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Smoke Pearl Rabbit

Nicole Cosgrove

The Smoke Pearl Rabbit is a small to medium-sized, Scottish breed. Its friendly, laid-back nature makes it suitable for novices as well as experienced owners. It enjoys attention and most Smoke Pearls enjoy a cuddle with their owners.

Originally bred for its fur, this Scottish breed has a very thick and luxurious coat. It is considered a hardy and healthy breed, can live indoors or outdoors, and does not have any care requirements that are out of the ordinary.

However, it is a rare breed and is difficult to find, with most examples of the Smoke Pearl being found in their home country of Scotland.


Quick Facts about Smoke Pearl Rabbits

Species Name: Smoke Pearl Rabbit
Family: Leporids
Care Level: Moderate
Climate: Cold and wet
Temperament: Cuddly and affectionate
Color Form: Smoky brown or blue
Lifespan: 5–9 years
Size: Small to medium
Diet: Hay, vegetables, pellets
Minimum Enclosure Size: 6’ x 2’ x 2’
Compatibility: Friendly with others

Smoke Pearl Rabbit Overview

The Smoke Pearl Rabbit is a fur rabbit that was originally bred for its fur. It is one of only two truly Scottish breeds and first appeared in the public in 1926. Mr. Lawrie Stenhouse bred two or more of his collection of Chinchilla Rabbits, Sable Rabbits, and Beveren Rabbits, to create the breed that was originally known as the Smoke Beige Rabbit. The breed’s name was changed to Smoke Pearl in 1932, the year that the rabbit was accepted by the British Fur Rabbit Society. The new name was considered more friendly and appealing and it was hoped that it would increase the rabbit’s popularity.

Despite the name change, the rabbit was not heard of for the next 10 years and it is believed that the Smoke Pearl Rabbit did not garner enough popularity outside of Scotland to thrive.

Breeders wanted the breed to gain popularity. In 1945, a national club was formed, and it was accepted into the new show rabbit society. Although it started to gain in popularity at this time, it has since become a rare breed and is difficult to locate.

Although it is an uncommon breed, the Smoke Pearl is popular with its owners. Its temperament is friendly and even loving and cuddly. It has normal care requirements that are typical of any rabbit breed. It is also soft and has thick and luxurious fur. The Smoke Pearl has a lot going for it.


How Much Do Smoke Pearl Rabbits Cost?

Difficult to find outside the UK and Australia, the Smoke Pearl is a surprisingly inexpensive breed of rabbit. You will have to pay between $20 and $60 for one. This is a hybrid breed, which means that it costs less than purebred rabbits.

The distinct color and the simple lack of numbers mean that the Smoke Pearl is unlikely to be found in shelters and rescues. If you do find one in a local center, the adoption fee can vary but are normally between $20 and $50.

Expect to spend between $200 and $300 on a hutch, bowls, and other accessories, and approximately $10 per month on feed and a few dollars for pet insurance.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

This friendly breed is considered great for new owners, as well as those with more experience. It is easy to care for and it is also considered a very amiable breed. In fact, the Smoke Pearl can be affectionate and loving, giving hugs and offering love to children and adults.

Appearance & Varieties

Weighing up to 7 pounds, the Smoke Pearl is a small to medium-sized breed. It can look quite plump but is a relatively small and lean domesticated rabbit breed. It has an arched back, a long head, and its ears are shorter than other domestic breeds. Having been bred as a fur rabbit, initially, the breed is still known for its thick and luxurious coat.

The fur is usually a light gray color, although the actual color varies from beige to blue. The face, feet, and outside of the ears have a darker color to them, while the rabbit’s eyes are bright with a slight red glow to them.


How to Take Care of Smoke Pearl Rabbits

The Smoke Pearl Rabbit is considered an easy rabbit to care for, with minimal special requirements other than those associated with all domestic rabbits. It can be kept indoors or outdoors, as long as you provide a suitable and protective living environment. It does require a decent hutch, and if you can provide an outdoor area to run around safely, you and your rabbit will benefit.

Indoor Care

Like most domesticated rabbits, the Smoke Pearl will benefit from being kept indoors. Not only is it drier and warmer, but your rabbit will be closer to you. It will get used to hearing your voice and seeing you, which means that it will become friendlier and will be less likely to hop away from you, although this breed is friendly and tactile. If you keep the rabbit indoors and provide its own cordoned-off area, ensure that this is fully rabbit-proof. Protect wires and cables and move anything that your rabbit could chew.

Outdoor Care

The Smoke Pearl Rabbit hails from Scotland, so it is a hardy animal that can survive outdoors. If you intend to keep your Pearl outdoors, you will have to provide a good hutch and ensure that your rabbit can stay warm and dry. Typically, this means offering a hutch with three solid sides. It protects against falling rain and howling gales.

Hutch Size

The size of the hutch should be such that your rabbit can comfortably move in all directions, fully spread out, and is not cramped or struggling for space. With this medium breed, you need to offer minimum dimensions of 6’ x 2 ‘ x 2’. If you can offer more space, your rabbit will appreciate the room.


If you are able, you should try to provide your Smoke Pearl with room to run. Even a generously sized hutch will not allow your rabbit to run back and forth, which is what a run will offer. Ideally, a run should be 8’ x 4’, which offers plenty of hopping room and space to explore. If you can provide even more space, then that’s even better.

Do Smoke Pearl Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?

The Smoke Pearl Rabbit is not only friendly with people but will get along with most other animals, given the chance. The rabbit is a sociable animal and you can keep multiple Smoke Pearls of the same sex together. The rabbit’s reputation for extensive breeding is deserved, however, so you should avoid keeping males and females together, or you could have your hands full soon.

Always take care if you have larger animals. Some species of animal, especially cats and dogs, will naturally view the rabbit as prey and they may give chase. Even if there is no intent to cause harm, the rabbit can suffer a serious shock if they see a larger animal running at them.


What to Feed Your Smoke Pearl Rabbit

Rabbits are herbivores and they require a good diet that consists of a combination of hay, vegetables, and supplemental pellets, as well as access to fresh water.


Their diet should consist of between 70% and 80% hay, which should be good quality hay. This mimics the fresh grass that your rabbit would eat in the wild. Their digestive tracts will break down the hay and provide plenty of fiber. This, in turn, leaves the rabbit feeling full and ensures good gastrointestinal health. A failure to provide enough hay for your rabbit means that they can become deficient in fiber and may suffer a compacted stomach. Regular grazing on hay also helps your rabbit grind down its teeth, preventing molar spurs and ensuring good dental hygiene. Baby bunnies should eat an alfalfa hay meal, while adult rabbits benefit from the feeding of Timothy hay, orchard grass, or oat hay.


You can also feed pellets to your rabbit. These are made from hay but contain additional nutrients that would not be found in standard hay bales. High fiber, low protein, pellets are good for adult rabbits, but you will need to ration them because rabbits will take the easy option of pellets over the more challenging rough hay, but the pellets do not offer the same overall benefits.


In the wild, rabbits would eat any vegetables in the area around where they live, as well as the grass. In captivity, you can replicate this by feeding good quality and appropriate vegetables. Feed approximately three or 4 cups of greens per day to your adult Smoke Pearl, or 1 cup for every 2 pounds of body weight. Romaine lettuce, mustard greens, carrot tops, broccoli greens, and cilantro, are among some of the best greens you can feed your rabbit.


Always ensure that your rabbit has access to a clean source of fresh drinking water. A water bowl is preferred to a bottle because the lapping action more closely mimics how a rabbit would drink. Bottles can also become clogged and the spout can become frozen in cold weather.

Keeping Your Smoke Pearl Healthy

There are no known conditions or illnesses that this breed is especially susceptible to, but you should look for signs of diseases that all rabbits are prone to.

  • Check for overgrown teeth, because rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lives and need grinding down.
  • Protect the rabbit from extreme temperatures and rapid temperature changes. Ensure that it gets a good diet and plenty of fresh water every day.
  • You can also consider rabbit vaccinations to protect against diseases like myxomatosis and VHD. Regular flea and worm treatment can also prove beneficial.


Rabbits breed rapidly and in large numbers. Before breeding your rabbit, consider whether you want the additional rabbits yourself because you are unlikely to make a substantial profit from rabbit breeding, and the proliferation of rabbits in pet shops and with other breeders means that you may end up having to keep and care for the entire litter of up to 14 kittens.

Your rabbit will become sexually active at just 3-4 months old. They can breed at any time of the year or month, will have several litters in the space of a year, and gestation lasts around 4 weeks. You can quickly become overwhelmed with rabbits if you aren’t careful.


Are Smoke Pearl Rabbits Suitable For You?

Smoke Pearl Rabbits are a loving and affectionate breed. They enjoy time with their humans and will usually enjoy cuddles. They are hardy, not prone to any specific illnesses, and can be kept indoors or outdoors. This combination of features makes them a good choice as a family pet. However, they are difficult to find, outside the UK where they originate from, and Australia. Whether you are inexperienced or an experienced owner, however, and whether you have children or not, this is a very popular and suitable choice of rabbit breed for your home.

Provide plenty of room in which to live, offer a balanced diet consisting of hay, vegetables, and pellets, and regularly socialize your rabbit. If you do this, the Smoke Pearl can make an excellent pet that is tactile, loving, and will get along with everybody in the home.

Featured Image Credit:

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.