Enderby Island Rabbit

Enderby Island rabbit is a domestic European breed of rabbit. It is a rare breed originated from the rabbits introduced to Enderby Island. The Enderby Island, an uninhabited subantarctic island in New Zealand’s Auckland Island group in Australia.

The Enderby Island rabbit breed is also called Enderby rabbit or simply Enderby. The breed was developed in October 1865 to serve as castaway food.

Over 130 years the isolated population became a distinctive variety. In the early 1990s the Enderby Island rabbits were eventually exterminated for wildlife management reasons from Enderby Island.

The Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand rescued a breeding group of 49 rabbits in September 1992. Actually there were 50 rabbits in the breeding group. But one died due to a back injury during the rescue.

Today the Enderby Island rabbit as a breed is not only rare but also endangered. The breed is endangered due to the large number of hybrids formed with individuals crossing the Enderby with other domestic rabbit breeds.

Enderby Island rabbits are neither recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association nor by the British Rabbit Council.

Characteristics of Enderby Island Rabbit

The Enderby Island rabbit is a small to medium sized breed. Although the breed descended from the Silver Greys which were much heavier weighting up to 4 kg. but the Enderby Island rabbits have evolved to be a little smaller with an average body weight of about 2 kg.

They have pretty fine bone, narrow body with very bold eyes. They are mainly silver-grey in color, with an undercoat of dark slate-blue color.

Their ears, heads and tails are very dark, sometimes even black. Their head is a perfect ‘V’ shaped laid on it’s side and the head appears quite small for the body.

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Because of a recessive gene of the Enderby Island rabbit, a small proportion of the babies are born cream or beige in color. Their ears are fine and carried upright in a ‘V’ shape. The ears have darker fur and lighter silvering than the rest of the body. Photo from Wikipedia.


Enderby Island rabbits were naturally evolved from the English Silver Greys. They were evolved for the sole purpose of providing food for any ship wrecked sailors or passengers in the Southern most islands of New Zealand.

Special Notes

This rabbit can be quite skittish and nervous. And they usually look out for predators and or any danger all the time. This makes them want to naturally burrow and hide.

Enderby Island rabbits can be very affectionate, especially if a treat or food is offered. They are very clean animal and love to keep their next area clean. Although they have not really been adapted for indoor environment, so they do love being outside all the time.

They are very cold hardy. Review full breed profile of the Enderby Island rabbit in the following chart. It is one of the world’s rarest rabbit breed, with less than 300 rabbits in existence.

Breed NameEnderby Island
Other NameEnderby rabbit or simply Enderby
Breed PurposeMeat
Breed SizeSmall to medium
WeightAbout 2 kg
Suitable for Commercial ProductionNo
Good as PetsNot sure
Climate ToleranceAll Climates (cold hardy)
Color VarietiesSilver-Grey
RarityVery rare
Country of OriginAustralia

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