Rabbit Terms - Terminology
Words Used in Rabbitry

Understanding Rabbits ~ History ~ Anatomy ~ Behaviour ~ Language ~ Rabbit Terms

The following list has both common and unfamiliar rabbit words used by rabbit breeders and those connected with showing rabbits.

If you are new to rabbits, then this very comprehensive dictionary-styled list will be very useful on your quest for learning.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y

Alphabetical List

Terms
Meaning
A
Rabbit terms starting with A

Abcess

A hard swelling or isolated collection of pus or purulent matter occurring in the rabbit's skin. Accompanied by localized fever and heat.

Adult Any fully developed, mature rabbit of breeding age. For show purposes, a rabbit 6 months of age or older in breeds having four showroom classes and 8 months or older in breeds having six showroom classes. See Senior.
Agouti Colour A hair shaft that has three or more bands of colour with a definite break between each colour. Usually dark slate at the base, with two or more alternating light and dark bands or rings interspersed with black guard hairs. The head, ears, and feet usually have ticking; the belly colour is much lighter and does not carry ticking. Examples: Steel or Grey Flemish, Chinchilla and Belgian Hares.
Albino A pink-eyed, white fur /wool rabbit.
Allele See Locus
Alter To remove the sex organs of a rabbit. To be "fixed" or spayed (female term) or neutered (male term).
ARBA The initials of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc., which promotes rabbits in the United States and foreign countries, provides for licensing of judges and registrars, and publishes a book of standards (The Standard of Perfection) which describes the desired characteristics for each recognized breed.
Arch (Arc) Rabbit term to describe a gentle curvature of the spine, which extends from the neck (or shoulders in some breeds) to the rear of the rabbit. It is best observed by viewing the animal in profile.
Awn Fluff The soft, crimped, intermediate wool fibers ending with a straight tip. A type of wool fiber described in the Giant Angora standard.
Awn Hair Rabbit term to describe the strong, straight guard hair protruding above the undercoat (Awn Fluff) on the Giant Angora.

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B
Rabbit terms starting with B
Back Rabbit term meaning the entire top portion of the rabbit, extending from neck to tail.
Balance 1. Type: Shape or conformation. An orderly and pleasing arrangement of physical characteristics so as to present a harmonious appearance.
2. Markings: Equal distribution of corresponding markings, such as colour division of the Harlequin, equal amounts of colour on the cheeks of the Dutch. Equal distribution of colour in the pattern and side markings of the Checkered Giant, English Spot and Rhinelander.
Banding

1. A hair shaft having various colours. Normally associated with an agouti coat.
2. An unbroken vertical circle of marking colour, extending around the body of the Harlequin.

Bangs The longer wool appearing at the front base of the ears and top of the head in some wooled breeds.
Bare Spot A portion of the rabbit's pelt that lacks fur due to molt or any other cause.
Barn Similar to rabbitry. People refer to their rabbit barn as such if they keep their rabbits in their own unique building just for the purpose of housing rabbits.
Barred 1. Elongated spots which should be round (as in the side markings of the English Spot or Rhinelander, or the cheek spots of the Checkered Giant, English Spot or Rhinelander).
2. Light coloured streaks or bars on the front or rear feet.
3. A semi-circle of marking colour, running vertically on the side of the Harlequin.
Base Colour Rabbit term relating to the colour of the fur next to the skin.
Bathing Suit Style This is when a rabbit lays all stretched out like a bathing suit model posing for the camera.
Bell Ears Rabbit term meaning ears that have large tips with a distinct fall or lop.
Belly The lower part of the body containing the intestines, the abdomen. For purposes of defining colour area, it is the underbody of the rabbit from the forelegs to the crotch area.
Belly Colour The colour on the underside of the rabbit, extending from the forelegs to the crotch area.
Belt The line where the coloured portion of the body meets the white portion just behind the shoulders. Example: Dutch breed.
BEW A rabbit term used in breeding meaning Blue-eyed white; white bunny with blue eyes resulting from two Vienna genes.
Binky or Binkies This is when a rabbit is extremely happy and jumps into the air while running or while standing still. Sometimes they will kick out their hind legs in mid air too. Domestic rabbits as well as wild rabbits will do this. It's a wonderful sight to see.
BIS Best in Show. Denotes the best rabbit at the show that day. To win it, your rabbit must get BOB. At the end of the show, all of the breeds who had a BOB winner compete to see who is the best of the best.
Blaze The white markings found on the head of the Dutch rabbit. It covers the nose, whisker bed and runs along the jawline. The shape is that of a wedge, which tapers from the nose area to the base of the ears.
Bloodline A rabbit term incorrectly used to denote a strain of rabbits.
Bloom The vitality and finish of a coat in good condition.
BOB A rabbit term used in show circles, a show award meaning Best of Breed. Denotes the best of a particular breed that day.
Boils A localized area of inflammation caused by an infection under the skin, in a gland, or in a hair shaft. It produces a localized swelling, heat and redness. A Disqualification from Competition.
Bonding A rabbit term used to describe two rabbits that have paired up together. The easiest bond is male to female but female to female and male to male bonds are also possible. Once rabbits are bonded they shouldn't really be separated or it will put undue stress on the rabbits.
Boots The coloured markings on the rear feet and legs of Himalayan marked rabbits.
BOS Best of Opposite Sex. A rabbit show award. Denotes the best rabbit (opposite sex of BOB)
BOSV Best of Opposite Sex of Variety. A rabbit show award.
BOV Best of Variety. A rabbit show award.
Bowed Legs May be applied to the fore or hind legs. Bent like a bow. Legs curved out-wardly or inwardly from the middle. A Disqualification from Competition.
BRC British Rabbit Council, formed in 1934 from the British Rabbit Society and the National Rabbit Council of Great Britain and her Dominions.
Breed A class of domestic rabbit which reproduces itself with distinctive characteristics, such as fur, markings, shape, and size. A breed may be divided into varieties which are generally identified by colour. A breed may be subdivided into varieties. Example: Black, Blue, and Tortoise varieties of the Dutch breed.
Breeder 1. Anyone who raises a special variety or varieties of rabbits which comply with their accepted Standard of Perfection.
2. A rabbit used primarily to produce offspring.
Breeding Certificate A written certificate issued by the owner of a stud buck, showing It's pedigree in full, and the date of breeding to a particular doe. It is issued as proof of the ancestry of the anticipated litter.
Brindling 1. The longer tipped guard hairs carried up the sides of Tans.
2. An inter mixture of two colours without definite pattern.
BRIS Best Reserve in Show ~ the rabbit of any breed judged to be second best at a show. This BRIS does not have to be the opposite sex of the BIS.
Broken Coat A coat with guard hairs missing or broken in spots, which exposes the undercoat. Areas where the coat is affected by molt which exposes the undercoat.
Broken Colour Any recognised rabbit breed colour in conjunction with white and carrying the breed pattern.

Broken Ear

A distinct break in the cartilage of the ear which prevents erect ear carriage A Disqualification from Competition.
Broken Tail A tail that is, or has been broken and is out of line. A Disqualification from Competition.
Bronco Buck when a rabbit is running and kicks out their hind feet while in mid air - like a bucking bronco or horse might do.
Buck An unaltered or intact male rabbit.
Buck Teeth A form of malocclusion where the incisors meet together evenly instead of the upper incisors overlapping the lower incisors (also called "pegged" teeth). A Disqualification from Competition. See Wolf Teeth.
Buff A rich golden orange colour with a creamy cast.
Bull Dog
A short, broad, bold head with a definite masculine appearance.
Bunny Burrito To put a bunny in a towel and then wrap them up relatively tight so that you can administer meds or trim nails.
Butterfly
A nose marking found on many breeds and Broken varieties. The wing portions cover the whisker bed and upper lip, with the body or nose fork extending up the center of the face.
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C
Rabbit terms starting with C
Caked (Teats or Udders) Engorgement of a does mammary glands and teats with an abundant milk supply (inflammation usually indicates mastitis).
Cannibalism
The practice of a doe eating her own young.
Cap
The marking line where lower ear colour stops and joins head colour. Specified in the Checkered Giant.
Carcass Weight
The weight of the rabbit after it has been processed.
Carriage
The manner in which a rabbit carries itself.
1. The style or characteristic pose of a rabbit.
2. The style in which a rabbit carries its ears.
Carry (genes) This means that a rabbit is hiding a gene for another colour. It can hide a recessive gene. It cannot hide a gene that is from a different locus, it has to hide a gene from it’s own locus.
Cavy / Cavies These are not rabbits. They are shown sometimes at rabbit shows. They are basically guinea pigs.

Cecotrope Pellet

 

Tthis is the rabbit poop that is normally eaten right from the anus directly. It is mulberry/brownish in colour, shaped like a small raspberry with a white-ish mucus covering it. It can look like a cluster of tiny, shiny poops all clumped and stuck together. For nutritional reasons, rabbits re-ingest these pellets.
Cecotrophy Consumption of the cecal pellets that are swallowed whole without chewing directly from the anus. They are dependent on the rabbit eating alot of fiber to product them.
Cecum Largest part of the GI tract of a rabbit. Has 10 times the capacity of it's stomach. Contains 40% of the intestinal content and is the fermentation vat where food gets processed.
Chain
The arrangement of spots on an English Spot, starting at the ear/neck with spots about the size of a pea, and taking a downward course toward the stomach/abdomen.
Charlie An extremely lightly marked animal in marked breeds or Broken Groups. Usually having coloured ears, light eye circles and a Charlie Chaplin mustache like marking for a butterfly and are also usually devoid of back and side markings. The trait is usually genetically recessive. a bunny with two broken-pattern genes which result in a minimally patterned rabbit. (e.g. Hollands must have 10% pattern to be showable).
Cheek
1. The sides of the face below the eyes.
2. The rounded colour head marking that forms the blaze and carries down along the jaw line of a Dutch.
Chest The front portion of the body between the forelegs and neck.
Chinning Rabbits have scent glands under their chin. They will mark other items or people with their chins to put their individual scent on you so that other bunnies will know you are claimed. This is known as chinning and they all normally do this to any object they want to claim for themself, or to mark as part of their territory.
Choppy (or Chopped Off) A condition in which a rabbit is not well filled out and rounded in the loin and rump area.
Chromosomes The genetic make up if cells that reproduce themselves. This is where the DNA is. A domestic rabbit has 44 chromosomes (22 pairs), cotton tails have 42, and hares have 48.
Circling Rabbit term used primarily during bonding when both bunnies are running in a tight circle chasing each other. (Do not let this happen for more than a 15 seconds if possible. It never has good results.)
Class

1. A group of rabbits that fall into the same gender, pattern and age group.
2. Age group of the rabbit. Either Junior, Intermediate or Senior

Classification A system of arranging the judging within different breeds. Typically a group of rabbits that fall into the same gender, pattern and age group.
Clean
1. A rabbit term used on French Angora, Satin Angora, Jersey Wooly and FUZZY Lops head, ears, feet and legs denoting the presence of normal fur (absence of wool) in those places.
2. A marking term denoting well formed markings without congestion or drags.
Cobby A rabbit term meaning stout and stocky: short legged.
Cold An infection localized in the nose. Usually characterized by repeated sneezing and the discharge of fluid from the nose. Sometimes accompanied by matted fur on the inside of the front feet. A Disqualification from Competition. (Note: In judging, the matted fur is only an indication and shall not be considered as conclusive evidence of a cold).
Compatible In eye colour, normal colour that complements or matches the body colour.
Condition The overall physical state of a rabbit in relation to its health, cleanliness, fur and grooming.
Conjunctivitis Inflammation of the inner membrane of the eyelid and sometimes the portion of the membrane that covers the white of the eye. A Disqualification from Competition.
Convention The national rabbit show held by ARBA and sponsored by a local rabbit club for all breeds usually held in the Autumn (Fall). Many US states hold conventions as well.
Coprophagy (Cecotrophy) The normal practice of the rabbit consuming some of the droppings (nutrient-rich cecotropes from it's anus - soft night feces) directly from the anus. Rabbits recycle their food for nutrients and protein and other compounds that are essential for their good health.
Cow Hocks Hind legs that turn inward at the hock causing the foot portion to turn outward from the body. A Disqualification from Competition.

Creamy

A rabbit term meaning light coloured. The colour of cream.
Crossbreeding Mating individuals of different breeds. Thus making a non showable rabbit.
Crown A strong basal ridge of cartilage at the top of the head between the ear base on some lop-eared breeds.
Cull A breeder goes through a litter selecting ones he/she wishes to keep. The rest are sold (or eaten, if they're a meat breed.)
Culling The process of selecting only the best rabbits from a litter for future breeding and show stock by selling or slaughtering the least desirable specimens from a litter.

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D
Rabbit terms starting with D

Dam

Female rabbit that produced an offspring. A rabbit’s dam is its mother.
Definition 1. The sharpness and clarity of a colour break on a hair shaft, as the ring colour in Agouti fur.
2. Sometimes used to describe colour contrasts.
Density The property or quality of a thick coat of fur. The number of fur fibers in a give area.
Depth 1. Measurement downward from the top line of the body to the lowest portion of the body.
2. Sometimes used to describe the extension of colour down the hair shaft.
Deviated Sternum A condition in which the connecting tissue of the ribs and/or breast - bone fuse together forming an irregular sternum. Typically found at the lower end of the rib cage and is characterized as a lump or cone shaped bony protrusion, which may also extend up into the internal cavity of the animal. A Disqualification from Competition.
Dew Claw An extra toe or functionless digit on the inside of the front leg.
Dewlap A pendulous fold of loose skin which hangs from the throat. Common in does. (linked to doe being of baby bearing age). When the rabbit is altered (fixed) the dewlap will normally disappear.Should be in proportion to the total body size. Not accepted in some breeds.
Disqualification or DQ One or more permanent defects, deformities, or blemishes that make a rabbit unfit to win an award in competition or to take part in an exhibition.
Doe An unaltered or intact female rabbit.
Dominant 1. A dominant gene is stronger than a recessive gene. A dominant gene always shows up first. For example, if a chestnut agouti (castor, sandy, etc) carries self (non-agouti) the rabbit would appear as a chestnut agouti. The self gene will not show.
2. Refers to the top rabbit either in a pair or warren of rabbits.This rabbit will want attention from the other rabbit(s). They can be demanding and bossy.
DQ Disqualification from showing. DQ’s may be either permanent (such as a missing toe, malocclusion, or nonshowable colour) or temporary (illness). Most common is over the weight limit, bad teeth, or illness present.
Drags Intrusions of colour markings into a white marking area or visa versa.
Dressing See Processing.
Dwarf Rabbit A rabbit weighing under 5 pounds is considered a dwarf rabbit. They come in various breeds and colours.
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E
Rabbit terms starting with E
Ear Canker An inflamed scabby condition deep inside the ear. It is caused by an infestation of the ear canal by rabbit ear mites. A Disqualification from Competition.
Ear Lacing A coloured line of fur which outlines the sides and tips of the ears.
Ear Number / Tattoo A series of numbers and/or letters tattooed into the rabbits left ear. Usually no more then 5 are in the ear. A circled R may be tattooed in the left ear if the rabbit has been registered.
Elimination One or more defects presumed to be temporary and curable. Cause for elimination in a show or from registration until cured or corrected.
Embryo A kit in the early stages of development inside the doe.
Enteritis (or diarrhea) Inflammation of the intestinal tract which can often be a fatal illness of the digestive system characterized by diarrhea and brought on by stress, excessive carbohydrate consumption and/or weaning. Rabbit's poop pellets should be firm and dry looking and slightly smaller than marbles.
Entry Entries are rabbits that will participate in a particular show.
Extension 1. Length of leg and limb.
2. Depth of colour carried down a hair shaft.
Eye Bands The colour around the eye on Dwarf Hotot or Hotot.
Eye Circle Even marking of colour around both eyes. Example: Checkered Giant.
Eye colour The colour of the iris. The circle of colour which surrounds the pupil of the eye.
Eye Stain Splotches or streaks of colour around the eyes in Himalayan and pointed white varieties.
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F
Rabbit terms starting with F
Faking Any dying, plucking, trimming or clipping so as to alter appearance. (Includes colouring toenails, powdering and indiscriminate use of grooming preparations designed to alter the natural condition or appearance.)
Faults Imperfections. Conditions or characteristics that are unacceptable and will result in lower show placing but not disqualification. Examples: broken toenails, cheek spots to large, and poor tail carriage.
Fecal Pellet Small brown round or oval rabbit poop.
Fiber Term used by people who like to spin and knit with various animal's hair/fur. Rabbits hair is a fur technically, but also commonly called fiber or even wool. Familiar breeds of rabbits that are used for fiber related crafts are Angoras.
Fine Coat A coat of fur too fine in texture, lacking body. Guard hairs are weak and thin in structure. Lacking the proper amount of guard hairs.
Finish The desired degree of perfection in condition. Fully prime coat, colour and flesh. A coat of a rabbit that either lacks finish (poor condition, molting, etc) or has a good finish (well groomed, not molting) could mean the difference between winning and losing.
First (1st) Runner Up Reserve to BIS - This is the 2nd place rabbit to who won BIS
Flabby The condition of a rabbit when the flesh or fur hangs loosely. Not trim and shapely.
Flank The sides of the rabbit between the ribs and hips and above the belly.
Flat Coat Fur lying too closely to the body. Lacks spring or body as noted by touch. Usually a fine coat coupled with a lack of density.
Flat Shoulders A trait that occurs when the top line over the shoulders is noticeably parallel to the surface of the judging table. A lack of continuous arch from the neck over the shoulders.
Flesh Condition The general health and state of a rabbit's skin. If a rabbit is "rough" in flesh it means the skin over the backbone is very loose and thin. Bones are easily felt. Most common in rabbits suffering from some illness, not being fed enough, or does coming off weaning litters.
Flopping Maybe after grooming a rabbit just flops over on his or her side, letting their belly hang out and their eyes roll back in their head - this is a bunny flop and things don't get much better than this - your rabbit is totally happy.
Fly Back The property of fur that causes it to return quickly to its normal position when stroked toward the head of the rabbit.
Flying Coat The condition of a coat that is loose and fluffy, caused by undue length and thinness of under wool and weak guard hairs.
Foot The part of the leg on which the rabbit stands. On the foreleg, that portion below the ankle or pattern. On the rear leg, that portion below the hock joint.
Forehead The front part of the head between the eyes and the base of the ears.
Foreign colour Any colour of fur, nails, or eyes differing from that called for in the ARBA Standard of Perfection for the breed or variety.
Four Class Rabbits Rabbit show category for all breeds having ideal adult weight under 9 pounds. There are four show classes for these rabbits: senior bucks, senior does, junior bucks, and junior does.
Forequarters The portion of the body starting with the neck, back to and including the last rib.
Fostering The use of a doe other than the dam to nurse and raise young kits. Should be done with kits of the same age/size. This is usually only done for the sake of giving the kits a better chance of survival if their litter is too large to support all of them, or if a mother rejected her litter.
Free Range A rabbit that is NEVER in a cage or hutch. (This is possible. I have 2 free range bunnies - they are never in a cage or a hutch).
Fringes The wool appearing on the ears of some woolen breeds. Falls between the tassels and the bangs.
Fryer A young meat animal, which for show purposes, cannot be over 10 weeks of age or weigh over 5 lbs
Furnishings The tassels and fringes on the ears, the bangs and head side trimmings on some wooled breeds.
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G
Rabbit terms starting with G
Genotype The genetically inherited characteristics and potential of the rabbit stock. For example the genotype of a chestnut agouti is: A_B_C_D_E_
Gestation 1. The period of time between breeding and birthing or kindling.
2. The period of time that a doe carries young in its uterus. Pregnancy. Normal length is 28-32 days.
GI Statis A disruption of the normal propulsive ability of the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract slows down and doesn't process food like it should. They can be many causes which can lead to an obstruction, impaction or constipation. This is life threatening.
Glossy The reflection of luster or brightness from naturally healthy fur in rabbits. Improved by grooming.
Grand Champion A rabbit that has earned three or more legs, at least one of them being a senior leg, under at least two different judges. To obtain a grand champion number and certificate, the legs must be submitted with a fee.

Grooming

Rabbits are usually very clean about themselves. They will lick and clean themselves which is referred to as grooming. If a rabbit gets wet, it will try and lick or groom itself dry and might obsess over having wet fur. Over Grooming is when a rabbit licks itself so much in the same place over and over, their fur comes out and bare skin is exposed.
Group A broader classification than variety, usually applied to colour groupings.
Guard Hair The longer, coarser, projecting hair of the rabbit's coat which offers protection to the undercoat and furnishes wearing quality to the coat in addition to providing sheen.
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H
Rabbit terms starting with H
Hairline A narrow white line running between the ears, connecting the blaze and collar (can be seen on the Dutch).
Herd The name used to describe a group of rabbits.
Herdsman Points One herdsman point is awarded to each owner of a rabbit for each different rabbit that wins a Best of Breed or Best Opposite Sex in sanctioned shows. Herdsman points are indicators of the depth of the quality of a particular herd.
Heterozygous This means that the rabbit is not pure for a certain gene. It carries a recessive gene. For example, “Aa” instead of “AA”.
Hindquarters The after-portion or posterior section of the body, made up of loins, hips, hind legs, and rump.
Hip The thigh joint and large, muscular first joint of the hind leg.
HLRSC Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club - national specialty club for Holland Lops. All Holland Lop breeders should belong to HLRSC.
Hock The middle joint or section of the hind leg between the foot and hip.
Hog Fat The condition of a rabbit obviously over-fattened and, as a result, out of proportion to the true type of the breed.
Hole The rabbit's cage or home.
Homozygous This means that the rabbit is pure for a certain gene. It does not carry a recessive gene and it cannot produce certain colours. For example, “AA” instead of “Aa”.
Hump Back The condition of having a hump or protrusion on the back, marring a gracefully arched outline.
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I
Rabbit terms starting with I
Inbreeding A breeding program involving the mating of closely related rabbit stock, such as brother and sister.
Inherited The degree to which a trait or characteristic is passed on from a parent to offspring.
Inner Ear The concave (curved inward) portion of the ear.
Interloper A rabbit coming in from another area, not part of the warren or family but an outsider.
Intermediate A show class term referring to rabbits that are at least 6 months old and no older than 8 months and that fulfill the weight requirements of the breed. Most common in larger breeds
Inventory A list of everything on hand that is necessary to the project. A beginning inventory is taken at the start of a project year. An ending inventory is taken at the close of a project year.
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J
Rabbit terms starting with J
Junior A show class term referring to rabbits that are under 6 months of age and that fulfill the weight requirements of the breed.
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Rabbit terms starting with K
Kindling The process of giving birth to kits.

Kindling Box

A box provided to does so that she can make a nest and have babies in it. Also called a nest box.
Kisses When a rabbit licks you to you show affection. They love you.
Kit Baby rabbit.
Knee The second joint of the leg, connecting the thigh and leg. In animals, more properly called the "hock". The second joint of the foreleg is the elbow.
Knock Kneed See Cow Hocks.
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L
Rabbit terms starting with L
Lagomorph The Order that rabbits and hares belong to. Family Leporidae. Rabbits are not rodents!
Lapin 1. French word for rabbit
2. In the fur trade, it is dyed rabbit fur.
Lazy Tail A tail that is slow to assume its normal position when it is moved.
Leg A leg is earned by winning in an ARBA-sanctioned show as long as there are three exhibitors and five rabbits competing for the win. For example, first place in a class of five or more bunnies showed by three or more different exhibitors would earn a leg. For classes without enough exhibitors and/or bunnies, it may be possible to earn a leg by winning BOSV (if there are sufficient numbers of the related sex in the variety), BOV (if there are sufficient numbers in the entire variety), BOS (if there are sufficient number in the related sex of the breed) or BOB (if there are sufficient numbers in the entire breed). A rabbit may only earn one leg per judging.
Line breeding A breeding program involving the mating of rabbits that are both descended from the same animal but are related several generations back. For example: mating first cousins, uncle to niece, or aunt to nephew.
Litter Young rabbits of a doe born at the same time.
Live Weight The weight of a rabbit before it is dressed for market.
Locus (plural - Loci) This is the position of the gene on a chromosome. It is the series or set that certain genes are located in. Each locus has a specific letter name. For example, A Locus, B Locus, etc. Genes from one loci cannot be dominant or recessive to genes from another loci. There can only be two genes on one loci. One gene per locus is donated from one parent and the other gene is donated from the other parent to fill the 2 “slots” on the chromosome.
Loin The part of the back on either side of the spine and between the lower rib and hip joint.
Loose Coat The condition of fur lacking density in the undercoat, coupled usually with fine guard hairs and resulting in lack of texture. Does not indicate a slipping coat.
Lopped Ear Pendulous ear. Not carried erect. Falling to the side or front.
Luster Brightness and brilliance of fur.
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M
Rabbit terms starting with M
Malocclusion A misalignment of teeth. An inherited defect where the upper and lower jaws do not let the teeth meet, resulting in long, uneven teeth extending out of the rabbit's mouth.
Mandolin The body of the rabbit is pear shaped, having the appearance of a mandolin laid face down. Back and saddle arch toward loins to make noticeably large, broad hindquarters.
Marked A rabbit's fur usually white, which is broken up by an orderly placement of another colour. Also refers to rabbits that carry the pattern of the Tan variety.
Massive A rabbit term meaning bulky and heavy. Ponderous or large.

Meatloaf

When a rabbit sits on the ground laying on all four legs with their legs tucked under their body so that a roll of fur surrounds the ground and no legs can be seen or detected at all. Known as sitting meatloaf style.
Meaty The quality of being able to carry a large proportion of meat for the size and type of rabbit. A noticeable meatiness at the forequarters, back, saddle, loins, and haunches.
Modifier This is a type of gene that is linked up with a certain gene and it modifies that gene. An example, is rufus modifiers. A rabbit with more rufus modifiers will have a deeper, darker, red colouring (e.g. Red). A rabbit with fewer rufus modifiers will have lighter, duller red colour (e.g. Fawn). Rufus modifiers are shown as plus (+) and minus (-) signs. A rabbit with more plus signs will have darker colour, a rabbit with more minus signs will have lighter colour, and a rabbit with an equal amount will have medium colour.
Molt (Moult) The process of shedding or changing the fur twice each year. The baby or nest fur is molted at two months. The first natural coat of fur is fully developed at 4 to 6 months.
Moon Eyes The condition of having a milky film over the cornea or appearance similar to a moonstone. coloured eyes having an extremely light iris, giving the eye a glazed appearance.
Mounting This is done to show which rabbit is dominant. One rabbit will mount on top of the other rabbit. This is usually not a sex related move, but to demonstrate that the top rabbit is the boss. This will happen during the bonding process to get the pecking order established. Both males and females will mount other rabbits and the sex of the rabbit has no bearing on which one will mount - it's more a personality trait.
Muzzle The projecting portion of the head surrounding the mouth, nose, and lower jaw.
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N
Rabbit terms starting with N
Nationals

A national specialty show held by a national specialty club and sponsored by a local club.

Neck That part of the rabbit connecting the head and body.
Nest Box A box provided to does so that she can make a nest and have babies in it usually inside the hutch or cage hole where the kits are born and live for the first 18 to 21 days. Also called a kindling box.
Nose Biff When a rabbit wants your attention or for you to do something, he or she will bump you with their nose.
Nursing Process of allowing the kits to suckle milk from the mother's teats. A doe's milk is one of the densest, riches milks of any animal. She will usually only nurse the kits once a day.
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O
Rabbit terms starting with O
Off-coloured

Applied to several hairs or patches of fur foreign to the standard colour of the rabbit.

Open Shows that are open to exhibitors of all ages. Usually refers to an all "adult show." Which means anyone of any age is allowed to enter, but it is usually adults competing with other adults. They will usually add the letters: A, B and C to the end of "Open Show" if they are having multiple shows.
Open Coat Fur that is beginning to lose its texture and luster and is almost ready to moult.
Oryctolagus Cuniculus Oryctolagus relating to Genus, Cuniculus relating to Species. The scientific name given to the European rabbit or common rabbit, a species native to southwestern Europe
Out Breeding A breeding program involving the mating of unrelated rabbits of the same breed.
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P
Rabbit terms starting with P
Pair Rabbit term relating to a male and a female rabbit.
Palpation Feeling a does abdomen to determine the presence or absence of embryos. A method of examining by touch used to determine if a doe is pregnant and will bear young.
Patches Small sections of fur with a colour foreign to the standard of the rabbit.
Paunch The prominent portion of the abdomen of the rabbit.
Peanut A bunny with two dwarf genes, which is a fatal combination.
Pedigree A written chart of the male and female ancestors of a rabbit, showing the date of birth and the parents, grandparents, and great grandparents of the rabbit.
Pelage The fur coat or covering.
Pellets

1. Some people refer to rabbit poop as "pellets". Because of their dark brown colour and round shape.
2. Can also mean their food - usually made of a mix hay and protein shaped into a dark green or brown small cylinder.

Pepper and Salt A flat, unattractive appearance of black and white ticking.
Phenotype The appearance of the individual rabbit. i.e. What the rabbit looks like to the eye. For example, a rabbit who looks (phenotype) like a broken chocolate, but their real type (genotype) is a broken chocolate steel.
Poor Coat A rabbit term describing fur that is not in good condition through molting, rust, poor grooming, or ill health of the rabbit.
Pre-Junior An unofficial term for rabbits that are old enough to be weaned but not mature enough to show as a junior. A show classification for young rabbits only found in very large breeds.
Processing The sequence of acts in killing and preparing a rabbit for market.
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Q
Rabbit terms starting with Q
Quad A group of rabbits that refers to breeding groups. It is usually a non-related buck and two or three does that are sisters (but does not necessarily have to be). This is usually the bare minimum of rabbits that people start out with for their breeding program.
Quality Points Set number of points earned for each Best of Breed and Best In Show also awarded for each Best Opposite Sex and Best Reserve (also Best 4 Class, when available) won in sanctioned shows.
Quick The pink part of the toenails/claws that contains the blood vessels and nerves. It is to be avoided when trimming a rabbit's nails. A rabbit can be disqualified from exhibition if it's nails are not trimmed.
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R
Rabbit terms starting with R
Rabbit A domesticated lagamorph of the genus Orctolagus Cuniculus.
Rabbitry A rabbit-raising enterprise or a place where domestic rabbits are kept.
Racy A rabbit term meaning slim, trim, slender in body and legs, hare like, alert, and active.
Recessive This is a gene that is weaker than a dominant gene. A recessive gene can hide behind a dominant gene but, it cannot hide a dominant gene.
Registrar A person who, after taking a test and meeting other eligibility requirements, is certified (e.g. by the ARBA or BRC) to evaluate rabbits and register them if they meet standards. ARBA or BRC sanctioned shows are required to have a registrar available.
Registration The process of certifying that a rabbit meets the qualifications established (by the ARBA or BRC) for that breed and has a three-generation pedigree (see pedigree above). Requires examination by a licensed registrar.
REW Ruby-eyed white; white bunny with ruby eyes resulting from two REW (cc) genes.
Ribs The curved portions of the sides immediately back of the shoulders and above the belly.
Rump The hind portion of the back and bones.
Rust A reddish-brown colouration of fur, usually appearing on the side, flanks, or feet of rabbits, having the appearance of iron rust and being foreign to the standard colour. Rust usually appears in American Blues, Black Havanas, and Lilacs. May be caused by fading through over-exposure to the sunlight, dirty hutches, or dead hair about to molt.
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S
Rabbit terms starting with S
Sanctioned Shows that abide by association show rules and pay sanction fees are said to be sanctioned. Sweepstakes points are accumulated only from sanctioned shows. Only legs earned at sanctioned shows can be used to earn a Grand Champion certification.
Saddle The rounded, intermediate portion of the back between the shoulder and loin.
Sandy The colour of sand, as in sand-gray Flemish Giants. Gray with reddish brown cast interspersed with dark guard hairs.
Screw Tail A tail that is twisted. A corkscrew tail has more than one turn and is a disqualification.
Second (2nd) Runner Up This is the 3rd place rabbit to who won BIS
Self or A fur colour pattern where the hair colours are the same on each hair shaft all over the rabbit. The pattern that may be modified by the c-series gene (such as in sable point). Black is an example of a self colour.
Self-Coloured Same as Self
Senior A show class term referring to rabbits that fulfill the weight requirements of the breed and that are: 6 months of age and older in those breeds having two show classes (Junior and Senior) or 8 months of age and older in those breeds having three show classes (Junior, Intermediate, and Senior).
Service The mating act of the buck with the doe.
Sexing Rabbit term used for the technique of looking at the rabbits genitals to determine if it is male or female.
Shaded Refers to colours like Sable Point. These colours have darker colours on the nose, ears, and other parts of the body. While the whole of the body is one solid lighter colour.
Shadow Bars Weakness of self-colour in the fur of both fore and hind feet, appearing in the form of white or lighter coloured bars running across the feet. Acts as a severe cut or penalty in scoring. Occurs more often in the agouti breeds than in selfs.
Shoulder The uppermost joint of the foreleg, connecting it with the body.
Silvered A rabbit term describing an abundance of silver-white or sliver-tipped guard hairs interspersed through the fur that produces a lustrous silvery appearance.
Sire Male rabbit that produced an offspring. A rabbit’s sire is its father.
Six Class Rabbits

Rabbit show category for all breeds having ideal senior weight of 9 pounds and over. There are six show classes for these rabbits: senior bucks, senior does, intermediate bucks, intermediate does, junior bucks and junior does.

Slipping Coat A coat that is shedding or molting a profusion of hairs.
Slobbers Excessive salivation creating wet or extremely moist and unsightly fur around the mouth and lower jaw and forelegs.
Smut A rabbit term describing slate grey fur that is foreign to the standard colour for the breed. Example: Creme D'Argent.
Snaky A rabbit term describing the slender, narrow body that is typical of the Himalayan.
Snipey A rabbit term describing a narrow and elongated head, with an appearance of undue leanness.
Solid-Coloured The condition of having the same colour uniformity over the entire animal, not mixed with any colour. Having no markings or shadings.
Sport

A rabbit not true to the characteristic markings of its breed. Examples: English Spots, Rhinelanders, or Checkered Giants lacking white colour.

Spraddled Legs A rabbit term describing forefeet bowed outward when viewed from the front. Knock-kneed. Hind feet not set parallel with the body. Turned outward from the hock joint.
Stocky A rabbit term meaning compact, stout, and cobby.
Stops In the Dutch for example when the white part of the hind foot extends upward from toes and ends abruptly about one third of the way to the hocks.
Strain A race or stock of rabbits in any standard breed of the same family blood, having the quality of reproducing marked racial characteristics.
Stringy The quality of having a ropy or sinewy finish, noticeable in the larger breeds of rabbits if not properly fattened for market.
Submissive

The less dominant rabbit behaviour. They will normally groom or kiss or lick the dominant rabbit and is known as being the bottom bunny in a mount to show dominance.

Sway Back The condition of having a distinct fall or scoop in that portion of the back between the shoulders and hindquarters, as distinguished from a gradually arching back.
Sweep A rabbit term referring to an unbroken flow of designated markings. There should be no gaps or congested areas.
Sweepstakes Contests conducted by national rabbit clubs and some local club. Sweepstakes points are earned as follows: 6 points per rabbit shown for first place, 4 points per rabbit for second place, 3 points per rabbit for third place, 2 points per rabbit for fourth place, and 1 point for rabbit for fifth place. Best of Breed earns two points per rabbit shown in the breed. Best Opposite Sex earns one point per rabbit shown in the breed. For Nationals and Convention, first place through tenth place earn the following points, respectively, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 per rabbit shown.
Symmetry A breeders rabbit term meaning the harmonious proportion of head, ears, legs, and body structure conforming to the standard type of the breed represented.
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T
Rabbit terms starting with T
Tail Carriage Rabbit term describing the way in which a rabbit carries its tail. A tail being carried to one side or the other has poor tail carriage.
Tattoo A code punched in the ear as a permanent method of identification.
Territorial Rabbits, especially dwarf female rabbits are extremely protective of their living and sleeping areas. They have a defined area that they call their own turf and if an outsider or interloper wanders into their area, they will urinate and poop to mark the borders to claim the area(s) as theirs. They will also fight if necessary.
Texture The character of fur as determined by feel or touch, such as "fine" or "coarse" texture.
Thumping When a rabbit is afraid of something, it will bang or stomp it's hind legs on the ground making a loud thudding noise. This is to warn other rabbits to be afraid or be on alert from a predator or other threat.
Ticking A wavy distribution of longer guard hair throughout the fur. Ticking is usually produced by black-tipped guard hairs and adds to the beauty of the fur. Examples: Chinchillas, Flemish Giants, and Belgian Hares.
Tort A rabbit term that is short for tortoiseshell, the most prevalent Holland Lop fur colour; when used alone refers to black tortoiseshell rather than blue, chocolate or lilac tortoiseshell.
Trance (Trancing or To Put in a Trance)

When a rabbit goes limp and relaxed, in a state of almost being dead. A natural trigger and prey response to avoid being eaten. (Position is when you hold a rabbit on it's back, cradled in the crook of your arm, much like holding a human infant with their hind feet in your other hand).

Trio One buck and two does.
Tucked Up The trim appearance of a Belgian Hare for example, with rounded body and breast and belly gathered in closely to form an arch when the rabbit is sitting.
Type A rabbit term used to denote body conformation of a rabbit or shape of a particular part of a rabbit, as in "head type". The general description of the physical makeup of the rabbit.
Typical A rabbit term describing an ideal representative of any given breed or variety as applied to type, colour, or fur quality.
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U
Rabbit terms starting with U
Under colour The base of the fur shaft. Shaft next to the skin. Not the belly fur of the rabbit.
Urine Scald Scald can occur if the rabbit gets areas of it's skin burned from frequent contact with it's urine.
Uterus Organ in the doe in which developing kits are contained and nourished before birth. Also called the womb.
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V
Rabbit terms starting with V
Variety A rabbit term meaning a subdivision of any recognized standard breed, distinct in colour of fur from other subdivisions.
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W
Rabbit terms starting with W
Wall Eyes (Moon Eyes) The condition of having a milky film over the cornea or appearance similar to a moonstone. coloured eyes having an extremely light iris, giving the eye a glazed appearance.
Weaning The process by which young rabbits become independent of the doe for their nourishment. A young rabbit is weaned when it is between 4 and 8 weeks old, depending on the breeding schedule used and the breed of rabbit.
Weepy Eye An eye infection where the eye gets red and discharges fluid to the point where the fluid is running down the buns face. The fur under or around the eye be will wet and matted. (Should have the vet see your rabbit for treatment which is normally eye drops and also a tear duct flush.)
Wolf Teeth Protruding or elongated teeth in the upper and lower jaw caused by improper alignment of the upper and lower front teeth preventing normal eating action.
Wool A rabbit term describing the fur of Angora rabbits. The guard hairs and under-fur being 2-1/2 to 5 inches long and resembling fine wool in texture.
Wry Tail A rabbit term meaning abnormally bent, curled, or twisted tail. Permanently held to one side. A disqualification for a rabbit.
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Y
Rabbit terms starting with Y
Youth Exhibitors under age 19 and at least age 5. Can be an all youth only show. Only those 18 and under are allowed to enter these shows. Youth breeders must put their own rabbits on the judging table.

These are the terms us humans use to describe our furry friends, but what language does a rabbit use to communicate with us and other rabbits? Find out here...

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