Welcome to our comprehensive guide to Flemish Giant Rabbits, including how to find, buy, and take care of these giant, fuzzy rabbits!
Introducing the Flemish Giant Bunny
Rabbits are usually considered to be small, delicate creatures.
However, there is one breed of rabbit which doesn’t fit this description at all – the Flemish Giant Rabbit.
These rabbits are truly GIANTS compared to their smaller cousins.
Weighing upwards of 22 pounds, Flemish Giant Rabbits are the gentle giants of the bunny world.
Their personality often matches their large stature, and they are extremely intelligent and trainable.
Often times owners compare them to large dogs!
Giant, fluffy rabbits that can learn tricks? No wonder they’re enjoying a surge in interest in the last couple years!
Still, Flemish Giant Bunny care can be somewhat confusing, and sometimes it is hard to know where to start.
What Are Giant Flemish Rabbits?
So, what exactly is a Giant Flemish rabbit?
A Giant Flemish rabbit is basically, a very large breed of domestic rabbit.
In the past, these giants were commonly bred for fur and meat.
But they quickly became common pets instead, on account for their docile nature and patience.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Colors
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes seven different colors for Flemish Giant rabbits: black, blue, fawn, sandy, light gray, steel gray, and white.
This means your rabbit can be anywhere from white to reddish brown to dark gray!
Flemish Rabbit Size
We all know Flemish Giant rabbits are giants, but what exactly is the normal Flemish Giant rabbit weight?
The American Rabbit Breed Association sets the minimum Flemish Giant rabbit size at 14 pounds for females and 13 pounds for males.
There is no maximum weight they are forbidden to exceed.
So these hefty rabbits are known for reaching upwards of 22 pounds in some cases, and are easily considered the largest rabbits in the world.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Personality
Flemish Giants are known for being docile and tolerant of handling.
However, like with any animal, frequent interaction with humans is required for this to be true!
These giant rabbits can become fearful and aggressive if handled inappropriately.
Their large frame, furthermore, can make handling awkward and sometimes difficult.
How then do you properly handle one of these giant rabbits?
Handling Flemish Giant Rabbits
According to registered veterinary nurse Claire King, Flemish Giant rabbits should always be handled sitting on the ground to prevent injury should the rabbit fall.
Special attention should also be made to ensure that the rabbit’s spine is always in correct alignment.
You should be wary of allowing others to handle your rabbit as well.
New people might cause your rabbit to become spooked, which can cause falls and fractures.
Flemish Giant Rabbits Health
As with any pet, there are some ailments Flemish Giant rabbits are more than averagely susceptible to.
Knowing what these are, what symptoms to look out for and when to see a vet is all part of keeping your Flemish Giant bunny happy and healthy.
Pododermatitis (sore hocks)
Because of their large size, giant rabbits are prone to Pododermatitis, or sore hocks.
Rabbits do not have pads like dogs and cats, but instead rely on a covering of thick fur on the bottom of their feet.
Constant rubbing against a hard surface, like wire, can cause this fur to fall off.
This can lead to sores on the rabbit’s feet, which can in turn lead to infections and abscess formation.
One study found that 61% of all Flemish Giant rabbits will develop this disorder.
Luckily, this condition can be prevented by using the correct flooring in your Flemish Giant rabbit cage.
One study in Belgium in 2014 found that plastic footrests and plastic mesh, as opposed to wire mesh, cause the lowest amount of sore hocks.
Furthermore, rabbits with large cages also have less of a chance of developing this disease.
It is also important to check your rabbit’s feet daily for inflammation; if caught early, this condition is very treatable with simple environment changes.
Flemish Giant Rabbits are also prone to arthritis as they age.
Noticeable signs include shuffling on hind legs, slowing down, and becoming urine and fecal contaminated.
This condition, however, is manageable with the correct medication.
So it is important to take your rabbit to the vet as soon as you notice signs.
Flystrike is common in all rabbits, but is particularly troublesome in Flemish Giant rabbits.
It happens when flies lay eggs on your rabbit, and the resulting maggots begin eating your rabbits flesh.
This disease is very serious and can cause death within 24 hours.
Prevention is better than medication when it comes to this disease, so you should check your rabbit’s bottom daily and ensure that they and their area is clean.
Keeping your rabbit a healthy weight can also protect against flystrike.
Because of their size, heart problems are also common in Flemish Giant rabbits.
Dilated cardiomyopathy, which means the heart is enlarged and weakened, is the most common disease in these rabbits. Sadly, this condition is nearly always fatal.
A recent study in Brazil found that there were no increased chance of heart disease in Flemish Giant rabbits based on their size and gender.
Genetics, however, might play a role.
Therefore, when choosing a Flemish Giant rabbit baby, it is important to check and make sure their parents are healthy, and ask about incidences of heart disease in both sides of their family tree.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Lifespan
One of the most common question about Flemish Giants is: How long do Flemish Giant rabbits live?
Flemish Giant rabbits have a shorter expected lifespan than their smaller cousins.
On average, they only live for about 4-6 years.
This matches our experience of other domestic animals too: large dog breeds typically have shorter lifespans than smaller breeds.
This is because being larger than life places more of a strain on the body’s organs, tissues and systems.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders
After deciding that you want a Flemish Giant rabbit, your next stop is to find a suitable breeder.
Choosing an independent Flemish Giant rabbit breeder instead of a pet store bunny means you can ask questions about their pedigree, their parents’ health and how they were raised.
Not all breeders are made equal, however.
A good breeder will be able to answer your questions, and also ask you lots of questions concerning where and how you will raise your rabbit.
After all, good breeders want to make sure their rabbits will be well taken care of.
Lots of breeders specialize in specific colors, so make sure to ask what colors they breed before deciding to buy from them.
Normally, if a breeder does not have what you are looking for, they can tell you of someone who does.
Questions to ask your Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeder
When buying from a breeder, it is important to verify where and how they keep their Flemish Giant babies.
This will ensure that the baby is not in bad health from poor living conditions.
It is also useful to ask questions about the parents, such as their weight.
This will give you some idea of what the baby will be like full-grown.
When you go to pick up the Baby Flemish Giant rabbit, you should always do a basic health exam first.
Check the feet, bottom, and ears to the rabbit.
You should also make sure the rabbit is at least somewhat use to being handled.
Do not be afraid to ask to see the pedigree of the rabbit you are buying.
It should also be possible to visit your future rabbit before it’s time to take them home.
In return, be respectful: breeders have lives outside of their rabbits, so be patient and always arrive on time.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Price
Flemish Giant price depends on two factors: quality and age.
A pet-quality Flemish Giant will cost $20 to $50 without a pedigree.
The next step up is a breeding-quality rabbit, which will usually cost anywhere from $50 to $100.
These rabbits have something which disqualifies them from the show ring.
These features can seem utterly trivial to the majority of pet owners (eye color, for example), and these rabbits still have very good qualities that make them great companions and can be useful for breeding.
Finally, you have the show-quality giants.
These rabbits have or can be shown. They can cost anywhere from $75 to $300+.
The best advice we can give you is to know what you want.
If you want a pet, be upfront that that is what you want when you begin searching for one.
Flemish Giant rabbit cage
After buying and paying for a Flemish Giant rabbit, you of course have to have somewhere for it to live.
The first step is to ensure that you have the proper set-up to care for your rabbit.
Preferably, you should have both an indoor and outdoor Flemish Giant rabbit cage.
However, depending on the climate you might need only one or the other.
It is okay to allow your Flemish Giant to roam around the house when you can supervise.
But it is always preferable for them to have a cage suitable enough for them to spend their time in while their human friends cannot supervise them.
Of course, the larger the better!
Some people use whole spare rooms for their rabbits, while others might have a pen in the corner of one room.
Choosing a Flemish Giant Rabbit Cage
If possible, providing an outside area for your bunny is always the best.
The outside enclosure needs to at least be large enough for your bunny to take several hops in either direction, and tall enough so that your bunny’s ears do not touch the top when they sit on their hind legs.
Ventilation is very important to avoid over-heating.
Of course, always keep in mind what the temperature is outside and provide heat lamps or fans if needed.
If you’re using wire for the floor, remember that it should be made of plastic to prevent foot problems.
Can I let my Flemish Giant Rabbit roam in the yard?
While it might be tempting to let your bunny roam around outside, Flemish rabbits are not known for staying close to home.
My neighbor’s Flemish Giant, who she let roam freely one day, ran away almost as soon as it was let out.
Luckily, the rabbit was found just down the road and came to my neighbor after being baited with carrots.
However, they learned a very important lesson about rabbit care – never let Flemish Giants roam freely outside!
Flemish Giant Rabbit Care
Flemish Giant rabbits require daily care.
One of the most important parts of caring for your rabbit is providing fresh, clean water and hay at all times.
You should also feed your rabbit specifically made rabbit pellets.
Always follow the directions on the bag or ask your vet how much to feed your bunny.
In addition, daily grooming is vital to prevent your rabbit’s fur developing mats.
Clipping your bunny’s nails regularly is also important, as it can prevent sore hocks.
Remember to clean out your bunny’s cage regularly.
How often exactly will depend on the size of the space, but dirty corners and soiled bedding should be removed and replaced every day.
Are Flemish Giant rabbits good pets?
Flemish Giant rabbits are striking pets with easy-to-love personalities.
To give a Flemish Giant a happy home you’ll need lots of space, and a decent chunk of time every day to look after them and keep them company.
If you have the time and resources to commit to giving them specialized care, these adorable rabbits’ friendly, docile personality make them completely worth it.
Do you have a Flemish Giant Rabbit?
What drew you to this imposing breed, and what has owning one been like?
Please tell us about your own Giants in the comments section below!
RVN King, Claire. “Giant Rabbit Care Guidelines”. Rabbit Welfare Association. 2016.
Ferreira, Felipp, Flavia Barretto, Arianne Fabres, Leonardo Silveira, Claudio Carvalho. “Cardiac markers in five different breeds of rabbits used for cardiovascular research”. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira. 2016.
Miko, A. “Performance and welfare of rabbit does in various caging systems”. The Animal Consortium. 2014.
Buijs, S. “Effects of semi-group housing and floor type on pododermatitis, spinal deformation, and bone quality in rabbit does”. The Animal Consortium. 2014.
“Varieties”. National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders.
“ARBA Recommendations for the Care of Rabbits and Cavies”. American Rabbit Breeders Association.