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Deilenaar Rabbit

Kathryn Copeland

The origins of the Deilenaar Rabbit are uncertain, but it is believed that they were either bred or discovered in the 1930s by Mr. G.W.A. Ridderhof from the town of Deil (hence their name) in the Netherlands.

Not only are the origins of this breed uncertain, but so is the genetic makeup. It’s thought that the Deilenaar is a mixture of the Chinchilla Rabbit, the New Zealand Red, and the Belgian Hare. However, given the large size of these animals compared to the smaller size of the Deilenaar, we might never really know.

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Quick Facts about the Deilenaar Rabbit

Species Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Family: Leporidae
Care Level: Experienced rabbit owners
Temperament: Energetic, affectionate, friendly, social
Color Form: Deep reddish-brown
Lifespan: Up to 9 years
Size: 5½ – 7¾ pounds
Diet: Hay, pellets, fruit, vegetables
Cage: 3 square feet minimum per rabbit

Deilenaar Rabbit Overview

The Deilenaar Rabbit is a medium-sized rabbit with a very unique and distinctive reddish-brown coat of thick fur. They aren’t usually found outside of Europe and tend to be owned by rabbit fanciers and breeders. They are often used as show rabbits. While they can make excellent pets, the Deilenaar Rabbit kept in this capacity is rare.

While Deilenaar Rabbits were discovered in the 1930s, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the British Rabbit Council recognized them. In fact, this is the only association that acknowledges Deilenaar Rabbits – the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) doesn’t recognize them.

The Deilenaar closely resembles the Brun Marron de Lorraine (or the Brown Chestnut of Lorraine) from France, yet apparently, there isn’t any link between them. Beyond the breeds discussed above, the Tan Rabbit and the Flemish Giant Rabbit have also been mentioned as breeds used to create the Deilenaar, but the gorgeous coloring is said to have come from the Belgian Hare.

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How Much Do Deilenaar Rabbits Cost?

The Deilenaar Rabbit is quite rare, particularly outside of Europe, so you can expect to pay a lot for one of these rabbits, up to several hundreds of dollars.

If you’re still interested in locating one of these rabbits, you’ll need to find a rabbit breeder (more than likely in Europe), possibly through the British Rabbit Council, or search and post your interest in one of these rabbits through social media.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Deilenaar Rabbit is a very lively and affectionate pet that needs a lot of social time with his owner. They have very friendly natures and are even-tempered, so they will do well with adults and children.

These playful and curious rabbits need a fair amount of attention and could become despondent if they don’t receive the proper amount of exercise and interactions.

Expect to socialize them at a young age and provide them with lots of human companionship.

Do remember that any rabbit you bring home is a long-term commitment, so you should expect to keep him happy and healthy, and with the occasional visit to your veterinarian.

Appearance & Varieties

These rabbits have a gorgeous thick coat that is a striking warm red-brown color. The fur is essentially speckled and has a ticking or agouti pattern with each individual hair having more than one color (usually two or more color bands), which is commonly black on the Deilenaar. The fur is dense and medium in length, and the underside of the Deilenaar and inside of his ears tend to be cream in color.

The body is compact, robust, and muscular with a very short neck, and the ears are 4 to 5 inches long and held erect.

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How to Take Care of the Deilenaar Rabbit

Habitat, Cage Conditions & Setup

Cage

Because the Deilenaar Rabbit is a medium-sized rabbit, he will require a cage that is at least 3 square feet and that is approximately 14 inches high (or more). They do very well with a wire cage, and they can also live outdoors, just as long as the climate is fairly moderate as they need protection from extreme heat and cold.

Just be sure that the cage is elevated off the ground and is protected from predators and inclement weather. You will need a climate-controlled enclosure that is water and weatherproof if you live in an area with extreme conditions and temperatures.

Bedding

The hutch should have a solid bottom, and you can use wood chips, straw, or wood shavings. You need to avoid using cedar chips as they are known to cause respiratory problems in rabbits.

Environmental Conditions

Between 55° to 70°F is the ideal temperature range for the majority of rabbits, but keep in mind that most rabbits can’t handle any temperature above 85°F. You need to be sure to provide your Deilenaar with shade from the sun and keep him sheltered from snow, rain, and wind.

You should only offer artificial light if you’re keeping your Deilenaar in a habitat that does not have any natural daylight. If this is how the cage is set up, then the lighting needs to imitate the natural night/day cycles.

Cleaning the Cage

You should remove the accumulation of stool and any excess hair every day, and the bedding requires changing at least once a week. While cleaning the hutch, you should use a disinfectant to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and mold.

Do Deilenaar Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?

Deilenaar Rabbits, like most rabbits, would do best without other pets, given their docile and nervous natures. However, if he is raised alongside other pets, the Deilenaar will probably get along well since they will have a chance to get used to each other and bond.

If you’ve decided to introduce a new pet to the household, you will need to take your time and be prepared for a lot of patience. Many of our pets are the common predators of rabbits (dogs, cats, and ferrets), so you will need to supervise when your rabbit is outside of his cage and expect the introductory period to take some time.

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What to Feed Your Deilenaar Rabbit

The recommendation for your Deilenaar is to provide him with high-quality grass hay. Grass hay (wheaten, Timothy, oaten, pasture, ryegrass, meadow, and paddock hays) in addition to fresh grass should make up approximately 80% of your Deilenaar’s diet. Be sure to avoid Lucerne, alfalfa, and clover as they can cause urinary stones.

Along with the hay, you can provide your Deilenaar with pellets, sunflower seeds, oats, vegetables, and fruits, but really only as a treat or supplement. Always consider your rabbit’s weight and age when choosing the rabbit pellets and double-check the expiry date as you don’t want a product that is older than 6 months.

About 10%-20% of your Deilenaar’s diet should be made up of leafy vegetables (spinach leaves, broccoli, endive, etc.), and do not give your rabbit more than one tablespoon of pellets daily.

The overall recommendation is to feed your Deilenaar just once every day but ensure he has continuous access to clean water. You should check the water at least once a day to ensure it is always available and keep the water and food containers clean.

Keeping Your Deilenaar Rabbit Healthy

One of the primary health concerns for any rabbit is overgrown teeth. Your rabbit needs to have his teeth checked yearly by a vet who is experienced with rabbits. Providing your rabbit with leafy greens and hay can help his teeth in addition to rabbit-safe chew toys, all of which helps to wear down his teeth.

Watch out for symptoms of dental disease:
  • Eye discharge
  • Excessive drooling
  • Decreased appetite or picky eating
  • Swelling of the jaw

Take your Deilenaar to the veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. You should also always check your Deilenaar’s ears as they can be susceptible to ear mites.

Rabbits can also develop GI stasis, which comes from eating too many high-fat seeds or pellets, stress, pain in the mouth, dehydration, or other serious illnesses. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry stool
  • Bloated stomach
  • Grinding teeth
  • Stop moving
  • Death if left untreated

Your rabbit needs exercise outside of his cage every day, which will also give him the opportunity to bond with your family. An average of spending 4-5 hours outside of the cage every day will be perfect, but use caution and rabbit-proof the space he’s running around in.

Grooming your Deilenaar typically consists of brushing, particularly when he’s shedding, and trimming his nails.

Breeding

Male and female rabbits are sexually mature at a young age but should be bred when they are at least 6 months of age. Rabbits can be bred at any time. You should either put both rabbits in a neutral enclosure or environment or bring the female to the male’s hutch. Males can be territorial and might not react well if you place them in a new environment.

Pregnancy typically lasts 31-33 days. You should set up a nest box for the doe (which should be large enough to give birth in) for the female by the 28th day of pregnancy.

Rabbits have litters of 1-14 babies (usually an average of 6) that are typically weaned by the time they reach 6-8 weeks of age. The kits are mature by about 12 weeks, and the doe can have up to 4 litters per year.

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Are Deilenaar Rabbits Suitable For You?

If you can find one and you’re prepared to give him the time and attention he needs, then these rabbits will do well with almost anyone given their lovely natures. Given their affectionate and friendly temperament, they can do very well with children. As long as you provide them with the appropriate space and treat them with kindness and respect, the Deilenaar Rabbit will be a loving and fun companion for you and your family.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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.