|Temperament:||Docile, gentle, and curious|
|Best Suited For:||Almost any home; they are very easygoing and adaptable|
|Similar Breeds:||New Zealand, Polish, Dutch|
Not many rabbit breeds can lay claim to having been developed by a certified rabbit show judge, but the Florida White can! Product of a long and extensive breeding program in the Southern United States, the Florida White is what many think of as your stereotypical bunny: All white, small and compact, with pointed ears and red eyes.
In today’s article, we’ll be looking at the history and origin of this relatively recent addition to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, from their first litters in Florida to an eventual genetic makeover in Oklahoma. After that, you’ll receive some helpful hints and tips for keeping them as pets.
So, if you’re curious about this most rabbit looking of all rabbit breeds, read on to find out more!
History and Origin of the Florida White Rabbit Breed
In 1960, rabbit show judge Orville Milliken decided that he wanted to embark on a rabbit breeding project. Seeing the wide variety of rabbits available at that time, he noticed a lack of an all-white, compact, meat producing rabbit that could also be used in laboratories… And set out to create what would eventually become the Florida White.
Beginning with a stock of New Zealands, white Polish, and a rare albino Dutch rabbit, Milliken had begun to produce a small number of all-white rabbits within just two short years. By continuing to breed out the colors of the Dutch genes over the next five years, he eventually settled on the first real versions of the Florida White we know today.
In 1970, though, an Oklahoman rabbit breeder by the (almost definitely real) name of Fibber McGehee decided that through selective interbreeding, he could likely produce a Florida White with significantly lighter bone structure. By a chance encounter with an all-white Rex being introduced to the breeding program, the final rendition of the Florida White was born!
Following this advancement in the breed, it began to place regularly in rabbit shows across the country. While it never achieved fame as a meat or laboratory rabbit, its docile nature and attractive appearance have made it a favorite both as a pet and a show animal.
Small, compact, and all white, the Florida White is easily distinguished from the breeds that it came from. Smaller than a New Zealand, yet larger than a Polish, and without the characteristic fur of a Rex, it is truly its own breed.
Medium-size, fully erect ears jut from its small skull. With a particularly light bone structure, the Florida White tends towards being more fragile even than other miniature rabbits; be careful to handle it gently!
Nutrition and Health
Florida Whites can easily thrive on the same basics afforded to all domestic rabbits: A steady supply of filtered water and timothy hay, as well as daily servings of greens and kibble for additional nutrients. To take extra special care of them, consider giving the occasional bone and joint supplement treat to benefit their fragile skeletons.
As with all rabbits, be sure to give your Florida White plenty of room to move around and stretch inside of its enclosure, and let it out regularly for more vigorous exercise. This combined with a proper diet will encourage them to live a long, healthy life.
The coat of a Florida White is very low maintenance – even the usual once-weekly brushings for domestic rabbits can sometimes seem like a bit much. You’ll be able to tell quite easily when they begin shedding in the spring; go ahead and increase the frequency of their brushings to keep your house from turning into a white dust ball.
No matter what they were initially bred for, the Florida White has become popular as a house pet and show animal because of their kind, curious, and playful natures. They love to explore and interact with humans and other animals, but be cautious – their brittle bones are easily damaged by overzealous humans and animals alike.
Final Thoughts on the Florida White Rabbit Breed
It’s so often true that rabbits bred for one purpose (meat, fur, or laboratory) often end up being appreciated more as pets for their temperaments. This has certainly been the case with the Florida White, where dedicated enthusiasts have welcomed them time and again into their homes due to their stunning personalities.
Thank you for reading today! We hope you’ve learned everything you wanted to about the Florida White, but if you’re still curious… We recommend checking out Lynn M. Stone’s Rabbit Breeds: The Pocket Guide to 49 Essential Breeds, as well as Bob D. Whitman’s Domestic Rabbits and Their Histories. Both books were used as references for this article.
Featured Image: Ronald Plett from Pixabay