It is no secret that rabbits grow quickly. In the wild, rabbits procreate and quickly grow to keep themselves from going extinct due to predators, but they do not lose this inclination as pets. Domestic rabbits grow just as quickly as wild ones, and they tend to stop growing at approximately the same time.
There is no one specific answer for when a rabbit will stop growing, though, as many factors can come into play, such as their breed. On average, rabbits stop growing at around 7 months.
Let’s explore the rabbit growth timeline, when the most common breeds stop growing, and the factors that can affect the growth of a rabbit regardless of their breed.
The Average Growth Timeline
Rabbits grow rapidly from the time they are born. By the age of 2 months, their protein and fat requirements increase so their bodies can keep up with the growth that they must do. Your rabbit will likely grow and gain weight fast enough for you to notice the growth weekly or monthly. However, the length of time that they grow, when they stop growing, and how big they will get by the time they are fully grown predominantly depends on breed and genetics. Even rabbits of the same breed may grow at different rates and grow to different sizes due to genetics. That said, there is some consensus as to when a breed should stop growing and approximately how big the breed will be once fully grown.
When Common Rabbit Breeds Stop Growing
Each rabbit breed is unique when it comes to their growth rate, the age when they become fully grown, and the average size upon maturity. Several different breeds are commonly bred for the pet market, so each should be explored to understand what you can expect as a rabbit owner based on the specific breed you have.
The Rex Rabbit
There are both standard and miniature Rex rabbits. Both sizes have dense, soft hair and long ears that tend to stay upright. The standard size stops growing at about 9 months old and is usually between 7 and 10 pounds when fully grown. Miniature Rex rabbits typically grow to be 3 or 4 pounds by the age of 7 months.
The Dutch Rabbit
This breed of rabbit is small in size and usually does not weigh more than 5 to 6 pounds during adulthood. They generally stop growing by the time they are 7 months old. The Dutch rabbit is distinctive because of their coat, which consists of a white front half and a darker back half.
The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
As a dwarf breed, this is one of the smallest rabbits in existence today. Their tiny ears and social disposition make them popular among pet owners. They weigh only 1 to 3 pounds after they stop growing, which is typically around 5 months of age.
The Holland Lop Rabbit
This type of rabbit has long floppy ears and a compact body, giving them an adorable look that makes them look like babies even as adults. They are usually fully grown by the age of 7 months and do not weigh more than 3 to 4 pounds.
The New Zealand Rabbit
Hailing from California, the New Zealand rabbit comes in five distinct colors and sometimes, pink eyes that are derived from a genetic mutation. These rabbits can weigh up to 12 pounds as adults and usually stop growing by 10 months old.
The English Angora
With long, thick coats, the English Angora tends to look larger than they really are. Since their wooly hair continues to grow throughout their lifetime, this rabbit breed can look like they continue to get bigger even after they have reached maturity, which is usually around 8 months old. Even if they look like they weigh 20 pounds due to their hair, they should not weigh more than 8 pounds as adults.
This rabbit breed has a unique coat that some say looks like a tortoiseshell cat’s coat. They reach maturity around the age of 9 months, and they can weigh between 7 and 10 pounds by that time.
The French Lop
These rabbits get their name from their ears, which flop down the sides of their faces. First developed in the 1800s, this is one of the most popular breeds in the world. They reach maturity around 10 months of age, and they can weigh up to 15 pounds.
The Flemish Giant
As their name suggests, the Flemish Giant rabbit is the largest (and one of the oldest) type of rabbit that lives domestically today. These large rabbits weigh in at 22 pounds when they finish growing, which is normally around the 18-month mark.
Factors That Can Affect the Growth of a Rabbit
There are a few factors to keep in mind that can affect the growth rate of a rabbit, no matter their breed. First, genetics is a big consideration. If a genetic mutation or defect has occurred in a relative of a rabbit, even if it was generations ago, it could make the rabbit grow more slowly or more quickly.
Another factor to consider is food intake. If a rabbit is not eating enough or does not have access to the right kinds of food, they likely will not grow as quickly or as large as they should. Rabbits need access to alfalfa hay as their main staple because it is full of the protein, fat, micronutrients, and fiber required for rapid growth. Regular veterinarian visits will help ensure that your rabbit is on the right track nutritionally and growth-wise.
Also, habitat size and condition can play a role in how quickly your rabbit grows and how big they get when they become mature. If their habitat is too small, they cannot grow to their full potential. If the habitat does not offer all the features that it should, like bedding and toys, your rabbit will not have the mental health and physical stimulation necessary for healthy growth. Therefore, it is important to make sure you consult with a breeder, pet shop, or veterinarian to determine how big your rabbit’s habitat should be and what should be included in it.
While we have a good idea of how long it takes a rabbit to grow and when they should stop growing based on their breed, there is no hard-and-fast rule to follow here. Some rabbits will grow slower or faster than others, but this does not mean that there is a health problem to worry about. If you are ever in doubt, though, consult with your veterinarian.
Featured Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay