The Continental Giant rabbit is one of the oldest and largest rabbit breeds. Nicknamed the Conti, this giant breed of rabbit is easy to train and has a docile, gentle, and intelligent temperament.
But, are Continental Giant rabbits friendly? The Continental Giant rabbit is a friendly, smart, relaxed, and calm breed. Because of these traits, Continental Giant rabbits make great pets to experienced owners with enough space. When kept as pet rabbits they feel relaxed and calm around people and behave much like family dogs.
If you are looking for a giant rabbit breed like no other, the Continental Giant rabbit might be a perfect choice! Keep on reading to find out what makes these gentle giants so special.
Continental Giant Rabbit History and Origin
Believed to be the descendant of the Flemish Giant rabbit, the Continental Giant rabbit also shares a heritage with other rabbit breeds, such as Belgian Hare.
According to some experts, this breed can be traced back to the middle of the 16th century. However, the first official breed standard for the Continental rabbit wasn’t written until 1893.
Sometimes also known as the German Giant rabbit, the Conti was brought to the United States by the end of the 19th century. While they quickly become popular with the American rabbit breeders and make great pets, this breed isn’t officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
The British Rabbit Council, on the other hand, recognizes the Continental Giant rabbit in two varieties – the White Continental and Colored Continental. They have been shown in British Rabbit Competition shows since the early 1900s.
Continental Giant Rabbit Characteristics
You can’t come face to face with a Continental Giant rabbit without noticing its large size!
Contis have powerful and long bodies, muscular and broad hindquarters, and their front legs should be sturdy, straight, and well-proportioned. The length of their ears should be around 25% of the length of the whole body.
Size, Weight, Shape
The Continental Giant rabbit is a giant breed that typically weighs between 13 and 35 pounds. However, the heaviest Conti ever measured weighed nearly 55 pounds (source). Most Contis are over 26 inches long, but can easily grow over three feet long.
These giant rabbits can come in a variety of different colors including light gray, steel gray, black, white, sandy, fawn, agouti, red agouti, and chinchilla.
Unfortunately, giant rabbit breeds tend to have much shorter lifespans than their smaller counterparts. With that being said, the Continental Giant rabbit has an average life expectancy of four to five years.
Known as gentle giants, Contis are friendly, relaxed, and intelligent rabbits that are easy to train. When kept as pets, they feel comfortable around people and will often act like dogs, wanting to be cuddled and petted.
However, to feel completely relaxed, they need to be handled frequently while young and properly socialized, like any other companion animal.
The Continental Giant rabbit is a very smart breed and they are fairly easy to train. With the right training technique, you can train your rabbit how to use the litter box and respond when their name is called.
Due to their large size and body length, Contis might not be the best choice for novice owners or homes with small children. They need to be handled carefully to prevent injuries, so you’d need to know how to pick up and hold a giant rabbit without hurting or scaring them.
Continental Giant Rabbit Care
Because of their large size, Continental Giant rabbits are best suited to homes that have a lot of space. You can keep your rabbit in a large dog crate or a really big rabbit cage or hutch.
Keep in mind that your rabbit’s housing space should be big enough to allow them three consecutive hops in one direction. Also, whenever possible choose natural materials and opt for solid flooring lined with rabbit-safe bedding to avoid sore hocks (source).
Straw or hay is the best bedding for Continental Giant rabbits. But, paper and wood pellets or shredded cardboard can be a good alternative.
A Continental Giant rabbit has a thick, dense, and glossy coat with visible guard hairs and a lavish undercoat. Their coats are easy to maintain and you’ll need to brush your rabbit once a week and add an additional brushing during the shedding season.
Nail trimming should be a regular part of your pet rabbit’s grooming routine. Your rabbit’s nails will grow continuously, so you’ll need to inspect and clip them every three to four weeks, or as necessary.
If you are afraid to do this at home, your veterinarian will be more than happy to show you how to trim your Conti’s nails or do it for you.
Just like any other rabbit, the Continental rabbit can develop dental problems as their teeth continually grow. To prevent ingrown teeth, you should feed your rabbit a diet that consists of 70 percent hay that will file the teeth naturally.
The Continental Giant rabbit is generally a healthy breed. However, they are prone to certain health issues that are more commonly seen in rabbits of their size.
Sore hocks, for example, are a common problem seen in rabbits housed in cages with wire flooring. However, due to their large size, Contis will develop this condition much faster than smaller breeds.
Also, make sure that you aren’t overfeeding your Conti since they can easily pack on the extra pounds and become obese. The extra weight will make grooming difficult for your rabbit, thus making it more susceptible to flystrike.
Continental Giant Rabbit Cost
Expect to pay between $300 and $500 for a Continental Giant rabbit in the United States. Keep in mind that giant rabbit breeds such as the Continental rabbit have long waiting lists so make sure that you are willing to wait up to a year to bring a Conti home.
Do Continental Giant Rabbits Make Good Pets?
Continental Giant rabbits make wonderful pets and have good temperaments for life in homes. Almost dog-like in the sense that they like to spend time with people and be petted, Contis can be affectionate companions to experienced owners.
Although Continental Giant rabbits are docile, gentle, and kind by nature, their large size makes them unsuitable for families with children or novice owners.
Being able to grow as big as a medium-sized dog and weigh over 35 pounds, the Continental Giant rabbit needs a lot of space to move around. Friendly, docile, and clever these giant rabbits make great pets but are best suited for experienced owners and homes with a lot of space.