The Belgian Hare is a fancy breed of domestic rabbit. The first Belgian Hares were bred in Belgium in the early 18th century. The breed was developed through selective breeding to closely resemble the wild hare in physical appearance.
Today it is a distinctive, long limbed rabbit breed which has been bred to look like a hare. The Belgian Hare rabbits are easily recognized and the breed was created through selective breeding between domestic and wild European rabbits, with the intent of creating a practical meat rabbit.
The Belgian Hares were imported to England in 1874 and called the ‘Belgian Hare’. Then the English breeders made the Belgian Hare appear more spirited, like the wild English rabbits.
The breed was first shown in the United States by the 1877. And in the United States, the Belgian Hare immediately rose in popularity (giving rise to thousands of Belgian Hare clubs around the country, thousands were bred and some sold for as much as US $1k).
The ‘American Belgian Hare Association’ is the first of these clubs. The breed is recognized by both the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the British Rabbit Council. Today purebred Belgian Hare is pretty rare and is considered threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Physical Characteristics of Belgian Hare
The Belgian Hare rabbit breed is most known and easily characterized by it’s long, slender body and agile legs that closely resemble those of a hare. They have long legs, fine body with muscular flank. They have distinctly arched back with loins and well rounded hind quarters.
Usually the fore feet of this rabbit breed is long and fine boned and perfectly straight. And the hind feet are long, fine and flat. Their head is pretty long as compared to other domestic rabbit breed. And their tail is straight and carried in line with the backbone.
The Belgian Hares are believed to be the only breed of domestic rabbit to display a rich red or chestnut coat with the striking black ticking that is present in the coats of wild rabbits. The breed is seen in a handful of colors and markings including Black, Black and Tan, Chestnut Red etc.
But the main colorways are Black, Black and Tan, Red, Tan, Chestnut, with black ticking. It is a medium to large sized rabbit breed. And the average body weight of a Belgian Hare is between 2.7 to 4 kg. Photo from Wikipedia.
The Belgian Hare was mainly developed as a meat producing breed. But the breed is also suitable for raising as pets.
Belgian Hares are one of the most energetic and intelligent breeds of rabbit. They are very clever and they will require lots of physical and mental stimulation in order to keep them happy. They are extremely alert and as such can be skittish.
The Belgian Hares can easily learn their names and will occasionally come when called. As they are active in nature and have alert temperament, they can be startled by sudden noise or movement very easily. The Belgian Hare has been called the ‘poor man’s racehorse’ because of their active personality.
Despite their cute appearance, the breed is not ideal for very small children and for the beginners. Usually it is an energetic and long lived animal. Their average lifespan is between 7 to 10 years. But they can live up to 10 years or more. The breed can’t do well with extremely high humidity or heat.
The does are fair mothers and litters will average 4 to 8 kits. Youngsters are slow to mature. However, review full breed profile of this breed in the chart below.
|Breed Name||Belgian Hare|
|Breed Purpose||Raised as a meat breed. But also suitable for raising as pets.|
|Breed Size||Medium to Large|
|Weight||Average body weight is between 2.7 and 4 kg|
|Suitable for Commercial Production||Yes|
|Good as Pets||Yes|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates (but can’t do well with extremely high humidity or heat)|
|Color Varieties||Black, Black and Tan, Red, Tan, Chestnut, with black ticking|
|Country of Origin||Belgium|