The Flemish Giant rabbit is one of the largest and oldest recognized breeds of rabbit. While these rabbits can look daunting when compared to a smaller rabbit such as the Mini Lop rabbit, they are actually a very docile breed and can make great pets to those who have the space to own one. They are also calm and will be happy relaxing around your home.
However, owning a rabbit the size of a Flemish Giant rabbit takes some care and there are a few things you need to know before buying. If you’re interested in learning more about this unique breed and seeing whether they might be the rabbit for you, keep reading below.
History Of Flemish Giant Rabbit
The Flemish Giant rabbit is one of the few breeds to be recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). These rabbits are common in countries located in northern Europe, but can be found all over the world. They were originally bred through the hybridization of other ancient breeds, particularly to provide meat and skin.
The origin of the Flemish Giant rabbit can be difficult to pinpoint. Some believed that the Flemish Giant rabbit originated from Patagonia. However, it is now thought that these big rabbits originated from Flanders in the 16th century.
News of a giant rabbit began to spread in the 19th century, particularly in England and the United States. They were then exported to these countries, but their popularity quickly declined. Although nowadays they are common as pets, they are still unknown by many people. While they used to be bred to a strict standard, they have been crossbred over the years which is why there are many different colors of the Flemish Giant these days.
Characteristics Of Flemish Giant Rabbit
The Flemish Giant rabbit is a large breed that is very unique! These rabbits are normally born in kit sizes of between six to ten, although some Giants have been known to have litters as large as fifteen to nineteen kits!
A Flemish Giant will usually cost between $20 to $50. However, a breeding-quality Flemish Giant can cost up to $50 to $100 and a show-quality Flemish can cost between $75 and $300!
It is no secret that these rabbits are large. These rabbits can reach up to 30 inches long and normally weigh between 15 and 22 lbs on average. Their breed standard states they do not actually have a maximum weight. The heaviest recorded weight of a Flemish Giant Rabbit is 50 pounds!
These rabbits have a distinctive head and V-shaped long ears. They also have an arched shaped body and a rounded tail.
Male and female Flemish Giants are very easy to tell apart. Bucks have a broader head while female rabbits have large, fur-coated skin or dewlaps just below their chins. These dewlaps are used by the females to warm their baby bunnies! Males are also usually larger than females.
The Flemish Giant bunny has thick, glossy fur. It is smooth and of medium length. Their thick coat means that they cannot handle the heat very well. This is something to think about if you live in a warm climate. They can also be prone to fur mites and ear mites, so you should check their ears properly when grooming. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders in the United States only recognizes seven colors of Flemish Giant Rabbits. These are blue, black, light gray, sandy, fawn, steel gray and white. They will normally have brown colored eyes unless they have a blue coat (their eyes will be blue/gray) or a white coat (their eyes will be pink).
The Giant Flemish rabbit can look intimidating to prospective rabbit owners, but these bunnies have one of the best temperaments! Known as gentle giants, these rabbits are calm and friendly and make excellent companions. They love attention and won’t be afraid to come and sit on your lap for a cuddle!
However, these rabbits will tell you when they’re not happy. If they are handled improperly or you get in their way, they can bite and scratch. You should always respect your Flemish’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. They will also spend some time assessing if something or someone is a threat to their existence.
The Flemish is very happy to live the calm life. You won’t find them hopping around all over the place — instead, they might spend most of their time sleeping. This is normally due to the fact they are so large; moving around can be tiring for them!
Flemish Giants are a relatively healthy breed of rabbit with a long life expectancy. With regular veterinary visits, they can live for between eight and ten years.
Known Health Issues
Like all pet rabbits, the Flemish Giant can be prone to some health concerns. We have laid out the main problems below.
– Sore Hocks — this is more common in rabbits who are larger in build. It is caused by standing in unsanitary conditions or wire floors. Floors must be cleaned and well-maintained regularly.
– 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.
– Uterine Cancer — this is the most common type of cancer in rabbits. Uterine cancer occurs in up to 60% of females that are greater than 3 years old. Treatment is available.
– 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.
Alongside these issues, the Flemish Giant rabbit can also be prone to respiratory issues and heat stroke due to their large size and large furry coat. 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 them 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 Flemish Giant rabbit, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these gentle giants every day is like. Fortunately, their care needs are relatively similar to other smaller breeds of rabbit, although there are some important factors to take into consideration due to their size.
Food And Diet
The Flemish Giant rabbit is a breed of rabbit that is prone to gaining weight. They are not a very active breed and so monitoring their diet is very important. Do not give them too many treats and make sure their hutch is large enough for them to hop around in properly.
You will need to feed your Flemish more food than the average rabbit due to their size. The exact amount you feed them should be based on their size, age and activity level. 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 their digestive system moving, as well as helping to wear down their teeth so they are less prone to dental issues. 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 Pellet Food For The Flemish Giant RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Kaytee Timothy Complete rabbit food for the Flemish Giant. Made from hand-selected timothy hay, this food is high in fiber and not only supports your rabbit’s digestive health but also promotes chewing to help with their dental health. A pellet rather than muesli, there is no chance of selective feeding with this food, either.
There are added vitamins and minerals in this recipe to support the overall health of your pet as well as prebiotics and probiotics. Made in the USA, this food is corn free and alfalfa free and there is no added sugar.
Despite being a large rabbit, the Flemish Giant does not have very high exercise needs. They are a fairly lazy bunny! That being said, these rabbits do need exercise because they are very prone to gaining weight, which can be detrimental to their health.
Letting your rabbit out of their hutch and letting them hop around the home or yard is always a good idea. If you do not have the space to allow them to do this, make sure their hutch is large enough for them to get adequate exercise. This will help to keep their muscles toned.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
The Giant Flemish rabbit can make a wonderful family pet. Docile and gentle, these rabbits are happy in almost any home. They love their owners, children included, and will be happy laying around and living the quiet life. They also love attention and cuddles!
Because they can bite when unhappy, children should always be supervised around the Flemish, especially when they are new to the home.
These domestic rabbits can live indoors and are very easy to train. You can also train them to use a litter box. You should start training them from a young age as it will be easier than trying to teach them when they are older. They can also be trained and socialized around other people and rabbits, so they know how to react in social situations!
One of the most important things to consider when bringing a Flemish into your home is their hutch size. These rabbits are large and will need an enclosure in which they can move around easily and have space to hop and stretch out. If their hutch is not big enough, they can become stressed. The minimum cage size for a Flemish Giant should be 3ft x 4ft. Take a look at a rabbit home we recommend below.
Best Hutch For The Flemish Giant RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
The Pawhut Deluxe wooden hutch measures 90.6” L x 27.6” W x 39.4” H and provides adequate space for your Flemish Giant 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.
Fortunately, the Flemish Giant rabbit does not have very high grooming needs. These rabbits need to be brushed only once a week, unless they are shedding during which time they should be brushed twice a week. They normally shed twice a year: in the spring and in the fall.
You should trim their nails as and when is needed. Rabbits usually wear their nails down through exercise. Remember to check their fur and ears often for any signs of fur mites and ear mites.
Flemish Giant Rabbit FAQ’s
How fast does the Flemish Giant rabbit grow?
The Flemish Giant Rabbit grows quickly! By the time they are 1.5 years old, they have normally reached their adult size. They could already be 14 lbs by their first birthday, so make sure you have the space to house one of these gentle giants!
How big should the Flemish Giant’s cage be?
A cage for a rabbit for his size should at least 3 feet by 4 feet. This is suitable for one rabbit, but it should be double the size if you have two of these bunnies. Normally, you should go for the largest hutch you can get!
How high can the Flemish Giant rabbit jump?
The Flemish Giant can jump up to three feet high — and sometimes even higher! This is particularly useful to know if you are building an outside pen for them to roam around in. You don’t want them hopping over the fence and getting away!
Can the Flemish Giant rabbit be house trained?
Yes! These rabbits are perfect house rabbits as they are easy to train. You can teach them to use a litter box from a young age so there is less mess for you to clean up. They’re also very friendly with a docile nature, and will love hopping into your lap for a cuddle.
The Flemish Giant rabbit is a loving and friendly rabbit, whose size certainly shouldn’t put you off. While these bunnies need a lot of space to live and roam to be happy, they have relatively low care needs and will be content just lazing around the house next to you! Perfect with children, the Flemish Giant makes an excellent companion and doesn’t need a lot of exercise or grooming. If you’re looking for a gentle giant who just wants some love and affection, a Flemish Giant might just be for you.