It’s no secret that rabbits grow quickly. In the wild, rabbits breed and grow rapidly to protect themselves from extinction by predators. Rabbits don’t lose this tendency just because they live in captivity. Domestic rabbits grow as fast as rabbits do in the wild, and they tend to stop growing at about the same time.
However, there is no specific answer to when a rabbit will stop growing, as many factors can play a role, such as the breed of rabbit. Let’s walk through a rabbit growth timeline, when some of the most common breeds stop growing, and what factors can affect a rabbit’s growth regardless of their breed.
Average Growth Timeline
Rabbits grow rapidly from the moment they are born. At 2 months of age, their protein and fat requirements increase so their bodies can keep up with the growth they need to do. Your rabbit will most likely grow and gain weight fast enough to see weekly or monthly growth. However, the length of time they grow, when they stop growing, and how much they will grow by the time they mature depends entirely on breed and genetics. Even rabbits of the same breed can grow at different rates and grow to different sizes due to genetics. That said, there is some consensus as to when a breed should stop growing and roughly how big the breed will fully grow.
When the Ordinary Rabbit Race Stops Growing
Each breed of rabbit is unique in terms of their growth rate, age when they grow up, and average size as adults. Several different breeds are usually bred for the pet market, so each should be explored to understand what you can expect as a rabbit owner based on the specific breed you have.
There are standard and miniature Rex rabbits. Both sizes have thick, soft hair and long ears that tend to stay upright. The standard size stops growing at about 9 months of age and is usually between 7 and 10 pounds as an adult. Miniature Rex Rabbits typically grow to 3 or 4 pounds by 7 months of age.
This breed of rabbit is small and usually weighs no more than 5 to 6 pounds as an adult. They generally stop growing by the time they are 7 months old. The Dutch rabbit is distinguished by its fur, which consists of a white front and a darker back.
Dutch Dwarf Rabbit
As a pygmy breed, it is one of the smallest rabbits known to exist today. Their small ears and social disposition make them popular among pet owners. They only weigh 1 to 3 pounds after they stop growing, which is usually around 5 months of age.
Holland Lop Rabbit
This breed of rabbit has long floppy ears and a compact body, giving them an adorable appearance that makes them look like babies even as adults. They are usually fully grown by 7 months of age and weigh no more than 3 to 4 pounds.
New Zealand Rabbit
Native to California, the New Zealand rabbit comes in five different colors and pink eyes stemming from a genetic mutation. These rabbits can weigh up to 12 pounds as an adult and usually stop growing by 10 months of age.
With a long, thick coat, the English Angora tends to look bigger than it really is. Because their wool continues to grow throughout their lives, this breed of rabbit can appear to continue to grow in size even after they reach maturity, which is usually around 8 months old. Even if they look like they weigh 20 pounds because of their hair, they shouldn’t weigh more than 8 pounds as an adult.
This rabbit race has a unique fur which according to some people is similar to the fur of a cat from tortoiseshell. They reach maturity around 9 months of age, and they can weigh between 7 and 10 pounds by that time.
These rabbits get their name from their ears, which fall on the sides of their faces. First developed in the 1800s, it is one of the most popular breeds in the world. They reach maturity around 10 months of age, and can weigh up to 15 pounds when all is said and done.
As the name suggests, the Flemish Giant rabbit is the largest (and one of the oldest) breed of rabbit living in the country today. These large rabbits weigh 22 pounds when they finish growing, which is usually around the 18 month mark.
Factors That Can Affect Rabbit Growth
There are several factors to keep in mind that can affect a rabbit’s growth rate, regardless of breed. First, genetics is a big consideration. If a mutation or genetic defect has occurred in a rabbit relative, even if it happened several generations ago, it could make the rabbit grow slower or faster.
Another factor to consider is food intake. If your rabbit isn’t eating enough or doesn’t have access to the right types of food, it’s likely not growing as fast or as big as it should. Rabbits need access to alfalfa hay as their main food as it is full of protein, fat, micronutrients and fiber needed for rapid growth. Regular vet visits will help ensure that your rabbit is on the right track when it comes to nutrition and growth.
In addition, habitat size and conditions can play a role in how fast your rabbit grows and how large they will become as adults. If the habitat is too small, they cannot grow to its full potential. If the habitat doesn’t offer all the features it should, such as a bed and toys, your rabbit will not have the mental health and physical stimulation necessary for healthy growth. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you consult with your breeder, pet store, or veterinarian to determine how large your rabbit’s habitat is and what to include in it.
While we have a good idea of how long it takes rabbits to grow and when they should stop growing based on the breed, there are no hard and fast rules to follow here. Some rabbits will grow slower or faster than others, but this does not mean that there are health problems to worry about. However, if in doubt, consult your veterinarian.
Featured Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay