Flemish Giants are often called the Gentle Giants of the Rabbit World.
Sometimes growing to weigh as much as 50 pounds (23 kilos), these gigantic rabbits can hold their own in a tussle with other family pets, but they are gentle, affectionate, and trainable with their human family.
Many families like them because they don’t spend all their time hopping around.
They are easily tired, so they like to spend most of their time snuggling up to their humans.
These rabbits are active, friendly, cuddly animal companions. They are relatively easy to keep healthy.
But before you bring a Flemish Giant home as a pet, read this article for some essential facts about its history, appearance, temperament, and care.
Essential Facts About Flemish Giant Rabbits
Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
Care level, compared to other rabbits: Relatively low, as long as your rabbit has some space for exercise. Most of the time, your Flemish Giant will be content lazing next to you, letting you pet it. However, Flemish Giants do not do well in hot, humid weather unless they are provided with air-conditioned quarters.
Temperament: Active, friendly, not aggressive,
Color: Black, blue, fawn, light gray, steel gray, sandy, whitelack, fawn,blue, light gray, steel gray, white, and sandy. It has brown eyes unless it has a blue coat, in which case its eyes will be pink.
Lifespan: 8 to 10 years.
Maximum size: As mentioned, Flemish Giants can weigh up to 50 pounds (23 kilos). Usually, adults weigh over 20 pounds (9 kilograms).
Dietary requirements: Primarily hay. Needs a volume of hay about equal to its body size every day. Limit pellets to 10 percent of its diet.
Compatible breeds: Gets along with other large rabbits, such as Giant Chequered Rabbit and Giant Angora Rabbit. Males should not be allowed to mate with females of smaller breeds since the doe may have trouble carrying her babies to term.
Cage size: Like most other rabbits, Flemish Giants need cages about four times as large as their bodies. Larger is always better. A Flemish Giant rabbit needs a cage or kennel with 24 inches by 36 inches (609 cm by 90 cm) floor space, and 14 inches (35 cm) clearance of its head. An outdoor hutch with an enclosed play space is ideal.
Large enough not to have a problem with other pets. Too large to be a good pet for children under six years old.
History of the Flemish Giant Rabbit
Flemish Giants have a long history.
They have existed near the city of Ghent, in Belgium, at least since 1600.
Rabbit experts believe that they were bred from Flemish Steenkonijn (Stone Rabbits), which famously weighed about a stone (8 pounds or 4 kilograms), and a now-extinct breed of rabbits known as Patagonians.
Author of Origins of the Flemish Giants Thomas Coatoam says that Flemish Giants as we know them today have been around since 1860.
Flemish Giants were exported to the United States during the 1890s, but they did not become popular as show rabbits in the United States until about 1910.
Since 1915, the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders has promoted the breed at shows.
They are a favorite show Rabbit because they are well-behaved and come in many different colors.
Appearance of the Flemish Giant Rabbit
The first thing you notice about Flemish Giant rabbits is their size. They weigh about 6 ounces (170 grams) when they are born.
In two weeks, they will weigh about a pound (450 grams). When they are a month old, they will weigh about 2 pounds (a little less than a kilo).
By the time a buck is eight months old, you can expect it to weigh 13 pounds (6 kilos).
A doe at eight months will weigh 14 pounds (about 6.5 kilos). Both sexes can keep on growing from there until the age of a year and two months.
Flemish Giants with fawn coats often have a growth spurt when they are about a year old.
To enter your Flemish Giant in a show, it must have a body length of at least 20 inches (51 cm). Its ears must be at least 6 inches (15 cm) long.
But size is not the only distinctive characteristic in the appearance of Flemish Giant rabbits:
- You can tell the difference between a male Flemish Giant and a female Flemish Giant just by looking at their heads. Bucks have much larger heads than does, and their heads continue growing until they are 18 months old.
- Due to head size, male Flemish Giants are larger than females. In most breeds, females are larger than males.
- Females have dewlaps, folds of skin, underneath their chins. They use them to keep baby bunnies warm.
The body of Flemish Giants is a semi-arch or mandolin shape. Its muscles are long and powerful. It is not unusual for Flemish Giants to grow to be 30 inches (77 cm) long.
To give you a better understanding of their size, here’s a quick comparison:
|Size||Flemish Giant Rabbit||Average Rabbit|
|Length||Up to 38 inches||14-20 inches|
|Weight (Adult)||15-22 pounds||2-6 pounds|
As you can see, the Flemish Giant Rabbit is significantly larger than the average rabbit, making them a truly unique and fascinating breed.
The Guinness Book of World Records records Darius, a Flemish Giant that measures 4 feet 3 inches (139 cm) long.
Coat and Color
Flemish Giants have dense, glossy, rollback fur. When you pet or groom them, their fur rolls back to its original position.
Because their coat is so dense, Flemish Giants do not thrive in warm or hot climates.
In the United States, the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders recognizes black, fawn, blue, light gray, steel gray, white, and sandy coat colors.
Temperament of the Flemish Giant Rabbit
Flemish Giants can look intimidating. This isn’t always a bad thing.
Adult Flemish Giants are far less likely than smaller breeders of rabbits to be attacked by neighborhood dogs or wild animals if they escape from their hutches and rabbit runs.
They will be left alone by smaller pet snakes (when they have reached full maturity).
One of the attractive features about adult Flemish Giants is that they are gentle enough to enjoy being petted.
Here are some key aspects of the Flemish Giant Rabbit’s temperament and personality:
- Docile: These rabbits are calm and easy-going, making them an excellent choice for families and first-time pet owners.
- Friendly: Flemish Giants enjoy being around people and often show affection to their owners.
- Gentle Giants: As one of the largest rabbit breeds, they have a surprisingly gentle nature, living up to their nickname
- Adaptable: Flemish Giants can adapt well to different living situations, such as indoor or outdoor environments.
It is always better to go down to rabbit level than to pet a rabbit in your lap. Rabbits prefer to be able to scamper away if danger approaches, even when they are lying comfortably in your lap.
You need to give your Flemish Giant time to get used to your home before you make petting and cuddling part of its daily routine.
About a month free of drama from rambunctious children or aggressive pets is enough for them to feel at home.
Flemish Giants are intelligent enough to learn to come when you call their name if you train them by giving them a special treat.
These rabbits are also easy to house-train. Just pick up their droppings and place them in their litter box for a couple of weeks.
They will get the idea that you want them to relieve themselves there.
Also read: How Fast Can a Flemish Giant Rabbit Run?
Care of the Flemish Giant Rabbit
Probably the most difficult requirement for taking care of your Flemish Giant is making sure its cage, kennel, or hutch is large enough for it to fit inside comfortably.
Ideally, you will keep your Flemish Giant outside in a protected hutch. The hutch needs to be connected by a ramp to a protected rabbit run, where your rabbit can play for several hours a day.
If you keep your rabbit indoors, it basically needs a non-carpeted room, free of chewable furniture, all to itself.
Feeding Your Flemish Giant Rabbit
Flemish Giant Rabbits, like all rabbits, require a well-balanced diet to maintain their health.
To help you provide the best care for your pet, we’ll discuss the main components of their diet:
- Hay: Hay should make up about 80% of your Flemish Giant Rabbit’s diet. It provides essential fiber, which keeps their digestive system healthy. Timothy hay is a great option for your rabbit, as it’s low in calories and high in fiber. Always ensure your rabbit has a constant supply of fresh hay. Alfalfa hay has high levels of calcium that can cause kidney stones, although it is OK for bunnies and for does while they are pregnant.
- Vegetables: Fresh vegetables should be a part of your rabbit’s daily diet. Some good options include leafy greens, bell peppers, and carrots. Aim to feed your rabbit 1-2 cups of vegetables per day.
- Pellets: Rabbit pellets provide essential nutrients that can’t be found in hay and vegetables alone. Choose a high-quality pellet brand and follow the feeding guidelines on the package. For Flemish Giant Rabbits, you may need to adjust the amount slightly to accommodate their larger size.
- Fruits: Fruits can be given as occasional treats, but they should not be a regular part of your rabbit’s diet. Fruits are high in sugar, so be sure to limit these treats to small quantities, such as a teaspoon or two per day.
- Water: Your Flemish Giant Rabbit should always have access to fresh, clean water. Drinking adequate water is crucial for maintaining their overall well-being.
Keep in mind that due to their large size, a Flemish Giant Rabbit will generally need more food than smaller rabbit breeds.
As each rabbit may have individual dietary needs, it’s essential to observe your pet closely and make adjustments as needed.
If you have concerns about your rabbit’s diet, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian.
All rabbits eat their own poop. Food undergoes a second digestion in a special pouch in the rabbit’s cecum to release proteins and fatty acids that are missed on the first pass through the digestive tract.
To keep your rabbit healthy, you will need to let it feed on its own soft droppings. When the full food value has been extracted, the droppings will be hard.
Grooming Your Flemish Giant Rabbit
Flemish Giants benefit from grooming (outdoors) with a stiff bristle brush about once a week.
During their shedding seasons, about a week in the spring and a week in the fall, you will need to brush them twice a week.
Healthcare for Your Flemish Giant Rabbit
Flemish Giants are generally healthy rabbits—as long as they are protected from encounters with cars, aggressive dogs, and hungry wildlife.
Flemish Giants can jump to a height of 3 feet (about a meter). Fencing that is at least 3 feet high prevents their coming to a tragic end.
Make sure your rabbit always has lots of fresh water.
Giving your rabbit hay, and no more than 10 percent of its diet in the form of pellets, will prevent both constipation and diarrhea.
Popular Bunny Names for Flemish Giant Rabbit
Here’s a table with popular Flemish Giant Rabbit names, reflecting their breed characteristics. The Flemish Giant Rabbit is known for its massive size, gentle temperament, and muscular body. Many of these names are inspired by their unique size and friendly nature.
|Boy Bunny Names for Flemish Giant Rabbit||Girl Bunny Names for Flemish Giant Rabbit|
These names emphasize the impressive size, strength, and gentle personality of the Flemish Giant Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.
Also read: Good Pet Rabbit Names
Frequently Asked Questions About Flemish Giant Rabbits
Q. Where can I find a Flemish Giant rabbit?
A. If you are in the US, check with the “honor roll” of master breeders of Flemish Giant rabbits maintained by the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders.
In the UK, you can ask breeders from a list maintained by Petkeen.
Q. How much will a Flemish Giant rabbit cost?
A. You will usually pay about US $50 for a Flemish Giant intended for life as a pet. Breeding stock can cost $100 to $300 or sometimes even more.
Q. Are Flemish Giant Rabbits legal in Australia?
A. Pet rabbits are legal in Victoria and New South Wales, but other states restrict or prohibit them.
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