New zealand rabbit: All facts and info

Last Updated on December 9, 2023 by Admin

The New Zealand rabbits are not just popular in the US, but they’re also one of the favorite breeds among most rabbit enthusiasts worldwide. Their unique appearance, calm temperament, and ease of handling make them one of the sought-after rabbits not only in the commercial industry but also as pets and in exhibitions. This article delves into their history, appearance, temperament, health, and lifespan. It also looks at their diet, general care, housing, and the frequently asked questions related to New Zealand rabbits.

New Zealand Rabbit

1. History

Contrary to their name, New Zealand rabbit breeds are originally from California in the USA. Nonetheless, the breed’s ancestry is from the New Zealand Republic, hence the correlation between the island country and the breed. This bunny was developed in 1916 by mixing Flemish giants and Belgian Hare. New Zealand rabbits were bred primarily for the fur and meat trade.


2. Size and physique

When it comes to the overall appearance, New Zealand rabbits usually weigh between 10 to 12 lb. or 4.5 to 5.4 kg. Doe’s typically weigh around 4.5 to 5.4 kg, slightly heavier than the Bucks that weigh between 4 to 5 kg. New Zealand bunnies have broad heads, full cheeks, and muscular medium-length bodies. They have upright ears and well-rounded hindquarters.


3. Color and fur

The officially recognized colors for the New Zealand rabbit as per the American Rabbit Breeders Association standards are white, black, red, blue, and broken. The latter is any color combined with white. This particular breed has short, soft flyback fur, in other words, when their fur is brushed in the wrong direction, it returns to the original position. In terms of eye color, the white breed which is the most popular variety comes with pink eyes, while the black, red, and broken-colored New Zealand rabbits have dark brown eyes.


4. Temperament

New Zealand rabbits are gentle and docile by nature. They are generally affectionate and easy to handle making them great companions for singles or families with kids and other pets. Nonetheless, just like other rabbits, they will have territorial instincts if they aren’t spayed or neutered.


5. Lifespan/ Health

The average life expectancy of New Zealand rabbits is 5 to 8 years. Within 8 to 12 weeks, Does are ready to give birth. Their gestation period typically lasts around 28 to 35 days. Although the New Zealand rabbit is a healthy breed, some of the common health condition affecting them includes arthritis, sore hocks, and dental issues.


6. Diet

A balanced diet is essential when it comes to your New Zealand rabbit’s general health and longevity. To be specific, they need their primary diet to consist of 85% hay and 10% greens. The remaining 5% should contain fruits and pellets as treats. Last but not least, make sure that your bunny has  24/7 access to fresh drinking water.


7. Care

When it comes to New Zealand rabbit general care, we’ll start off with grooming. Although the breed has short thick fur, maintaining their coat needs brushing once a week to help remove loose hair. This in turn helps reduce the risk of your bunny ingesting too much fur when cleaning themselves. Cutting their nails every 6 to 8 weeks is also recommended. This prevents them from accidentally clawing you and also stumbling on carpets or rags.

Mental stimulation is another thing you need consider especially if you have a New Zealand rabbit for a pet. This entails regularly interacting with your rabbit, providing them with toys or adopting another rabbit to provide companionship. In addition, also make sure that they have a spacious play area of at least 32 square ft.  , which leads us to the next point, living space.


8. Housing

Considering that New Zealand rabbits are giant breeds, their  ideal hutch or cage  should be spacious enough. To be specific, at least 6 ft long, 2 ft wide, and 3 ft. high. For indoor rabbit housing make sure that its rabbit proof to prevent escape or chewing destructive behavior. For an outdoor hutch, make sure that it’s both predator and harsh weather proof. In other words, it should be made from durable material.


Do New Zealand bunnies make good pets?

Their docile, gentle and easier to handle nature makes them good pets not just for single individuals but for family with kids. Additionally, the breeds friendly and confident temperament makes it easier to get along with other pets such as cats and dogs with low prey drive. The rule of thumb is to introduce your pets at a young age and do so gradually. Finally, it’s always advisable to spay or neuter your bunny to avoid territorial tendencies or aggression.


What’s the average cost of New Zealand rabbits?

The adoption cost normally varies depending on where you purchase your bunny. In the US for instance, the cost of adoption from a pet stores or animal shelters is between 3 to $100. However, adoption from reputable breeders may range from 10 to $300. This usually depends on the pedigree in question, in relation to their health, age, size and color.

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