Australia does not have all known rabbit breeds due to laws prohibiting the importation of rabbits. Since importation was stopped some breeds have become rare or died out while other newer rabbit breeds were never imported such as the Lion Head. The import of live animals into Australia is controlled by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the Quarantine Act 1908. (Keeping Exotic Animals - Wildlife Trade and Conservation in Australia. (2017, January 18). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from
Rabbit Breeds Found in Rabbit Rescue Shelters in Australia
There are still a wide variety of rabbit breeds from small to large. Some are plentiful in rabbit rescue while others such as the English Angora rarely find their way into shelters and The Rabbit Rescue Sanctuary Australia has only ever had one in nine years of operation. Purebred Netherland Dwarf rabbits also rarely find themselves in a rabbit rescue shelter. Rare rabbit breeds are rarely found in rabbit shelters. For example, The Rabbit Rescue Sanctuary has never once rescued a Thrianta rabbit.
Rare Rabbit Breeds in Australia
There are a few Australian rabbit breeders that are trying to maintain rare breeds such as the Thrianta rabbit which exists in the USA, Britain and Europe. One such breeder is Fran Boston from Lismore NSW. The English Spot is said to be very rare if it exists in pure form at all. Many rabbit breeds have been lost to government introduced rabbit viruses such as Myxomatosis and Calicivirus.
Rabbit Breeds in Australia
The following is a list of rabbit breeds found in Australia and exhibited in rabbit shows run by Australian rabbit clubs and rabbit breed societies. (Ref: The Pet Directory Rabbit Breeders List)
Giant Rabbit Breeds in Australia
Large Rabbit Breeds in Australia
New Zealand White
Medium Size Rabbit Breeds in Australia
Velvet Lops (a newly developed breed)
Small Rabbit Breeds in Australia
Mini Cashmere Lop
Netherland Dwarf (the smallest rabbit breed of all)
The term ‘fancy’ rabbits came about when rabbit shows grew in popularity in the 1800s. Rabbit ‘fanciers’ put on rabbit exhibitions and fairs in Western Europe and the USA.
Many breeds were developed for the show ring and many of them are still here in Australia. Some show breeds we used to have are gone and since 1990s we can no longer import rabbits into Australia.