The English Spot Rabbit is one of the oldest rabbit breeds and dates back to the mid-19th century. A medium sized rabbit, they were initially developed as a show rabbit and are known for their wonderful markings that give them their name. Gentle and affectionate, they can make a wonderful pet for many different people, including first-time owners.
If you’re interested in learning more about the English Spot rabbit and seeing whether they might be the bunny for you, keep reading below.
History Of The English Spot Rabbit
These rabbits were originally developed to be show-rabbits. This very uncommon around the time they were created, when rabbits were usually just bred for meat rather than for showing. The English Spot pattern is caused by the broken gene, but there are lots of rules when it comes to showing this bunny. Therefore, they can be quite difficult to raise as a show-quality rabbit.
The origin of the English Spot rabbit breed is quite unknown, but there are a few theories. Some believe they originated from the Great Lorrainese (now known as the Giant Papillon), while others think they came from the English Butterfly and/or the Checkered Giant.
Regardless of their beginnings, the English Spot arrived in the United States in 1910. They were accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) 12 years later, and soon after the American English Spot Rabbit Club was established.
Characteristics Of The English Spot Rabbit
These bunnies are known for their coat with unique body markings and this is what makes them so popular for showing. However, they are also great house rabbits and pets for a wide range of people, thanks to their cute look and fantastic temperament!
The English Spot Rabbit is a medium breed that usually weighs between 5 and 8 lbs. They have a full arch body shape and they are both long and lean. They have round hips and long hind legs that run parallel to their body. Their ears are long and stand vertical on top of their head.
Their coat is short and dense and is flyback fur. This means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it returns to its original position. They do not shed very much and, when they do, you will not really notice it because the hairs are short. Therefore, they do not have very high grooming needs. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
There are a few different colors recognized by the ARBA for English Spots. These include black, blue, chocolate, gold, gray, lilac and tortoise. These rabbits are known for their markings and all show-quality English Spots must have markings.
The markings include a butterfly marking on their nose, eye circles, cheek spots, colored ears, a chain of spots along each side of the body and a strip of color down their back called a “herringbone”.
Because these rabbits are bred to be show-rabbits, the English Spot has one of the best temperaments out there! They are very used to being picked up, held and petted and so will be very affectionate with their owners and will love to spend time with you.
They’re also extremely laid-back and easy-going, fitting well into any household and going with the flow. The English Spot isn’t overly active, but they have enough energy that they aren’t a boring pet! They will love to spend time with you, especially if there are toys, games and treats involved.
Make sure you let your English Spot Rabbit out of their hutch for adequate exercise time every day to keep them entertained. No rabbit wants to be stuck in their hutch all day and this can quickly develop unwanted behaviors.
You should always respect your English Spot’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The English Spot Rabbit has an average life expectancy of between 5 to 9 years, although they can live longer when cared for properly.
Known Health Issues
The English Spot Rabbit is not prone to any breed-specific health problems, but they can be prone to many of the same issues that other rabbits can suffer from. We have laid out these main concerns below.
– Flystrike — this is when flies lay their eggs on soiled patches of fur and, when their eggs hatch, they begin to eat the rabbit from the inside out. Symptoms include seizures, loss of motion (listlessness) and skin irritations. Always ensure your rabbit’s rear end is clean, especially as they get older.
– 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.
– 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.
Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped.
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 English Spot 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. Fortunately, these laid-back animals do not have very high care needs. Below 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 English Spot rabbit should be based on their size, age and activity level. They should be eating a portion of hay that is at least as big 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 English Spot’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 English Spot RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Small World bunny food from Manna Pro for the English Spot. This is a pellet only diet that provides complete and balanced nutrition for all rabbits. This food is made from wheat middlings, alfalfa and soybean based with added vitamins and minerals to support your bun’s overall health. The firm and durable pellets promote healthy chewing as well as helping to grind down your English Spot’s teeth, and the high fiber content of this food ensures proper and consistent digestion.
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.
The English Spot Rabbit is a sociable rabbit and will enjoy time outside of their hutch to exercise with you. Of course, you won’t be taking them on hikes or out running with you, but engaging with them in your yard or keeping them entertained inside the house will keep them active.
You can also purchase some toys for your English Spot to play with so they don’t become bored and can keep mentally stimulated. The more engaged they are, the less likely they are to chew through household items or exhibit other destructive behaviors!
If you want to leave them alone outside unsupervised, they will need a large secure enclosure. This can be stand-alone or attached their hutch. This will keep them safe from predators and means you won’t need to be on the lookout all the time.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
These rabbits are very adaptable and therefore fit well into many different environments. Perfect for individuals, couples, the elderly and families with children, the English Spot will be happy as long as they are getting lots of affection and love! They’re also very low-maintenance and easy-going.
While training a rabbit isn’t as easy as training a cat or a dog, it can be done! You can teach your English Spot to use a litter box. You can also try teaching them to come when their name is called!
You can choose to house your English Spot either inside or outside. As a medium sized rabbit, they will appreciate any extra space you give them and so a hutch outside may be better. This way you can also attach a larger enclosure for them to exercise in. However, if you don’t have a yard or you don’t have room, they can live happily inside too! Just make sure you let them out of their hutch for adequate exercise time and bonding with the family.
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 English Spot RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Merry Products Tudor for the English Spot. Measuring 24.21″ D x 38.98″ W x 45.08″ H, this hutch is large enough to house the English Spot and is even big enough to home two bunnies if you decide to give them a friend!
With two stories, the upper level is lockable so you can keep your rabbits safe at night if you keep them outside and there are doors on the lower level to allow your rabbit free rein over the yard during the day. There is also a removable bottom pan for the upper area as well as two extra doors that makes cleaning much easier. Even better, this rabbit hutch is made of durable wood and metal and is waterproof and weatherproof.
The English Spot Rabbit does not shed very much and even if they do, it is not very noticeable because their fur is short. Therefore, they do not require too much grooming. You should give them a brush with a slicker brush once a week or once every two weeks. During shedding season, you can increase this to twice a week.
You should very rarely bathe your rabbit. It is not really necessary, unless they are really dirty. Bathing can be a traumatic experience for them, too. You should also trim their nails as and when is needed.
English Spot FAQ’s
What markings should a show-quality English Spot Rabbit have?
A show-worthy English Spot Rabbit will have colored markings. These will be a butterfly marking on their nose, cheek spots, circles around their eyes, colored ears, random spots along the side of their body and a strip of color down their back called a “herringbone”.
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.
What vegetables can I feed my English Spot Rabbit?
There are many vegetables that your English Spot Rabbit will love! They are an important part of their diet, however you shouldn’t overfeed them. Some rabbit favorites are cabbage, cauliflower leaves, radish, rocket, kale, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
Can I adopt an English Spot?
If you do not want to buy an English Spot Rabbit, you could always adopt. Check your local animal shelter to see if there is a rabbit that is in need of a home. Often, rabbits in shelters have already been vaccinated, dewormed and spayed or neutered, so you do not need to worry about the extra cost.
The English Spot Rabbit is a medium breed of rabbit that is known for their show-quality coat but also makes an excellent pet. Gentle, docile and laid-back, these rabbits have a friendly personality and love to be picked up, petted and loved on! With low care needs, it doesn’t take much to keep the English Spot Rabbit happy. Just make sure you give them plenty of time outside of their hutch and lots of attention and playtime. What do you think — could the English Spot be your new best friend?