BEHAVIOUR CARE Miscellaneous

The English Spot Rabbit

The English Spot Rabbit is a uniquely spotted rabbit. She is of the medium sized breeds. The English Spot Rabbit is one of the oldest breeds you will find. Created back in the middle of the 19th Century, they are known for these spots, which is how the name came to be.

The English Spotted Rabbit was originally meant to be a show animal. During that time, this was a highly unusual practice. At that time, rabbits were created for the purposes of having meat. They are quite difficult rabbits to use as a show rabbit. There are many rules that must be adhered to when you raise an English Spot Rabbit for show.

There are mixed theories about the breed origin for the English Spot Rabbit. One is that they were bred from the Great Lorrainese and the other theory is that it came from the Giant Checkered or the English Butterfly, if not a combination. We can say that it is a slim possibility that the Checkered was part of the breeding. They are very large breeds. However, the markings are quite similar to each other.

This Rabbit came to the United States back in 1910. It took twelve years before the breed was accepted by The American Rabbit Breeders Association. Shortly after this, the American English Spot Rabbit was established and registered.


The English Spot rabbit weighs about 5 to 8 pounds, this puts them into the medium sized breeds. They have a body that is called a full arch body type. These guys have a long and lean body. They have long hind legs that run parallel with the body. They have rounded hips, they have long ears. These long ears stand straight up on their heads.

Their fur is called flyback fur. This means that when the rabbit is pet and the hair is brushed in the opposite direction, the fur will return to the original position. This breed is considered lucky, even during Molting season, they do not shed much fur. The fur is all short, so when they do shed, you may not even realize that they are losing fur. As far as grooming goes, you will only need to use a slicker brush once a week or maybe every other week.

During the shedding season, you could increase his brushing to two times a week. Bathing is a traumatic event for the English Spot Rabbit, when done by their human. It is not recommended to bathe the rabbit unless they are extremely dirty. You will need to trim their nails as needed.


The English Spot Rabbit has a variety of colors. However, there are always distinguishable spots. To be used as a show rabbit, the English Spot must have certain  markings. These markings include a butterfly shaped mark on the nose, cheek spots, eye circles and a streak of spots running down the sides of their bodies,  there must also be a line going down their back called a herringbone.


The English Spot Rabbit is an easy going rabbit. Since they are used as show animals, they are comfortable being picked up. These rabbits will fit nicely into any family since they are so laid back. They are very easy going and will just go with the flow of what is happening.

You will not see a whole lot of activity out of this breed, but they do like to have fun. They are far from being boring pets. They love the affection they will get from you, and they also enjoy lots of toys to play with. They will spend plenty of time with you if you have the toys, treats and games.

Since they will not be active on their own too often, you do need to be sure to get them time outside of their hutch.  I always suggest a run of sorts for your rabbit. Any larger area that is covered to protect the rabbit from any predators. You have to make it a large enough area where they can run and jump, hop and play. Chicken wire mesh works well as a cover for the top. It allows air to circulate, yet keeps the predators away.

When a rabbit, or any animal is stuck inside a cage or hutch all day and night, this will affect their behavior and they will end up with bad behaviors. At the same time, your rabbit will prefer to be left alone. You should respect your bunny and give him space.

Another point to make along with all of this, make it a habit to say your rabbit’s name as you walk toward the hutch or in the outdoor play area. If they are not paying attention, or happen to be sleeping, you walking up and grabbing the rabbit could scare him and he may bite. By calling his or her name, this will wake him or bring him out of his daze.

Health and Life Span

The English Spot Rabbit can live a long happy life with you. They can live for an average of 5 to 9 years, even longer when cared for properly. Many rabbits, of all breeds are predisposed to a variety of ailments or diseases. The English Spot rabbit, however, does not have any predisposition to any breed specific problems. There are issues that you and your veterinarian will need to continually watch for. These will include some such as

  • Ear Mites

With this you may notice that your rabbit is shaking his head more than the usual amount. All rabbits are prone to ear mites. Your veterinarian will be able to treat your rabbit for these.

  • GI Stasis

The rabbit’s digestive tract may slow down drastically or even stop functioning altogether making this a possible fatal condition. Signs to watch for and take immediate action upon would include, lethargy, loss of appetite, little to no fecal pellets. If this is caught right away, the veterinarian will be able to treat this quickly.

  • Malocclusion

This is where the rabbit’s teeth do not line up properly. This makes it difficult for the rabbit to eat. They are unable to wear their teeth down as normally happens when they are nibbling on hay.

  • Flystrike

Flystrike is when flies lay the eggs by burrowing under the fur, they lay eggs on soiled fur areas. When the eggs begin to hatch, they get in under the skin and begin destroying the rabbit from the inside out. You should watch for signs such as seizures, skin irritations and listlessness. Always check to be sure that your rabbit is clean. This may mean having to clean his rear, but it is better to clean his rear than it is to deal with the loss of a loved pet.

Back issues are always a possibility with rabbits. These can happen easily if they are picked up the wrong way, or if they are dropped. As always, regular checkups with the veterinarian will prevent the majority of health issues happening.

Daily Food

As with all rabbits, the amount that should be in their daily diet will depend on size, activity level and age. The amount they eat should be equivalent to their body size each day. At the minimum, 70% of the food per day should be a good quality of hay. The hay helps them care for their own teeth by gnawing on the hay, the hay will also keep their digestive tracts moving so they do not have a build up.

You can also feed your English Spot Rabbit, rabbit pellets and fresh vegetables daily. Follow the guidelines set by your veterinarian. Your baby should also have a bowl of continuously fresh water each day all day long. Water is important for their hydration, just as it is ours. The rabbit pellets should be of a high quality, and used as a supplement. Meaning an additional source of food.

Training and Compatibility

These rabbits are easy to get along with, they are docile and calm. They would fit into any family unit. It will not matter if it is a single person or a family setting, as long as the English Spot rabbit is garnering attention and affection he is the happy rabbit. These little companions would be great living indoors or outdoors. They adapt well. As long as their outdoor area is solid and keeps them protected from adverse weather they can be happy getting out to exercise each day.

It is possible to train this breed of rabbit. It may take longer than say a feline, but this rabbit can be trained to use a litter box. By using your rabbit’s name every time you see him, it helps him to learn his name. Over time, with treat reinforcement he may even learn to come to you when you call his name. If you are contemplating adopting or purchasing an English Spot Rabbit, he or she is a great choice! They are adaptable, they love to be loved, they are friendly and calm animals.

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