The Rhinelander rabbit is a very unique breed, known for their beautiful coat with distinct markings that certainly make them stand out from the crowd. These bunnies are large, often weighing up to 10 lbs, and are commonly seen as a show-rabbit.
Despite their size, these rabbits can make a wonderful family pet and get on very well with children. They are docile and friendly rabbits that love to socialize with their people, and will often be found hopping their way into your lap!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Rhinelander rabbit breed and seeing whether they could be the pet for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Rhinelander Rabbit
The Rhinelander was first introduced to the United States in 1923 and accepted by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA) in 1925. However, they suddenly disappeared from America by 1932 and were only reintroduced in 1972 when Robert Herschbach of California attended a German show and purchased four animals for his rabbitry back home. They were then accepted into the ARBA again in 1975.
This rabbit originated in Grevenbroch, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and was created by Josef Heinz. He crossed a Japanese Harlequin buck with a gray-checkered doe. One of the kits from this resulting litter had the same markings we know the Rhinelander to have today.
Heinz then decided to cross the Harlequin with a Checkered Giant doe and this created the Rhinelander rabbit he wanted. This breed was first shown in 1902 and was accepted as a breed in Germany in 1905.
Characteristics Of The Rhinelander Rabbit
The Rhinelander’s physical appearance is one of their features they are most known for, and the reason they do so well at rabbit shows. Their unique look crossed with their fantastic temperament makes them a very desirable rabbit.
These rabbits are of medium to large size, usually weighing between 6.5 to 10 lbs. They have a full-arch body shape, which means that light shows between the body and ground when the rabbit is sitting or moving.
They have long limbs and they are the same width from their shoulders to their hips. They also have long ears that stand erect on top of their head, around 4 inches long, and make a “v” shape.
The Rhinelander’s coat is soft, short and dense. Their coat is easy to take care of and does not require a lot of grooming. We will go into more detail about grooming your Rhinelander later on.
The unique coat color and markings is what the Rhinelander rabbit is known for. These rabbits have a white base coat that is decorated, unlike any other rabbit, with two different colored markings. These markings are seen on their ears, around their eyes and on their hindquarters. There is also a spot under each eye and a butterfly marking on their nose.
These markings are usually orange and black, although they can also be fawn and blue.
Aside from their coat pattern, the Rhinelander rabbit breed is known for their fantastic personality. These rabbits are friendly and affectionate and will love to be around their owners. They like to socialize and make new friends, so the bigger the family the better!
They’re also an active breed that likes to be exercising and kept entertained. You shouldn’t let your rabbit get too bored, because this can lead to depression or destructive behavior such as chewing and digging.
These rabbits are calm and good-natured too, but you should always respect your Rhinelander’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The Rhinelander rabbit has an average lifespan of between 5 to 8 years, although they can live up to 10 or 12 when cared for properly.
Known Health Issues
The Rhinelander rabbit does not have any breed-specific health problems, but they can face many of the same health concerns other rabbits do. We have laid out the main issues 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.
– 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.
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 Rhinelander 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 bunnies are easy to care for and do not have very high needs.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your Rhinelander rabbit 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 your Rhinelander’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 Rhinelander RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Kaytee Forti-Diet rabbit food for your Rhinelander. It is designed for adult rabbits and is a great addition to a largely hay and vegetable diet. This food contains prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health as well as being rich in natural antioxidants for general health and immune system support.
These pellets are also larger in size to support dental health through natural chewing activity. Made in the USA, this food is 100% safe for your rabbit and is naturally preserved for ideal freshness.
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 Rhinelander is an active breed and will enjoy being outside. If you have the space, purchasing a secure outside enclosure for your Rhinelander to exercise in without supervision will be beneficial, even if they live the majority of the time indoors. This will allow them more room to move around, which also getting fresh air and feeling the grass under their paws!
Make sure you don’t leave your rabbit alone if they are outside their hutch or enclosure. Although the Rhinelander is a big rabbit, they can still be eaten by prey.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
The Rhinelander rabbit makes a wonderful family pet thanks to their fantastic temperament. Because they are friendly and calm-natured, they get on well with individuals, couples and the elderly. However, their active tendencies also make them an excellent match for families with children, especially as they can play together with toys! They also make for a great first-time pet.
These bunnies can be taught to use a litter tray so there is less mess for you to clean up. While it is harder to train a rabbit than a cat or dog, it can be done so keep persevering!
Despite the fact the Rhinelander is an active breed of rabbit and will love to exercise part of the day outside, it is often recommended that this breed is kept indoors as a house rabbit. They can be sensitive to weather changes and therefore may be more comfortable inside. That being said, they can also live happily outside as long as they are warm enough, their hutch is secure and they are brought inside for lots of socializing!
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 Rhinelander RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
While the ROCKEVER bunny hutch is a long hutch designed to house two to three rabbits, we recommend it for your Rhinelander rabbit because it will give them lots of room to move around in. Split down the middle with a piece of wood, this can be removed so you can either separate the hutch into two parts or have the whole space accessible!
Each side has an access ramp for your rabbit to come and go, as well as an enclosed area for sleeping or resting. The hutch is made out of wood and metal wire and is intended for indoor use only. The floor is waterproof and easily removable for simple cleaning. The wire top of the hutch can also be opened for easy access and there are sliding doors on the enclosed area to keep them separate while you clean.
The Rhinelander rabbit does not require too much grooming to keep their coat in good condition. You will only need to brush them every other week to keep them looking neat and to remove loose hairs. During shedding season, which happens twice a year, you will need to be brushing them more frequently — a few times a week with a slicker brush.
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.
Rhinelander Rabbit FAQ’s
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 Rhinelander rabbit?
There are many vegetables that your Rhinelander rabbit will love! Some rabbit favorites are cabbage, cauliflower leaves, radish, rocket, kale, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
Be careful not to overfeed your Rhinelander rabbit. They are an important part of their diet, however you shouldn’t overfeed them. Many of these vegetables should be seen as a treat and too many can cause them to gain weight!
The Rhinelander rabbit is a large breed that can weigh up to 10 lbs, but don’t let this put you off! Known for their fantastic coats, these rabbits make not only great show bunnies but also wonderful pets. They have a sweet and easygoing nature and, with their love of socializing, they’ll make friends with everyone in the house! They also love to spend time outside exercising, but will happily live indoors with the family. The Rhinelander does not have very high care needs, so if you’ve got the space to house one of these buns, why not do it?!