If you yearn for a big bunny, you might consider adopting a German or British giant rabbit. They're similar rabbits, although they are two distinct breeds. The resemblance between the breeds can make it difficult to know which is which when you're comparing two huge rabbit side-by-side. Thankfully, because they are recognized breeds, they have breed standards that define the differences between these two giants.
Big Bunny Beginnings
The origins of the German giants and the British giants are related, as they both trace their heritage back to the Flemish giant rabbit breed. The German giants became an official breed in 1937 when German enthusiasts declared their Flemish giant rabbits who had been born in Germany "German giants." The British giant breed isn't much younger than that, having been developed in the 1940s in the United Kingdom from varieties of the Flemish giant rabbits with colored fur.
Similar in Size
When you hear "giant rabbit," you can believe it. The German and the British giant rabbits are both massive bunnies each in their own right. Standard weight for British bunnies is between 12 and 15 pounds, but in her 2010 book "The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology" Deena West Budd wrote of a rabbit in Worcester, England, who weighed a hefty 35 pounds. A German giant rabbit could ostensibly grow to that size, but the more common weight for German giants, according to Meg Brown and Virginia Richardson in their book "Rabbitlopaedia: A Complete Guide to Rabbit Care," published in 2000, is 7 to 8.5 kilograms, or 15.4 to 18.7 pounds.
Both the German and British giant breeds have long bodies. The British giant rabbit has a broad, flat body while his German cousin has a more cylindrical body that is firm and dense. Both have tall ears that stand erect rather than drooping.
Looking at the color of a huge bunny can be the tip-off as to which breed the rabbit is. German giant rabbits, being true Flemish rabbits in every aspect except for name, come in one color: gray. German giants can display variations of gray throughout their coats from bluish-white to dark black-gray. But if you have a big bunny who is white, black or opal, he is most certainly a British rather than a German giant. There is literally a gray area in the coloring difference, though, as British giants can sport shades of gray including brownish-gray, blue and steel-gray.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.