New Zealand Rabbit – Breed History and Care Tips

Last Updated : July 18, 2022
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The New Zealand rabbit is a great pet even though it was first developed for meat. It is a great choice if you are new to rabbits or have children in your home. They are large rabbits so caring for them is easy.

What are New Zealand Rabbits?

Despite their name, the origin of New Zealand bunny is America. They were first bred in California in the 20th century. The rabbits are thought to have been bred from rabbits that were imported from New Zealand.

However, their likely ancestors are the Flemish Giant and Belgian Hare.

The rabbit is often bred for its size, so how big does a New Zealand rabbit get? On average, it weighs 10lbs to 12 lbs.

The females are larger than the males.

They mature fast and the females are famous for being excellent mothers. The original breed was red, known as the New Zealand red.

However, white is the most common color, and New Zealand whites are commonly bred for commercial meat lines, and the fur trade, unfortunately. Black is also a common and acceptable color.

The social nature of these rabbits makes them happy to be a part of your family. They get along well with both humans and other pets.

Because of their cool nature, you can house them with other rabbit breeds. You just need to have enough space. Its possible to train them to use a litter box.

If you don’t have much experience with rabbits, they are some of the best options. Caring for them is easier than smaller breeds. Their fur is so short that it does not need special grooming.

New Zealand Rabbits Characteristics

They are large rabbit breed and mature fast Their personalities are relaxed and easy-going. They have short fur. Their fur may be black, white, red, or broken.

Their ears are large and upright.

New Zealand White – Breed Information and Advice

The New Zealand white is highly-intelligent. Its distinctive features include its thick snow-white fur and red eyes.

Its upstanding ears inspired its depiction as the Easter Bunny.

It is a great choice of pets because of its cute looks and docile temperament and will make a great companion. They are smart and easy to train. The New Zealand white rabbit has a lifespan of up to seven to 10 years.

Rabbit Diet and Health

Like all rabbits, the New Zealand bunny requires proper nutrition.

Its diet should consist of fresh hay, vegetables, and high-quality pellets. If you give them treats, be careful not to overfeed the, as it could lead to obesity.

Alfafa grass, Timothy hay, and orchard hay are some of the essential foods for your New Zealand bunny.

Even though fruits and vegetables are also important, you should be careful about what you give them. Some leafy greens may be bad for their digestive system. The right options include apples, carrots, and romaine lettuce.

The New Zealand bunny is generally healthy. It is not susceptible to any health concerns or diseases.

Overgrown teeth are some of the most common problems to look out for. The problem is mostly a result of poor diet. Hay keeps the length of their teeth manageable. Without enough hay in their diet, your New Zealand’s teeth may get out of hand. If the teeth grow into their jaw and face, they may cause lots of pain.

Visual inspections will help you confirm that your bunny’s teeth are growing normally.

Flystrike is a common condition that may affect your New Zealand. It occurs when flies get into the soiled fur of your rabbit and lay eggs. The eggs hatch and rely on your rabbit for nutrition. Flystrike can cause immense pain. It requires immediate medical attention.

Deworm the rabbit at least twice every year and check it for ear mites every week.

Interested In Other Rabbit Breeds?

Even though the New Zealand breed is great, there are other popular breeds. If you prefer a smaller rabbit, a Mini Lop or Lionhead would be great choices. If you prefer rabbits with specific colors or patterns, the Dutch rabbit and Mini-Rex are great options. The rabbits have velvet-soft fur, and they make great pets.

New Zealand White Rabbits

New Zealand white rabbits are great pets for many reasons. The most common one is their large size and friendly nature. It is also a great show rabbit even though it was initially bred for meat. These rabbits get along well with other pets.

Breed Info

The female New Zealand becomes fertile in about eight weeks. At 16 weeks, you can breed it. Breeding while the rabbit is still young could cause death. The gestation period of does ranges from 28 to 35 days.

The newborns are blind, hairless, and deaf. They may start developing fur within the third day. A doe can get pregnant just a few hours after giving birth.

New Zealand Rabbit Varieties

According to the ARBA, the New Zealand bunny comes in five primary colors: black, white, red, blue, and broken. If you crossbreed different colors, you may get a combination of three colors.

new zealand red rabbit

New Zealand Breed Appearance

The rabbits have a broad and muscular physique. Their bodies are deep with average length and rounded haunches. They are large, and the length of their fur is average.

The female rabbits have a fat flap of fur under their chins.

New Zealand Rabbit Facts – What You Didn’t Know

  • Even though they are large, New Zealand bunnies are very docile. They are great buddies, and training them can be easy.
  • The bunnies are heavy, and their weight may require lots of support.
  • Even though the rabbits are friendly and gentle, they can inflict a lot of bodily harm when they feel threatened
  • The rabbits have distinct colors. They may be red, black, white, blue, or broken. If your rabbit has any other colors, it is not a New Zealand
  • Unlike other large breeds, the New Zealand has a long lifespan. It may live up to eight years. The reason for its long life span is because it does not have any health problems.

New Zealand Rabbits

New Zealand breeds are a large and resilient breed.

Caring for them is easy, and they are healthy.

However, you may occasionally have to deal with health concerns such as overgrown teeth. The best way to avoid the problem is by ensuring that they consume enough fiber. Overgrown teeth could lead to injuries and pain.

They require a diet that includes protein-rich pellets, fruits, and vegetables.

As noted earlier, despite the name these breeds of rabbits are actually originating from the United States of America. They are available in five colors: broken, red, white, black and blue.

The question, however, remains is the New Zealand bunny a good pet?

Yes, New Zealands are great pets.

They were developed as a meat rabbit but more people are gradually loving them as pets. New Zealand Rabbits are particularly good for families with children. They are bigger in size and not as delicate as other pets. This makes them good pets for those looking for pets.

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