Rabbits can be found in all different shapes and sizes, but the Flemish giant is true to its name. The Flemish giant is one of the largest breeds of domesticated rabbits in the world. Flemish giants have been around since the 16th century, although they were only formally recognized in the early 1900s. The breed originates from Flander, in Northern Belgium, and was used as a utility breed for fur and meat production.
The Flemish giant rabbit has earned the nickname “gentle giant”. They are equally docile and social rabbits that enjoy human interaction. However, caring for a Flemish giant rabbit can be tricky, since they are nearly five times larger than many other rabbit breeds.
How Big Do Flemish Giant Rabbits Get?
The Flemish giant rabbit has an impressive size of 30 to 48 inches (2.5 to 4 feet) in length with an average weight of 20 pounds. Some Flemish giant rabbits are naturally larger than others, but usually weigh no less than 11 pounds and no more than 50 pounds. However, there isn’t really a definite limit set on a Flemish giant rabbit’s maximum size. With those measurements, it is clear why the Flemish giant is the world’s largest rabbit, considering that most rabbits only weigh between two to six pounds.
If we were to compare the Flemish giant rabbits’ size to other popular pets like dogs, they would be as heavy as a miniature poodle or a beagle. Some Flemish giant rabbits can even weigh as much as a bulldog. The Flemish giant rabbit is much larger than a Yorkshire terrier and a chihuahua, who rarely exceed eight pounds.
Furthermore, the Flemish giant rabbit can weigh as much as a shorthair cat, but they are nearly twice the length.
Why Are Flemish Giant Rabbits So Big?
The Flemish giant rabbits’ size is the result of decades of selective breeding. Various ancient rabbit breeds are responsible for the Flemish giant’s outstanding size. According to the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders (NFFGRB), the Flemish giant shares its origins with a Patagonian. This name was possibly used as a synonym for the Flemish giant rabbit we know today, or perhaps a close cousin.
The Patagonian rabbit was known for its large size, with an average length of 5 feet and a weight of 20 pounds. While the Flemish giant rabbits’ large size is attributed to selective breeding, the Patagonian rabbit’s size was not. Patagonian rabbits were wild rabbits and were not the result of selective breeding. Unfortunately, the Patagonian rabbit has since gone extinct.
The Flemish giant rabbits’ body size made them a top choice as a utility breed. They had more fur and meat than standard-sized rabbits, along with a better muscle-to-fat ratio. The amount of fur from one Flemish giant would have taken at least two to three standard rabbits. So, producers saw an opportunity to save resources on multiple rabbits by using the Flemish giant rabbit’s size as a production advantage.
Although this giant rabbit’s original intent was for production purposes, they are now kept as pets around the world by rabbit fanciers and breeders alike.
Flemish Giant Rabbit: Growth Rate and Chart
Flemish giant rabbits have an average lifespan of eight to 10 years, similar to standard-sized rabbits. It can take Flemish giant rabbits around 10 to 14 months before they reach maturity. You will notice that most of their growth is completed within the first three months of their life. Their growth rate eventually slows down at around six to eight months.
|2 to 4 pounds
|4 to 5 pounds
|6 to 8 pounds
|13 to 15 pounds
|16 to 18 pounds
|19 to 22 pounds
Their growth rate is not much different from other rabbit breeds. The main difference is that Flemish giants start out at a much larger size. Flemish giant rabbit kits can weigh as little as two pounds at birth, but their weight doubles as the weeks progresses. By around six months, most Flemish giants are nearly fully grown. Flemish giant does (females) are generally heavier than the bucks (males), but this size difference isn’t very noticeable.
A Flemish giant rabbit’s size and growth rate are dependent on their genetics, diet, and overall care. These giant rabbits require a healthy and balanced diet consisting of hay, which should be offered to them daily. They need a spacious enclosure or outdoor hutch, along with veterinary care when necessary.
Flemish Giant Rabbits vs. Dwarf Rabbits
Some of the smallest rabbits in the world are dwarf breeds. The typical weight of a Netherland dwarf and Holland lop rabbit is around two to four pounds. This is the weight of a one-month-old Flemish giant rabbit, who has an average adult weight five times that of a dwarf rabbit. Flemish giant rabbits look massive in comparison to many dwarf rabbit breeds and are over three times longer as well.
Flemish Giant Rabbit vs. Continental Rabbit
Both the Flemish giant and the Continental rabbit are two different breeds of rabbits. The Flemish giant is recognized as the world’s largest rabbit, while the Continental is the second largest.
The Continental rabbit is currently recognized by the British Rabbit Council (BRC), but not the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). Both the BRC and ARBA formally recognize Flemish giant rabbits and they take the title as the largest rabbit breed.
There are two types of Continental rabbits – the giant colored and the giant white Continental. Both types exceed 26 inches in length and can weigh over 14 pounds. Flemish giant rabbits can range in size, but there are no limitations to their maximum weight and length. However, bucks should not weigh anything less than 11 pounds. Whereas does should weigh no less than 12 pounds according to the BRC breed standards.
Wrapping It Up
The Flemish giant is a very large breed of rabbit that can grow as large as some small dogs and cats. They can range in size, but they have an average length of 2.5 to 4 feet and a broad weight range starting from 11 pounds. Although they are very large rabbits, Flemish giants have a sweet temperament that makes them the gentle giants of the rabbit world.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Best dog photo/Shutterstock.com
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