The English rabbit is one of the oldest breeds, existing as far back as 1838.
It is also known as the Old English or the English Spot.
English rabbits weigh 6-8 lbs (2.7-3.6 kg), making them medium-sized.
They are friendly and lively and have an inquisitive nature.
They are a very active breed and need plenty of space.
There are five colours - black, blue, tortoiseshell, chocolate and grey.
The markings include a butterfly-shaped mark on the nose, coloured ears, eye circles, spine marking (which is herring-boned) and a spot on each cheek and a chain of spots along the body.
If you are breeding English rabbits for showing, the spots have to match the picture shown below as closely as possible, making it very difficult - the perfect English rabbit has yet to be born!
Drawing of a perfect English rabbit
The English rabbit has unusual genetics, so that if you breed two spotted rabbits together, you will get approximately 50% spotted babies and will also get approximately 25% selfs (solid black, blue, tortoiseshell, chocolate or grey all over) and 25% charlies
(white with coloured head markings, a stripe down the back and very few spots).
Even more bizarrely, to get all spotted babies in a litter, you should breed a self to a charlie!
In this case the pattern will not usually be any good however!
Although selfs and charlies cannot be shown, they still make very good pets of course!
To see the British Rabbit Council breed standard, click here
These are the combinations you are, in theory, supposed to get when breeding English rabbits:
• Spotted x spotted: 50% spotted, 25% self, 25% charlie
• Spotted x self: 50% spotted, 50% self
• Spotted x charlie: 50% spotted, 50% charlie
• Self x charlie: 100% spotted
• Self x self: 100% self
• Charlie x charlie: 100% charlie