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Home > Rabbits > 12 Rare and Exotic Rabbit Breeds (With Pictures & Info)

12 Rare and Exotic Rabbit Breeds (With Pictures & Info)

Grey bunny of silver fox breed in garden

Rabbits are wildly popular pets, as they’re smaller than cats and dogs, generally gentle, and fairly sociable. They’re great for those living in apartments and other smaller spaces (though their hutches might take up more room than expected!) and can even cost a bit less than the typical pet. If you know rabbits, you’re familiar with the breeds most commonly kept as pets. But how well do you know the rarer breeds?

Several rare and exotic rabbit breeds aren’t in the limelight as much as the more common bunnies. Many are endangered or getting there, so there are fewer of them available. But if you’re a rabbit fan, you’ll enjoy learning more about them (and might even find a new favorite breed while you’re at it!).


The 12 Rare and Exotic Rabbit Breeds

1.  American Blue

This rare breed was initially known as the German Blue Vienna, but the name was changed to American Blue after World War I. The American Blue was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1918 and is unique to North America. However, it’s now become the rarest breed in the U.S. and is on the watchlist of the Livestock Conservancy. Bred primarily for fur and meat, many are now trying to make the breed into a show rabbit. As a fairly hardy breed and a gentle medium-sized rabbit, the American Blue can make an excellent pet.

2. American Chinchilla

furry american chinchilla rabbit sitting on bright green grass meadow during spring
Image by: Beautrium, Shutterstock

The original Chinchilla rabbits debuted in 1913 in France and were much smaller than the American Chinchilla. Famed for having the ideal rabbit fur, breeders in the States decided to make the Chinchilla larger so it would have a larger pelt (and produce more meat). Thus, the American Chinchilla was born. However, because rabbit fur and meat trading have declined, the breed has become rarer and is listed by the Livestock Conservancy as critical. The breed can still be found as household pets, though, because of their gentle, good-natured temperaments.

3. American Sable

American Sable Rabbit
American Sable Rabbit (Image Credit: Sonofsammie at English Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0)

The American Sable is one of the breeds on this list that isn’t at risk but is still considered rare. You’d be correct if you think they look similar to a Chinchilla rabbit, as this breed is an off-shoot! The American Sable is most often used for meat production as their meat has excellent quality, but you will occasionally see them kept as pets. However, this rabbit breed is easily stressed and somewhat timid, so they don’t do well in homes with children.

4. Belgian Hare

Black and brown belgian hare
Image Credit: Cassidy Te, Shutterstock

The Belgian Hare isn’t actually a hare but merely a rabbit bred to look like a hare. Originally bred for meat production, you’ll find them more often as show rabbits and pets. While they can make excellent pets due to their sweet personalities and tend to be active (particularly in outdoor environments), some Belgian Hares can be exceptionally nervous and startle easily, so they don’t do well in smaller spaces. The breed is currently listed as threatened by the Livestock Conservancy.

5. Blanc de Hotot

blanc de hotot rabbit
Image by: Barbarajo, Shutterstock

These bunnies are striking with their white fur and black rings around the eyes. The Blanc de Hotot was popular in Europe in the 1920s but nearly died out during World War II. Though initially appearing in America between 1921 and 1922, they quickly faded into obscurity, only reappearing in 1978 when eight rabbits were imported from France. The breed was recognized by ARBA in 1979. There are only a few throughout the world, so the Livestock Conservancy has listed them as being critical.

6. Columbia Basin Pygmy

Columbia Basin Pygmy
Image by: Randy Bjorklund, Shutterstock

This rare bunny is the tiniest of the rabbit family, only weighing about 1 pound when fully grown. Unfortunately, the Colombian Pygmy is nearly extinct in the wild, so you won’t be able to own one of these small rabbits yourself. However, you can visit these rabbits at the Oregon Zoo, where conservationists are hard at work trying to breed them and conserve them in the wild!

7. Harlequin

male harlequin rabbit
Image by: LNbjors, Shutterstock

These beautiful rabbits are known for their striking and unique coloration. The Harlequin rabbit’s face is evenly divided into two colors, while the body features alternating bands of color. The breed used to be highly popular (and insanely expensive), but they’re much rarer these days and normally can only be found with show enthusiasts. As pets, the Harlequin is fairly easygoing and playful. Perpetually curious, they love to explore their surroundings. However, they do need extensive early socialization!

8. Pointed Beveren

Beveren rabbits come in many varieties, but the rarest one is the Pointed Beveren. Colored nearly the same as the regular Beveren rabbit but with white-tipped fur, the Pointed Beveren is a fur rabbit but also a rabbit that makes an excellent pet (particularly for kids). Known as gentle giants, these rabbits are larger in size and have calm, sweet personalities. Fair warning, though, these bunnies have long hair that requires plenty of grooming and need a lot of space to run and play in!

9. Rhinelander

rabbit eating_ Beachbird, Shutterstock
Image by: Beachbird, Shutterstock

The Rhinelander rabbit comes to us via Germany, where it was created by mixing a common gray rabbit with a Harlequin, then crossing the Harlequin with the Checkered Giant doe. Though these rabbits first appeared in 1902, they didn’t reach the U.S. until 1923. However, the Rhinelander never gained popularity here and disappeared, only reappearing in the States again in the mid-1970s. There are less than 2,000 Rhinelanders in the world today, making them a much rarer breed than others, and they are on the watch list for the Livestock Conservancy.

10. Silver Fox

Silver Fox Rabbit Blue in Grass
Image by: Marguerita Rollins, Shutterstock

The Silver Fox rabbit was the third-ever breed created in the U.S. and was recognized in 1925 (though under its original name of “American Heavyweight Silver”). However, this breed’s numbers began to decline in the 1970s, and there are now less than 2,000 of these bunnies in the world (though the Livestock Conservancy has listed them as “recovering”, which is promising). Hearing the name “Silver Fox”, you’d think these rabbits had silver fur, but they actually have black fur with silver guard hairs; the breed was named due to its resemblance to the Arctic Silver Fox. A rather low-maintenance bunny, the Silver Fox is gentle and can deal with being handled if properly socialized, so they can make wonderful pets.

11. Sumatran Striped

sumartarn striped rabbit
Image by: homeyopito, Shutterstock

The Sumatran Striped rabbit is critically endangered due to the ongoing loss of its habitat, but it has always been rare and elusive. Found in only one location in Indonesia, the existence of these rabbits has been known since the 1880s, but they’ve rarely been seen. One was spotted in 1972, but then these rabbits weren’t seen again until 2000! Unfortunately, you can’t get one of these rare and exotic bunnies for a pet, but they are a genuinely fascinating breed.

12. Volcano

volcano rabbit
Image Credit: Jo Reason, Shutterstock

The Volcano rabbit is another that is endangered. Named after the Mexican volcanoes they live around, the breed’s habitat is gradually being destroyed, so numbers are dwindling. These rabbits are the second-smallest of the rabbit breeds, weighing not even a pound, and are known for communicating via high-pitched squeal rather than thumping. Unfortunately, this is another rabbit that isn’t suitable to have as a pet due to its rarity and endangered status.



There are quite a few rare and exotic rabbit breeds in the world, though sadly, many of them are endangered or on their way there. Still, a few of them are rabbits you can keep as pets (if you can locate one). Hopefully, conservation efforts will help preserve at least some of these breeds!

Featured Image Credit: RadekBartak, Shutterstock

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