No. The Belgian Hare is not a hare breed. Instead, it is a rabbit breed. However, you would be forgiven for believing this to be a hare. It is a rabbit that has been bred to look as close to a hare as possible.
Let’s take a little look at this rabbit in more depth, shall we?
The Origins of the Belgian Hare Rabbit
To be honest, no one has that much of an idea about where the Belgian Hare Rabbit originates. Obviously, as the name suggests, this is a rabbit that comes from Belgium.
This happened at some point in the 18th Century, with rabbits being shipped over to the United States and England at some point during the 19th Century.
What we do know, however, is what the purpose of the Belgian Hare rabbit is. This was to create a fantastic meat breed that was easy to raise. It thrived for a good while as this type of rabbit, and you would often find it as a good homestead rabbit in the United States.
In the US people wanted a quality rabbit, but they didn’t know how to raise one.
Sadly, because the only real purpose of this rabbit was for meat, it has started to die out as the rabbit meat industry does.
Nowadays, a few of them are kept as pets and as show rabbits but, to be honest, this is a breed that is likely to go extinct in the future as there is no real drive for people to continue to develop this rabbit breed, as sad as it may seem.
The Look of the Belgian Hare Rabbit
If you can imagine what a hare looks like, then you pretty much have an idea about what the Belgian Hare Rabbit looks like. The body is shaped like a hare. They have long ears. They have powerful hind legs.
Bear in mind that the Belgian Hare rabbit will also move similarly to hares. However, they are still going to be rabbits at heart, which means their whole style isn’t going to be that different from other rabbits. Don’t think that if you have one of these rabbits you are going to be raising something similar to a hare, because you are not.
Remember; a hare cannot be domesticated! If you don’t know what a hare is, then we suggest you to read more about the differences between rabbits and hares.
The coat of this rabbit is nice and short. In fact, this is one of only a few rabbits where you could get away with not brushing it all that regularly. This is because they do not have a whopping amount of fur.
You may only need to brush once or twice a month, unless it is molting season, and they should be perfectly fine and healthy. This breed of rabbit seems to do a fantastic job at keeping the coat clean.
Yeah, most other rabbit breeds do this too, but most people will note that the Belgian Hare rabbit is ever so slightly better at it. This is a rabbit that can only have a rust-colored coat.
There is no other recognized color to the Belgian Hare Rabbit.
The Belgian Hare Lifespan
You can expect this rabbit to live somewhere between 7 and 11-years. This is surprisingly long, considering the rabbit is somewhat on the larger side (about 9 lbs). Generally speaking, it is only the smaller rabbits that seem to come close to that sort of lifespan.
So, if you want a rabbit that is able to live for many, many years, then the beligan Hare rabbit may be the perfect breed for you.
Caring For Belgian Hare
For a lot of the rabbits that we cover in rabbit breed profiles on this page, the general recommendation is that you have the rabbit live indoors. It is easier to control their temperature like this.
However, we have different advice when it comes to the Belgian Hare. You see, this is a rabbit breed that functions a whole lot better if you keep it outside.
Due to the height of the rabbit, and the fact that it has adopted some of the mannerisms of a hare (although, they are technically rabbit mannerisms), you will need to have a nice and tall rabbit hutch that it can hop about in.
In fact, the cage will need to be a bit larger than your average rabbit cage. So, if you do not have the space for that, then this is not the right rabbit breed for you.
Each and every single day, the rabbit needs to be out and running for a good few hours. You will need to have a large rabbit run, preferably with taller sides. This will help to ensure that the rabbit can run around as much as it wants without escaping.
If you are not able to provide your rabbit with that amount of space to run around in then, once again, this rabbit is not for you.
Now, we are not saying that this is a breed of rabbit that can’t be kept indoors. It probably can. However, nearly every owner of this breed keeps their rabbit outside.
It seems to be a lot happier like that. Although, of course, if you have a larger home that the rabbit can wander around in, then by all means bring it inside your house. It is probably going to love that.
What to Feed Your Belgian Hare
Just like for any other rabbit breed, the staple of the Belgian Hare diet should be hay. Not just any kind of hay, but a high quality hay for rabbits. Beside the hay, which should make around 80% of its daily diet, a pelleted food is also important.
The pellet food contains some vitamins and minerals that the rabbit will not get thru the hay.
The Belgian Hare rabbit love vegetables, especially leafy greens. They contain a lot of vitamins and antioxidants and should be given on a daily basis.
Some fruits are also ok to bi given, but because of their high sugar concentration, fruits are not safe for rabbits to eat. Keep this in mind since the Belgian hare is very found of fruits, so give them only as a treat or as a dessert. You may consider grapes, bananas, apples…
At the end, do not forget that fresh and clean water should always be available for your rabbit, and that means 24/7.
The Personality of the Rabbit
This is not a rabbit breed for families. It is quite powerful and it has known to hurt children. This is, of course, accidentally. They are also a very, very fast rabbit and they have almost limitless amounts of energy.
This means that they are not really the ideal rabbit breed for those who want their bunnies to be a little bit more laidback. Yes, the rabbit will eventually bond with you, but it will take a while to warm up. This is a breed that seems to get a little bit more startled than some other rabbit breeds.
All in all, this is going to be a good rabbit breed to own. You just need to remember that it has slightly more intense care requirements than other breeds.