Rabbits are one of the most diverse and fascinating parts of the animal kingdom, with a range of different breeds that rival the cat and the dog.
Whilst the most popular breed in the United Kingdom by far is the adorable Holland Lop, and many owners will visit an online pet store to ensure their cute floppy-eared friends want for nothing, there is a lot more to the rabbit world than many people realise.
With that in mind, here are five unusual rabbit breeds to discover, and what makes them so unique.
Blanc De Hotot
Originally bred in France and known for their distinctive black rings around each eye, the Blanc de Hotot is a cross between Checkered Giant and Vienna White breeds and were officially recognised as their own breed in 1922.
An active, hardy breed ideal for breeders, they were initially popular in the early part of the 20th century but started to die out in the United States, only being saved from extinction after the Second World War by two breeders on each side of the Iron Curtain.
It is currently considered to be a “threatened species” with less than 1,000 Blanc de Hotot rabbits in the world, but enthusiasts have made consistent efforts to ensure the breed lives on.
Only found in North America and identified as a critically endangered species, Silver Rabbits are amongst the oldest breeds to ever exist, dating back to the 16th century.
A predominant theory as to how the breed made it to England was due to the famous explorer Sir Walter Raleigh introducing them to the country after a visit to Portugal.
The Silver Rabbit looks and feels like no other rabbit you may have held before.
They are known for their dense, wiry coats with a mix of different coat colours that give the breed its distinct silvery look.
Beyond this, they have hard, stocky bodies that reflect their much more active lifestyles than typical rabbits and have shorter ears that stand up vertically rather than flopping over.
Originally bred in France in the late 19th century in somewhat mysterious circumstances, they, along with the Champagne D’Argent are among the rarest breeds in the world through somewhat bizarre circumstances.
When the Creme D’Argent was imported into America, they were bred with American breeds such as the Palomino, and because of this, the original Creme D’Argente is facing extinction, with only 1000 rabbits of its type still in existence.
Despite this, they have an adorable orange undercoat and are so friendly, laid back and affectionate that if they were more common they would be ideal for new pet owners.
Sumatran Striped Rabbit
A rabbit only found in the forests of the Barisan Mountains in Indonesia, they are so rare that despite searches since their discovery in 1972, it would take 28 years for a photograph to be found, and nobody knows how many breeding pairs are still alive.
They are a wild rabbit species with especially short ears that are threatened by the loss of their natural habitat.
Flemish Giant Rabbits
The largest breed of the rabbit species, Flemish Giant Rabbits are huge but act more like dogs than rabbits due to their patience and docile behaviour.