Lilac rabbits make manageable, affectionate, beautiful pets. Children will be fascinated with their ever-changing appearance.
Although Lilac rabbits have a solid coat in just one color, the lilac color for which they are named, they can appear dove-gray or even pink, depending on the lighting.
When you get a Lilac rabbit, you are helping to preserve a rare, heritage breed.
The National Lilac Rabbit Club reports that only about 200 Lilac rabbits are registered in the United States each year, and there are probably only about 2,000 Lilac rabbits worldwide.
This breed is considered a rare heritage breed and is currently on the “watch” list by the American Livestock Conservancy
In this article, we will tell you what you need to know about what to expect in a Lilac rabbit and how to keep it as a healthy, happy, well-adjusted pet. Let’s begin with the essential facts.
Essential Facts About Lilac Rabbits
Size: Neither large nor small. Usually, weigh 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 to 3.5 kg).
Colors: Only one color, an “even pinky dove-gray shade” of fur across the entire body, with no other markings (American Rabbit Breeders Association standard).
Body Shape: Compact
Longevity: One of the longer-lived breeds, from 9 to 12 years.
Temperament: Easy-going, friendly, not especially active.
Suitable For: Children (pre-K children need to have an adult rabbit, they can injure bunnies if they play with their pets unsupervised), seniors, single people, and first-time rabbit owners. A great show animal for children in 4-H clubs.
Special Needs compared to other breeds: None.
Housing Needs: You will want to have an indoor area where your Lilac rabbit can hop around safely. A two-story outdoor hutch is ideal unless you live in an especially hot-summer or cold-winter climate. But you can keep a single Lilac rabbit in a 24-inch by 30-inch by 15-inch (60 cm by 90 cm by 38 cm) cage or crate indoors, plus room for a litter box.
History of the Lilac Rabbit
During the 1890s and early 1900s, rabbits were at their peak of popularity in the United Kingdom, Rabbit breeders raced to create new breeds of different sizes, different body types, and different colors.
More than one breeder created lilac-colored rabbits at about the same time.
The earliest documented entry of a Lilac rabbit in a rabbit show was a rabbit owned by H. Onslow of Cambridge, England, in 1913.
Rabbit breeder Mabel Illingsworth crossed Havana rabbits with Blue Imperials to obtain Lilac rabbits the same year.
In 1917, a breeder in Gouda, in the Netherlands, named C. H. Spruty crossed Blue Beverens with Havana rabbits to create a larger, lilac-colored rabbit he called the Gowenaar (Dutch for Gouda) rabbit.
In 1922, a Cambridge University professor named R. C. Punnett crossed the same two breeds to create the Cambridge Blue.
All of these breeds arrived in the United States in 1922. A magazine called Rabbitcraft heavily promoted the breed, so by 1925, they had been exported to Canada.
At first, there was considerable variation in coat color.
All of these rabbits had the same pigments in their fur, but their fur did not always refract light the same way.
By 1940, breeders in the United States had bred Lilac rabbits that were reliably the same color in the same light, but they appeared dove-gray under bright overhead lights and a purplish-lilac color in light shade or lower-intensity light.
After the breed became popular among rabbit breeders in California, the lilac color that changes with overhead lighting became the standard for the breed in 1944.
Lilac rabbits never became wildly popular, but they are an excellent choice for rabbit breeders and young farmers wanting to raise show rabbits.
They have coats of a single color, so there is no question of whether or not your rabbit meets the standards for entering a show.
They are neither so small that they are easily injured nor so large that they are hard to keep in a hutch, and they have a gentle temperament that makes them great pets as well as cooperative show animals.
The National Lilac Rabbit Club of America was created in 1944, and the breed gained popularity, with 25 bunnies being shown at the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) National Convention in 1940.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the Lilac breed decreased shortly thereafter, and the Club became inactive by 1951.
Today, the Lilac Rabbit is considered a rare breed, and it is recognized by the American Livestock Conservancy. The breed is also recognized by the ARBA and is shown at ARBA shows. The Lilac Rabbit has a Facebook page dedicated to it, where breeders and enthusiasts can connect and share information.
Appearance of the Lilac Rabbit
We have already mentioned the unique color of the Lilac rabbit’s fur. But beautiful lilac fur is not the only way you can recognize a lilac rabbit.
Lilac rabbits are small to medium-sized rabbits, large enough to be safe pets for young children but small enough to be easy to house.
They have upright ears that may grow as long as 3-1/2 inches (88 mm), sometimes as long as 4 inches (101 mm).
Lilacs have short body with a dainty rise at its midline.
They have wide haunches with short head. Their blue-to-gray pellage grows about an inch (25 mm) long. It is pleasantly soft when you touch it.
It is not hard to tell male and female Lilacs apart. Male Lilacs have a broader heads with silkier facial fur than female Lilacs.
Females are larger than males, and they have a dewlap of fur beneath their chins that they use to keep their kits warm in cold weather.
Their eyes are a bright blue-gray color, which complements their coat perfectly.
The National Lilac Rabbit Club gives Lilac rabbit owners opportunities to compete in rabbit shows at the local, state, and regional levels.
Even though Lilacs are a relatively rare breed, the club keeps them from going extinct, as it continuously reinforces the standards for judging the appearance of Lilac rabbits. The club is currently working on a guidebook for Lilac rabbit enthusiasts.
Temperament/Behavior of Lilac Rabbits
Unlike some other breeds, Lilac rabbits can sit calmly in your lap while you pet them.
They enjoy being stroked on (but never pulled by!) their ears. Adult Lilac rabbits make good pets, even for pre-school children who know to treat their rabbits gently.
Lilac rabbits are playful. Keep in mind that chewing is one of your rabbit’s playtime activities!
Your Lilac rabbit can enjoy endless hours just chewing on a piece of wood (or a piece of furniture).
You can keep your rabbit entertained by letting it roll, and maybe nibble on, the cardboard tube inside a roll of toilet paper or paper towels. You can give your rabbit stuffed animal toys.
The writer of this article gave his Lilac rabbit a teddy rabbit. They also enjoy child-safe toys with bells or clickers.
Litter Training Your Lilac Rabbit
All you have to do is to pick all of your rabbit’s soft poops and put them in a hay-lined litter box for a week or two, and your rabbit will get the idea that it poops there.
Hard poops should be thrown away.
Feeding Your Lilac Rabbit
Rabbits eat grasses. The best grass for your rabbit is dry timothy hay.
You can buy actual hay, or you can give your rabbit commercial food pellets that are mostly made from timothy hay, such as the products made by Bunny Basics, Murdock, and Oxbow.
Don’t give adult rabbits alfalfa hay or beanstalks from your garden. They are so rich in calcium that your rabbit can develop kidney stones.
It’s fine to supplement your rabbit’s diet with dark-green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, Swiss chard (silverbeet), kale, and turnip greens.
Adult rabbits can have up to 3 or even 4 cups (225 to 300 grams) a day.
Adult rabbits can also have 2 or 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 grams) of carrot sticks, berries, apples, pineapple, melon, or papaya.
The most important ingredient in your Lilac rabbit’s diet is fiber from grasses. They also need unlimited water on demand.
Housing Your Lilac Rabbit
Lilac rabbits need temperatures between freezing and 85° F (29° C).
They should be kept in a climate-controlled space when temperatures are lower or higher than these benchmarks.
It’s OK to have wire mesh floors that allow droppings to fall to the ground (if your hutch is outdoors) or into a litter box, but the wire should be coated with rubber so it will not injure your rabbit’s toes.
Each rabbit needs about 24 inches by 36 inches (60 centimeters by 90 centimeters) of its own floor space, with enough clearance that it does not brush its ears on its ceiling (about 15 inches/38 centimeters) is enough.
Your rabbit also needs about 100 square feet (10 square meters) of floor space or a backyard for several hours of play every day.
Health Problems of Lilac Rabbits
There are some simple rules for keeping your Lilac rabbit healthy.
- Keep your pet rabbit away from other rabbits, both wild and pet rabbits. Wild rabbits often carry a parasite that can kill rabbits in just a few weeks unless they get veterinary treatment. You should quarantine any new pet rabbit for a month to make sure it is healthy, so it will not transmit a disease to the rabbits you already have.
- Make sure your rabbit always has good ventilation. Air circulation keeps rabbits from overheating and slows down the transmission of nose, ear, and throat infections.
- Make sure anyone who handles your rabbit treats them gently. Rabbits can suffer spinal fractures from rough handling, and from twisting and turning to get away from situations that scare them.
- Protect your rabbits from predators. An outdoor rabbit hutch needs to have a fenced playspace that is also protected against aerial predators. Hawks and owls are not strong enough to carry off adult rabbits, but they can and do carry away bunnies, which they kill by dropping.
- Give your rabbit high-fiber foods in unlimited amounts. Rabbits need fiber to wear down their constantly-growing teeth, even when they are adults, and to prevent a condition called gastrointestinal stasis. This is a potentially fatal kind of constipation.
Popular Bunny Names for Lilac Rabbit
Here’s a table with popular Lilac Rabbit names reflecting their breed characteristics.
The Lilac Rabbit is known for its medium size, soft lilac-gray coat and gentle personality.
Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and serene disposition.
|Boy Bunny Names for Lilac Rabbit
|Girl Bunny Names for Lilac Rabbit
These names emphasize the beautiful lilac-gray coat, medium size, and gentle nature of the Lilac Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.
Also read: Popular Pet Rabbit (Bunny) Names
Frequently Asked Questions About Lilac Rabbits
Where can I buy a lilac rabbit?
Visit the Rabbit Breeders US Lilac Rabbits Near Me page.
How much does it cost to own a Lilac rabbit?
In the United States, expect to pay $25 to $100 for a Lilac bunny that has just been weaned from its mother.
A hutch for a single rabbit will cost around $100, while multiple-rabbit hutches will cost several hundred dollars.
Food and toys will cost about $25 a month, and pet insurance with Nationwide (the only insurance company in the US that covers expenses of pet rabbit care) will be $20 to $30 a month.
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