Other name(s): Giant Papillon
Originating in France, the Checkered Giant looks like a rabbit attending a masquerade: the breed is characterized by unusual markings, including a butterfly-shape over the nose and mouth. They are surpassed in size by the Giant Chinchilla and the Flemish Giant, but this hefty breed is more active and energetic, requiring plenty of room to run and roam.
Rabbits have unique and dynamic personalities and can form close, loving bonds with their owners. Many can be trained to use a litterbox, will come when you call their name, and may even enjoy learning a couple of tricks. Coupled with the fact that they’re quiet, require relatively little space, and are very low odor, it’s not hard to see why rabbits have become the third most popular pet in the United States and Great Britain.
There are a few important things to consider before choosing a rabbit as a pet. Rabbits will require your time and attention. They’re very social, curious, and playful animals and will live a sad life if kept confined to a cage with little interaction. They will need space and opportunity to exercise and explore, and you’ll need to make sure the space has been rabbit-proofed against nibbling and gnawing. A rabbit is a long-term commitment with many living more than 10 years – sadly, with their popularity on the rise, the number of rabbits abandoned to shelters and rescues has also risen.
Rabbits are a poor choice as a pet for young children. They may be soft and cute, but rabbits are easily stressed and frightened around loud noises and activity. Many rabbits do not enjoy being held or cuddled and may bite or kick to get away, and rabbits can easily be seriously injured in such a struggle.
Appearance / health:
The Checkered Giant Rabbit is a large rabbit with an average weight of 11 to 12 pounds. Their body is long and muscular with an arched back and powerful legs. They have a wide head and large, upright ears with broad, rounded tips. The Checkered Giant is named for the patterning of their short, soft fur. American and European Checkered Giants differ somewhat in appearance, but are considered the same breed. The American Checkered is white with either blue or black markings: butterfly-like marks across the face, circles around the eyes, colored ears, two spots on either side of the body, and a stripe running from ears to tail along the spine. The European Checkered Giant, also called the Giant Papillon, has a white coat with grey, black, chocolate, blue, tortoiseshell, or tri-color markings.
Like other small mammals, Checkered Giant Rabbit 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:
The Checkered Giant Rabbit is a large and rambunctious breed. They love to run, play, jump, and explore and need plenty of exercise. In general, they have very friendly and easy-going temperaments.
Rabbits are social animals, and are happiest when kept in pairs or trios. Rabbits may bond very closely to one another, forming a near-inseparable “bonded pair”. Non-bonded rabbits should have their own cage and should be carefully supervised until they get to know one another. A rabbit kept singly will need lots of time and attention from their human caretaker, though human companionship can never fully substitute for the interaction they have with each other. Ideally a single rabbit will be allowed plenty of free access to its owner, whether that’s cuddling on the couch or following them around the kitchen.
Rabbits are generally playful and curious and you may find that a free-roaming bunny will greet your guests at the door. They tend to get along well with other household pets, though some cats and dogs have a high prey instinct and may act aggressively towards the rabbit. Some rabbits are quite intelligent and enjoy learning tricks, and many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. Rabbits also love to chew and dig, and it’s especially important for their dental health that they have something appropriate to gnaw on. It’s also important that anything they shouldn’t gnaw on be kept from their reach!
Rabbits may spray to mark their territory, though this behavior can be significantly reduced or eliminated by spaying or neutering. Spaying or neutering can also result in a calmer temperament and fewer behavioral issues.
They are most active at sunset and at daybreak. In general, rabbits are physically fragile and easily stressed, and not recommended as pets for young children.
Checkered Giant 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 it can cause pain and injury to a rabbit’s feet. A hide-away box or sleeping quarters should be provided as a quiet place for a rabbit to retreat to feel safe and for sleep. Baby toys and interesting items should also be available for entertainment. Another option is housing your rabbit in a play-pen or puppy-pen.
Many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. The best litters are non-toxic (rabbits may try to nibble on their litter) and dust free. Recycled paper litters or pellets, citrus-based litters, compressed wood pellets, aspen shavings, newspaper (ensure the ink is non-toxic), and hay are all appropriate. Avoid clumping litters as they can clump inside the digestive tract if eaten, and never use wood shavings from pine or cedar.
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. Rabbits allowed to roam at all times should still have a hutch to which they can return for sleeping and a feeling of safety.
Checkered Giant Rabbits are herbivorous and their diet will mainly consist of hay, pellets, and vegetables. Hay is very important for both digestive health and dental health. Grass hays such as timothy, orchard, and oat hay can be fed in unlimited quantities, but alfalfa is high in calories and should only be provided occasionally. Fresh pellets should also be made available daily – choose a pellet high in fiber and avoid mixes that include other foods like corn, seeds, or dried fruit.
Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet. Dark, leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, spring greens, and some spinach should make up approximately 75% of the fresh food given to your rabbit daily, with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, and summer squash making up the other 25%. Fruits and starchy vegetables should be limited in the diet, but make great treats! Make sure that all fresh foods are washed thoroughly, and uneaten fresh foods should be removed at the end of the day.
Fresh water should always be available, either from a sipper bottle or in a stable water bowl.
intelligent, awesome breed, social environment, beautiful rabbit, 4H project
larger litter pan, bathroom issues
large sizes, simple tricks, adequate meat rabbit, extremely high metabolism
Pikka-peeps is my baby girl
I am sure other people would see something wrong with her because her spots are not exactally like they should be for her breed but I don't care. She loves to run around in my bedroom and jump on my bed. She rubs noses with me and husband. She is very loving and she is very active. Its sometimes hard to hold her but most of the time she is fine. She was easy to train. I take her for walks and on outings all the time. She is kinda lonely though. The store I got her from didn't have any other bunnies so I just got her. That is why I am trying to find her a boyfriend. My husband is wanting us to breed her for meat because we know a lot of people who will buy it. Even though neither of us would eat rabbit. Peeps has become our daughter. She likes to lay on my husband's chest..
From heatheravery198 Jun 27 2015 1:44PM
Keeping the living enclosures of your rabbit clean and hygienic helps prevent worms. Most diseases that affect them develop in crowded, filthy enclosures and under stressful conditions. The most important hygienic measures are: - Cleaning and disinfecting the cages frequently. - Avoiding moisture and accumulation of urine and feces. - Avoiding contact of the rabbit with excrement. It's normal for rabbits to eat some of their own droppings, for which they can reinfect themselves after an initial deworming. So a regular deworming schedule may be necessary. - Keeping the bed dry and clean. - Cleaning feeders and water bottles daily or every other day. - Keeping the food in a cool and dry place to avoid contamination. To sum up: procure optimal environmental conditions around your rabbit. Additionally, rabbits fed a healthy diet are less vulnerable to disease. As your pet loves grass, vegetables, and fruits, wash the latter thoroughly before feeding..
From L Perez 205 days ago
Well, who knew that keeping a rabbit was ALOT tougher than keeping a dog, a cat, fish, a bird etc.!! While Snowy was a beautiful rabbit and would let you rub her, she was unreal for digging out of her hutch/run! I spent more time chasing her around the garden and trying to keep her in her hutch! Rabbits are fast too! Plus, there are wild rabbits where we live, so poor snowy caught a disease and the vet had to put her down. So, while she was a beautiful animal, I won't be getting another rabbit again!.
From CET Jun 9 2015 4:03PM