Rabbits are loving and friendly pets and can be easily bought for a rather affordable price. Their price, however, can swing significantly according to many different factors. The same pet bunny is usually cheaper when purchased from a private breeder, compared to the higher prices given by pet stores. The prices go higher when we consider rabbits for show use, which is a whole other category! Regular participation in rabbit shows is a beloved hobby to many across the US and abroad, and a show-quality rabbit has different characteristics to consider compared to regular pet bunnies. For this reason, they are typically more expensive, especially popular breeds with an outstanding pedigree.
When participating in rabbit show circuits around the world, breeders’ competition relies on the quality of the rabbit’s “bloodline”, as the winner is chosen based exclusively on the appearance. In the US, the shows are organized within the ARBA, the American Rabbit Breeders Association,
What are the characteristics of expensive show-quality rabbits?
It is preferable to have a full pedigree, one that shows records of at least three generations of ancestors, rather than a partial one that does not include the whole family tree. In general, during the shows, the rabbits are compared to each other and evaluated by licensed judges, authorized by ARBA, who base their observation on color, sex, age, and breed, as described in the ARBA’s “Standard of Perfection” book. Each winner gets to a higher level, and the final champion gets the title of “Best in Show”.
While pet rabbits can be purchased for as little as 10 USD, the very minimum amount that one is expected to pay for a good pedigree is around 50 USD. This price, however, might not be enough to get a rabbit capable of winning any competition, and among all good pedigree-equipped bunnies, the most expensive ones are the ones that either have peculiar characteristics or the ones that are simply in high demand. So which ones are they? Here’s a complete list!
As you can probably tell from the name, this is not your regular-sized rabbit. This is one of the largest rabbits in the world and the largest breed in the United States! Its weight is usually around 25 pounds and can easily get over 3 feet in length. As a result, the price for a good quality one can be anywhere between 300 and 500 USD each. Although they are not recognized by the ARBA, it is common for American owners to rely on British guidelines when participating in rabbit shows, as defined by the British Rabbit Council.
Talking about very large rabbits, the Flemish giant is not much smaller. It’s also known as the “Gentle Giant” thanks to its calm and mellow nature, which – combined with its size and its soft, thick fur – makes it a much-appreciated pet. These kindhearted creatures can cost up to 300 USD and their relaxed temperament comes in handy during shows, where they are easily able to pose and being handled by judges.
The English angoras are small rabbits with a rather unique look, characterized by short ears and plenty of fluffy furs: when not properly groomed, you can hardly see their face! In fact, they are often bred for their silky soft wool. The price for pet English angoras is above average as they are normally sold for 60 USD. For show quality, the price raises up to 200 USD for a good pedigree, ideally with winning parents.
Mini rex is a smaller version of rex rabbis, and their size, cuteness, and softness make them extremely popular pets. In particular, they are , with their short silk-like fur. Their head is relatively small and crowned by small, straight ears. They can live up to 10 years and they are gentle and intelligent animals, which can cost up to 50 USD each without a pedigree. For show purposes, high-rank ones can cost 250 USD or more each.
Together with the mini rex, the holland lop is one of the breeders’ favourite rabbit shows, for which people can pay up to 250 USD. Its main characteristics are the long, loosely drooping ears and the small body. Their weight is between 2 to 4 pounds, and they should be handled with care. Their curious personality makes them a friendly and energetic company in the house: as pets, they can be bought for around 40 USD.
Another American’s favourite, the Rex rabbit is a calm yet playful animal who enjoys kids and other pets’ company. Much like the mini rex, the texture of its fur has been described as similar to velvet, evenly short and smooth on the whole body, and it is its most appreciated characteristic. They were first introduced in the United States in the 20s, and have been among people’s favourites ever since. For this reason, quality rex rabbits cost around 200 USD.
This tiny rabbit makes everybody fall in love with its cute, baby face that keeps looking young even in its adult age, probably thanks to its disproportionally large eyes. It is a very warm, affectionate, and intelligent pet. Many of them come in two colors, that usually leave an adorable white spot in the middle of the head. It is among the smallest rabbit breeds, and they only weigh 2 pounds. For a good pedigree, a breeder can get up to 200 USD.
Lionhead is a fairly recent breed in the United States, and they were recognized as a pure breed only in 2014. They owe their name to their distinctive furry, lion-like mane, which resembles a lion even more with its classic golden cream color, although they come in a variety of shades. Their small size, short ears, and overall cute look are contributing to the increasing popularity of these 3-pound bunnies. With a good pedigree, they can sell for up to 130 USD.
This eye-catching bunny is characterised by the color combinations of its fur. In fact, it owes its name to the Italian theatre character “Arlecchino”, known for its unique outfit made of colorful patches. Harlequin rabbits always have parts of the body either white or orange, while the rest of the fur is either black or other colors. They are classified into two types, the Japanese and the Magpie, depending on their color combination. They are particularly appreciated when the fur design splits the colors into two symmetric halves on the head. Depending on the quality, it can cost up to 100 USD.
NEW ZEALAND RED
These sweet animals are a large breed that usually weighs around 10 pounds, as they are related to the Flemish Giants. They have a thick and soft ginger red fur and their ears stand straight up. Although New Zealand is commonly bred for meat and laboratory testing purposes, they are great easy-going pets, and their calm personality makes them very good show rabbits. You can easily find a good pedigree for around 80 USD.
Of course, buying an expensive rabbit does not guarantee winning at any show, and neither do award-winning parents and grandparents in the pedigree. Higher quality, however, is usually matched with higher prices, so paying more does in fact increase the chances. At the same time, let’s not forget that it’s not all about that one-time payment: much money (and time) will need to be invested into caring for them as well! The good news is, if you are not looking for expensive pedigrees and are not interested in rabbit shows, you can still enjoy the company of all of the breeds listed here for a fraction of the price by simply settle for a pet-quality bunny.