Black and white rabbit breeds are the cutest, aren’t they?
We think so anyway, so we’re dedicating an article to telling you all about them!
Throughout the ages sage philosophers have advised us not to view the world in black and white. Clearly they’ve never gazed upon that most adorable, winsome, not to mention fertile little bundle of fur known as the black and white bunny rabbit!
For if they had, surely they would know about the joy of owning a black and white dwarf bunny, black and white spotted bunny, or black and white lop bunny. These superbly colored bunnies have a charm all their own!
Black and White Rabbit Breed
It is thought that the Normans were the first known rabbit owners/enthusiasts. In these early days rabbits were valued as a source of food and clothing.
As global food production increased, the role of rabbits in the food chain decreased, and formal exhibition of rabbits (known as Fancy Rabbits) began to take place more than 200 years ago.
Modern day domestic rabbit breeds are plentiful, and their colors range from black to white to just about every hue in between. These colors can appear singularly, in dualities or as part of a pattern.
But there’s something special about a dual colored black and white floppy eared bunny. If you’re looking to add a black and white baby bunny to your household, we’ve gathered up all the information you need to make a clear-cut, or shall we say, black and white, decision?
Thousands of pet parents enjoy the company of domesticated rabbits, and many of these amazing animals are also shown competitively.
Here we are going to review several rabbit breeds such as Dutch, Rex, and Lionhead, all of which feature black and white bunnies.
And while we will introduce and describe several breeds, including weight, ear type, and fur type, our emphasis will be on those breeds that feature black and white rabbits.
As of 2016 the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognized nearly 50 unique rabbit breeds while the British Rabbit Council recognized over 50 breeds (including 500 varieties).
Owning A Black and White Rabbit
Breeders speak in terms of generalities when describing a breed’s temperament. But in reality each and every bunny enjoys its own unique personality and characteristics, just as human siblings from the same family do!
Some rabbit breeds are considered more easygoing, some more temperamental. But the best way to socialize an animal is to handle it often and give it frequent exposure to other living beings.
Beyond the breed’s reputation, keep in mind a bunny’s size when deciding upon which breed of black and white bunny to bring home.
A smaller breed requires less living space and less food. According to ARBA, the following guidelines should be used:
- 1.5 square feet of cage space for rabbits less than 4 pounds
- 3 square feet of space for those up to nine pounds
- 4-5 square feet of space for animals 9-12 pounds
Of course if you have more than one rabbit, you need to expand upon these suggestions to take into account their shared living quarters.
Black and White Rabbit Ears and Fur
In addition to a rabbit’s temperament and size, many owners consider appearance when choosing a bunny, ears and fur being two main considerations.
A domestic bunny’s ears are either up or down (lop), big or small. Lop breeds such as the American and English have large, lolling ears that typically flop onto the sides of the head.
So, if it’s ears that you are in love with, it’s good to know that the English Lop has the biggest ears of all the Lop breeds!
In contrast, other breeds have smaller, erect ears that stand at attention on top of the head. Both types are adorable, in my estimation!
Short and smooth rabbit fur is described as “flyback,” or “roll back.” The former descriptive term applies to short rabbit fur that immediately flies back into place when it is stroked against the normal growth pattern.
When the same is done to what is known as roll back fur, the hair takes longer to fall back into place, and instead slowly rolls back into its usual position.
This type of fur is longer and denser than flyback fur, which rests closer to the body. In general flyback fur is easier to care for.
Wool coated rabbit breeds have long, fluffy fur and include the American Fuzzy Lop and the Lionhead. A woolly coat is dense but soft.
The Rex type of fur in rabbits is characterized by hair that sits upright. The coat is short but very lush and velvet-like to the touch.
This type of coat is only found in Rex and mini Rex rabbits.
Caring for A Black and White Rabbit
Rabbits have a reputation for being timid, so avoid quick movements and loud noises as you get your new black and white rabbit friend accustomed to your company.
Keep in mind that the average domestic rabbit has a lifespan of 8-12 years so be sure that you have the time to spend quality minutes engaging with your rabbit each day.
Most often a well-socialized rabbit nips or scratches due to fear versus aggression, a factor to be kept in mind if youngsters are to handle and/or be in charge of the rabbit’s everyday needs.
Black and White Dwarf Rabbit
Rabbits range in size from mini (Dwarf rabbits) to maxi (Giant rabbits). Dwarf rabbits are easier to handle, with their slender size caused by a genetic mutation.
These small animals should always be handled with gentleness and care due to their slight structure. Experts recommend keeping dwarf rabbits indoors only, due to their size and sensitive systems.
How small are dwarf bunnies? Dwarf rabbits of various breeds average 1 to 3 pounds, give or take an ounce or two!
Nonetheless, the Mini and Dwarf Lops can reach up to a whopping 5 pounds apiece.
Dwarf rabbits are characterized by short noses, small ears, compact bodies, and large heads in relation to the body. Their fur can be either long or short, the ears regular or lop, and their colors mimic the standard ranges found in full size bunnies.
These itty bitty bunny rabbits are unquestionably cute little critters to have around. And so over time breeders began to develop smaller and smaller dwarf breeds in order to meet the appeal for cute, pocket-sized rabbits.
However, such breeding practices are not without issues of their own. For example, tiny rabbits are prone to dental and jaw issues due to the compactness of their facial structure.
You can learn more about this fascinating category of petite rabbit here.
Black and White Dutch Rabbit
If you are interested in a standard size black and white rabbit, we have several breeds for you to consider.
For starters, how about a black and white Dutch rabbit? This bunny is described as possessing a gentle, mild mannered nature, making it a solid choice for first time owners.
A bunny from the Dutch rabbit breed averages approximately 4-6 pounds, and this is considered to be a relatively small breed. As such, Dutch rabbits do not require a very large cage. This makes them a good option for apartment dwellers or those with limited space.
The Dutch bunny has upright ears and flyback fur. It comes in white and black, but also blue, chocolate, tortoise, gray, or steel gray.
Black and White Lionhead Rabbit
The extraverted Lionhead rabbit breed isa hairy, yet wee, breed of bunny. In fact, they are alternately known as the Dwarf Lionhead due to their petite stature.
While some rabbit breeds easily reach upwards of 10 pounds, the Lionhead averages 3-4 pounds.
As you might expect these rabbits are named for their majestic appearance. They sport a huge fluff of fur around the neck, just like the king of the jungle.
Some particularly bushy haired Lionheads also come with a big swath of long fur that extends along the tummy.
But all that glorious fur comes with a price: Lionheads require diligent, regular brushing in order to keep mats at bay.
For all their adorableness, this breed is not common in the average pet home, constituting less than 3% of domestic rabbits in the U.K. (as of 2016).
The little Lionhead rabbit is known as an affectionate and intelligent animal who does well with children. Lionheads come in a variety of colors including black, white, lilac, and chocolate.
If you’d like to learn more about this lovely little breed, we recommend checking out this article.
Black and White Spotted Rabbit
The English Spot rabbit is a medium sized breed known as an affectionate and curious bunny. It is characterized by a full body and long front legs.
The breed was developed during the 19th century and ranges from 5 to 8 pounds in weight.
This breed has a one-of-a-kind dramatically colored flyback coat that features cheek spots, eye circles, nose markings, and a chain of spots. Colorations include black, white, gray, blue, lilac, and chocolate.
For all of its positive attributes, potential owners should be aware that the English Spot is not considered to be the most docile, laid-back bunny breed. This is a lively rabbit breed, requiring at least an hour of exercise daily.
They prefer to sleep during the day and be active at night and in the morning. Naturally. along with this dynamic lifestyle comes a big appetite!
Black and White Lop Rabbit
Lop rabbits come in different varieties and sizes, but all are known for their long, floppy a.k.a. “lop” ears.
Did you know that there is both an English Lop and an American Lop? The former is a big boy averaging 10 pounds and up, sporting lop ears and flyback fur.
This granddaddy of domestic rabbits is very nearly rabbit royalty, and is known as the “King of the Fancy.”
The English Lop has a lop-sided body, with the rear end being rather bulbous, and the rest of the body tapering toward the head. Its impressive ears are almost as long as its body!
Many consider the English Lop to be the oldest breed of domestic rabbit, with records of its existence stretching back to 1700. While the longstanding English Lop is no doubt the best known of the breed, the French and Danish Lops also have their place in history.
Just like the English Spotted rabbit, this legendary Lop comes with a caveat: The English Lop is known to be a bit of a high maintenance rabbit!
In contrast, the much smaller American Lop weighs an average of 3 to 4 pounds, has lop ears, and long fur that requires extensive daily grooming. The face appears a bit flattened and American Lops are bred in many colors, including the distinguished black and white rabbit.
There is also a Dwarf Lop, a.k.a. Mini Lop. The Mini Lop is described as having a gentle nature and features short hair that is easy to maintain.
In addition, the mini Plush Lop weighs around 3-4 pounds. The mini Plush Lop makes a good first time rabbit pet, as it has an affectionate personality. It is a new breed, developed in the 1990s.
This breed was created by mixing the Mini Rex and the Mini Lop. It therefore has Rex type fur.
Black and White Rex Rabbit
The popular Rex rabbit breed averages 6-11 pounds, has upright ears, and of course the Rex type of hair. While the English Lop rabbit is known as the “King of the Fancy,” the distinguished Rex breed is known as the “King of Rabbits.”
The Rex hair type in rabbits features a uniquely short but very plush fur that feels like velvet. Rex coats are unlike normal rabbit fur, in that the guard hairs are almost the same length as the undercoat.
This rabbit is a medium sized bunny with a well-rounded appearance.
Circa 1924 the first Rex arrived in the United States from Northwestern France. Today Rex are among the top three commercial breeds shown in the United States, and they come in a multitude of colors including black, white, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, sable, and seal.
The Rex is officially classified as a commercial type rabbit due to its meat-producing factor.
Like several other rabbit breeds, the Rex has a mini-me! The Mini Rex weighs around 3-5 pounds and features upright ears and narrow shoulders.
Health Issues for Black and White Bunnies
Before bringing home a black and white rabbit, there are a few medical aspects to consider. For one, long-haired rabbit breeds like the Lionhead are at risk for troublesome fur balls. The lengthy hair that is ingested during the grooming process can mass in the stomach, leading to additional problems.
Flystrike is another condition to be aware of. This occurs when flies lay eggs on a rabbit of any breed, and the subsequent maggots then attack and damage the skin.
Rabbits are susceptible to encephalitozoon cuniculi, a parasitic infection that damages the nervous system and organs. It initially manifests as muscle weakness.
Signs that the infection is present include weakness in your rabbit’s hind legs, or a tilting of its head.
In addition, a condition known as gastrointestinal stasis is common to all rabbit breeds, and involves an impaired digestive system.
Potential owners should also be aware of a contagious, often lethal viral infection known as myxomatosis, with outdoor rabbits having a higher susceptibility to the infection.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is another viral disease which affects rabbits. Like myxomatosis, this illness spreads quickly among rabbit populations and is highly lethal.
Lastly, uterine cancer can afflict female rabbits, particularly unspayed females, thus it’s a good idea to have girl bunnies spayed when they are still young.
Black and White Rabbit Breeds
We hope that you enjoyed our look at black and white baby rabbits and adult rabbits.
Is a black and white lop eared rabbit in your future? Or maybe you are leaning toward a velvet-furred Rex?
Bunnies make great pets and those with distinctive and dramatic black and white markings are especially delightful. Just think of all the fun names for black and white rabbits that can be dreamed up!
Resources and Further Reading
- American Rabbit Breeders, Inc., Homepage.
- British Rabbit Council, Homepage.
- Lop Rabbit Club of America, Homepage.
- House Rabbit Society, Myxomatosis in the U.S.
- National Rex Rabbit Club, Homepage.
- Carneiro, M. et al (2017). Dwarfism and altered craniofacial development in rabbits is caused by a 12.1 kb deletion at the HMGA2 locus. Genetics, 205.
- Huynh, M. et al. (2014). Retrospective cohort study of gastrointestinal stasis in pet rabbits. Veterinary Record, 175.