Bunny Breed Guide: New Zealand White Rabbit
New Zealand Whites are popular rabbits as pets, in the show ring, and unfortunately in the laboratory and meat/fur farm. New Zealand White Rabbits are easily distinguished by their relatively large and solid bodies covered in dense white fur, their upstanding white ears, and their red eyes. New Zealand Whites have become the poster child of the Easter Season, and are often depicted as being the Easter Bunny.
The name "New Zealand White" is a bit of a misnomer however, as New Zealand Whites were originally bred in America. They were destined for the meat and fur trade even at their inception, and fate has not been much kinder with their widespread use in laboratories. However, as with many animals bred to be slaughtered or tested on, the New Zealand White Rabbit has a cheerful and friendly disposition. They are affectionate, intelligent, and one of the easier breeds to teach tricks. These factors make the New Zealand White an ideal pet choice, as unlike many of the other rabbit breeds, they are less likely to be standoffish and aggressive.
How big will they get ?
Generally New Zealand White Rabbits grow to the following sizes:
Buck: 4 - 5 kgs / 9 - 11 lbs
Doe: 4.5 - 5.5 kgs / 10 - 12 lbs
If you are interested in showing your New Zealand White Rabbit, here are some of the characteristics you should be looking for:
Head: Should be strong and muscular looking, but should not be out of proportion with the rest of the body. The neck should not be long, in fact, a non-existent looking neck is highly regarded in the New Zealand White Rabbit. Those little red eyes should be bright and alert, and should be a nice deep red, and the ears should stand erect.
Body: The New Zealand White should have a broad and muscular body, well shaped, with large, long back feet and short front feet. There should be plenty of 'meat on the bones', though this should not tip over into sloppy heaviness. The toenails should be either white or flesh colored. The fur should be nice and dense, and should be a lovely white color. It should not be too soft, but have a stiffness to it. If your rabbit is moulting, it is not a good time to show him or her.
Faults: It is not considered positive if a New Zealand White is too long, or too short in the body, has fur that is woolly or stained, or that tends towards a yellowy cream color rather than white. Long narrow heads also find disfavor, as do ears that don't stand nicely erect.
Showing rabbits can be a lot of fun, but even if your New Zealand White isn't a champion, they are sure to be a delightful pet and a quiet and gentle companion.