it comes to a Checkered Rabbit’s hutch, the bigger, the better. Since the breed is fairly active, your pet needs plenty of space to hop about. Therefore, ensure the cage is at least four times larger than the rabbit. Hutches with multiple stories are better since they provide extra space.
Its home should have a solid bottom instead of a wire floor. Otherwise, your pet can get sores if they lie on a wire-bottom cage for long. Additionally, ensure you line the bottom with horse hay for added comfort. Spot-clean the hay for droppings every day and completely replace it every week.
You can either place the hutch inside or outdoors. If you choose the outdoors, ensure the hutch is protected from the elements such as sun and rain. During warmer temperatures, it should provide enough draft to keep your pet cool. However, bring them indoors if the temperature drops or rises significantly.
Whether their cage is indoors or outdoors, a checkered rabbit should not be held up in their hutch for too long. Otherwise, they will get bored and destructive. When indoors, let them have free reign in the house provided the rooms are rabbit-proof. If you leave it to roam outside, ensure your yard is fenced all around to protect them from predators.
Do Checkered Giant Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?
A Checkered Giant rabbit has a gentle and friendly disposition and will get along with other pets in the house. However, compatibility will vary from one individual pet to another. Although cats are predators, they usually get along with rabbits just fine. Besides, the Checkered Giant’s large body is enough to intimidate any cat. However, ensure you trim your cat’s claws since they can unintentionally harm your rabbit.
Most dogs don’t get along with rabbits, but a healthy relationship is not impossible. If you introduce your puppy to the rabbit, they will grow up recognizing them as part of the family. A confident checkered giant will also get along with a calm dog.
What to Feed Your Checkered Giant Rabbit
Seventy percent of what you feed your Checkered Giant rabbit should be high-quality hay. The rest of the diet could include vegetables, fruits, or pellets. However, you should stick to a hay diet whenever possible. Also, ensure fresh water is always available to your furry friend.
Certain foods are dangerous for rabbits such as onions, mustard greens, chives, and leeks. Additionally, stay away from lettuces since most of them may lead to diarrhea. If you are not sure whether certain foods are harmful to your pet, the best thing is to avoid them.
Keeping Your Checkered Giant Rabbit Healthy
Thankfully, Checkered Giant rabbits have no unique health conditions associated with the breed. However, they still have to deal with the health concerns facing rabbits in general. Some of the common health problems include overgrown teeth, ear mites, and back issues. These can easily be dealt with, especially when discovered early.
Check your pet’s mouth for overgrown teeth every week. If the teeth are not being worn down, consider visiting a vet. They will not only shave down the excess length but also treat any resulting infection. Also, regularly check its ears for signs of mites.
Feeding your rabbit a healthy diet and regularly cleaning their hutch will help keep diseases at bay. Additionally, a solid floor with hay bedding will protect your furry friend from getting sores. It is always advisable to visit the vet for regular checkups to nip health problems in the bud.
Ideally, you should wait until a female Checkered Giant rabbit reaches the senior weight range before considering breeding. That means they should be at least 7 months old. The gestation period for the breed is between 28 and 31 days. Be prepared for large litters.
When the female Checkered Giant becomes receptive to mating, you can tell by their change of behavior. They can start acting restless, demonstrate a desire to join their counterparts, or rub their chin on anything they can find.
Make sure to check the condition of your rabbit before breeding them. For instance, you should not mate a doe when it is already nursing since it will result in poor fertility. Ensure the doe is in good health to limit the risk of potential health issues.
Are Checkered Giant Rabbits Suitable For You?
A Checkered Giant rabbit can be the perfect pet for you. However, your home should have enough space to accommodate their active nature and high energy. If all you can provide is space for its hutch, it will get bored and destructive really fast.
Additionally, rabbits are harder to train than cats and dogs. Therefore, you will need a lot of patience if you expect to potty-train them. If you are not ready to invest the time, consider looking elsewhere.
A Checkered Giant rabbit has a sweet, curious, active, and gentle nature. It will bask in your affection from time to time. But it is not the cuddly type. If you want a pet that will sit on your lap or snuggle next to you, this is not the one for you. However, if you are looking for a friendly companion who will enjoy your attention without being too needy, you will hit the jackpot with this one.
Featured image credit: Lukasz Pawel Szczepanski, Shutterstock