The Harlequin Rabbit: A Playful Companion for Your Home

Harlequin Rabbit Breed
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The Harlequin is one of the most strikingly colored varieties on the market. Its mysterious story and astronomical prices have piqued the interest of rabbit fans. Are you intrigued by the unique appearance of this two-tone breed? This article will discuss the background of the beautiful creature. And Canvas Personalized will also advise properly caring for one at home. Ultimately, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision about adopting a Harlequin rabbit.

Harlequin Rabbit Breed Key Figures

Scientific nameOryctolagus cuniculus
Weight6.5-9.5 lb
Lifespan5-8 years
Best ForSingles, Apartment/Houses, Families with children, Beginners, Indoor Rabbits, Outdoor Rabbits
Harlequin Rabbit Breed Key Figures

1. History and Origins of the Harlequin Rabbit Breed

In the 1880s, French breeders created the first Harlequin rabbits. They originated from the crossing of the semi-wild Tortoiseshell Dutch rabbit with a wild rabbit. They debuted in an exhibition in Paris in 1887 and were quickly shipped to the United Kingdom.

Harlequin Rabbit Lifespan
History and Origins of the Harlequin Rabbit Breed

The Harlequin initially appeared in the United States sometime in the 1920s. They were once called Japanese rabbits, but this name was quickly dropped during the World Wars. The Harlequin was a wartime meat source.

There are two kinds of Harlequin rabbits: the Japanese and the Magpie. Even though these two kinds are almost precisely the same in every way, what makes them different is the color of their fur.

Some rabbit fanciers dismiss the Harlequin as a color variation rather than a distinct breed. In contrast, the ARBA and the British Rabbit Council officially recognize the Harlequin rabbit.

2. Characteristics Of The Harlequin Bunny Breed


The average weight of a Harlequin rabbit is between 6.5 and 9.5 pounds, making it a large rabbit breed. Does tend to be heavier than bucks. Their heads are relatively round, and their medium-length, perked-up ears are a distinguishing feature.


The coat colors of a Harlequin are what make them stand out. Their color will depend on their rabbit type—Japanese or Magpie. Japanese Harlequin rabbits can be any of several bright colors, including orange, black, blue, chocolate, and lilac. Unlike Japanese Harlequin rabbits, Magpie Harlequin bunnies are pure white.

Harlequin Rabbit Colors
Magpie Harlequin Rabbit and Harlequin Japanese Rabbit (Image: Pinterest)

The patterns of their marks on the body might be bands, bars, or a mix of the two. These rabbits need a 3-part frontal alteration to meet the ARBA’s Standard of Perfection. This means that the face and ears should both have a different hue and that the two should alternate. It’s also important to switch between the feet and the ears. The rabbit’s face has a distinct color divide down the middle. Their bellies can be white or orange.


These rabbits have thick, short, and fluffy coats. Even though this breed is quite popular because of its hair, it does not require much upkeep. To learn more about properly caring for your Harlequin, stay tuned for the next sections.


Compared to other pet rabbits, the Harlequin rabbit has a short lifespan. These rabbits often only survive for 5 to 8 years.

Harlequin Rabbit Personality/Behavior

The Harlequin rabbit is very friendly and likes to explore. They are naturally curious and can be pretty independent. They are happy to do their own thing, sniffing and assessing everything they encounter. They are most active at dawn and dusk. But during the day and evening, when they aren’t playing, they often just laze around and sleep. They are the comedians of rabbits and will keep you laughing and on your toes.

Harlequin Rabbit Temperament
Harlequin rabbits are naturally curious

They are also sentimental and like being petted and scratched on the back by their loved ones. They’re easygoing and won’t have trouble living with others. Even more so when they are first introduced to their new home, you should give your rabbit plenty of space. They may try to bite if they are scared or nervous.

3. How To Care A Harlequin Bunny


Like other rabbits, Harlequin Holland lop rabbits are herbivores who thrive on a diet of hay grasses. If you have a Harlequin rabbit, you should provide it with a new bundle of hay daily that is about the same size as the rabbit. They are only permitted a tiny amount of fresh vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, and much less fresh fruit.

A Harlequin rabbit can get a little bit of pellet food as a treat occasionally. A Harlequin’s dietary and nutritional needs will change as it matures, as size, age, and activity levels change.

Common Heath Issues

The Harlequin, like all rabbits, can have health problems. Those are some typical problems for rabbits.

  • Malocclusion: When your rabbit’s upper and lower teeth aren’t correctly aligned. It will have trouble wearing down its teeth via regular chewing. Visiting the dentist regularly is a must. Keep in mind that hay is essential for your rabbit’s diet.
  • GI Stasis: This is a potentially fatal disorder in which digestion halts or slows down. A lack of appetite, fatigue, and little or absent fecal pellets are all symptoms. If diagnosed and treated immediately, this is a treatable condition.
  • Ear Mites: Rabbits as pets frequently contract this parasite. If your rabbit is afflicted, you may notice that they shake their heads frequently. You can get them treated by your vet.

Mishandling or an accidental drop might cause back problems for them, just as it can for any rabbit. Occasionally, a trip to the vet will help you see any health issues before they worsen. Make sure you’re dealing with a reliable breeder, too.


The average daily mileage for a wild rabbit is about three miles. Because of this, daily exercise for your pet rabbit is crucial if you want to keep it happy and healthy. They need at least three hours of free-range time every day, whether in the garden, away from their hutch or just within the home.

Your rabbit’s health relies heavily on its ability to exercise regularly. It’s a great way to keep their muscles and bones flexible, their minds active, and their weight in check.

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Exercises for A Harlequin Lop Rabbit

The Harlequin is a breed that likes to play, so you should give it toys. They also want to climb, crawl, dig, and chew on things. They will love exercising outside, so investing in a safe enclosure that allows them to run around and play in the yard freely and safely is a good idea. This also means you won’t have to watch them whenever they go outside.


The Harlequin’s low maintenance requirements are surprising given the attention the breed receives due to its stunning coat. Due to the low amount of shedding, they need only be brushed once a week or as needed using a wire-bristled brush. This should be increased to three times a week when the spring shedding season begins to avoid gastrointestinal issues from chewing hair.

Regular grooming, such as nail clipping, ear cleaning, bathing, and even teeth trimming, may be required depending on the breed and lifestyle of your rabbit.

4. Are These Bunnies Right For You?

Harlequin bunnies are gentle, kind, and subdued. That’s why they make such an excellent addition to any home as a pet. Like other rabbits, though, they are too fragile for small children to play with. Never leave a small child alone with a rabbit; teach older kids how to handle rabbits correctly.

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A Harlequin Rabbit on sale

The Harlequin breed of rabbit is also intelligent and easy to train. You can teach them quickly to use a litter box. Besides these basic tricks, you may also help them learn more complex ones.

These bunnies are also known for their outgoing personalities. Harlequins love spending time with the people who care for them. Like other rabbits, the Harlequin lop bunny can get lonely and bored. Make sure to spend time with it daily and give it a friend rabbit to keep it company.

5. How to Purchase or Adopt A Harlequin Rabbit?

A Harlequin rabbit’s price can vary widely based on factors such as the breeder’s reputation, the rabbit’s quality, the rabbit’s age, and the rabbit’s coloration. One could pay as little as $25 or as much as $200. It’s possible to find breeders that sell rabbits of show quality for $500 or more.

NameRabbitry NameLocationEmailPhone
Hansel VieraBunnyland305Miami, Florida[email protected]305-423-9597
Jason HemphillBee Rooted RabbitryConway, Arkansas[email protected]501-499-1884
Mark WatsonWatson’s WabbitsShawnee, Oklahoma[email protected]405-486-9688
Harlequin Rabbits for Sale – Rabbit Breeders in US

The American Rabbit Breeders Association maintains a database of harlequin rabbit breeders and future exhibitions for those who pay to be included. Depending on the style, color, and quantity, the Harlequin rabbit price is from $20 to $100.

If you have two rabbits of the opposite sex, vets recommend spaying the female one to stop her from having unwanted babies. You can also raise two if you prefer. If you get two males, you’ll need to neuter them so they don’t fight each other.

>>Further reading:

The distinctive coat of the Harlequin rabbit makes it a unique breed. These bunnies are not only cute to look at, but they also make excellent pets and fascinating house guests. Being curious and active, they often please their owners. The Harlequin’s friendly demeanor and low care need make it an ideal companion for first-time owners with young children. A Harlequin rabbit is the best choice if you have room for one pet.

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