If you are looking for a large pet rabbit, then the Beveren rabbit fits the bill. What exactly is a Beveren rabbit? Do they make good pets? Are they bred for their meat or fur?
A Beveren rabbit is one of the biggest and oldest fur rabbits. Believed to be originally from Belgium, these rabbits have a good temperament – they love to play and explore, have lots of energy, and are well-mannered and docile. They are multi-purpose rabbits, and they’re suited to different pet personalities.
So what does a Beveren bunny look like? And cost? Let’s find out.
What Is a Beveren Rabbit?
A Beveren rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is comparable to the English Hop and Havana rabbits.
Of the domestic rabbit breeds, the Beveren is one of the largest rabbits. It was originally bred for its fur and meat.
Over time, people realized the Beveren bunnies make good show rabbits because of their shape and looks. Beveren rabbits also make good pets since they are a hardy breed of show rabbits.
Beveren Rabbit History and Origin
It’s not 100% clear where Beveren rabbits originated from. However, it’s believed that they were initially bred in a Beveren, a small town near Antwerp in Belgium. This also explains their name.
A cross between the St Nicholas Blue, Brabanconne, and Blue Vienna, Beveren were originally bred for their fur in 1898.
This isn’t a surprise since the original Beverens had blue fur and came from a selection of rabbits that had blue fur. Furriers preferred the light lavender blue.
Beveren rabbits were imported to the U.K. by AM Martin, and in 1905, they showed these bunnies off in Norwich. Since then, the breed became popular all over the United Kingdom – for its fur!
Ten years later, the breed was introduced in the United States. The breed’s name was recorded as “Beveren.” In 1933, Edward H Stahl imported a blue-eyed white Beveren from the U.K., and Sitka or black Beveren never became popular.
Recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (in 1919) and British Rabbit Council, these rabbits are a “watch” on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy list.
These days, Beveren rabbits are bred for meat and fur in Belgium and surrounding countries. Some Beveren bunnies are kept as pets.
Beveren Rabbit Characteristics
It is quite easy to distinguish a Beveren rabbit, not just because of its large size but also its other breed characteristics.
A large bunny, the Beveren rabbit has a body in the shape of a mandolin or semi-arch. It has a broad back with a full face.
A Beveren bunny’s ears are about 5 inches long. Their ears point toward their back and when upright, they form a V shape.
Their eyes are the same color as their coat, but a white Beverena has blue eyes.
With a short, dense, and glossy coat, these rabbits shed more during spring and fall. Their fur length is about 1.25-1.50 inches long.
The female Beveren rabbits are larger than the males. The female rabbits generally weigh about 10-12 pounds while their male counterparts weigh around 8-10 pounds.
A Beveren rabbit is friendly, curious, intelligent (as rabbits are), and energetic. They love to play, so obstacles and toys are essential to keep these bunnies entertained and mentally stimulated.
If you let a Beveren bunny loose in your home, ensure it is rabbit-proof because these rabbits will go exploring.
As a non-aggressive breed, a Beveren bunny gets along well with people. If you handle them roughly or pick them up a lot, they’ll be scared.
Three color varieties of Beveren rabbits are recognized. These rabbits have solid coat colors, which are solid blue, blue-eyed white, and solid black Beveren’s. The blue Beveren is the original color of a Beveren bunny.
Each of these colors also has its own standard. A blue Beveren’s coat should be a light lavender-blue shade with no silvering or dark or black blue.
A white Beveren’s coat, on the other hand, should be an off-white with no ivory cast. A black Beveren’s coat should be a jet glossy black, and it should have black-brown eyes.
While only a few coat colors are recognized, the reality is that a Beveren rabbit’s coat can be brown or lilac too.
Beveren Rabbit Care
Beveren rabbits need a moderate care level. They typically live between 5-10 years, provided they are well cared for.
Here are specifics so you can take good care of your Beveren bunny:
Indoor or Outdoor?
You can keep Beveren rabbits either indoor or outdoor.
If they are kept outside, keep your Beveren rabbit in a predator-proofed large wooden box. Lift the hutch off the ground and install a ramp with a fenced bottom so your bunny has more room to play.
Beveren rabbits are cold-hardy, so they prefer colder climates and can survive and be okay even if you are cold.
However, always ensure your bunny doesn’t get too cold or hot by measuring its internal temperature.
A Beveren rabbit is a large bunny, so their wire cage needs to be large enough to give this rabbit enough space to roam around.
Their cage needs to be at least 4-5 square feet. Choose a 4 square feet cage for a buck that weighs between 8-10 pounds and a 5 square feet cage for a doe that weighs between 10-12 pounds.
The cage for a Beveren rabbit should be at least 14 inches high.
Rabbits aren’t easy animals to litter train. However, the Beveren rabbit is high-energy, so it would be ideal to keep this bunny occupied and train it to use the litter box.
A Beveren rabbit, like any other, needs hay bedding at a minimum to line their cage floor. This is to protect their feet from the hardness of the cage’s wire mesh and so something can soak up their urine if your rabbit isn’t litter trained.
Other options for rabbit bedding include newspaper, cellulose, pellets, an old towel or carpet, or aspen or wood shavings.
A Beveren rabbit’s diet should be healthy. About 70% of it should be good-quality hay, like Timothy hay, alfalfa, or oat hay.
The rest of the diet should be leafy greens and vegetables. Pellets and fruits, which are high in calories) shouldn’t make up a big part of their diet. These can be fed as treats.
Consider feeding your Beveren rabbit a healthy and balanced diet that contains lettuce, kale, and spinach to ensure healthy digestion.
Ensure your bunny has enough fresh, clean water every day.
Rabbits are clean animals; however, you should clean out their cage or hutch daily.
Empty the water bowl once a day, wash it, and pour in clean water.
When your rabbit’s feet or fur are dirty, you can clean your bunny carefully.
Breeding Beveren Rabbit
Beveren rabbits are mainly bred for 4 reasons:
Beveren rabbits make excellent pets. They are ideal for families with older kids since these bunnies don’t like it when they are picked up and held often (which is something younger kids may want to do).
If you are single or a senior and looking for a pet that’s relatively easy to care for, then a Beveren rabbit is a good choice.
Given the curious nature of Beverens, they make active and highly social pets. They are ideal to help children learn and develop. Beveren’s can even be used as emotional support pets for those with depression.
The Beveren rabbits were originally bred for their fur. The blue Beveren’s fur is especially highly sought-after.
These days, there are some countries in Europe that breed the Beveren rabbit for its fur.
The second reason these Beveren rabbits were originally bred was for their meat.
While the kits have a relatively good growth rate, they are not as preferred as other commercially bred rabbit meat species such as the New Zealand rabbit. This is due to a slower growth rate and the Beveren are slow to mature.
Beveren’s make good show rabbits because of their looks. Their mandolin body shape, the color of their fur, and the length of their ears make them attractive. Beveren’s can participate in agility shows, best rabbit shows, and other rabbit or pet shows.
Given their great looks, beautiful fur, and attractive body shape, Beverens are ideal for showing.
Beveren Rabbit Price
The Beveren rabbit is a rare breed, so they cost a bit more than other bunnies.
Expect to pay at least $75 for a Beveren rabbit. Budget to spend a minimum of $500 to care for this rabbit per year.
Beveren rabbits are great for fur trading; however, they make excellent show rabbits and pets. They have a docile and curious nature, and as intelligent pets, they love to explore. Rabbit-proof your home to keep your bunny safe.
With a lifespan of 10-15 years, ensure you take good care of your Beveren rabbit, so you have a furry bestie for many years.