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Harlequin Rabbit

Avg. Owner Satisfaction

4.5/5.0

(16 Reviews)

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Willem Hoekstra

Other name(s): Japanese Harlequin Rabbit; Magpie Harlequin Rabbit

The basics:
The Harlequin Rabbit was developed in France in the 1800's from Dutch Rabbits with tortoiseshell colored fur. Two varieties were bred, one called the Japanese Rabbit, and the other called the Magpie Rabbit.

The Harlequin Rabbit is recognized by the British Rabbit Council (BRC), and by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBC).

Appearance / health:
Harlequin Rabbits are named after the checkered color pattern on the body. The two varieties of Harlequins are the Japanese and the Magpie. The Magpie’s checkered combination is white with other colors (black, blue, lilac, or chocolate brown). The Japanese Harlequin’s checkered combination is orange with other colors. The checkered pattern begins with the head where one side is white or orange but with a colored ear, and the other side is colored with a white or orange ear. The rest of the body has alternating white or orange and color. The front paw should be the same color as the ear on the same side and opposite the color of the hind leg of that side.

The ears are 4-5 inches long and upright. The fur is soft and thick. The eyes are usually hazel but sometimes blue or brown. The head is round.

Like other small mammals, Harlequin Rabbits can be susceptible to colds and viral infections. Exposure to draft, sudden changes in temperature and stress can lower the rabbit’s resistance to sickness. Rabbits are also vulnerable to conjunctivitis (a bacterial infection of the eyelids caused by smoke, dust, and fumes) and ear mites. Intestinal ailments like coccidiosis (parasites propagated by unsanitary conditions), bloat, and hairball obstructions are also common in rabbits.

Behavior / temperament:
Harlequin Rabbits are calm, friendly, and social, getting along with other domesticated pets like cats, dogs, and guinea pigs. They are best kept in pairs or trios but preferably one per cage to minimize injury from occasional infighting. They are most active at sunset and at daybreak. Because they are timid, easily stressed, and physically fragile, they are not recommended as pets for small children.

Housing:
Harlequin Rabbits are best kept indoors to protect them from extreme temperatures, predators, and other outdoor dangers. They should be allowed to roam and exercise, preferably where they can get sunlight and fresh air. Extension hutches, exercise pens or lawn enclosures are recommended for safe outdoor exposure.

If kept in a cage, the enclosure should be at least five times the size of the rabbit with plenty of room to stretch and stand upright. Wire mesh flooring should be avoided because the rabbit’s feet could get caught in them. A hide box or sleeping quarters should be provided for times when the rabbit needs to hide or sleep in private. Baby toys and interesting items should also be available for entertainment.

Rabbits can be taught to use a litter box. To avoid health hazards caused by toxic wood shavings or clumping kitty litter, only organic litter should be used such as paper, citrus, or wood pulp.

Rabbits may also be allowed to roam inside the house as long as the areas where they are free to explore are “rabbit-proofed” for safety.

Diet:
Like other rabbits, Harlequin Rabbits are herbivorous. The main ingredient of their diet is hay, preferably Timothy grass hay, which is rich in the fiber needed to prevent diarrhea, obesity, and hairballs. Leafy vegetables, though also essential to a rabbit’s health, should be given sparingly to prevent digestive disorders. For variety, treats may be given (although occasionally because of potentially high starch or sugar content) such as carrots, peaches, plum, apples, papaya, pears, strawberries, and other fruits. Commercial rabbit pellets also add nutrients to the daily diet. Fresh water should always be available, either from a sipper bottle or in a stable water bowl.

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Member photos

from breeders/sellers

Breeders and sellers have to jump through hoops to get RightPet listings, literally, we make them do circus tricks. Unfortunately no one has met our high acrobatic standards for this animal yet, but hopefully they will soon!

from shelters/rescues

We've had no luck finding any of these frisky fellas so far, even though we've put up wanted posters and everything! But don't worry, we're working on it!

Trixie Natura Wall-Mounted Hay Rack Manger, Rabbit and Guinea Pig Feeder

Here are products that members feel are just right for your Harlequin Rabbit !

Wall-mountable; screws included Made from powder-coated metal For hay, grass, or vegetables Not for wire cages; check out Trixie's hanging hay rack instead

$7.95

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