English Spot Rabbit

A medium-sized rabbit, the English Spot Rabbit could weigh about 5 to 8 pounds on an average.  It is one of the oldest breeds of fancy rabbits, dating back to the mid-19th century with some records found as early as 1838.  This breed is also referred to as the Old English Rabbit.

Physically, the English Spot has a full arched body with long and slender limbs.  These features are what make them perfect for running.  The head area is ideally proportioned with its body.  Its hips are round and a bit muscular than the shoulder area.  The ears of this rabbit specie are long and in upright position.

One of the most attractive features of the English Spot Rabbit is its distinctive body markings. These marking are classified into cheek spots, butterfly, colored ears, eye circles, herringbone, as well as chain of spots.  Additionally, some rabbits of this breed have spots and some stripes down their back.  A rabbit with these markings is usually best presented in shows.  Some of its litter would split in markings between full-colored and some being partially marked, which usually comes in black, blue, gray, chocolate, lilac, gold, tortoise and white.

English Spot Rabbit’s markings include butterfly markings around its nose which you can see if you look straight at their nose.  This is actually in the middle of the nose and you will notice the wings on both sides.  The colored spots or the cheek spots are right below their eyes.  Eye circles are the full colored markings around both of the rabbit’s eyes.  The herringbone on the other hand is seen from the tip of its tail and extends to the rabbit’s backbone.  Finally, the English Spot Rabbit’s most popular feature— the chain of spots. This marking sweeps on both of the sides of their body, trailing from the base of their neck to its hind legs.

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The English Spot Rabbit is known in Europe as Papillons, which is French word for “butterfly”, mainly because of its butterfly markings on the nose.  True to its name, this breed is called English Spot in the United States, but is also sometimes called English Butterfly.  In both regions, it is recognized in various colors.

English Spot Rabbit

Photo:  Corinne Benavides |Flickr


Behavior and Temperament

The English Spot Rabbit is docile and has a generally calm disposition.  Because of its amicable and inquisitive nature, it can make a very good pet.  It is also seen as very friendly and can tolerate other pets well.  Due to its hyperactive behavior and high energy level, this breed might not be a very good pet companion to very young children and senior citizens, but is a delight for rest of the family.

It needs to run for at least one or two hours a day, thus, it requires space for running, perhaps in the front yard or in a garden where it can explore freely.  It is most hyperactive in the morning and even at night as this specie usually rests and sleeps at day time.

Health and Care

Because of its active lifestyle, the English Spot Rabbit is a vigorous eater.  Like most of the rabbit breeds, the most significant in its diet is hay.  Grass hays, particularly the timothy hay are generally recommended that the legume hays such as clover or the alfalfa.  In addition, some of the veggies that this rabbit enjoys are thyme, cilantro, parsley, and basil.  Radish and carrot are also effective sources of vitamins and minerals that its body needs to ensure perfect health.  It is advisable to introduce new vegetables slowly as it has a very sensitive digestive system.  Most importantly, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage must never be a part of its regular diet as these can cause gastrointestinal problems which can sometimes be fatal.  Due to their high starch content, potatoes as well as corn should also be avoided.   English Spot Rabbit also requires constant supply of fresh, clean water provided in a dish or in a hanging water bottle. Leftover food must be removed after meals to avoid diseases and bacterial formation.

History and Background of the English Spot Rabbit

The exact origins of the English Spot Rabbit is quite uncertain, though, it is believed to be a descendant of the English Butterfly, which originated around the mid-1800s.  It has been common in England since the 1850s and was imported to North America at around 1910.

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