With in excess of 50 recognised breeds in existence and multiple colours available within each breed, those thinking about getting a rabbit for pet are certainly spoiled for choice. There are standards set for each recognised breed by which rabbits entered into shows are judged. The organisations that provide this recognition and set these standards include the American Rabbit Breeders' Association (ARBA) and the British Rabbit Council (BRC). The BRC categorises rabbit breeds in four ways.
Rabbits in this category are considered fancy because of their size, colour, coat texture or length. The breeds in this category according to the BRC include Angora, English, Polish, Rhinelander, Flemish Giant, Dutch, Hare Belgian, Giant Papillon, Hare Tan, Harlequin, Lionhead, Netherland Dwarf, Himalayan, Silver, Tan and Thrianta.
Lop rabbits are the floppy eared bunnies. Lops are the oldest of domesticated rabbit breeds. BRC identifies nine Lop breeds which are the Cashmere, Miniature Cashmere, French, German, Dwarf, Meissner, English, Miniature and Miniature Lion. Of these ARBA recognises only the French, English and Mini Lop bunnies while also recognising the American Fuzzy Lop and Holland Lop breeds.
Normal Fur Breeds
Short and soft are the characteristics of normal rabbit hair and the breeds with this type of coat are categorised as the Normal Fur Breeds. This is the largest category of rabbits, containing more than 40 breeds. The Normal Fur Breeds are Argente, Beige, Beveren, Alaska, Blanc de Bouscat, Blanc de Termonde, Blanc de Hotot, British Giant, Chinchilla, Chinchilla Giganta, Californian, Continental Giant, Fauve de Bourgogne, Fox, Deilenaar, Golden Glavcot, Havana, Lilac, Hulstlander, Miniature Satin, New Zealand, Perlfee, Siamese Sable, Sallander, Satin, Siberian, Sussex, Smoke Pearl, Squirrel, Swiss Fox, Thuringer, Wheaten, Vienna and Wheaten Lynx.
Rex rabbits have velvety soft fur which is plush and springs to the touch. Because of their velourlike coats, these rabbits are sometimes also called "velveteen" rabbits. BRC breaks down the Standard Rex into these sub-breeds: self, shaded tan pattern, agouti pattern and other. Standard Rex Self varieties are Blue, Ermine, Black, Lilac, Havana and Nutria. Shaded Standard Rex varieties are Seal Siamese, the Sable Siamese, Smoke Pearl, Smoke Pearl Marten and Tortoiseshell. Tan pattern Standard Rex varieties include Sable Marten, Seal Marten, Fawn, Fox, Orange, Otter and Tan. Agouti Pattern Standard Rex rabbit varieties are Chinchilla, Cinnamon, Castor, Lynx and Opal. The other Standard Rex varieties recognised by the BRC are Harlequin, Dalmatian, Himalayan, Silver Seal and Satin Rex. The Standard Rex breed is also distinguished from the Mini Rex.