The ABCs of rabbitry
When shopping for rabbit cages and mastering rabbit care, it helps to know what things are called. Whether you're a rabbit professional or an amateur hare-raiser, this list of bunny-specific definitions will help you sound like an expert.
Adult: in competitions where breeds have four classes, an adult is a rabbit 6 months or older. An adult must be 8 months or older for breeds having six classes.
Agouti: a color pattern where each individual hair alternates dark and light bands.
Albino: a white-haired rabbit with pink eyes.
ARBA: acronym of the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
Arch: the curve of a rabbit's spine; a judging characteristic.
Balance: the conformity of visual characteristics in a breed, creating a pleasing appearance.
Bangs: a distinct band of fur in front of the ears and above the eyes in some breeds.
Barring: contrasting bands of color around the legs or feet.
Base color: the color of the undercoat closest to the skin.
Bell ears: ears with large tips that lop over or droop.
Belt: the line encircling the body behind the shoulders, where white fur meets colored fur.
Best in show: the winning rabbit at a competition, across all breeds.
Blaze: a contrasting white stripe running from the nose back toward the eyes.
Bloom: the measure of a coat's finish or shine.
Breeding certificate: a written document provided by the owner of a stud buck, proof of its ancestry and pedigree.
Broken coat: patches of fur where the guard hairs are missing, exposing the undercoat. Common during molting.
Buck: a breedable male rabbit.
Buck teeth: a condition where upper and lower incisors meet, instead of overlapping. Results in a disqualification.
Buff: coat color hue in the warm range between orange and tan, similar to the color of natural leather.
Bulldog: a masculine-looking rabbit breed with a broad, squat head.
Butterfly: a distinct marking around the nose of some breeds.
Cap: a contrasting marking line on the fur where the ear meets the head.
Carriage: posture and poise of a rabbit, and how he carries himself.
Charlie: a rabbit with light markings and a Charlie Chaplain mustache marking on the nose.
Choppy: not well filled-out around the rump.
Cobby: short and stocky compared to others in its breed.
Compatible: eye color that is normal and complementary to the body color.
Coprophragy: a rabbit's normal tendency to eat its own droppings.
Crown: a prominent ridge of cartilage across the brow on some breeds.
Dam: a mother rabbit.
Dew claw: a small extra toe on the inside of the front legs.
Dewlap: a flap of loose skin that folds over the throat.
Doe: a breedable female rabbit.
Domesticated: rabbits bred and trained as household pets, not taken from the wild.
Drenching: administering medicine by pouring it down a rabbit's throat.
Faking: artificial alteration of a rabbit's natural appearance, done by breeders hoping to fool judges. It results in disqualification.
Flat coat: fur that lies too close to the body, signifying a lack of proper fur density.
Fly back: a measure of how well fur returns to its normal position after being stroked against the grain.
Foreign color: a color not normal to a breed.
Four class rabbit: a competition rabbit type that has been separated into four classes: senior bucks, senior does, junior bucks, and junior does.
Fryer: for show purposes, a rabbit less than 10 weeks old and under 5 pounds, raised for its meat.
Guard hair: the longer, coarser outer fur that protects the softer undercoat.
Hog fat: a characteristic of an over-fattened rabbit, such that its appearance varies from its breed.
Hutch: a box or cage with a wire front, specifically for housing rabbits.
Incisors: a rabbit's sharper front teeth, used for cutting.
Intermediate: a show rabbit 6 to 8 months old, in a competition having six classes.
Junior: a rabbit less than 6 months old.
Kindling: the process by which a rabbit gives birth.
Kit or kitten: a baby rabbit.
Lagomorph: an animal belonging to the scientific grouping Lagomorpha, which includes rabbits and hares.
Leveret: a baby hare.
Lop: the characteristic of an ear that droops or dangles.
Mandolin: a pear-shaped body as viewed from above, giving a shape similar to the instrument.
Molting: the normal shedding of fur, which happens naturally one to four times a year.
Muzzle: the area including the mouth and nose.
Nest: the kindling box inside a rabbit hutch where kits are born.
Nick: breeding that results in a kit which is superior to either of its parents.
Outdoor rabbit cage: an enclosure designed to protect the rabbit from both the elements and predators.
Pair: a male and a female rabbit which have bonded.
Peanut: a rabbit resulting from a fatal genetic combination of two dwarf genes.
Pelage: a rabbit's coat.
Phenotype: a rabbit's physical appearance, as judged compared to its class.
Rabbit cage: usually made of wire, plastic, or wood. Should be at least four times the size of the rabbit.
Rabbit hutch: a rabbit cage built and stocked specifically for a rabbit.
Rabbitry: a place where rabbits are raised, or the art of raising rabbits.
Rex: a medium-sized rabbit with especially soft fur.
Saddle: the upper, middle portion of a rabbit's back.
Screw tail: a tail that is abnormally twisted.
Scut: the tail area of the rabbit.
Senior: a rabbit older than 6 months if there is no intermediate class; a rabbit older than 8 months if an intermediate class is included.
Service: the mating process.
Six class rabbit: a competition rabbit type in a competition separated into six classes: senior bucks, senior does, intermediate bucks, intermediate does, junior bucks, and junior does.
Slipping coat: rabbit coat losing an excessive amount of fur.
Snipey: the charactistic of having an unusually long, narrow head.
Snuffles: slang for a very contagious nasal or lung infection that is hard to cure.
Sport: a rabbit whose appearance varies from its breed's ideal characteristics.
Spraddled: front feet bowed outward; knock-kneed.
Sweep: an unbroken flow of markings appropriate to the breed.
Symmetry: a pleasing, proportional physical structure conforming to the breed, comparing the head, ears, body, and legs.
Tattoo: a permanent ID number placed in a rabbit's ear. The left ear contains the breeder number; the ARBA number goes in the right.
Texture: the feel of the fur, as in "fine" or "coarse."
Ticking: a wavy distribution of guard hair that differs in color from the undercoat.
Trio: a buck bonded to two does.
Typical: a rabbit that well represents its breed's ideal characteristics.
Under color: the color of the hair shaft's base next to the skin, used to describe hair over any part of a rabbit, not just the belly.
Variety: a subdivision of any recognized breed class.
Wall eyes: eyes that appear milky or glazed. The term originates from the Norse word "vagl," for "filmy."
Wolf teeth: protruding, elongated teeth in both jaws, a condition that prevents normal chewing and results in disqualification.
Wool: pulled or shed guard hairs from an Angora rabbit.