harlequin rabbit

Harlequin Rabbit Breed Information

Harlequin rabbit often been called as “the clown of the rabbit world” for their magnificent markings and colors. These colorful breed originate from France. Harlequin rabbits love to exploring their space, inch by inch. The best thing about them are their active personalities which makes them perfect playmates for children!

harlequin rabbit


Harlequin rabbit actually a commercial type. A commercial rabbit means that it is used for meat production. It was developed from Tortoiseshell Dutch Rabbit but back then it been stated as badly marked Dutch rabbit. Harlequin made it first exhibit in Paris, France in 1887. Few years later Harlequin breeds are imported into England and 1920, they have been recognized by American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).

During World War II, they were used for meat and their actual name are Japanese Rabbit but the name been dropped due to WWII. However, it gain another name, ‘the clown of the rabbits’ which mean the jester among the common rabbits.



With the body made for meat production, Harlequin can weigh 2 to 3 kg (6.5 – 8 lbs.). The breed rather big and muscular same as Dutch rabbit. They are also have broad head. As for their fur, they have short and sorted that does not need frequent grooming. Brush them with wire bristled brush once a week and just to make sure they are extra clean, use damp cloth to clean dirt off them.

If you are worried about your pet rabbit getting smudge all over their body might as well make them indoor rabbits rather than release into your yard. You should not give them or any other rabbits bath. This is because rabbits can get stressful and sometime they get cardiac problems which could be fatal to them.

ARBA Standard of Perfection calls for a 3 part frontal alternation which is the ears, face and frontal body. Their ears are two different colors and the face splits into two colors, which alternate with the ears. Next is their chest and front legs split into two colors, which alternate with the face and match the ears. The hind feet also should alternate with the front feet. The body markings are either bars, bands, or a combination of the two.

  • Weight: 2 to 3 kg
  • Coat length: Short and sorted
  • Color: Japanese ( orange with either black, blue, chocolate, lilac) and Magpie ( white with either black, blue, chocolate, lilac)
  • Pattern: Split marking between two colors on the head, ears, body, front legs and back legs making color stripe.


The Harlequin rabbit is playful, docile, and intelligent. Like most breeds the rabbit can respond to its own name and even be litter box trained. However, rabbits are much harder to litter train than other animals such as cats, dogs and birds. It is possible with lots of patience, perseverance and plenty of treats. They are gentle, but high maintenance.

These outgoing bunnies will always appreciate the occasional pat on the head and back scratch from their family. Although this is not a small rabbit, they still do well with children, so long as younger ones are supervised while they play with your harlequin. This is mainly because the young ones may not realized how playful Harlequin can get if it get too excited.


Health Treatment

Harlequin rabbit is no more than a common domestic rabbit. You should considered taking it to the veterinarian. There are no cases of this breed had genetic diseases been reported but they still can suffer from other rabbit symptoms. Rabbit breeders have done more then they could to make this breed healthier and less genetic disease. Some of the illnesses seen in this breed is:

  • Dental disease: Overgrown teeth, can change alignment of the mouth
  • Spinal Injury: Damaged due to dropped or from the force of its hind legs movement
  • Arthritis: Painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Your rabbit may be less active and tend to be gradual or lying in one place, hunched in awkward position.
  • Bladder problems: Bladder stones due to excessive build-up of calcium (May need surgically removed)

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