JAPANESE RABBIT - Origin, characteristics, photos and videos!

Japanese rabbit: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. On PlanèteAnimal, you will find an infinity of articles that will...

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On PlanèteAnimal, you will find an infinity of articles that will help you discover new species and breeds of animals. On this occasion, we tell you about a very special rabbit, the Japanese rabbit or harlequin rabbit. This rabbit owes its name of "harlequin" to a very particular characteristic. Can you tell which one?

The Japanese rabbit is a very old breed of rabbit, which quickly became popular as soon as it appeared. This is because the Japanese rabbit is considered one of the most affable and affectionate pet rabbits.


  • Europe
  • France

Origin of the Japanese Rabbit

Curious fact, the origin of the Japanese rabbit is actually in France! Although the exact year of its appearance is not known, it is suspected that it took place in the 1880s. This breed of rabbit was born from a cross between wild rabbits and semi-wild Dutch rabbits . As early as 1887, the first official exhibition of this breed of rabbit was held in France, more precisely in Paris, and became popular until it reached England and, in 1920, the United States.

Characteristics of the Japanese Rabbit

The Japanese Rabbit usually weighs between 2.7 and 3.6 kg once it reaches adulthood. It should be noted that males are normally smaller than females.

The body of these rabbits is compact and rather elongated, with medium-sized legs, which present a developed musculature, which gives them great physical power.The head is proportionally larger than the body, with ears that prick upwards and end in rounded tips.

The Japanese Rabbit has a short coat that is very shiny and silky. His hair is smooth and covers his entire body evenly. The most characteristic thing about this breed of rabbit is the color pattern, or rather the color and marking patterns of this coat, which we will discuss later.

Japanese Rabbit Colors

Despite the great variety that can exist in the coat patterns of this rabbit, we can distinguish two types of coats in the Japanese rabbit:

  • White base mixed with blue, black, chocolate or lilac. These spots appear as bands, bars, or a mixture of these.
  • Orange base and combinations of chocolate, lilac, blue or black.

Japanese Rabbit Character

If there is a reason why the Japanese rabbit has become popular, besides its peculiar appearance, it is because of its friendly and sociable nature. They are very nice rabbits who provide affection and tranquility. They are extremely sensitive, so caution is advised before their possible coexistence with other animals such as cats or dogs, as they are easily stressed.

In general, it is important to emphasize their friendliness and the ease with which they can be domesticated and live as pets. It is recommended to keep them at home and ensure that they are with another family member most of the time, since they generally do not tolerate loneliness very well. They don't cohabit easily with other animals, but they need the love and attention of their human family.

However, even though these bunnies are notable for their kind and generally affectionate natures, that doesn't mean they aren't territorial.Rabbits are often very territorial animals, which tend to mark their territory and express attitudes and reactions related to the heat season from an early age. In this sense, Japanese (rabbit) is not exempt. This is why it is recommended to sterilize them following the advice of the veterinarian.

If you are interested in the subject, we recommend that you read this other article: "How to educate a rabbit" .

How to take care of a Japanese Rabbit?

Japanese Rabbit care does not differ from the general care that any domestic rabbit should receive. For example, it is recommended to brush their coat regularly to remove dust and dirt, and it is not recommended to bathe them, which is very common in these animals.

Regarding the diet of the Japanese Rabbit, it should be noted that, like all rabbits, this animal has an exclusively herbivorous diet, consuming only foods of plant origin.More specifically, his diet should be based on the consumption of hay, vegetables and fresh fruits. In addition, he must always have water at his disposal to keep himself properly hydrated.

On the other hand, the Japanese Rabbit must have a suitable habitat. If we opt for a cage, it must be large enough to allow the animal to move around. This cage must be equipped with a soft bottom, have access to drinkers and feeders and must include objects or toys to gnaw. This last point is very important, because the teeth of rabbits do not stop growing and if they are not properly worn, these animals can suffer from various oral disorders which then cause them great pain.

The Japanese Rabbit also needs to be able to explore and frolic at ease. That is why a large cage is not enough, and the animal has to get out of it to exercise, play, run and jump.So, whenever possible and safe, it is advisable to let the rabbit roam freely around the house. Likewise, it is more than recommended to set up a room just for him.

For more information, we recommend reading our article: "How to take care of a rabbit" .

Japanese Rabbit He alth

The Japanese Rabbit, like any other domestic rabbit, can suffer from a series of diseases. One of them is the alteration already mentioned due to the continuous growth of his teeth. To avoid this, it must be provided with objects such as cardboard, toys that allow it to gnaw and therefore wear out its teeth. If we observe that our rabbit stops eating and acts listless, it may be due to a dental abscess or malocclusion, both of which require specialized veterinary care.

In addition to his teeth, we need to keep his eyes, nails and ears in good condition and under supervision. We'll need to clean his ears regularly, trim his nails, and make sure his eyes aren't red, puffy, or watery.

If the Japanese Rabbit receives all the care it needs, its life expectancy is 6 to 8 years.

Adopt a Japanese Rabbit

The Japanese Rabbit is a relatively common rabbit in shelters, so we can manage to adopt one with ease. As always, on PlanèteAnimal, we recommend responsible adoption, taking into account the needs of these animals and being very aware of what their adoption entails. We need to make sure that we can take care of them and that we can give them all the attention they need.

Once your decision is made, how to adopt a Japanese Rabbit? In this case, the best thing to do is to go to the animal shelters and SPAs closest to you. Unfortunately, there are more and more exotic animals there, including many types of rabbits. Who knows, maybe one of these little ones is waiting for you!

Symbol of the rabbit: Japanese mythological creature

" Shintoism is the oldest religion in Japan, with Buddhism making its appearance from the 6th century AD. This religion is based on animist principles and its foundation lies in the belief in a great Whole that constitutes nature. The gods and divinities are found in nature, to which men pray in order to obtain good harvests, fertile land, good weather. The Kojiki, Chronicle of Ancient Facts, a collection of Shinto myths related to the cosmogony and the history of Japanese deities, relates everything there is to know on the subject. In the pantheon of Shinto gods - or kamis, we find several gods and goddesses - or called kami, depending on their role - who stand out for their importance. Among the most important and most recurrent, we can cite Amaterasu, goddess of the sun, Tsukuyomi, god of the sun, and Susanoo, deity of the sea and storms, which stand out most often."

Another god, considered among the most eminent of this pantheon, also stands out: Ōkuninushi. He is one of Susanoo's many sons, and shares an episode with a rabbit on his journey to marry Princess Yagami. He leaves, accompanied by his 80 brothers, also suitors of the princess, to join the province of Inaba. Along the way, the 80 brothers encounter an injured little rabbit, which is missing almost all the skin. The rabbit, this small Japanese mythological creature normally white in color, explains to them that being very bored on his island, he decided to join a more lively land. To do this, he played his trick on the crocodiles (or sharks, depending on the version) by taunting them, telling them that he had the answer to the greatest riddle of all time: there are more rabbits. only crocodiles in the world, and that he undertook to count them himself to support his point. He enjoins them to line up, the crocodiles comply and then form a bridge by aligning themselves.The bunny jumps on the back of each crocodile, and when the last one comes, the bunny admits he can't count. The last crocodile, furious, tears off the skin of the rabbit who manages to save himself narrowly. Ōkuninushi's brothers offer him a deliberately mischievous solution, advising him to bathe in seawater and let the wind dry him. The rabbit decides to follow this misleading advice and suffers even more than before from the effect of the s alt on his wounds coupled with the wind which carries the sand. Ōkuninushi, the youngest of his brothers and last in line, passes the crying rabbit. Moved, he asks her what her misfortune is and how can he help her. The rabbit tells him what has just happened, and Ōkuninushi, understanding the bad intentions of his brothers, recommends that he bathe in fresh river water and pass the pollen on his skin. The rabbit, in addition to healing, regains its beautiful immaculate white coat. As a thank you, he predicts that Ōkuninushi will marry the beautiful Princess Yagami, as only he is truly worthy.

Since then, a Shinto shrine called Hakuto-jinja has celebrated this mythological episode. It is in the province of Inaba, where the story allegedly took place. We find there the iconography of the rabbit, which has largely won its place as a Japanese mythological creature, represented in statuettes or in small decorations sold. People go there for different kinds of beliefs, but also to cure skin diseases.

Symbolic of the rabbit: the moon rabbit

In the symbolism of the rabbit, we find it once again as a Japanese mythological creature. Perhaps you already know it, but the Japanese have a habit of saying that they see a rabbit drawn on the figure of the full moon. This belief comes from a Japanese Buddhist tale and relates the following facts:

" One day, one of the gods named Sakra decided to go to earth to remedy the boredom that consumes him. To do this, he disguised himself as a starving man.He then went into the woods, to test the survivability of the animals living there, and asked them to bring him food to appease the hunger that gnawed at him. Everyone did, using their own skills to get food: the monkey and the squirrel climbed the trees, the bear went fishing in the river, for example. Only the rabbit did not know how to do it and found nothing to offer the stranger. The other animals began to laugh at him and his helplessness. The rabbit, annoyed, suddenly had a flash of genius! He asked for a pot to be brought, into which he threw himself in order to offer himself a meal to the hungry man. The god, witness of the whole scene, is moved. He extinguished the cauldron and saved the rabbit. Thus, to reward his generosity and altruism, he sends him to live on the moon. This is why the Japanese are used to saying that they see a rabbit drawn on the moon when it is full, thereby amplifying the symbolism of the rabbit.The rabbit is associated with the Japanese festival Tsukimi, which literally means looking at the moon. This celebration takes place between mid-September and early October, it announces the arrival of autumn. According to tradition, children try to catch a glimpse of the rabbits living on the moon, preparing mochis."

One last curious fact: did you know that there is an island inhabited entirely by rabbits in Japan? The island bears the name of Ôkunoshima and was abandoned after being used as a place of manufacture of weapons during the Second World War, leaving the island exclusively to the populations of Japanese rabbits already present. There would be more than 700 today and this is the main tourist activity of this place.

Pictures of Japanese Rabbit

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