Whether you’re already a satisfied rabbit owner or are looking to add one to your home for the first time, choosing the right breed for your personal situation is essential! Because each breed of rabbit has its own personality quirks, health issues, and logistical considerations, it will do you well to study up on the nearly 50 available breeds before making a choice.
The American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA) is a “a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development, and improvement of the domestic rabbit,” and is responsible for setting out the guidelines of what constitutes a particular breed of rabbit. A special thanks goes to the hard work done by the judges and faculty of the ARBA in making sure we all have our most beloved breeds of rabbits well into the future!
This guide will be covering all 49 ARBA-recognized breeds, plus two more adorable breeds, to show you the 51 best pet rabbit breeds in the world. You’ll find pictures, history, and suggestions for aspiring rabbit owners.
There are over 300 domestic rabbit breeds in the world. Of those rabbits, only a fraction meets the qualifications to compete as a show rabbit. Show rabbits are often prized for their fur or wool, beauty, use-value, and how well they conform to the standard of the breed.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognizes 49 rabbit breeds eligible for show. We’ve listed all 49 types of show rabbit breeds which are also incredibly good pet breeds. And scroll to the end for the two cutest (non-show) rabbit breeds!
Without further ado, let’s get started on our ultimate guide to 51 great pet rabbit breeds!
The 51 Best Pet Rabbit Breeds:
1. American Rabbits
First developed in Pasadena, California in the early 1900s, the American was originally named the “German Blue Vienna”; conflict with Germany in World War I prompted its renaming to the breed we know today. Though originally bred for fur and meat, the attractive blue or white coats on this up to 12-pound breed have led enthusiasts to include it in shows, as well!
2. American Chinchilla Rabbits
One of three “chinchilla” variety rabbit breeds (alongside the Giant and Standard Chinchilla), its fine earthen fur is incredibly similar in color and texture to that of the wild chinchilla. Weighing up to 12 pounds, this breed is considered endangered, with only a handful of breeders still producing this calm and gentle rabbit.
3. American Fuzzy Lop
The adorable descendant of Holland Lop and French Angora parents, American Fuzzy Lops were first bred in the 1980s to provide a compact, wooly rabbit breed with the incredible array of colors found in lops. Coming in at under 4 pounds, American Fuzzy Lops are often friendly and energetic, but require a fair bit of grooming during their shedding season in the summer!
4. American Sable
Descended from a curiously colored American Chinchilla, the American Sable is colored almost identically to a Siamese cat! While it’s never been a widely spread breed, the past 40 years have seen a revival in its popularity due to being mixed with Silver Marten and Rex rabbits.
5. Argente Brun
Hailing from the late 1800s France, the Argente Brun is a blast from the past rabbit breed. After falling out of favor in 1920s America, a chance coloration of the breed from an Argente Champagne in the early 2000s sparked interest in the rabbit once again. Weighing up to 10 pounds, their slightly darkened muzzles, ears, and feet complement their chocolate to dark brown coats.
6. Belgian Hare
With a slim, fully arched body, the Belgian Hare most resembles wild rabbits seen in American prairie lands. Being the most popular rabbit breed in America from the early 1900s until the late 1920s, their rich, deeply colored coats and long, thin legs and ears are unmistakable. They make high-energy, curious pets that love to have room to hop around the home.
These black, blue, or white coated beauties come from Belgium, where they are bred to be wonderful outdoor pets. Their coats naturally grow thicker in the wintertime, protecting them from the cold in a way that many other rabbit breeds aren’t so lucky to have. The white-coated Beveren is perhaps the most outstanding of the bunch, with strikingly blue eyes.
8. Blanc de Hotot
Named for a village in northern France, the Blanc has an unmistakable look: every one of these rabbits is a frosty white coloration, with black circles around the eyes that some say resemble eyeliner. A large and friendly breed, these thick-set rabbits can weigh up to 11 pounds and make excellent companions to households with children.
9. Britannia Petite
Tied with the Netherland Dwarf for the title of smallest American rabbit breed, these feisty and high-energy rabbits often weigh in under 2.5 pounds! Available in six major colors as well as combination or “broken” coats, Britannia Petite require minimal space and make lively pets for apartments. You may also hear them referred to as a “Polish”, their breed name in England.
Californians are unmistakable for both their dense, muscular builds as well as black and white color contrast. Attractive and good-natured, they can weigh up to 11 pounds. For show purposes, look for rabbits whose black coloration is confined to the ears, nose, paws, and tail.
11. Champagne d’Argent
Originating in the famous sparkling wine region of France, the Champagne d’Argent has a unique bluish-white coat with black “guard hairs” that give an almost pewter tone to the fur. With an ideal weight of 10-12 pounds, they are relaxed and friendly rabbits to keep as a pet.
12. Checkered Giant Rabbits
With a similarly arched body to the Belgian Hare, the Checkered Giant definitely stands out in a crowd! With their 11 to 16-pound top weight, these handsome rabbits are high energy and distinctly black and white-colored. They make excellent companions for anyone who can give them a large cage and plenty of room to run around.
This uncommonly friendly mid-size rabbit is the product of a complex family tree including New Zealand, Chinchilla, Checkered Giant, and Californian rabbits. The end result is an unmistakably colored, gentle tempered pet with a beautiful sheen to its luxurious coat.
14. Crème d’Argent
One of the oldest recognized rabbit breeds, cre ancestry goes back almost 200 years in France. They are most well-known for their stunning coat coloration: golden white, with a nearly orange undercoat except on its pure white belly. Though never particularly popular in America, this rabbit breed loves having its silky coat pampered and petted.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Dutch markings” when describing a rabbit, then you’ll know the characteristic black “mask” and white “saddle” that have made this breed’s coat so popular.
Coming to the U.S. by way of London and Belgium, these compact (only around 5-pound) rabbits are hardy, adaptable, and caring. In fact, female Dutch rabbits are often used as foster mothers because of their agreeable temperament!
16. Dwarf Hotot
The diminutive relative of the Blanc de Hotot, these black-eyeliner rabbits top the scale-out at around just 3 pounds. With the miniaturized body of the Netherland Dwarf and distinctive eye coloring of the Hotot, these spunky little rabbits make for aesthetically pleasing, space-saving pets.
17. English Angora Rabbits
“Where did his face go?!?”, you may ask of this exceptionally long-haired breed! Often looking like a furball with ears, the English is the smallest of four Angora breeds. It comes in a shocking variety of colors, all complete with characteristically fluffy coats.
If you’re considering keeping an Angora as a pet, just know that you’ll need to spend a lot of time grooming your bunny friend! More industrious pet owners will also trim the Angora’s fur and spin it into wool.
18. English Lop
While all lop breeds have long, droopy ears that hang below their chin, the English lop takes this to an extreme: Their ears may stretch almost 2.5 feet from tip to tip when measured across the skull! These gentle giants of the lop family make doting pets, but require special care to prevent them from injuring their enormous ears.
19. English Spot
Another of the mid-sized English rabbit breeds, the Spot was selectively bred from wild English rabbits sometime in the late 19th century. They are most noticeable because of their black and white spotted coloration, similar to (but smaller than) the Rhinelander or Checkered Giant. Their long, lean bodies and irritable temperaments may make them less suitable to being homed with other pets.
20. Flemish Giant
Weighing up to 20 pounds, these Belgian-born beauties are true to their giant name! Gentle and loving, they have a unique semi-arched body and come in seven colors: Black, blue, fawn, light gray, sandy, steel gray, and white. Imported to the United States since the 1890s, they have been equally prized as pets, show rabbits, or sources of meat and pelts.
21. Florida White
Lustrous and white with pink eyes, the Florida White is the breeding project of a rabbit show judge (from Florida, as you might expect). Orville Milliken wanted to produce a breed of rabbit that would be small, compact, and good for both meat and laboratory work. While this rabbit never caught on for its intended purposes, it has become a popular option as a show rabbit due to its calm temperament.
22. French Angora
If you would prefer your ball of fur with a visible face, look no further than the French Angora! While their coats are just as long as their English brethren, these larger rabbits (up to 11 pounds) have much more cleanly trimmed faces. As with all Angora breeds, you must be committed to consistent grooming to keep them healthy as pets.
23. French Lop
Another of the especially popular lop family, the French Lop most closely resembles an English Lop – but without the oversized ears. They’re on the heavier side of lop breeds, often weighing close to 12 pounds. They make excellent, docile house pets and come in an exceptionally wide variety of colors.
24. Giant Angora
Developed as a breed only as recently as the 1980s, the Giant Angora is impossible to mistake for any other breed. Seen only in white and weighing nearly 10 pounds or more, they still possess the distinctive long coat of other Angora breeds. As a pet, they are slow-moving and gentle, and require much grooming and special care to keep their coats in good condition.
25. Giant Chinchilla
At a maximum of nearly 16 pounds, these are the largest of the three Chinchilla breeds in North America. While originally developed as a source of fur and meat, show breeders and home enthusiasts alike appreciate the gentle giant’s even manner and mild temperament.
Having perhaps the most fascinating coloration patterns of any breed on this list, the Harlequin is named after an Italian clowning persona whose outfit it resembles. Sporting alternating bands of color across its body as well as an evenly divided two-tone face, the Harlequin was initially known as the Japanese Rabbit (before World War II soured U.S. and Japanese relations).
Of medium size and coming in a variety of colors, they make a truly unique and easygoing house pet.
While its name might suggest an island birthplace, the Havana’s ancestry is Dutch in origin. Because the first rabbits of this breed were a rich black, they received the name “Havana” in reference to the rich, dark brown hues of tropical cigar tobacco. Growing to only around 6 pounds, they are on the smaller side of pet rabbits and are a great option for families with limited space for cages.
As one of the oldest rabbit breeds known, the Himalayan brings with it a decidedly relaxed and easy-going nature. Combine this with its modest weight (maxing out around 5 pounds) and distinctive coloration, and it makes for an ideal breed to choose as your first rabbit. There’s good reason it’s one of the most widespread rabbit breeds on the planet today!
29. Holland Lop
The most Bulldog-like in appearance among the lop family and the smallest (weighing only 4 pounds at maximum), the Holland Lop has become one of the more popular rabbit breeds of the last 50 years.
Combining the dashing good looks of French Lops with the ease of ownership of miniature rabbit breeds, Holland Lops are also available in a huge variety of colors. They make an ideal starter pet in almost any home.
30. Jersey Wooly
The product of a breeding project involving Angoras, Chinchillas, Netherland Dwarves, and a Silver Marten, this miniaturized rabbit has a friendly disposition and comes in a wide variety of colors. They are ideal for anyone who loves the look of Angoras but is afraid of the grooming requirements.
So named for the pinkish hue of its gray coat, the Lilac has been a recognized breed by the ARBA since 1928. Initially developed for meat and fur, their beautiful coats led them to being kept as show and pet animals as well. Capping out at 8 pounds, they make excellent pets for people who prize a shiny coat.
As you might expect, the diminutive Lionhead is most easily recognized by its crested mane of fur extending from its head and chest. A popular small breed (rarely exceeding 4 pounds), it is available in ruby-eyed white or tortoiseshell coat colorations. Though not nearly as grooming intensive as the Angora, prospective owners should be prepared to do light trimming around their manes.
33. Mini Lop
While certainly not a large rabbit, the Mini Lop may be better recognized as an average-sized breed – especially in comparison to the tiny Holland Lop. Their added weight (approximately 2 pounds heavier than Holland Lops) may contribute to their overall calmer and more sedentary demeanor. Like all other lops, they are available in a wide palette of color choices.
34. Mini Rex
All hail the king! This 5-pound rabbit is equipped with rich, velvety fur and a friendly disposition. Due to their complex breeding history, the available colors for a Mini Rex continue to multiply, with hues from chocolate to Himalayan to blue-eyed white and everything in-between.
35. Mini Satin
One of the more recently developed “mini” breeds, the Mini Satin is known for its brilliantly lustrous and shiny coat. Weighing in under 5 pounds, these rabbits have only been around since the 1970s and possess a wide range of temperaments; it’s recommended to meet each rabbit individually to determine compatibility.
36. Netherland Dwarf
As the parent stock of many “mini” breeds, the Netherland Dwarf holds a special place in the rabbit breeding world. Indeed, because of their characteristically aggressive attitude, many mini breeds display their same zest for life and high energy! Renowned for their incredibly small size (around 2.5 pounds at most) and lovable appearance, the Dwarf comes in a wide variety of solid and broken colors, making it a household favorite.
37. New Zealand
Perhaps the most popular multipurpose rabbit that America has ever produced, the New Zealand has been used for meat, fur, laboratory, and show purposes since its inception. In fact, most commercial rabbit meat production today comes from the New Zealand breed. Quite easy-going, they also make fantastic house pets.
Named for its resemblance to the beautiful golden coloring of Palomino horses, this rabbit breed was established in the 1940s in Washington state. Averaging around 11 pounds, they are said to have a pleasant disposition and be readily trainable.
Contending with the Netherland Dwarf for “cutest tiny rabbit breed”, the Polish rabbit often weighs no more than 3.5 pounds. They are available in black, blue, chocolate, blue-eyed white, ruby-eyed white, or a broken white dappled with any of the previous colors. Unlike the Netherland Dwarf, they do not have a reputation for being quite so feisty!
The original “king” of rabbits, the nearly 11-pound Rex was originally bred for meat and fur in France. Once they were introduced to the U.S. show circuit in the 1920s, though, the Rex took on new fame as a show and household pet worthy choice of rabbit.
This German-born breed is most well known for its very specific color pattern: A white body is home to two-color markings along the sides, a streak of color down its spine, dark eye bands, and a dark snout. A medium-sized rabbit, it is an uncommon breed in the United States.
Satins are the accidental offspring of a Havana breeding program, which happened to produce an amazing shine and texture to the rabbits’ coats. Most Satins will weigh in under 11 pounds and are often used to “satinize” other breeds of rabbit, making their fur glossier and more richly textured.
43. Satin Angora
Owing to its Satin and French Angora heritage, the Satin Angora may have the most plush and luxurious coat of any rabbit breed today. Of medium size, they are prized for their wool production. Prospective owners should be prepared to potentially spend hours each week grooming, trimming, and collecting the wool from a Satin Angora.
On the smaller side of medium, most Silvers weigh only around 6 pounds. While it is one of the oldest known rabbit breeds, it is also one of the rarest to find in North America today. Their silver guard hairs distinguish their otherwise plain black, brown, or fawn-colored coats, making them instantly recognizable.
45. Silver Fox
The Silver Fox is one of the only known rabbit breeds whose fur will stand up rather than fly back when brushed against the grain. Large (up to 12 pounds) and gentle in nature, they were originally known as the “American Heavyweight Silver” before a name change in 1929.
46. Silver Marten
Though sometimes unwanted as offspring of Chinchillas, Silver Martens have dense, dark fur with white-tipped guard hairs (giving them their name). Firmly medium-sized, their distinctive coloration around the eyes, nose, and chin have given many owners reason to love them.
47. Standard Chinchilla
Third in the Chinchilla group and most popular as show animals or pets, the Standard Chinchilla’s coat has a rich blend of earthy colors. Weighing around a maximum of 7.5 pounds, they are a hardy and adaptable breed to keep as pets.
So-called “Full Arch” rabbits display the high back and long, slender legs reminiscent of wild hares. The Tan’s impressive coloration includes a tan collar on short, highly lustrous fur. Their eye-catching two-tone coats and moderate weight (around 6 pounds at most) have made them a popular option as a show rabbit or pet.
Bred from Tans, English Spots, and Havanas, the Thrianta is distinctly pumpkin-colored – an absolute rarity among rabbits. With a short, compact body and weight under 6 pounds, they stand out from other similarly sized rabbits due to their vibrant coats.
50. Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit
One of the cutest rabbit breeds in the world is the Columbia Basin Pygmy. This is not only the smallest rabbit in the world but also the rarest. They nearly became extinct in the 1990s, but have managed to make a comeback. They are tiny, soft, with long ears, and a tiny nose.
51. Dwarf Lop
Speaking of dwarf rabbits, you’d really be missing out if we did not mention the dwarf lop. Last, but most certainly not least, this tiny treasure has soft fur and floppy ears. Their coat comes in many different colors and patterns, plus as mentioned, they are one of the most popular rabbit breeds for pets.
Big or small, feisty or gentle, and with any color you could possibly want, rabbits make excellent pets. We hope that this ultimate guide to 51 popular rabbit breeds has given you plenty of help and great ideas in choosing the right rabbit for your home!
A special thank you goes out to the ARBA as well as Lynn M. Stone’s fantastic book “Rabbit Breeds: The Pocket Guide to 49 Essential Breeds”; they provided much of the historical information found in this article, and thank you to the team at RabbitSpot for helping us source all of the adorable images.
Featured Image Credit: karin claus, Shutterstock