Flemish Giant

The Life of Animals | Flemish Giant | The Flemish Giant is a old breed of domesticated rabbits, originating from the Flemish region. This 'Patagonian' rabbit was a large land race breed that was once bred in Belgium and France. Thomas Coat oam in his "Origins of the Flemish Giants" tells us "The earliest authentic record of the Flemish Giant Rabbit occurred about the year 1860. Weights of certain specimen were stated to be 18 to 20 pounds. However, a close investigation of the matter of weights proved that 12to 14 pounds were the average weight of giant rabbits raised in the above mentioned country.

English breeders of meat stock produced their product from stock weighing an average of 7 to 8 pounds at maturity, so it was but a short time later that the first importation of Flemish breeding rabbits took place. The Flemish Giant is an ancestor of many rabbit breeds all over the world. The Flemish Giant was imported from England and Belgium to America in the early 1890s to help improve the size of meat rabbits during the great "rabbit boom It received little attention until about 1910 where it started appearing at small livestock shows throughout the country. Today, it is one of the more popular breeds at rabbit shows because of its unusually large size and its varying colors. It is promoted by the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders which was formed in 1915. The Flemish Giant has many nicknames, first and foremost the "Gentle Giant" for it's uniquely docile personality and also the "universal rabbit" for it's multi purposes of pet, show, breeding, and meat 

As one of the largest breeds of domestic rabbit, the Flemish Giant is a semi-arch type rabbit with its back arch starting back of the shoulders and carrying through to the base of the tail giving a "mandolin" shape. The body of a Flemish Giant Rabbit is long and powerful with relatively broad hindquarters. The minimum show weight for a Senior (older than 8 months) doe is 14 lbs (about 6.4 kg), and the minimum weight of a Senior buck is 13 lbs (about 5.9 kg) (ARBA Standards of Perfection). The largest of rabbits weigh as much as 50 pounds, although these species technically constitute Continental and German Giants. 

Flemish Giants, like all rabbits, can become fearful, and sometimes violent, if handled incorrectly or irresponsibly. Their larger frame requires special attention paid to the spine alignment when handling a Flemish Giant, or any rabbit for that matter. The well-being of a Flemish Giant, like all rabbits, is dependent upon the care of a responsible owner. Consequently, rabbits may not be an ideal pet for younger or immature caregivers.Due to its large size, the Flemish Giant needs substantial living quarters that provide ample opportunity for physical movement. The House Rabbit Society recommends keeping rabbits inside the home in a very large pen or room(s) in the home. Larger dog crates are often more appropriate than traditional rabbit and small-pet cages, which tend to be smaller and shorter. In the United States Department of Agriculture's standards for animal housing, rabbits over 12 pounds must have at least 5 square feet of floor space.The size of appropriate living quarters increases with size of the rabbit. Cages with incorrectly sized wire gauge bottoms (as opposed to small gauge wire or solid bottoms) can harm the feet of a Flemish Giant more so than smaller house rabbits due to their increased weight. A resting board may be required to prevent sore hocks for a larger breed rabbit.

The Flemish Giant will require larger quantities of food compared to smaller breeds of domestic rabbits. Like some other short hair breeds of rabbits, the Flemish Giant will usually require mild attention to grooming due to its shorter hair. A variety of foods is available for rabbits, including commercial pellets, home-mixed grains, grass and legume hays, fresh forages, and vegetables. Flemish Giants can be fed as other rabbits, so long as the amount is increased to match the larger size of the animal. Some treats recommended by the House Rabbit Society include: a slice of strawberry, banana, apple, green pepper, carrot, or a finger dipped in organic yogurt.The American Rabbit Breeders' Association (ARBA) recommends delaying breeding of female rabbits until they reach the senior weight range. For Flemish Giants, this is 14 pounds, and a typical rabbit will reach this weight when they are about 9 months to one year The breeding lifespan of a rabbit is variable. The Flemish Giant rabbit can produce large litters, usually between 5 to 12 in a litter.

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