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Fauve de Bourgogne Rabbit

Nicole Cosgrove

The Fauve de Bourgogne is one of the oldest rabbit breeds from France and originated within the Burgundy region of the country. The breed is renowned for their fawn and red/orange coat and was developed as such through selective breeding of fawn-colored rabbits. This rabbit is a fairly rare breed that is not commonly found outside of their native country but is still popular in France, where they are commonly kept as family pets and show animals.

Read on to find out more about this unique and rare rabbit breed!

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Quick Facts about the Fauve de Bourgogne

Species Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Family: Leporidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Social, active, gentle
Color Form: Orange/red
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Size: Medium (7-8 pounds)
Diet: Herbivore
Minimum Enclosure Size: 30×40 inches
Compatibility: Friendly and easily tamable

Fauve de Bourgogne Overview

Fauve de Bourgogne rabbit
Image Credit: Bodlina, Wikimedia Commons

The Fauve de Bourgogne rabbit was commonly bred in France for their fur and notoriously tasty meat, but the breed has since become a popular pet and show rabbit, due to their docile temperament, ease of care, and beautiful coat. They make great family pets because they are easy to tame and highly adaptable, and they can live happily both indoors and outside. That said, if you are looking for a playful pet, the Fauve de Bourgogne may not be the ideal choice because they are far more docile than most other rabbit breeds. Of course, this makes them an ideal pet for young children.

They are also notoriously easy to train and can even be taught to use a litter box! These rabbits are mostly comfortable with being held, provided that they are handled gently and are socialized from a young age.

The breed was developed from a selection of fawn rabbits native to the Burgundy area in France and was officially recognized as a breed in January of 1928. This makes them a comparatively new breed, and although the Fauve de Bourgogne has since been distributed around the world, they are still fairly rare outside of France.

How Much Do Fauve de Bourgogne Rabbits Cost?

Due to the breed being so rare outside of France, the Fauve de Bourgogne can be difficult to find. When purchased from a breeder, a pedigree rabbit will typically cost $30-$50, but a Fauve de Bourgogne can cost upward of $250. This price will depend on the breeder, availability, and the rabbit’s ancestry — the more pedigree the breed has, the more that you are likely to pay.

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Typical Behavior & Temperament

These rabbits are commonly described as being gentle, docile, easy-going, and friendly. It is due to these qualities that they make such popular pets, and they are a great first pet for young children. They are also easy to train and are even known to respond to their names. They are also comparatively less active and playful than most other rabbit breeds, making them all the easier to care for.

Appearance & Varieties

A Fauve de Bourgogne
Image Credit: Fiver, der Hellseher, Wikimedia Commons

The Fauve de Bourgogne is a medium- to large-sized rabbit with a distinctively rusty-red-colored coat and a round, muscular body. Their heads are large and broad, with a short but strong neck, large, furry ears that are held upright with rounded tips, and a medium-length coat with a dense undercoat.

The most distinguishing feature of the Fauve de Bourgogne is their beautiful red coat. They have slightly darkened paws and ears and a slightly lighter belly. The Fauve de Bourgogne is not recognized in any other color.

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How to Take Care of the Fauve de Bourgogne

Indoor Enclosure

The Fauve de Bourgogne does well housed indoors, as this will keep them protected from predators, dogs and cats, and harsh weather, although they should still spend plenty of time outdoors. They need space to roam, play, and exercise their natural instincts, as well as stretch their legs and get adequate exercise. Of course, their enclosure should be escape-proof, with chew-proof wires and plenty of comfortable bedding.

Outdoor Enclosure

When housing your Fauve de Bourgogne outdoors, their hutch should be weatherproof and shielded from harsh weather conditions. This includes adequate insulation for the winter months and plenty of ventilation for the summer months. They should also have an extension hutch with a grassy area for them to play and run and get fresh air and sunshine but is out of the direct sun and protected from rain.

Bedding

Your Fauve de Bourgogne will need comfortable, safe, and soft bedding, whether housed inside or outdoors. This could be wood shavings, hay, grass mats, or even newspaper, but it should be changed at least once a week to keep it clean and fresh.

These rabbits can be litter trained, so a solid floor is perfectly useable and easy to clean. However, bedding is warmer and far more comfortable for them.

Fauve_de Bourgogne
Image Credit: Jean Weber, Flickr

Hutches

There are many designs of rabbit hutch, all of which have their positives and their drawbacks. Try to avoid hutches with wire floors, as this can be uncomfortable for your Fauve de Bourgogne to walk on, though it can be covered with wood or a grass mat. The door should be able to be closed tightly and should be big enough for your rabbit to get in and out of comfortably. Side doors as opposed to top doors are best, as your rabbit can get in and out on their own.

Do Fauve de Bourgognes Get Along With Other Pets?

The Fauve de Bourgogne is a friendly and adaptable rabbit, and as such, they get along great living with other rabbits. Of course, size has a part to play, as a large rabbit may injure a smaller one, but the only way to really know if two rabbits will get along is to introduce them and see how they go.

Introductions should be done slowly, and putting two separate cages close together at first is a great idea. It may take some time for them to bond, but once they do, they are usually friends for life. The Fauve de Bourgogne’s calm and gentle nature generally makes them far less prone to fighting, so this will usually be a peaceful process.

We highly recommend spaying and neutering your Fauve de Bourgogne, as this will prevent unwanted breeding, reduce territorial behavior, and prevent certain types of cancer — uterine cancer is one of the most common types in rabbits.

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What to Feed Your Fauve de Bourgogne

Fauve_de_bourgogne
Image Credit: Eponimm, Wikimedia Commons

Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants, and are grazers, in that they eat continuously. Your Fauve de Bourgogne should be fed on a diet of mostly hay with occasional vegetables and specially made rabbit pellets. Timothy hay should make up the largest portion of their diet because it is high in fiber and promotes a healthy digestive system. Pellets are a great addition, although be careful to not feed your rabbit too much because they can become obese — pellets are generally high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Their diet of hay should ideally be supplemented with a variety of other fresh plant materials and leafy greens, like lettuce, carrot tops, cilantro, broccoli, and bok choy, and they can eat as much of these as they desire. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Remember that rabbits need to chew constantly to keep their continuously growing teeth short and trim. Chew toys, as well as hay, should be available at all times for your rabbit.

Interestingly, most rabbit species engage in coprophagy, meaning they eat their own feces. These cecal droppings provide a rich source of nutrients for your rabbit, and although most owners rarely observe this behavior, don’t be surprised if you happen to see your Fauve de Bourgogne doing this!

Keeping Your Fauve de Bourgogne Healthy

The Fauve de Bourgogne is generally a healthy breed, and if they are fed a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of variety and given enough exercise, they usually live long, healthy lives. They are sensitive to cold weather, so it is vital to make sure their enclosure is well insulated to prevent them from catching a cold.

Fauve de Bourgogne rabbits that are kept outdoors may be susceptible to mites, fleas, and ticks, so keep a careful eye out during interaction with them for any signs of these parasites.

Breeding

Fauve de Bourgognes, like most rabbit breeds, are easy to breed. Males can reproduce at around 8 or 9 months, and females are ready to mate at 6-7 months. They will typically have around 6-9 young per litter on average but have been known to have up to 14 babies (kittens) at times. Young are usually weaned by around 4-6 weeks, at which point, they are no longer drinking any milk and are eating hay. The young should be kept together as a litter for 2 weeks after weaning and before being rehomed, or at least 8 weeks old, but older is better.

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Are Fauve de Bourgognes Suitable for You?

The Fauve de Bourgogne is a great family pet due to their friendly, docile nature, ease of care, and long lifespan. They are generally happy to be handled if socialized early, and this makes them a great pet for younger children. The Fauve de Bourgogne is also a healthy, hardy animal that is highly adaptable and can do well living both indoors and outdoors. This is a giant plus for owners who live in small apartments but want to keep a pet rabbit. Of course, rabbits still need plenty of exercise and time outside of their cage.

If you are looking for a docile, easy-to-care-for family pet that tolerates being picked up and is happy to live both outside and indoors, the Fauve de Bourgogne is a great choice — if you can find one!


Featured Image Credit: Jean Weber, Flickr

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.