One of the largest rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA, the Checkered Giant rabbit is easily recognizable for its size and unique coat markings. Despite having great potential as meat rabbits, Checkered Giants are mostly used for breeding and show purposes.
But do Checkered Giants make good pets? Checkered Giant rabbits make great pets to people looking for a gentle and sweet companion. While they aren’t as affectionate or needy as other breeds they enjoy interacting with humans. They are best suited for couples, singles, seniors, or families with older kids looking for a pleasing pet.
If you are looking for a large, calm, and sweet pet rabbit, the Checkered Giant is a great choice! Keep on reading to find out what makes Checkered Giants so special!
What Is a Checkered Giant Rabbit?
The Checkered Giant is one of the largest rabbit breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. They are also one of only a few rabbit breeds with specific coat markings.
Best known for their giant size and unique markings, these rabbits are most commonly kept for breeding and show purposes. However, they also make fantastic pets in the right home.
Checkered Giant Rabbit History and Origin
The origin of the Checkered Giant breed is a bit of a mystery, even today. However, experts agree that this breed came from Europe, where large spotted rabbits existed since the mid-1800s.
These spotted rabbits became popular in Germany where they were crossbred to Flemish Giants and French Lops to create a breed that was called Land Kaninchen. This breed weighed around 11 to 12 pounds and didn’t possess the markings of today’s Checkered Giants.
Breeders in Germany continued to breed these rabbits with Flemish Giants to increase their size. This resulted in the creation of another breed, known as Lorraine rabbit, which is also sometimes called the Great German Spotted rabbit.
In 1904, Mr. Otto Reinhardt bred the Great German Spotted rabbit with a black Flemish Giant which produced the first-ever Checkered Giants. Other breeders also started breeding Checkered Giants and they became popular in Europe before finding their way to the United States by 1910.
By that time, the color pattern for spots and unique butterfly-shaped markings whose wings circle the nose and body were included in the standard of the Checkered Giant rabbit. As an acknowledgment of these markings, these rabbits became known as the Giant Papillon in Europe.
Soon after arriving in the United States, the Checkered Giant was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
Checkered Giant Rabbit Characteristics
As their name implies, Checkered Giants are giant rabbits with slender but muscular builds. These bunnies have a long, hare-like arched body and powerful legs that keep their bodies higher off the ground. The Checkered Giant rabbit also has a wide head and broad ears that stand erect most of the time.
Size, Weight, Shape
Giant in size, Checkered Giant rabbits have a semi-arched/mandolin body shape. Male Checkered Giants (bucks) must weigh a minimum of 11 pounds. Female rabbits (does) are slightly larger and must weigh a minimum of 12 pounds.
According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, there is no maximum weight for Checkered Giants and they can grow to the size of a medium-sized dog (source).
The Checkered Giant is only one of several ARBA-recognized breeds of rabbits with distinctive coat markings. The only color that the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes is white with either blue or black markings.
The Checkered Giant’s markings are rather unique and can be a challenge for the breeders to perfect. This breed of rabbit must have distinctive butterfly-shaped markings across the nose.
They also have a specific pattern of spots on both sides of the body, a stripe running along the top of the back, eye circles, black or blue ears, and cheek spots. All of these markings must be per the breed’s standard of perfection.
These bunnies have a short to the medium-long coat which is soft to the touch and easy to maintain. Like all other rabbit breeds, the Checkered Giant will go through a molting season and shed more during spring and fall (source).
If you decide to keep your pet rabbit indoors, you’ll need to brush them twice a week during the shedding season. Regular grooming will reduce the amount of loose fur and also lower the risk of GI stasis that can happen if your bunny swallows too much hair while self-grooming.
Checkered Giant rabbits have an average lifespan of five to eight years. However, some may live up to 10 years when properly cared for and spayed/neutered as recommended by your vet.
Compared to other breeds, the Checkered Giant isn’t as needy or affectionate. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a friendly and gentle breed.
Checkered Giants love to interact with people and make fantastic pets once they bond with their owners. As soon as your bunny learns that it can trust you, it will relish your affection every once in a while.
This rabbit breed would make an ideal pet for everyone looking for a sweet and gentle rabbit that isn’t as needy or cuddly as other rabbit breeds. The Checkered Giant can be a superb pet and companion to singles, couples, seniors, and families with children which have a large enough home and a backyard for a rabbit to play in and explore.
We can’t recommend Checkered Giants as pets to people with young kids, as they are too large and difficult to hold. A small child can easily drop and unintentionally injure a large rabbit such as a Checkered Giant.
These bunnies tend to be very playful and active, so they need a lot of space to hop about and run. They love to spend time outdoors and exploring your backyard is a great way to keep your Checkered Giant exercised and in good shape.
To keep your rabbit mentally stimulated and to prevent boredom, invest in rabbit safe toys. While some Checkered Giants are content playing with a roll of paper for hours on end, others will need more elaborate toys to keep them occupied and interested.
Checkered Giant Rabbit Care
Like any other rabbit, the Checkered Giant has specific needs to stay happy and healthy. The good news is that this bunny is generally easy to care for once you know what they need. When establishing a care routine for your pet rabbit pay attention to:
Checkered Giant rabbits can live either indoors or outdoors as long as they are protected from the elements. Due to its giant size, this bunny needs a large cage to stay comfortable and happy.
This means that your rabbit’s cage should be at least 3 x 3 x 4 feet and you’ll have to check if your rabbit can stand, eat, and stretch properly. The enclosure should be made from durable wire and have a plastic or metal bottom since Checkered Giants can easily develop sore hocks from standing on wire-bottom cages for too long (source).
Line the bottom of the cage with hay, shredded cardboard, or wooden pellets. Spot clean the bedding every day and replace it once a week to keep the cage dung-free and clean.
The diet of Checkered Giant rabbits is no different than the diet of any other rabbit and should consist of 70% hay. The rest of your rabbit’s diet should be made up of fruits, vegetables, pellets, and leafy greens.
High-quality hay and freshwater should be available to your rabbit at all times. And, if you aren’t sure about a type of food better err on the side of caution and simply don’t feed it to your rabbit.
The Checkered Giant rabbit isn’t prone to any hereditary health problems and is considered healthy. Still, like any other rabbit, they too can suffer from common rabbit diseases.
Since rabbit teeth never stop growing, they can start growing into a rabbit’s jaws and face causing extreme pain. Luckily, a rabbit’s teeth are also constantly worn down by chewing food, such as hay.
To prevent your rabbit’s teeth from becoming ingrown, feed them a diet rich in hay and inspect their teeth once a week. If your bunny’s teeth seem too long, schedule an appointment with your vet to have them filed.
Checkered Giant Rabbit Price
Pet quality Checkered Giant rabbits on average cost between $50 and $80. If you are looking for a show-quality rabbit be prepared to spend significantly more.
The Checkered Giant rabbit is one of the largest rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA. While they are mostly kept for breeding and shows, Checkered Giants also make amazing pets to large homes with fenced backyards.
Checkered Giant rabbits aren’t as affectionate or needy as other rabbit breeds which makes them an ideal choice for people looking for a cute and docile companion that won’t demand constant attention.