Most people think rabbits are synonymous with tiny, fuzzy and adorable, and most of the time that’s a safe bet.
But like many species, there can be some significant variation in the size of rabbits, and there are even a few that can be as big as a medium-sized dog!
No matter why you want a larger breed of rabbit, be it a greater yield of meat and fur or just a bigger pet with a lot more to love, take heart knowing that there are many large breed rabbits out there ready and waiting for you.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you about 16 breeds that you should definitely know about below.
What Constitutes a Large Breed?
There is some argument and consternation about what exactly constitutes a large breed rabbit.
Some people say that any rabbit that is very large for its typical standard is a large breed, while others assert that only breeds specially selected for a large size can be properly called large.
I take a more prosaic approach, along with many others on the topic: any breed of rabbit that will typically, and reliably, grow larger than 9 pounds in weight is a large breed rabbit.
And there happen to be quite a few breeds that can grow dramatically larger than that, but that’s the benchmark. With that in mind, let’s get to the list…
1. Checkered Giant
Everything you need to know about the Checkered Giant is in the name: with a dazzling pure white coat that is speckled with irregular patches of black, it looks very much like a checkerboard pattern, or maybe a typical dairy cow!
The Checkered Giant was developed from several other rabbit breeds that were known for immense size.
But despite their 12-pound weight and large frame these rabbits are known athletes, requiring lots of room to run and play and plenty of exercise for good health.
This has made them a favorite pet breed among rabbit owners, but they’re also capable producers of meat and fur.
2. French Lop
The huge French Lop typically tips the scales at around 15 pounds.
Combined with a wonderfully colorful coat and adorable floppy ears, they’re highly popular as pets, especially with young children as they are known to be extremely gentle, friendly and sociable.
Their fur is extremely soft and thick, making them look for all the world very much like a stuffed animal come to life.
Speaking of fur, this is one of the largest breeds of rabbit that also has one of the greatest varieties of color.
Combined with their smallish head and puffy cheeks the French Lop is one of the most charming rabbits around, and one that’s certainly made a name for itself in show circles.
3. Continental Giant
Another breed with “giant” right in the name, as expected these rabbits are truly huge, tipping the scales at an average of 16 jaw-dropping pounds and often more.
Like many extra-large breeds, Continental Giant rabbits are surprisingly friendly, gentle, and amenable to interaction with people.
This has made them popular pets, also due in part to their highly intelligent and inquisitive nature.
These rabbits look distinctly chunky thanks to their muscular build, oversized ears and thick, glossy but typically rough coat.
This is a true all-purpose rabbit, kept for its meat and fur as well as a pet or even used as a show rabbit.
But, they generally don’t like to be picked up and handled bodily, so maybe not the best pet for families with little kids.
4. Flemish Giant
One of the most well-known giant breeds and also truly one of the biggest, the Flemish Giant has a well-earned reputation for both immensity and for its gentle temperament.
These huge rabbits routinely way upwards of 18 pounds and have a shockingly long lifespan for such a big breed, usually 8 years or a little more.
The Flemish Giant is a heritage breed known since the 1500s (at least) and comes in a variety of colors, originally being bred as a domestic animal capable of producing meat and fur.
These days they’re still sometimes kept for that purpose, but you’re far more likely to see them as big, huggable pet rabbits going viral on the internet sitting in the laps of their owners.
Be warned: these rabbits need an awful lot of room, and an awful lot of food!
5. British Giant
Another genuinely giant breed, but one that is a little bit smaller than some of the other true giants on this list. Still, a rabbit that weighs up to 15 pounds is nothing to scoff at!
Long-bodied, athletic, and muscular, the British Giant is noted for its alert appearance and plush, dense, medium-length coat.
Bred and still typically kept for meat, the British Giant is also a worthwhile pet thanks to its mild attitude and friendliness towards people.
Unlike some of the other giant breeds on this list, the British Giant doesn’t need quite as much room or exercise as they tend to be lazy and happier just relaxing.
This doesn’t mean you can keep them in a small space, necessarily, but you won’t have to devote a significant part of your property to a rabbit run, either!
6. Giant Angora
One of the smaller of the true giant varieties, the Giant Angora is easily recognized by its long, shaggy, coarse fur that is brilliant white, and in stark contrast to their pink, albinistic eyes.
Chances are you’ve seen these rabbits before at pet shops and conventions, and that’s because they are one of the most popular pet rabbit breeds out there.
They’re well suited for this thanks to their easy-going nature but they generally don’t like to be picked up and handled and they aren’t great for irresponsible folks: their coats need a whole lot of combing and maintenance to stay clean and straight.
Also, make sure you keep these rabbits indoors or in an excellent shelter because those coats don’t afford them as much protection from the weather as you might think.
7. Giant Chinchilla
The Giant Chinchilla gets its name from the fact that its coat resembles that of the actual chinchilla, being extremely plush and soft, and also because they grow to an immense size of 16 pounds or a little more.
Originally an experiment to produce an extra-large fur-bearing rabbit, today they are more popularly kept as long-lived pets that can survive for a decade or more in captivity.
Highly affectionate, calm, and always eager to play, if you want a big breed of rabbit that makes a truly lovable pet, the giant chinchilla is one of the best.
8. Spanish Giant
Yet another truly gigantic rabbit breed, one that regularly tips the scales at 15 pounds or more, the Spanish Giant is distinguished by its stocky body, vertical ears, short coat and extreme proliferation when breeding.
In fact, these huge bunnies will routinely produce litters of between 14 and 16 kittens, with a low mortality rate.
That means they can breed very successfully and very quickly for such a large rabbit.
Sadly, this almost led to the extinction of the Spanish Giant due to overuse and overconsumption for meat.
In the past decade or so, they’ve made a pronounced comeback, and make popular pets because they are friendly and docile.
However, the Spanish giant sadly has a quite short lifespan even by rabbit standards, often living just 4 years or a little bit longer.
9. Blanc de Bouscat
Another albinistic large breed that tops out around 14 pounds, the startlingly red eyes and ghostly white fur of the Blanc de Bouscat is further set off by their stocky, tall and muscular body.
Truly they’re one of the most distinguished rabbits around, and probably the single most impressive true giant breed on our list!
However, it’s quite rare to see these rabbits in life because they hail from only a single village in France and are rarely seen elsewhere around the globe, although some specialist breeders are out there.
If you can find one, though, they make really splendid pets since they are active, playful and affectionate- even if they do look a little spooky!
10. Silver Fox
The Silver Fox truly lives up to its name thanks to the startling resemblance of this rabbit with the actual silver fox…
Both of the texture and the typical coloration of this rabbit’s fur are nearly identical to the genuine article!
As you might have guessed, it also earns a spot on our list because of its truly large size, with females topping out around 12 pounds and males often being slightly smaller.
A beautiful rabbit in all respects, it is medium-bodied, upright, aware and regal in appearance even though like most domestic rabbits it is gentle and calm.
They make fine pets, but truly belong on the show circuit where they make regular appearances.
However, if you want to raise these rabbits for meat or fur they make a fine choice because they are one of the very best breeders around, being extremely healthy and highly capable mothers.
11. Hungarian Giant
The result of breeding domestic stock with certain wild rabbit breeds around two centuries ago, the Hungarian Giant weighs anywhere from 11 to 15 pounds and features a significant variety in both the color and pattern of its dense, medium-length coat.
Kept for many decades as a utilitarian dual-purpose breed capable of producing quality fur and meat, only in the past 20 years or so have they started to gain recognition as worthwhile show rabbits and pets.
Friendly, active and playful, they make one of the most beautiful pet breeds around, and are renowned for good health and a long lifespan.
If you want a pet rabbit that can go the distance with you, the Giant Hungarian is a great choice whether or not you want a larger breed particularly.
The curiously named Altex is a breed, specifically a crossbreed, developed for a very specific purpose: stocking the commercial meat industry.
Serving in the same capacity as the chickens that are grimly destined for industrial meat production, the Altex grows and puts on weight extremely quickly, meaning it can produce product and turn a profit quicker than almost any other rabbit breed.
Developed in a joint project between Texas A&M University and Alabama A&M University, that is what lent the Altex its name; the first few letters of each school.
13. Giant Papillon
The Giant Papillon is a French breed that weighs about 12 pounds, a little more or a little less.
It looks very similar to the checkered giant, being a stark white with dark eyes and dark, contrasting patches of black fur although the patches of the Giant Papillon are typically smaller but more regular.
Notably, the breed standards for the Giant Papillon are extremely strict concerning appearance, and the breed undergoes intense competition in shows.
However, if you don’t care about any of that you’ll find that the Giant Papillon is a wonderful pet, very engaged, playful, friendly, and athletic. But I warn you, they are another breed that needs plenty of exercise!
14. New Zealand
One of the most popular and also most varied of the large breed rabbits in the world and also the premier meat-producing breed, the New Zealand rabbit enjoys significant variety in size.
The vast majority weigh more than 10 pounds, and many max out at around 12 pounds, a size they can attain in just eight weeks.
These rabbits are notable for producing excellent quantities of meat per carcass, and currently have the highest meat to bone ratio of any domestic rabbit breed.
An extremely popular meat-producing breed, the 12 pound California, sometimes called the Californian rabbit, is good for a lot more than meat as it is routinely raised for its fur which is distinguished by being highly colorful, soft end of superb quality.
Like the New Zealand rabbit discussed elsewhere on this list, the Californian is definitely a large breed, but one that’s highly variable and overall size, with some lines hovering right around 9 pound in weight on average.
16. Champagne D’Argent
If you couldn’t tell by the name alone, the Champagne D’Argent might be considered the champagne of rabbit meat.
Whether this is just good marketing or not is up to you, but these rabbits are coveted around the world by skilled chefs for their succulent meat, while other rabbit ranchers prefer to raise them for their exquisite, glossy silver fur.
Luckily, these rabbits grow large, typically weighing more than 10 pounds. Unluckily, they’re somewhat rare, and when they are found they invariably fetch very high prices because of their reputations.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.