Harlequin Rabbit: Breed Info and Care Tips for This Bunny with Unique Fur

Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by

Harlequin Rabbits are a fascinating breed of rabbits. They are known for their unique markings and vibrant colors, but there is so much more to these beautiful animals than that!

Harlequin bunnies were bred in the 1880s with the goal of creating a rabbit with “iridescent” coloring – hence the name Harlequin Rabbit. Once a relatively rare breed, but nowadays, Harlequins can be found all over North America and many parts of the world!

What are Harlequin Rabbits?

Harlequin Rabbits are recognized as a breed of rabbits that have broken patterns on their fur.

They are a type of rabbit that shares the same characteristics as regular rabbits.

These animals are bred for their unique coloring patterns and fur length, which is a white base with black markings on the tips of their hair.

Harlequin Rabbit Breed
Source: Evelyn Ford (Flickr)

The Harlequin Rabbit comes in two types:

  • Japanese
  • Magpie

These two varieties share the same markings but differ in coloration from head to toe. Japanese is orange while the Magpie’s white fur can be black, blue, chocolate (brown), or lilac.

The “perfect” Harlequin bunny will boast an even split between colors on its face ears, feet, and body. This creates what appears like one long stripe down their backside when looked at from behind.

Where do Harlequin Rabbits come from?

The Harlequin is believed to be originated from France where they were used for their meaty body and rich winter coats.

They were first bred in the 1880s and were later brought into the US in the 1920s. Since then, they have become popular as a pet because of the uniqueness of their fur color patterns (though they’re really just like normal rabbits with distinct markings).

Harlequin Rabbit Colors

Harlequin Rabbits come in different colors such as black, white, gray, and brown.

With orange being the primarily base color, the recognized color patterns of Harlequin Rabbits by both ARBA and BRC are:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Lilac
  • Chocolate (brown)

Harlequin Rabbit personality and behavior 

The Harlequin Rabbit is an intelligent and playful breed, but they are also high maintenance. “Harleys” will respond to their name especially if you have trained them since they were kits!

They’re gentle creatures that do well in a home with children as long as they get consistent care from someone who can afford it. After all, rabbits come at quite the price.

When young though, it’s quite amusing to watch them play games by themselves, running laps around the room or chasing each other in circles.

The lifespan of a Harlequin Rabbit 

The lifespan of a Harlequin Rabbit is usually around 12 years. The lifespan of a Harlequin bunny is long compared to other types of rabbits.

As with most animals that are owned as pets, their actual life expectancy depends on what type of care they are given.

It’s always good to make sure your pet has adequate room as well as a healthy diet in order for them to live a long and happy life.

How to care for a Harlequin Rabbit?

Harlequin Rabbits can be very shy and skittish when they’re young. If you want to care for a Harlequin, it’s best not to approach them right away. Let them come closer at their own pace so they don’t get scared off or spooked by sudden movements.

Once they’re used to your company, let them know that you’re there with food treats and hay. It’s a great incentive for coming near you rather than having them retreat from your reach.

You should also give the Harlequin bunny plenty of room when attempting interaction because if things start getting overwhelming. But don’t sweat it, they will quickly learn how to get used to human contact.

Though they’re docile, they can get quite active and start nibbling on nearly everything in their path. And might include your garden plants, furniture, and even wires. To avoid that from happening, you should get them toys to keep themselves busy and distracted. And not to mention, to have some fun!

Do Halerquin Rabbits need cages?

Most of the Halequin Rabbit owners wonder whether they need a cage or not. It is generally recommended that they have some form of a cage, or at least somewhere in the house where they can rest and sleep in a safe space.

There are many different types of cages available depending on what you want to use them for.

If you need one more aesthetically pleasing than others then choose accordingly. But remember, size matters with this breed so bigger usually means better.

Find an Affordable, Quality Hutch for Your Harlequin Bunny

Need a rabbit hutch for your Harlequin? We have shortlisted the best rabbit hutches (for indoor and outdoor use) here.

Health and hygiene of Harlequin Rabbits

There are many health and hygiene factors that you should consider when you raise a Harlequin Rabbit. The first is to have a veterinarian check the rabbit for diseases and vaccines.

Your vet should also be able to recommend what kind of food you should feed your Harlequin bunny, how often it needs vaccinations, and when it’s necessary to spay or neuter the animal.

What do Harlequin Rabbits eat?

Like other rabbit breeds, Harlequin Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants.

They have a unique digestive system that is far more delicate compared to other common house pets like cats or dogs.

In order to stay healthy, Harlequin bunnies need to have a diet high in hay, vegetables, freshwater. What better way to keep your pet rabbit happy!

Why should you consider adopting one as a pet?

The Harlequin bunny is very docile and relatively easy to train. Not to mention, they have a unique fur color pattern, unlike most other domestic rabbits.

A Harlequin Rabbit is also hypoallergenic compared to most types of house pets you might find on the market at your local animal shelter or breeder.

This means that in households with people who are allergic to more common allergens like dog hair or cat dander it’s often possible for those same individuals to live comfortably with a Harlequin bunny.

Final Thoughts

We hope this blog post helped you learn about the benefits of owning a Harlequin Rabbit.

In addition to being one of the best pets, they are also low maintenance and relatively inexpensive!

But don’t forget that they’re still sensitive animals who deserve your love and attention.