Everything You Need to Know About the Flemish Giant Rabbit

Posted by Katherine Ripley

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If you're looking for a big, cuddly, friendly rabbit, you'll probably find it in the Flemish Giant. Flemish rabbits are much larger than many other breeds, but don't let their large size fool you - these big rabbits tend to be laid-back and enjoy the companionship of people.

The Flemish Giant rabbit is one of the largest breeds of rabbits today. They weigh at least 13 pounds, and some have even weighed in at 20 pounds. Large rabbits have not been nearly as popular as smaller breeds in the past few decades, but big bunnies were widely popular back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Origin of the Flemish Giant Rabbit

Flemish refers to the type of Dutch spoken in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium where large rabbits were being bred in Belgium back in the mid-19th century. Some think the Flemish Giant rabbit was created by crossing Belgian rabbits with giant rabbits from Argentina, which sailors brought back to Europe in the 16th century.

According to the Maryland Park Zoo, Flemish Giants were originally bred for their meat and their fur. The breed standards were written in 1893. During the 1890s this breed was introduced to the United States.

The Flemish Giant Today

This domestic breed of rabbit is now favored as a pet today, but if you look closely you can still see the physical influences of wild rabbits. Flemish Giants have retained large ears and good eyesight, which would have helped them to evade predators in the wild.

According to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Flemish Giants can weigh as much as 22 pounds, though most only weigh about 15 pounds. They have powerful bodies and strong hindquarters, and females usually have folds of skin under their chins. The Flemish Giant comes in many different coat colors, including light gray, steel gray, black, fawn, sandy, and white.

Flemish Giants as Pets

The Maryland Park Zoo states that Flemish Giants are known as the "gentle giants" of the rabbit world. They have a very docile nature and, when raised correctly, can be great pets to have with younger children in the home. Because these rabbits can be litter box trained, they can roam around freely indoors.

While these rabbits are good pets, they are still raised for meat and fur today. Some rabbit breeders and owners choose to compete Flemish Giants in rabbit shows.

Caring for the Flemish Giant

While Flemish Giants are large, friendly rabbits, they aren't a practical pet rabbit for everyone. Because of their size, Flemish Giant rabbits require much more food and much larger living space than a typical domestic rabbit. They can grow to be bigger than some dogs, and they are actually much better off being kept in a large dog crate with a smooth bottom than in a typical rabbit cage or hutch. These rabbits need at least five square feet of space to feel comfortable.

 

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Body

The average weight of a Flemish Giant rabbit is 15 pounds, and they must be at least 21 inches long to be shown professionally. These rabbits have broad hindquarters, and a gentle arch in their back, giving their bodies a mandolin shape.

Coat

The Giant Flemish rabbit breed has a short coat, which needs to be brushed occasionally. They will shed the most during spring and fall, with mild shedding in between.

General Appearance

A Flemish Giant rabbit is large with a sturdy, powerful appearance. They are one solid color, but their shade varies: black, gray, light brown, or white. They are known for having a peaceful expression in their eyes.

Head

Male Flemish Giant rabbits have massive, broad heads. Females have smaller heads and may have a large, full dewlap, the fold of skin underneath their chin.

Ears

Flemish Giant rabbits have long, wide ears that stand straight up.

Temperament

These rabbits are very docile. They will only become aggressive if they are handled incorrectly, which requires extra care because of their size. If they are repeatedly handled well, they will become tolerant of it. They can become loving pets when given proper care.

Do you have a Flemish Giant? Show us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About the Flemish Giant Rabbit