Checkered Giant Rabbit (Size, Color, Behavior, Temperament)

It takes a special kind of rabbit lover to love Checkered Giant rabbits.

Adult Checkered Giant rabbits weigh a minimum of 11 pounds (5 kilos) and can weigh much more.

If they are mishandled, they can kick with the force of a baby kangaroo just out of the pouch. (Unlike a baby kangaroo, a Giant Checkered rabbit does not have claws on its feet.)

American Checkered rabbits have as many as 14 kits in each litter, and they can reproduce up to three times a year.

With their distinctive coat markings, powerful legs, and wide head, Checkered Giants are both eye-catching and full of personality.

If you allow your Checkered Giants to mate, you will suffer no shortage of company from your pets! But for the right rabbit owner, Giant Checkered rabbits are a great choice.

Let’s go over the essential facts about Giant Checkered rabbits.

Essential Facts About Giant Rabbits

Zoological nameOryctolagus cuniculus domesticus

Care level, compared to other breeds of rabbits: Needs larger cages and more play space. See comments on the safe handling of Checkered Giant rabbits below.

Temperament: Active, trainable, intelligent. Not really aggressive, but can seem that way because of its size.

Color: White with a blue or black dorsal stripe, blue of black butterfly-shaped markings on its face, and blue or black ears.

Lifespan: Doesn’t live as long as some smaller breeds of rabbits. 5 to 8 years.

Maximum size: Bucks may get up to 11 pounds (5 kilos), does up to 12 pounds (5.5 kilos)

Dietary requirements: At least 70 percent hay to control the growth of teeth. Small amounts of papaya, berries, or pineapple (about a tablespoon, or 15 grams, a week) can help prevent digestive problems.

Compatible breeds: St. Nicholas, Flemish Giant, Hungarian Giant

Cage size: About four times as large as the rabbit itself. Checkered Giant rabbits prefer 3 to 4 hours a day outside their cages in a playspace of at least 100 square feet (about 10 square meters). Be sure to put them where they will not chew on furniture or electrical cords.

Happiest as an outdoor rabbit. Safe in fenced backyards with cover from predatory birds, such as hawks.

You will need to secure your rabbit’s hutch at night to protect it from nighttime predators.

History of the Giant Checkered Rabbit

Checkered Giant rabbits originated in the 1800s in Lorraine, now a department of France, but then a state in Germany.

Rabbit breeders bred French Lops, Flemish Giants, and spotted rabbits. These early crosses resulted in “Land Kaninchen,” without the distinctive markings we associated with the breed today.

Breeders in Germany and France continued to cross Land Kanichen with Flemish giants to create the “Lorraine rabbit,” also known as the Great German Spotted rabbit.

In Germany, this breed was named the “Great German Spot,” while in France, it was called the “Géant Papillon”.

Soon after, the Checkered Giant Rabbit made its way to the United States in 1910, where it became recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and began to establish its place in the country.

Great German Spotted rabbits arrived in the United States in 1910.

Like many things associated with Germany, these rabbits were given a different name during World War I.

They are now known in the US as Giant Checkered rabbits or American Giant Checkered rabbits.

Appearance of the Giant Checkered Rabbit

The first thing you will notice about Giant Checkered rabbits is that they are, well, giant.

At first glance, a Giant Checkered rabbit might look like a small dog!

Giant Checkered rabbits are an arched breed. When they hop along, you can see a gap between their underparts and the ground. They have long legs and strong ankles.


Adult bucks (males) will weigh at least 11 pounds (5 kilos). Females will weigh at least 12 pounds (about 5.5 kilos).

There is no upper limit to how much a Giant Checkered rabbit can weigh, although it is very unusual to encounter a Giant Checkered rabbit that weighs more than 16 pounds (about 7.3 kilos).

Coat and Coat Color

Giant Checkered rabbits have soft, thick, roll-back coats. (Roll-back fur returns to its original position after it is combed or petted.)

Most of the coat is white, but there will be either black or blue markings with sharp edges.

Checkered Giant Rabbit markings

The American Rabbit Breeders Association accepts Giant Checkered rabbits that white fur with black or blue rings around the eyes and a black or blue dorsal stripe that runs from the neck to the tail.

These rabbits may also have a butterfly-shaped patch of color around their noses.

Markings and Patterns

The Checkered Giant Rabbit has several unique markings that set it apart from other rabbit breeds.

These markings include rings around their eyes, colored ears, and markings on their cheeks.

Additionally, they feature a unique pattern on their spine, called a “butterfly” marking, that follows the length of their back. The symmetrical and eye-catching markings make these rabbits truly stand out.

Head and Ears

One of the things you’ll notice when taking care of your Checkered Giant is its wide head and large, broad ears.

These ears are held firmly upright and can easily reach a length of 5 to 7 inches.

Their expressive eyes are also a distinctive characteristic, which can give them a curious and alert appearance.

Giant Checkered Rabbit Temperament

The temperament of Giant Checkered rabbits often gets a bad rap. Some people say they are mean rabbits. They are even sometimes called devil rabbits.

None of these descriptions is accurate. They are just rabbits! They are lively rabbits.

Every rabbit can have an “attitude,” but if you aren’t afraid of them, you won’t have any problems handling them.

Most rabbit show judges will tell you that a Checkered Giant with just a little attitude is preferable to one that is too calm and relaxed because livelier rabbits present well.

Ideally, your Checkered Giant rabbit will stomp the ground to bring attention to itself, but won’t be so aggressive that it picks a fight with your cat.

Where you can run into trouble with your Giant Checkered rabbit is not giving them enough opportunities to exercise.

When Giant Checkered rabbits are kept in their cages too long, they build up a lot of energy they need to burn off.

Their rambunctious activity can seem aggressive, but these rabbits resume their calm demeanor when they have a chance to catch up on their playtime.

Checkered Giant Rabbits can be quite playful and affectionate towards their human caregivers.

They might seek out cuddles, enjoy being pet, and reciprocate your affection with gentle nuzzling.

Remember that each rabbit has its own personality, so some individuals may be more interested in physical interaction than others.


Your Giant Checkered rabbit won’t have any trouble becoming toilet trained. Just gather up their soft droppings and place them in their litter box.

Your rabbit will get the idea in a few days to up to about a week.

(Rabbits eat their soft feces for a second round of digestion to release proteins and fatty acids.

The second time the feces is excreted, it comes out in the form of hard, small pellets. Rabbits do not eat these.)

Giant Checkered rabbits are smart enough to learn tricks, like these:

  • Teach your Giant Checkered rabbit to “bop” a ball suspended on a string with its nose.
  • Teach your Giant Checkered rabbit to sit up on its hind legs.
  • Train your rabbit to hop through hoops you place at intervals along its favorite running path.
  • Teach your rabbit to come to you when you call its name.

Checkered Giant rabbits can also learn to interact with your cat or your small dog.

They are large enough that they aren’t endangered by other pets, except for hunting dogs and large snakes.

Care Requirements for Giant Checkered Rabbits

Giant Checkered rabbits need the same things as other breeds. They just need more of them.


The ideal housing for Giant Checkered rabbits is a hutch raised off the ground, with a ramp leading up to the door.

The hutch should be completely enclosed except for the door, but it needs a removable roof.

You need to be able to reach into the hutch to change your rabbit’s bedding at least once a week and to lift rabbits in need of veterinary care out of their beds.

Enclosure Essentials

  • Large, spacious enclosure
  • Soft bedding material (e.g., hay or paper-based bedding)
  • Proper ventilation
  • Access to clean water and fresh hay
  • Enrichment items (e.g., toys, hiding spots, chewing materials)

Diet and Nutrition

Your Checkered Giant Rabbit’s diet should be primarily composed of high-quality hay, which should make up around 70% of its daily intake.

Hay is essential for their overall health as it provides the necessary fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system and helps grind down their constantly growing teeth.

For additional nutrition, you can supplement your rabbit’s diet with various fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and pellets.

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and lettuce are great options for your rabbit, but be sure to limit the amount of high-sugar fruits.

The ideal pellet choice for Checkered Giant Rabbits is one with a timothy hay base. This will ensure your rabbit receives the essential nutrients they need.

To help you structure a well-balanced diet for your Checkered Giant Rabbit, consider the following guidelines:

  • Hay: Unlimited supply of fresh, clean hay (Timothy or alfalfa).
  • Veggies: 1-2 cups of fresh leafy greens per day.
  • Fruits: Occasional treats of fruits like apple, banana, or berries, given sparingly due to their sugar content.
  • Pellets: 1/4 to 1/3 cup of timothy hay-based pellets daily.

Lastly, always ensure that your rabbit has access to fresh water.

Keep their water source clean and check it regularly to avoid contamination or build-up of bacteria.

By following these guidelines, you’ll provide your Checkered Giant Rabbit with a diet that supports their health, growth, and overall well-being.

Health Concerns

Giant Checkered rabbits do not have any health problems unique to their breed.

They are large enough that they can break their toe bones if they run on rocks or concrete, however, and it is especially important not to breed them too often.

Unlike some other animals, female Giant Checkered rabbits can breed again while they are still nursing, affecting the health of both litters.

Popular Bunny Names for Checkered Giant Rabbit

Here’s a table with popular Checkered Giant Rabbit names, reflecting their breed characteristics.

The Checkered Giant Rabbit is known for its large size, distinctive spotted markings, and energetic personality.

Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and lively nature.

Girl Bunny Names for Checkered Giant RabbitGirl Bunny Names for Checkered Giant Rabbit

These names highlight the distinctive markings, size, and energetic spirit of the Checkered Giant Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.

Also read: Cute Pet Bunny Names (Girl/Boy)

Frequently Asked Questions About Giant Checkered Rabbits

Where can I buy a Checkered Giant rabbit?

Check with the American Rabbit Breeders Association Checkered Giant page.

You can sometimes adopt an abandoned Checkered Giant rabbit, or find them in pet shops.

Make sure the bunny is weaned before you accept a Checkered Giant from a litter produced by a friend’s rabbit.

How much will a Giant Checkered rabbit cost?

Breeders sell Giant Checkered rabbits for US $50 to $80.
Always buy from a breeder since they screen for hereditary diseases.

How do I get my Giant Checkered rabbit into her cage?

All you need to do is to open the door to the cage and stand in the way of the exit.

Your rabbit may want to run around a little more before going inside, but they usually know when it is time to go inside again.

Do Giant Checkered rabbits enjoy being cuddled?

Giant Checkered rabbits enjoy cuddling, but they prefer that you join them at ground or floor level.

They don’t like being cuddled in your lap if you are seated in a chair or on a sofa. They like to cuddle with the option of easily hopping away.

How often do I need to let my Giant Checkered rabbit out of his cage?

A. Giant Checkered rabbits need to be let out of their cages to roam and play for at least an hour a day. Three or four hours a day is preferable.

Are there any things you should never do to a Giant Checkered rabbit?

Never pick up any rabbit by the ears! Never picking them up at all, unless you absolutely have to, is even better.

Make a point of going down to rabbit level rather than lifting them to your level for their comfort and for yours, too.

When you must flip your rabbit over to take a look at its underside, grab it behind the ears. Make sure its feet are pointed away from you. Turn your rabbit on its side, and then turn it over.

Making sure you do not pick up your rabbit with its feet pointing toward you protects you against getting kicked in the face.

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