Friday, March 23, 2012

Flemish Giant

Flemish Giant
It was pointed out to me that this week has been a bit of an unofficial theme week- the last couple days have featured animals that are popular within the pet industry! Well, why not keep this inadvertent theme going? Let's talk about the Flemish Giant, one of my favorite breeds of Domestic Rabbit, which can grow to weights of over 20lbs! That is larger than some dog breeds!

As the name suggests, Flemish Giants were developed in the region of Flanders. They are a very old breed, as far as modern rabbits are concerned, and were developed as far back as the early 16th century. There is some debate over the origins of the breed before that time, and some think they may have descended from large South American breeds brought back to Europe by Dutch traders.

The first confirmed records of the modern Flemish Giant breed date to the 1860s, and by the turn of the century breed clubs and standards were forming. These Rabbits were initially bred for their meat- a larger sized animal produces more food- but they are now popular as pets and for showing. The standard calls for 7 different recognized colors - black, blue, fawn, light gray, steel gray, sandy, and white - and are shown in 6 different age and sex based classes.

Flemish Giants are very docile Rabbits, and are less energetic and feisty than many of the smaller breeds, though improper socialization can make them fearful and violent. If properly handled, cared for, and interacted with, they become very tolerant, laid back, and healthy pets.

Keep in mind, however, that these guys are huge. Not only can they weigh over 20lbs, but they grow very, very quickly. A Flemish Giant can reach its full weight at only 9 months of age. They need a large habitat to move around in, and need a great deal of feeding (though don't give them too much, they are prone to obesity!)

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated in Flanders
Size : Weight up to 22lbs (10kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Lagomorpha
Family : Leporidae -- Genus : Oryctolagus -- Species : O. cuniculus

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