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English Spot Rabbit

Nicole Cosgrove

The English Spot Rabbit is a medium-sized rabbit, with a short and easy-to-groom coat that is littered with unique spots, giving the breed their name. The English Spot is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of “fancy rabbit” (rabbits kept as pets), but the breed’s exact origin is unknown. They have been a common breed in the United Kingdom, where they were developed, since the late 1800s, and they were brought to the United States around 1910.

The breed is thought to have descended from the Checkered Giant Rabbit due to their similarities, although the Checkered is far bigger than the English Spot. The breed was officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1924, and the American English Spot Rabbit Club was established soon afterward.

If you are looking at adding an English Spot to your pet family, read on for more detailed information about this unique spotty rabbit!

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Quick Facts about English Spot Rabbit

Species Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Family: Leporidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Friendly, energetic, curious
Color Form: Black, blue, chocolate, gold, gray, lilac, and tortoise base, all with spots
Lifespan: 5-9 years
Size: Medium, 5-8 pounds
Diet: Herbivore, predominantly hay
Minimum Enclosure Size: 12 square feet
Compatibility: Friendly, adaptable, low maintenance

English Spot Rabbit Overview

Arya English Spot Rabbit
Image Credit: The.Rohit, Flickr

Due to their calm and docile nature, unique patterning, and ease of care, the English Spot rabbit is a popular pet. They are a medium-sized rabbit with a full arch body shape, long slender legs, and long ears with rounded tips. While their calm temperament makes them a great family pet because they are fine with children, English Spots do not typically enjoy being picked up too much, and they’ll require plenty of early socialization to get them accustomed to human interaction.

English Spots are also highly social animals that typically do not do well housed alone, as they live in large groups in the wild and are best kept in pairs in captivity. Their housing should replicate their natural environment as closely as possible, with plenty of space for digging, running, and playing.

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How Much Do English Spot Rabbits Cost?

English Spot Rabbits are fairly common and generally easy to find and will only cost you around $10-$50, depending on whether you want a show rabbit, but you’ll need to factor in other initial costs too. You’ll need a suitable sized hutch and rabbit run, food and bowls, grooming equipment, and toys. Still, they are a fairly inexpensive pet to look after, especially once you’ve gotten the initial costs out of the way.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

English Spot Rabbits were bred with the intent of being show animals, and as such, they have one of the calmest and docile temperaments out there! If they are socialized early on and are accustomed to being regularly handled, they are generally highly affectionate animals. They are not overly active, making them ideal in smaller homes where space may be an issue. Of course, they’ll still need plenty of room for exercise, to prevent them from getting overweight.

While English Spots are generally a laidback breed, they are easily frightened and may bite if they feel threatened. Make sure to respect their space and treat them as calmly as possible to avoid them getting overwhelmed, especially in the beginning.

Appearance & Varieties

Juno English Spot Rabbit
Image Credit: The.Rohit, FlickrImage Credit: The.Rohit, Flickr

The unique and beautiful coat of these rabbits makes them ideal for showing, and this is predominantly what they are bred for. English Spot Rabbits are medium-sized rabbits that reach a maximum weight of around 8 pounds. They have a full arch body shape with long and lean legs, long vertical ears with rounded tips, and short, dense fur. They do not shed much and require little grooming.

There are several different color varieties recognized by the ARBA, including black, blue, chocolate, gold, gray, lilac, and tortoise, all with spots, eye circles, colored ears, and a herringbone stripe down the center of their backs.

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How to Take Care of an English Spot Rabbit

Outdoors

English Spots are docile animals that are not overly energetic or active, but they still require sufficient space to exercise, play, and live out their natural instincts. If you are keeping your rabbit outdoors, the enclosure needs to be raised and sheltered from the rain and hot sun — English Spots can easily suffer from heatstroke. An ideal enclosure should have a private hutch for them to sleep in and keep sheltered from harsh weather, as well as a large area for them to exercise and stretch their legs.

Indoors

If you are keeping your rabbit indoors, the enclosure should ideally be made from wire mesh with a plastic or mesh bottom covered with bedding, such as hay, woodchips, or newspaper. Their indoor hutch doesn’t need to be as large as an outdoor enclosure, but make sure they get at least 2-3 hours per day outside their cage to stretch their legs and exercise.

Do English Spot Rabbits Get Along With Other Pets?

English Spot Rabbits do best when kept in pairs consisting of a neutered male and spayed female. They are social animals that are not happy living on their own, even with plenty of human interaction. That being said, male rabbits should not be kept together, as they are prone to fighting, especially if there is a female close by!

Due to their docile and friendly nature, English Spots generally get along well with rabbits of other species, but again, rabbits of the same sex are best kept separate. With gentle cats and dogs, these rabbits may be frightened at first but will soon warm up to them.

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What to Feed Your English Spot Rabbit

The exact amount of food that you need to feed your rabbit will largely depend on their size and age, but it should consist of around 70% hay. In general, they should be eating a portion of hay roughly as large as their body every day, along with pellets and occasional fruits and vegetables. Hay is the ideal food because it keeps their digestive system healthy and helps maintain their dental health.

Good-quality rabbit pellets are great because they can provide extra essential vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial to your rabbit’s health. Fruits and vegetables should be kept to a minimum but are fine as an occasional treat. Fresh hay and clean, fresh water should be available to your rabbit at all times.

English Spot Rabbit Chocolate
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Keeping Your English Spot Rabbit Healthy

The English Spot is generally a healthy breed that does not suffer from many hereditary diseases, and they can live long and healthy lives if they get a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. The biggest issue to keep an eye out for is overgrown teeth, and this is the most common issue that can affect these animals. Overgrown teeth can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort for your rabbit, and this can cause them to stop eating and lose weight. This can easily be largely prevented, though, by giving them a diet rich in fibrous hay and toys to chew on that can wear down their teeth.

Be sure to check their ears for mites, especially if they are kept outdoors. If there is any redness, there may be mites or infection, and they will need to go see a vet.

Breeding

As with most rabbit breeds, English Spots are easy to breed. A female will typically have a litter of around five to seven young, with an average gestation span of about 30 days. The challenge with breeding these rabbits is that not all the young will come out with the breed-specific markings. Usually, due to the En gene that rabbits have, 25% of the young will be a solid color, 25% will have partial markings, and 50% will have all the required markings of an English Spot.

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Are English Spot Rabbits Suitable for You?

English Spot Rabbits make ideal pets for singles, couples, and families with children, as they are gentle and affectionate animals that are highly accustomed to human interaction. Due to their docile and adaptable nature, they can easily be kept indoors — provided that they get plenty of time outside of their enclosure — making them an ideal pet if you have limited outdoor space.

If you are looking at adding a rabbit to your pet family, the English Spot is arguably one of the most easy-going, docile, friendly, and easy-to-care-for choices out there!


Featured Image Credit: 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.