Belgian Hare Rabbit

The Belgian Hare Rabbit is a distinctive, long limbed rabbit which has been bred to look like a hare.

Size and weight of the Belgian Hare rabbit

The Belgian Hare rabbit is a tall, long legged rabbit weighing up to 5kgs

Colour varieties of the Belgian Hare rabbit

The Belgian Hare is seen in a handful of colours and markings including:

  • Chestnut red
  • Black and tan
  • Black

Country of origin

Belgium

Time of original development

The early 19th century

Belgian Hare rabbit breed introduction and overview

Originally bred in Belgium in the early 19th century to produce a rabbit with plenty of meat, the Belgian Hare rabbit was refined for speed on being introduced to Britain in 1874. Nowadays this is a rabbit produced from selectively bred individuals to create the facial features, bold eyes, long ears, arched back and agile limbs of a hare, though with a rabbit’s habits and behaviour. They are a reasonably rare breed.

Habitat and feeding requirements of the Belgian Hare rabbit

The Belgian hare has a higher metabolic rate than other rabbits and may need to eat a bit more than other rabbits of its weight. Other than this, feed a standard rabbit diet to ensure good digestion, avoid obesity and give proper wear on the rabbit’s continually growing teeth. Plenty of hay is good for its digestion.

Given its physique and need for exercise, this rabbit needs plenty of room to move around and exercise, a suitable outdoor pen should be provided. The accommodation for sleeping should be large enough for it to stretch out fully when standing or lying down.

Does the Belgian hare make a good pet for smaller children?

Please note that, despite their ‘cute’ appearance - though this is one of the less cute varieties - rabbits are not ideal for very small children to handle unless they are closely supervised together. Rabbits should be socialised from an early age and young children should be told how to hold a rabbit properly, so that the petl feels secure. If any rabbit becomes frightened, its desire to escape means that its powerful back legs can injure the human handler and can cause the rabbit to be dropped and injure itself. The Belgian Hare is a strong, powerful rabbit.

The Belgian Hare is an intelligent and particularly athletic breed and it is not an ideal pet for smaller children given its large size, powerful limbs and the fact that it is quite highly strung. It does not enjoy loud or sudden noises, so the unpredictable and noisy behaviour of smaller children could cause it stress.

Always keep your rabbits safe from dogs and cats who may harm them. Even where pets ‘get on’, they should be supervised when together and you must ensure that your rabbit is not stressed by being exposed to other family pets or people.

Grooming requirements of the Belgian Hare rabbit

The short coat would benefit good brush at least once a week and more during moulting. Additionally, as rabbits’ teeth keep growing throughout their lives, eating the right food will help to keep the teeth properly ground down, but you do need to check, on a frequent basis, that this is happening properly, or your pet may need to have its teeth ground down by the vet.

Health issues in the Belgian Hare rabbit

As this rabbit is a slender and short haired it does not suffer from any of the congenital problems of the very small or very bulky rabbits or the hygiene issues that can arise with the long haired varieties. As with all rabbits, however, check that its bottom is clean of any debris and is kept dry to avoid the danger of flystrike.

Keep your rabbit at the correct weight so that it can move easily to groom itself.

Given its physique and habits, this rabbit needs plenty of exercise for its physical and psychological well-being. It also needs a commodious hutch for comfortable living.

Female rabbits should be neutered if you do not intend to breed from them to avoid cancers in later life. Males will become less aggressive if neutered too.

As with all pedigree pets, it is very important to obtain a young rabbit or rabbit kit from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding any inherent problems found in the breed.

Average lifespan of the Belgian Hare rabbit

A healthy Belgian Hare can expect to live between 7 – 10 years and sometimes longer.

Estimating how much it will cost to keep your Belgian Hare rabbit

A pedigree Belgian Hare rabbit will cost around £50.

While the initial cost of a pedigree rabbit may seem very low compared to pure bred dogs or even cats, the costs of the following items and procedures make the cost of owning a rabbit mount up:

  • Buying a sufficiently large hutch and run for this athletic breed
  • Specialised feeding and bedding
  • Annual inoculations
  • Neutering
  • On-going dental care
  • Insurance

Rabbits should also be kept in pairs. It is estimated that two rabbits together could cost you around £1800 a year throughout their lives to keep (including the initial outlay). See our article on working out much it costs to keep a rabbit.