The Flemish giant rabbit is one of the oldest and largest rabbit breeds. Even though their size makes them rather daunting, Flemish rabbits are affectionate and lovable. They love attention and would appreciate stroking by their favorite human.
While owning a Flemish rabbit is desirable, they can be a handful when taking care of them. If you’re thinking of buying a Flemish giant rabbit for a pet, keep reading this article for facts about it.
Flemish Rabbit Personality
When it comes to the personality of flemish rabbits, there is no one answer that fits all. Some people believe that they are very affectionate and love to be around their human companions.
Others say that these bunnies can be a bit aloof and prefer to spend time on their own. However, most experts seem to agree that flemish rabbits are generally very friendly and social creatures.
They love to explore their surroundings and will often be the first to greet you when you come home. They also tend to be very playful and enjoy playing with their human friends.
Overall, these bunnies make great companions and can provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. If you are looking for a friendly and playful bunny, the flemish rabbit is definitely a good option.
History of Flemish Rabbits
The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognizes the Flemish giant as one of the significant rabbit breeds in the United States.
Even though more common in Northern Europe, these rabbits are worldwide. The giant rabbit was originally bred by hybridizing ancient breeds and kept for its meat and fur.
As one of the oldest rabbit breeds globally, the Flemish giant originated in Flanders (currently Northern Belgium). The original Flemish giant breeders combined some meat and fur breeds to produce a rabbit that could serve both purposes.
Even though the Flemish rabbit originated in the 1500s, its first record appeared in 1860. Then, in 1883, rabbit breeders documented the breed standards.
Flemish giant rabbit breeders ferried the first Flemish rabbit to the U.S. in the 1890s to support the fledgling rabbit husbandry sector.
The intention was to use Flemish giant rabbits to improve meat and fur production. From 1910 onwards, the popularity of the Flemish giant started rising, with the rabbit appearing at trade fairs and livestock shows.
While many people still keep the Flemish giant rabbit for meat and fur production, a growing number of people have them as pet rabbits.
Which Are the Most Affectionate Rabbit Breeds
Several rabbits exhibit affection towards their human owners, including the Flemish rabbit. By so doing, they show how desirable they are as rabbit friends. The following are the most affectionate rabbits in the world today.
1. Flemish Rabbits
Flemish rabbits or ‘flemmies’ are some of the most affectionate animals. A Flemish rabbit would require you to train it while it’s still young to get closer to you. You can turn it into a sweet, lovable, furry friend. It can play with adults and children alike.
2. Lionhead Rabbit
The lionhead rabbit breed is another very popular pet rabbit in the United States. When matured, the rabbit tolerates both adults and children.
They believe in spending quality time with their owners. Therefore, if you have one at home, be sure to give it the deserved attention.
3. Mini Lop Rabbit
The mini lop rabbit is adorable, with a stout body and floppy ears. It doesn’t shy aware from affectionate cuddling and craves attention. Since they tolerate being picked up frequently, they make great pets for kids.
4. Polish Rabbit
Polish rabbits are way smaller than the Flemish giant. They are great pet rabbits for kids and have no qualms being picked ad dropped frequently.
The Polish rabbit is also docile and won’t turn against you for any reason. They are also mild-mannered and intelligent, great for use by magicians in shows.
5. Rex Rabbit
The Rex rabbit has a luxurious coat complete with a velvety texture. It is a friendly rabbit that’s perfect as a family. The rabbit craves getting picked up, cuddled, and held closer to your body. They are also intelligent and playful.
Flemish Rabbit’s Health Issues
The Flemish giant is no different from other pet rabbits as it seems to have the same health concerns. Here are some of the health issues you may have to grapple with as a pet owner:
1. GI Statis
GI Statis is a condition marked by a slowed-down digestive system. In worse cases, the digestive system may completely stop. It is characterized by lethargy, small or lack of fecal pellets, and loss of appetite.
2. Sore Hocks
Sore hocks are a common health concern in larger rabbits like the Flemish giant. It arises from the rabbit standing on wire floors or unsanitary conditions. That’s why it’s essential for you to clean and maintain the floors regularly.
Malocclusion occurs when there is a misalignment in the lower and upper teeth. Therefore, the normal chewing motion doesn’t wear down the rabbit’s teeth. It is necessary to schedule regular dental checkups to ensure that is not the case.
4. Uterine Cancer
Even though rabbits may have other tumors, this is the most cancer type. It occurs in nearly 60 percent of females at least three years old. However, when diagnosed early, uterine cancer is treatable and curable.
In addition to these health concerns, Flemish giant rabbits are prone to heatstroke and respiratory issues. Remember, it is the most giant breed of rabbit and has a docile nature that doesn’t allow it to exercise its body.
When accidentally dropped of mishandled, the rabbits may develop back issues. Arranging regular vet checkups makes it possible to catch health problems early before they escalate. You can also keep the rabbit healthy by feeding it properly.
How Is a Flemish Giant Rabbit’s Daily Life?
How is it to live with a Flemish rabbit? Should they be house trained? Luckily, you can care for them the same as the standard rabbits.
Due to their gigantic size, the following are special considerations when taking care of Flemish giants:
1. Food and Diet
Like the smaller breeds, Flemish giants need to eat lots of fresh vegetables, hay, and grass. Flemish breeders and other experts recommend the following when it comes to feeding giant Flemish rabbits:
- Feed the rabbit grass equivalent to its weight daily
- Make hay 70% of the rabbit’s diet
- Include 18% rabbit pellets or up to one-third of its daily diet
- Maintain treats at 10% of the rabbit’s diet
It would help if you also kept your Flemish rabbits well-hydrated. Ensure it always has access to lots of freshwaters. It is susceptible to heat due to its large size and fur-coated skin. Therefore, ensure there is plenty of water within reach.
Apart from the apparent diet, you can provide supplementary foods, including fruits and vegetables. Great options include parsley, spinach, carrot tops, mustard greens, watercress, celery, bananas, mangoes, and berries.
Since Flemish giants have complex, delicate digestive systems, it is advisable to introduce new foods gradually, one after another. With that, the Flemish giant’s digestive system can adjust to the new diet.
Once pet rabbits get used to various fruits and vegetables, feed them with different kinds of food daily. It is better to provide different foods in small amounts than one food type in plenty. That can help your rabbit friend to develop and maintain healthy bacteria.
Domestic rabbits love sugar just like humans. Therefore, they are likely to prefer fruits to other food types. However, fruits can cause weight gain and tummy upset due to the high sugar content. Consequently, you should use fruit sparingly.
Remove seeds from apples, apricots, cherries, peppers, and peaches before feeding them to the rabbits to reduce toxicity.
2. Grooming Flemish Rabbits
The best way to prolong your rabbit’s life to up to 10 years is to feed and take proper care of it. Schedule grooming sessions at least once a week. Check for:
- eye discharge,
- ear discharge,
- and signs of flystrike.
Also, check your Flemish giant rabbit’s backside for signs of accumulated urine and feces, which can irritate the skin and attract flies. It can be challenging for Flemish giant rabbits to groom themselves when injured or aged. You can use pet-safe wipes to clean the animals.
The Flemish rabbit’s coat is short and thick. Therefore, it requires less grooming than the average rabbit. While Flemish giant rabbits don’t need an elaborate brush out, it is necessary to use a slicker brush for a gentle going over.
Be careful not to do a giant bunny’s nails. It won’t like it a bit. A giant bunny can react with violence when clipped. Remember to wrap your hand in towels and ask for help from a friend. If you cannot do it, ask for help from a vet.
3. Handling Flemish Rabbits
The Flemish giant rabbit can be very delicate. Despite being one of the most laid-back pets, it has delicate bones that can break easily without any warning. When in a dangerous situation, the giant Flemish bunny can injure itself out of panic.
Besides, their delicate nature affects their spines, easily fractured. Their weight can also pressure the hind legs, making them break. Also, handling gentle giants can be a little too awkward.
The giant Flemish rabbit can be devastating when it hits you with its hind legs, claws, and teeth. So, it would help if you were careful when handling it.
The Flemish giant rabbit enjoys interacting with humans. Gentle strokes and some cuddles can do the trick. Whatever you do, do not lift a giant rabbit from its feet.
4. Housing Flemish Rabbits
Unlike the other smaller rabbit breeds, giant rabbits require big enclosures. They can live indoors or outdoors. When providing a section for a Flemish giant rabbit, consider the following guidelines:
- There should be enough space for the giant bunny to hop at least thrice in a row
- Enough vertical space for the bunny to stand on its hind legs without the ears touching the ceiling
- Adequate floor space so that the bunny can stretch in multiple directions.
So, make sure you buy a massive hutch for a Flemish giant. Once you get one, place it out of direct sunlight, which can harm your Flemish rabbit.
The giant bunny also needs enough space for exercise. So construct a fence around the hutch blocking off a section of your garden to give the rabbit enough space. Also, provide an extra-large run for your rabbit friend.
Flemish giant rabbits can be great pets to keep inside the house. If you opt to accommodate your bunny like that, be sure to rabbit-proof the space. The following are some of the things you can do:
- Remove all cables or cords or cover them
- Designate the rabbit room using a metal gate
- Get furniture legs protected from rabbit teeth
- Hide or cover all baseboards
- Get rid of houseplants since they could poison the giant Flemish bunny
5. Flemish Rabbit Begging Requirements
Gentle giants are likely to get sore hocks due to their size and weight. Because of that, you should avoid using wire floors in the rabbit hutch.
For example, you might have decided to use a dog cage to shelter a giant bunny. It would be necessary to cover it with resting pads to prevent that.
The best bedding for a giant bunny is hay, which is warm and comfortable. You might want to avoid using hay for domestic rabbits since it can create a total mess. Instead, you can use a carpet or blanket to provide bedding for your giant bunny.
6. Litter Training Flemish Rabbits
Did you know that the Flemish rabbit is one of the easiest to litter train? All you need to train a bunny is a good litter box. You can avoid using crystal litter, which is sharp and possible to hurt the rabbit’s hind legs. The best types of litter are paper-based and hardwood stove pellets.
Breeding Flemish Giants
Male and female Flemish mature when they attain an age of eight to twelve months or 14-pound weight. At this time, the rabbit will likely have its first litter.
After reaching one year old, the pelvic bones of a female Flemish rabbit begin to fuse. Thus, it becomes more challenging to give birth, and insisting on doing so can lead to sudden death for mother and kit.
Flemish giant rabbits have a 31-day gestation period. Therefore, a female rabbit may produce anything between five and twelve kits when it is due. However, some may have slightly larger litters.
Some kits might not receive much milk if the litter is too large. That may make some kits fall behind before weaning, thus preventing them from developing to their full potential.
How Much Does a Giant Flemish cost?
A giant Flemish cost $20 to $50. If you want a show-quality Flemish giant, you should be ready to spend $75 to $300. Before buying one, check online platforms that provide pricing comparisons among several rabbit breeders.
After buying a Flemish giant, you’ll need to provide proper housing, food, and other accessories. At the very least, you can spend $665 annually to take care of one giant rabbit and $2,700 to keep it in show-quality conditions.
Are Flemish Rabbits Cuddly?
The Flemish giant is an affectionate, laid-back, and curious pet. It only needs adequate training to bring out its gentle mien and qualities.
Are Flemish Giants Affectionate?
The giant rabbit is generally docile and is an excellent companion to have as part of your family. However, as a domestic rabbit, it tends to hop around and sit on human laps.
Are Flemish Giants Lazy?
Yes. Flemish Giants can be a bit lazy. It is a large-sized rabbit that doesn’t move around a lot. Most of the time, you will find it docile and sleeping. Once you get one, you should ensure it exercises to prevent the accumulation of excess weight.
The Bottom Line
The Flemish giant rabbit is an affectionate, friendly family pet. It is large-sized and requires a lot of living space. Caring for one of these rabbits can be a handful, but that shouldn’t be a problem, especially if you understand how to care for it. It is the perfect pet for children and adults alike. Since it requires only minimal grooming, it is ideal for you.