Looking for a sweet, cuddly rabbit to join your family? What about a rabbit whose soft fur and color match its personality? Then a Lilac rabbit, which is a rare heritage breed, should at least make your pet rabbit shortlist.
Lilac rabbits are medium-sized rabbits that are sweet and love being petted. The Lilac breed is curious and loves to learn new things. They make great pets or show rabbits. The breed standard coloring for Lilacs is an even pink dove gray coat.
Let’s learn more about the Lilac rabbit and how three different breeders created this breed around this same time in Great Britain.
What Is a Lilac Rabbit?
The Lilac rabbit is a medium rabbit breed that has a compact body. In general, Lilacs weigh between 6-8 pounds and have an average lifespan of 8-12 years. So if they are well taken care of, you have a bunny bestie for a long time!
With an easy and beginner care level, these gentle and friendly rabbits make great pets for those who live in apartments, a house in the suburbs, or a ranch in a more rural setting.
Lilac Rabbit History and Origin
The Lilac rabbit breed was developed in two countries simultaneously; however, H Onslow of Cambridge, England, is credited to be the first breeder of the Lilac in 1913.
Other historians say that a famous geneticist by the name of RC Punnet bred the first Lilac rabbits in 1922 by crossing Blue Beverens with Havana rabbits. The Lilac bunny was recognized as the Cambridge Blue with a diluted chocolate coloring.
But there is also a Ms. Mabel Illingworth that crossed a Blue Imperial with a Havana rabbit to create a Lilac bunny in 1913. Mabel called her rabbit the Essex Lavenders.
The three Great Britain strains merged and a rabbit with a pink-dove coloring was bred. The British Rabbit Club (BRC) called this breed the Lilac rabbit breed.
In 1917 in the Netherlands, CH Spruty is also credited with breeding the first Lilac-like rabbit. This breed, called the Gouda, was created by crossing Havannas with Blue Beveren rabbits.
Goudas were imported into Germany and France. To this day, the Gouda rabbit weighs between 7-8 pounds and is used as a meat and fur rabbit.
Between 1922 and 1926, lots of Lilac bunnies were imported to the United States where there was a growing interest in the breed. Rabbitcraft, the magazine that was later renamed Small Stock Magazine, features an English Lilac rabbit on the cover of its September 1925 issue.
The Lilac breed gained popularity with 25 bunnies being shown at the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) National Convention in 1940. The National Lilac Rabbit Club of America was created in 1944.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the Lilac breed decreased shortly thereafter and the Club became inactive by 1951.
A year later, members restarted the club and more Lilac rabbits were bred. From 6 Lilac rabbits being shown at the ARBA National Convention in 1951, 31 were entered by 8 exhibitors for the 1973 National Convention in Detroit. In 1996, 36 Lilacs were shown at the Convention.
The Lilac rabbit breed is a heritage breed and considered rare by the American Livestock Conservancy.
The breed is on the watch list of the organization, so there is fewer than 200 annual registration of Lilacs in the U.S. and there are fewer than 2,000 Lilac rabbits worldwide.
Lilac Rabbit Characteristics
Here are the Lilac rabbit breed’s characteristics to help you identify these bunnies better:
Lilacs have a compact body. Their short body has a slight rise at the top. Lilac rabbits have broad haunches, a short head, short and moderately upright ears that are 3.5-4 inches long.
Female Lilac rabbits weigh between 6-8 pounds, while the male rabbits are slightly smaller, weighing between 5.5-7.5 pounds.
Lilac rabbits are sweet rabbits, and the does are good mothers to their kits.
These bunnies love exploring their environment and love chilling next to their human besties while being petted. If your Lilac sits on your lap or next to you, pet your bun on its head, behind its ears, and on its back.
If you have young kids in the house, train your children to gently and carefully handle a Lilac rabbit. Since Lilac is very friendly, they will do well with good-mannered kids.
Chaotic environments are best avoided because these can make your bun anxious. If you have a busy household, it’s advised to keep your Lilac in a quiet area of the house but be sure to spend plenty of time with your bunny or bond your Lilac with a rabbit friend so they don’t get lonely.
If you are single, a senior citizen, or have a partner, a Lilac rabbit is also a great addition to your family!
Coat and Color Varieties
A Lilac rabbit has a short fur coat that is soft. Compared to the English Angora rabbit, a Lilac rabbit doesn’t need as much grooming.
You can simply brush your rabbit once a week with a rabbit-friendly brush to keep your bun’s coat soft and glossy. Increase grooming to twice a week during molting seasons to ensure you don’t have tufts of loose fur all over the rabbit’s cage and your living room.
There is only one approved color for the Lilac rabbit according to ARBA. It’s lilac or lavender. Your Lilac rabbit’s coat can be either more purple or gray – it depends on the light. The rabbit should have an even pinkish dove gray coloring all over its body with no other markings to be show-worthy.
Lilac Rabbit Care
To care for your Lilac rabbit, follow these instructions:
The Right Enclosure
A Lilac rabbit is a medium-sized rabbit, so the enclosure for this bunny needs to be large enough so they have plenty of space to move around. In general, your rabbit needs to be able to comfortably give three hops in their rabbit cage or rabbit hatch.
Or, measure your rabbit from the tip of their nose to the end of their hind legs when they lie flat on the ground. The enclosure should be at least 3-4 times the length of your rabbit.
Next, measure your bun standing from the top of their ears to the bottom of the floor. The enclosure height should be 1.5-2 times this measurement.
If you place the rabbit hutch outside, ensure your Lilac rabbit doesn’t get a lot of suns. Too much sun exposure can cause their coat color to fade.
Outdoor hutches also need to be predator and weather-proofed.
You can keep your bun inside too. Rabbit-proof your home for when your rabbit roams freely in certain rooms.
The Correct Diet
Feed the Lilac rabbit just like you would any other rabbit. Most of your bun’s diet comprises quality timothy hay.
Feed your Lilac two meals with pellets, leafy greens, and non-sugary veggies per day. Keep fruit and high-carb veggies for treats during training or when you bond with your rabbit.
Lots of Exercise and Play Time
Just like other rabbits, Lilacs also need plenty of exercise and playtime. They are curious bunnies who love to explore and learn.
Invest in a variety of toys for your bun so they can chew, dig, climb, hop, and exercise their mind.
The exercise run or playpen should be 3 times the size of your rabbit’s enclosure.
Prevent Health Issues
Prevent health issues by ensuring your Lilac rabbit eats a healthy and balanced diet. Hay and plenty of chew toys are essential to prevent their teeth from overgrowing and causing painful health complications and expensive vet treatments and bills.
Regularly check your Lilac’s ear for signs of mites and treat this as early as possible. Also, ensure your rabbit’s coat doesn’t stay wet from rain or urine because flystrike – a deadly disease – can set in.
Breeding Lilac Rabbit
The Lilac rabbit can be bred for these purposes:
Lilacs make excellent pet rabbits because they have a docile temperament and fit in well with any family.
With its compact body, a Lilac rabbit can be raised for fur; however, with the decline of the fur industry in the 1940s, fewer rabbits are now bred for fur purposes.
The Lilac rabbit is large enough to be raised for meat production.
For Shows and Exhibitions
Lilac rabbits are excellent showmanship rabbits that can be shown as junior and senior rabbits at shows and exhibitions.
If you look after your Lilac bun well, they are show-worthy for a good number of years.
Lilac Rabbit Price
Buying a kit (baby) lilac rabbit from a reputable breeder costs $20 minimum; however, you can also pay more.
My Last Lilac Bunny Thoughts
With the pretty lilac color, the Lilac rabbit sure is a gorgeous rabbit to have as a pet bunny or a show rabbit for the rabbit enthusiast. Plus, they are even-tempered, intelligent so they are trainable, and friends so they can sit with you while you relax.
Sounds like a good pet bunny to have as a fluffy long-eared bestie, right?