Rhinelander Rabbits

Learn more about the Rhinelander Rabbit Breed. Discover cool facts, pictures, resources and find information about caring for Rhinelander Rabbits.

This rabbit breed information page is part of our rabbit breeds article series.

Rhinelander Rabbit Resource Links: Free Rabbit Breeders Newsletter | Rhinelander Rabbit Breed Info | Rhinelander Rabbit Information and History | Rhinelander Rabbit Care | Rhinelander Rabbit Resources

Rhinelander Rabbit Breed Info

Rhinelander Rabbit BreedRecognized colors: Black, blue.

Size: 6.5 to 10 pounds

National Specialty Club:

Rhinelander Rabbit Breed Photo Credit:


Rhinelander Rabbit Information and History

The Rhinelander rabbit is one-of-a-kind.   Many breeds, such as the Dutch, Himalayan, or English Spot, have a white base coat that is decorated with markings of another solid color.  The Rhinelander is also primarily white, but instead of just one marking color, it has two! Spots of black or blue in conjunction with orange earn it the nickname “Calico of the Fancy.”

The Rhinelander comes from Germany, as the name suggests.   A postman named Josef Heintz of North Rhine-Westphalia developed the breed, probably using English Spots and Harlequins (which were called Japanese at the time.)  The breed was first shown in 1902 under the name “Rheinische Schecke.”  By 1924, the breed had spread to England, Holland, and America.  It was recognized into American standards by 1930, but within a decade had vanished from this country.  In fact, the breed lost most of its popularity all over the globe until after World War II, when a group of breeders in Germany started promoting the Rhinelander again.

In the early 1970’s, a Californian man named Bob Herschbach spied the Rhinelander at Germany’s national rabbit show.  Herschbach was the one to introduce America to the Mini Lop from Germany, and now he wanted some of these spotted beauties as well.  By 1975, the breed was accepted into the ARBA Standard of Perfection once more.

The Rhinelander standard calls for a very specific marking pattern.  Like the English Spot, a Rhinelander must have colored ears and eye circles, a nose marking shaped like a butterfly, and a cheek spot below each eye.  Each of these markings, except for the cheek spot, must show two colors: black and orange or blue and fawn.  The Rhinelander also has 3-10 spots on the flank or hindquarter.  Again, two colors of spots must be present to escape disqualification.  The body type is full arched: long-limbed and carried with grace in order to show off those beautiful markings.  Rhinelanders are not posed, but like others in the full arch category, they run the length of the table during judging.

For many years the only marking color accepted was black/orange.  However, in 2012 blue/fawn Rhinelanders can be shown and earn ARBA Grand Championship status for the first time.  Lorena Ferchaud of Rough and Ready, California, developed the new color through many years of selection.  She introduced the blue variety with blue Japanese Harlequins, because the Rhinelander is genetically a broken harlequin.

Rhinelander Rabbit Care

Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rhinelander rabbits…

Rhinelander Rabbit Resources

Here is a listing of rhinelander rabbit resources to help you out with your rabbit project…

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