The Checkered Giant rabbit is a large breed of rabbit that is said to have originated in France. Weighing over 11 lbs, it takes a certain type of bunny owner to handle one of these rabbits. You’ll need to make sure you have the space and the food for this furry creature, as well as lots of energy as they are an active bun!
That being said, they can make a wonderful family pet in homes with those who understand their needs. If you’re interested in learning more about this big rabbit and seeing whether they might be the pet for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Checkered Giant Rabbit
The American Checkered Giant rabbit is usually seen as a show-rabbit because of their impressive size and appearance. They are one of the largest rabbit breeds yet are still commonly seen as companions in many different homes.
The Checkered rabbit is recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). Let’s take a look at their origins below.
While some believe the Checkered Giant rabbit originated in France, others believe the breed originated in Germany. Either way, these rabbits were first created by breeding together Flemish Giants, French Lops and spotted rabbits. These bunnies were called “Land Kaninchen” although they did not have the markings we know today’s Checkered Giant to have.
These Land Kaninchen continued to be bred with Flemish Giants throughout Germany to increase their size and eventually the “Lorraine rabbit” was created, sometimes called the “Great German Spotted rabbit”.
In 1904, a breeder called Mr. Otto Reinhardt of Reinfalz, Germany, bred the Great German Spotted rabbit with a black Flemish Giant rabbit. This created the Checkered Giant we know today. They first arrived in the United States in 1910, shortly after which they were recognized by ARBA.
Characteristics Of The Checkered Giant Rabbit
The Checkered rabbit certainly is unique thanks to their size and markings. These bunnies are normal born in litter sizes of between 11 and 14 kits! A Checkered rabbit can be more expensive than other breeds, especially if you are looking for a show-quality bun, due to their size.
It is no secret that the Checkered rabbit is a giant breed. They have no maximum weight, but a minimum weight of 11 lbs for senior bucks and 12 lbs for senior does.
This breed has a slender yet muscular build and their body is hare-like and long while also being arched. Their legs are long and powerful and they have a wide head with upright, broad ears.
The Checkered Giant rabbit has a short to medium length coat that is soft and thick. They have rollback fur, which means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it returns to its original position. Fortunately, they do not require too much grooming. We will go into more detail about grooming your Checkered rabbit later on.
The Checkered Giant rabbit is one of the few breeds recognized by ARBA as having distinctive markings. The only color that the ARBA accepts is white with either blue or black markings. The blue or black markings include rings around the eyes, colored ears, cheek flashes and a butterfly shaped marking on the nose, as well as a dorsal stripe that runs down the spine from ears to tail.
This breed of rabbit is not as affectionate as other rabbit breeds, but it doesn’t mean that the Checkered Giant rabbit is aggressive. Gentle and friendly, these bunnies live happily with their owners and will enjoy affection from time to time, but simply aren’t as cuddly or needy as other rabbits.
Once they have bonded to you, the Checkered rabbit will trust you and will like to spend time with you. Of course, every rabbit’s personality is different, and you may find that your Checkered is more affectionate than average!
These bunnies are very energetic and active and so will need an owner who can keep up. They like to spend time outside and will need lots of toys to play with, before they start chewing through the furniture or household wires!
You should always respect your Checkered’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The Checkered Giant rabbit has an average life expectancy of between 5 and 8 years, although they can live as long as 10 years.
Known Health Issues
Fortunately, the Checkered rabbit does not have any breed-specific health problems. However, they can be susceptible to many of the same health concerns that other rabbits are. We have laid out the main issues below.
– GI Stasis — this is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely. Symptoms include loss of appetite, small or no fecal pellets and lethargy. It can be treated if caught quickly.
– Ear Mites — this is a common parasite of pet rabbits. You may see your rabbit shaking their head a lot if they are affected. Your vet will be able to treat them.
– Malocclusion — this is when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned so that the normal process of chewing doesn’t wear down your rabbit’s teeth. Regular dental checkups are very important. You should also make sure your rabbit eats plenty of hay.
Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped because of their size.
Regular vet checkups will ensure that you catch any health problems before they become too serious. You should also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Checkered Giant rabbit, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these rabbits on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs, their grooming requirements and their living space requirements.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your Checkered rabbit should be based on their size, age and activity level. As a large and active breed, they are going to be needing more food than the average rabbit, but you should be careful not to overfeed them as they can gain weight, which can be detrimental to their health.
They should be eating a portion of hay that is at least as their body size every day, alongside pellets and fresh vegetables. Fresh water should also always be available to them.
Hay is very important as it helps to keep your Checkered’s digestive system moving, as well as helping to wear down their teeth so they are less prone to dental issues. At least 70% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay.
High-quality supplementary pellets help to provide extra vitamins and minerals that keep your rabbit healthy. Take a look at a supplementary pellet food we recommend below.
Best Food For The Checkered Rabbit
Oxbow Bunny Basics Adult Rabbit FoodBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Oxbow Bunny Basics rabbit food for the Checkered rabbit. Formulated for adult rabbits, this is a pellet only diet rather than a muesli diet to help prevent selective eating. This food is timothy hay based, providing essential fiber and nutrients to keep them healthy.
There are also antioxidants that help to keep your bun performing at their best, and prebiotics provide food for the good bacteria in your pet’s GI tract. There are no seeds or fruits in this food as well as no refined sugars or artificial ingredients that your rabbit wouldn’t encounter in the wild.
In the wild, rabbits run around three miles a day. Therefore, it is very important that you give your pet rabbit enough exercise every day to keep them active and entertained. They should have at least three hours of free-range time, whether this is out of their hutch in the garden or just around the house.
As a giant rabbit, the Checkered rabbit not only requires a lot of exercise, but is also an active breed by nature. Therefore, they will benefit from lots of time out of their hutch, particularly in the yard or the garden, so they can stretch their legs. If you want to leave them alone outside unsupervised, they will need a large secure enclosure. This can be stand-alone or it can be attached to their hutch. This will keep them safe from predators and means you won’t need to be on the lookout all the time.
The Checkered Giant rabbit will like to spend time with you as well, and will benefit from having lots of toys to play with so they don’t become bored.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
These bunnies make wonderful family pets. Active and friendly, they can bond well to individuals, couples, the elderly and families. They can do well with children, but are often advised as pets in homes with older children. This because of their size that younger children may struggle with and the fact that they can be hurt if dropped!
The Checkered rabbit, like all bunnies, can be trained to use a litter tray. This will help to keep mess to a minimum! They can also be trained to come when their name is called!
Choosing to house your Checkered rabbit indoors or outdoors is up to you. However, many Checkered Giant owners decide to keep their rabbits outside, purely because there is more space and this will allow for a larger home for them. They will then have more fresh air too and will enjoy feeling the grass underneath their paws as they exercise. The Checkered Giant rabbit is less prone to being eaten by predators as they are a large rabbit, but you should still ensure your bunny is in a secure enclosure.
Whether they are inside or outside, their hutch should be large enough that they can easily hop around inside. Try to stay away from hutches with wire floors as these can cause sore hocks within rabbits. Take a look at the hutch we recommend below.
Best Hutch For The Checkered Rabbit
Pawhut Deluxe Large Wooden Rabbit HutchBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Pawhut Deluxe wooden hutch for the Checkered Giant rabbit. It measures 90.6” L x 27.6” W x 39.4” H and provides adequate space for your bunny to hop around in. With two levels, there are multiple ramps to the enclosed upper box that allow easy access to and from the large living area and run. This hutch is made from fir wood and heavy duty wire mesh to keep your bunny safe at all times. The roof is also waterproof so the hutch can stay outside at all times, although it can also be used indoors.
The Checkered Giant rabbit breed does not require too much grooming. You’ll need to brush them once a week, although this will increase to a few times a week during shedding season. This will help to keep their fur in good condition, and help to keep your house relatively fur-free!
You should very rarely bathe your rabbit. It is not really necessary, unless they are really dirty. Bathing can also be a traumatic experience for them. You should also trim their nails as and when is needed.
Checkered Giant Rabbit FAQ’s
Should the Checkered rabbit be kept outside?
While this is up to you, experts often recommend you keep your Checkered Giant rabbit outside. This is because they are a large breed and need a lot of space. If you have the space outside, you can attach a large secure run to their hutch so they have extra space to move.
They are also an active breed and so will enjoy spending some time exercising without supervision. If they spend too much time enclosed in a small hutch, they can become very bored and destructive.
That being said, the Checkered rabbit can live happily inside. You just need to make sure you are letting them have free-rein of the house for at least 3 hours a day (if not more!).
How big should my rabbit’s cage be?
The rule with rabbits is: the bigger the better! If you have the space for a big hutch then your rabbit will always appreciate the extra room to roam and exercise. No one wants to be stuck in a cramped space!
If you do not have a lot of space, then the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24″ by 36″ for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs) or 30″ by 36″ for larger rabbits. Hutches with multiple stories are also popular as they give your bun more space.
The Checkered Giant rabbit is a unique, giant breed that usually weighs over 11 lbs! With their distinctive markings and their fantastic size, this breed stands out as a show-rabbit but is also often seen as a family pet. Not as affectionate as other rabbit breeds but still friendly and good-natured, the Checkered rabbit can get on well with everyone and will thrive in a family environment.
As they are active and energetic rabbit, they need a lot of room to live and will benefit from being outside the majority of the time. If you think you’ve got the space to look after one of these bunnies, why not add a Checkered rabbit to your home?