New Zealand Red Rabbits
A Beautiful Sight

New Zealand Red Rabbits were first recognized as a breed in the United States in 1912. The breed was developed in the United States. It is unclear why the name was chosen. At that time, all rabbits in this breed were red. The New Zealand rabbit was developed by crossing a Belgian Hare with a white rabbit of undetermined breeding.

Photo of New Zealand Red Rabbits

As time went on, a white variety was developed by adding in bloodlines from the Flemish Giant, American Whites and even Angora rabbits. The black variety was developed with the help of the Giant Chinchilla breed. Today, two more varieties have been added to the list of colors accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association: blue and broken, which refers to a spotted coat pattern.

New Zealand Red Rabbits can grow up to 12 pounds in weight. They are considered a large breed. The New Zealand rabbit should look balanced in body. They should have well rounded hips and a full shape. A slow rise from the shoulders to the point of the hips should drop off in a nice curve toward the tail.

New Zealand Red Rabbits are a beautiful sight. With fur ranging from a bright reddish sorrel to a light mahogany red, the color reflects nicely when the rabbit moves around. When selecting a New Zealand Red, look for the color to flow well down the hair shaft. The belly color will be lighter; almost a creamy color. It should not be white. White is okay under the tail and on the bottoms of the feet.

The New Zealand was developed primarily as a meat breed. They needed to produce large litters and be able to raise them in such a fashion so they grew quickly to meet the fryer weights desired. Today, they use the White New Zealands for meat more than the other colors. All colors are used for showing and pets.

New Zealand rabbits make excellent pets. They should be handled from the time they are very young to create a tame rabbit who enjoys being with people. If you are selecting a New Zealand Red that has not been handled a lot, it may be more challenging to tame them down. Handling may actually cause them stress if you get an adult who has not been handled much. Work slowly with them so they get used to you. Bribery may work; you may find they will eventually let you pet them if you offer them a treat they enjoy eating.

New Zealand Red Rabbits are a rabbit you can be proud of. The larger breeds tend to be calmer once they are tamed than the smaller breeds. They'll enjoy lying at your feet and relaxing more than racing from one room to another. The sheen of light reflecting off their red coat is truly beautiful. This breed offers you an attractive rabbit that is large enough to handle themselves well. Like any rabbit, you must watch them during hot weather to avoid heat stroke. They are happy living both indoors and out.

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