Everything You Need to Know About the New Zealand Rabbit

Posted by Katherine Ripley
The Sufficient Living

When it comes to pet rabbits, the New Zealand rabbit, sometimes called the New Zealand white rabbit, is an understandable favorite.

These large white rabbits make great pets, and they're also popular as show rabbits. They're friendly, smart and affectionate--what more could you want in a pet rabbit?

Before you bring home a new pet, it's important to understand what it takes to care for the New Zealand rabbit, especially since this is a larger breed. Read on to determine if this beautiful bunny is right for your home.


View this post on Instagram

My name is Roger and I am a New Zealand rabbit. I am young but not sure exactly how old I am because i was found running loose in an apartment complex. My foster mom was kind enough to take me in, contact a rescue, and overnight I was in the safety and comfort of a warm home in Seaford, LI. I have some typical New Zealand qualities... I am friendly, highly intelligent, and I even learned to use the litter box in no time. I need space to run around, love my greens and munching on hay. At this point, I am not crazy about pellets. I have been vet checked and got a good bill of health, but I do need to grow into my ears. In other words, my ears are already grown but my body isn't...sort of like a puppy with big paws...LOL. I was neutered and am ready for adoption. #newzealand #newzealandrabbit #whiterabbit #bunnyears

A post shared by All About Rabbits Rescue (@allaboutrabbitsrescue) on

The New Zealand rabbit breed is not actually from New Zealand, but developed in America around 1910. United States rabbit breeders wanted a larger American rabbit breed to use as a meat rabbit. The New Zealand white rabbit is one of the few rabbit breeds that was brought from America to England, rather than the other way around.

Physical Characteristics

New Zealand rabbits come in white, black, red and broken: a mixture of white and black or white and red. The white rabbits are by far the most popular and are bred the most often. New Zealand white rabbits have a condition called albinism, where the animal lacks melanin, the pigment which gives animals their skin, hair and eye color. This albino trait gives the rabbits a pure white coat.

These rabbits grow to be big bunnies. According to PetHelpful, New Zealand bucks can grow to weigh between 9 and 11 pounds, while does weigh 10-12 pounds.

Because of the large size of these rabbits, they need larger cages than your typical rabbit needs. They also eat more, requiring plenty of quality hay. Your rabbit will need to spend plenty of time outside of his cage daily, and these rabbits thrive on human interaction.


View this post on Instagram

We’ve officially started our venture into raising meat rabbits‼️ This is our buck and doe that we will use to start our breeding program next month 🐇 Excited for this new learning experience & to provide our family with meat we raise ourselves- it’s so important to teach our children where their food comes from & how to respect and care for our animals (whether for pet or meat)! I will do another post soon answering questions like why we chose rabbits as a meat source to raise..etc I am thinking of starting a YouTube channel- since we’re in the very beginning stages of this I thought maybe it would be fun for those interested to follow?! 🤷🏻‍♀️😄 #raisingrabbits #newzealandrabbit #hobbyfarm #homestead #rabbitraising #newadventures #familyfarm #homeraised #farmtotable #homesteading #farmher #rabbit #meatrabbits #countryliving #raisingourownfood #pnw #pnwlife

A post shared by Mrs. Day (@dayhomestead) on

It is estimated that about 90 percent of the rabbits raised for meat are New Zealand rabbits. While they're popular meat rabbits, their white fur is also a popular commodity. But they are also raised to show, and they make great pets. White New Zealand rabbits are often used to portray the Easter bunny.

The Right Rabbit Breed

If you're considering getting a rabbit, the New Zealand can be a great choice because of its friendly nature, but be sure that you have enough space for this big rabbit breed. Other popular breeds include the Flemish Giant and Belgian Hare. If you're looking for a smaller pet rabbit, consider a Lionhead or Mini Lop. With so many different breeds of rabbits available, you'll be able to find a rabbit that's just right for your home.

For rabbit supplies, visit Chewy.

Hover over the image for more information.


oembed rumble video here

recommended for you

Everything You Need to Know About the New Zealand Rabbit