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Home > Rabbits > 5 Common Rabbit Body Types (With Pictures)

5 Common Rabbit Body Types (With Pictures)

English Lop rabbit on the ground surrounded with fallen leaves

According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), all domestic rabbits fall into one of five different body types. Within each body type profile, there are further specifications, but these are the types you’ll hear about most often if you plan on showing your rabbit.

Read on to learn more about the five different body types to determine what kind your rabbit has.

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The 5 Rabbit Body Types

1. Fully Arched

Belgian Hare on white background
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Rabbits with the fully arched body type appear to always be alert and energetic. You can see daylight under its belly because it fully stands on its feet. As the body type title suggests, these rabbits have a very curved and rounded back beginning at the nape of the neck and continuing fluidly to the tail.

Many rabbit breeds of this body type have the stereotypical erect ears and athletic build. Fully-arched breeds include:

2. Semi Arched

giant flemish
Image Credit: karin claus, Shutterstock

Rabbits with a semi-arched body type tend to be larger. They’re often called “gentle giants” because of their large size and calm demeanors. These rabbits have large, broad heads with low shoulders and a high hip. Like the fully arched rabbits, semi-arched rabbits also have a significant back curve, though theirs begins behind their shoulders instead of behind the neck.

Semi-arched rabbit breeds include:

3. Compact

black netherland dwarf rabbit
Image By: stdesign, Shutterstock

Rabbits with a compact body type are on the smaller side, though there are several medium-sized breeds with this shape. They are bred to be tightly constructed, round, and adorable. They’re small, stocky, and well-muscled but aren’t as bulky as other body types. Compact rabbits are often show animals and are sometimes bred for their fur.

Compact rabbit breeds include:

4. Commercial

Two little angora rabbits
Image By: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

As the body type title would suggest, rabbits with the commercial body type are great candidates for meat production, though they are often used for their fur. The perfect meat rabbit will gain weight fast so it can be harvested by the time it is eight weeks. They are well-muscled throughout with much fuller bodies than those with arched body types.

Commercial rabbit breeds include:

5. Cylindrical

Himalayan rabbit
Image By: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

Rabbits with a cylindrical body type are round, slinky, and long animals. They have no clear rise to their hindquarters, which is what led to the creation of this body type’s title. When these rabbits are shown or posed, they have straight and flat spines and lie on the table in a cylinder shape.

There is only one breed with this body type: the Himalayan. These beautiful rabbits are white, with dark or dilute points, not unlike a Siamese cat.


Are There Other Ways to Classify Rabbits?

Rabbits can be classified by their body types and the type of fur they have on their pelts. There are four types of fur.

Normal. This is the most common fur type. It breaks down further into fly-back and rollback fur sub-types. Fly-back coats will fall back into place after being rubbed in the opposite direction of the fur growth. Rollback coats will roll back into place when you run your hand on them.

Rex. Rex fur is evenly short and extremely dense with a velvet-like texture. A hair follicle of a rabbit with normal fur contains around 14 hairs, while rabbits with rex fur will have up to 50 hairs per follicle. There are only two ARBA recognized breeds sporting this fur type: the Rex and Mini Rex.

Satin. Rabbits with the satin fur type have very soft coats. Their unique fur structure features hair shafts with a narrow diameter, giving them a translucent sheen to their coats. As with the Rex classification, there are only two breeds with this fur type: the Satin and Mini Satin.

Wool. Wool rabbit fur is sometimes also known as angora rabbit fur. It is characterized by a long, woolly coat. It is very thick and fluffy, not unlike sheep’s wool, though the rabbit’s is higher density.


Final Thoughts

Though there are further specifications within each rabbit body type, the above five classifications are important to know if you plan to show your rabbit. It is important to familiarize yourself with your rabbit’s breed and body type because your pet’s shape will determine how it can be posed and evaluated by the judges.

Featured Image Credit: topimages, Shutterstock

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