Harlequin Rabbit: How to Care for a Pet Harlequin Rabbit (FAQ Included)

 Harlequin rabbits are considered a separate breed by most, but only by a specific color pattern by some. Regardless of how you categorize them, harlequin bunnies are known for their unique, colorful coats and can come in a variety of sizes. Knowing the kind of care he needs can help keep your rabbit happy and living a long life.

Rabbits Constipation
Rabbits Constipation

- COMMON NAME: Harlequin Rabbit, Japanese Harlequin Rabbit, Harlequin Rabbit

- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oryctolagus cuniculus

- ADULT SIZE: 6.5-9.5 lbs.

- LIFESPAN: About 5 to 8 years but can live up to 12 years

This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.

Harlequin Rabbit Behavior And Temperament

 A harlequin rabbit can make an excellent pet for the right person. They are easy-going animals known to be playful and intelligent. Rabbits are not aggressive creatures and are more likely to run away than try to bite if scared or threatened. They are most active at dawn and dusk, but can often be found lounging and napping during the day and evening when they are not busy playing.

Size Information

 Harlequin bunnies can vary in size. They range from 6.5 to 9.5 pounds, with females usually being a bit larger than males. They are classed as a small to medium-sized breed of rabbit.


 Rabbits need plenty of room to run and play, but when they're not jumping around, they also need a safe place to sleep. If your harlequin rabbit lives indoors, you should provide a cage that is at least 3 feet by 3 feet in size. Store-bought cages are available, but many people create their own rabbit pens using exercise pens, dog crates, and other items. Outdoor rabbit hutches can also be purchased or made, but must be especially secure to prevent your rabbit from escaping or being injured or killed by a predator.

Specific substrate needs

 If you choose to use a substrate in your rabbit's home, avoid cedar and pine shavings. These can be aromatic and contain oils that can cause respiratory and skin problems. Instead, opt for aspen or recycled paper materials if you want to provide your rabbit with bedding to sleep on. This substrate can be used in litter boxes, or you can use hay or unscented, dust-free cat litter instead.

What Do Harlequin Rabbits Eat And Drink?

 Harlequins eat a variety of vegetables and hay, just like other rabbits do. Depending on the size of your rabbit, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rabbit pellets without seeds or colored bits may be provided, but the majority of their meal should consist of grass hay and dark leafy vegetables. Occasional treats of sugar-free cereals, crackers, fruits, and vegetables that are not green may also be given. Remember that if your rabbit's diet isn't right, he's more likely to develop ileus.

Common Health Issues

 Harlequin rabbits can unfortunately develop various health problems. Some of the more common problems seen in rabbits include:

  • Dental problems
  • Ear mites and infections
  • Skin mites and infections
  • Eye problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Ileus
  • Reproductive organ problems

 All of these health issues and more will require the help of a veterinarian experienced in caring for rabbits.

Training Your Harlequin Rabbit

 Harlequin Rabbits are very intelligent and can be trained to do simple tricks, come when called, use a litter box, etc. Some people even teach them to walk in a harness, leash and fetch toys.

Leash Training

 If you want to train your rabbit to walk on a leash, be sure to attach it to a harness designed for a rabbit. Verbal coaxing, as well as treats, can help encourage your rabbit to walk towards you while he gets used to being on a leash.

Potty Training 

 You can teach your rabbit to use a litter box with a little perseverance and consistency. This will make you more likely to let your rabbit roam around in a rabbit-proof environment because you won't have to worry about cleaning up accidents.


 Exercise is vital for your rabbit's mental and physical health. Your rabbit needs room to run and play so it can forage for food, be mentally stimulated, find things to chew, maintain muscle mass, and keep its digestive tract moving. Stress and immobility are two factors that can cause gastrointestinal motility to slow down or stop.


 Harlequin rabbits have short hair, but that doesn't mean they don't need grooming. Nail clippings, ear cleanings, baths, and maybe even tooth clippings may be needed depending on your rabbit and their lifestyle.


 Rabbits molt regularly, but major molts or molts occur twice a year in spring and fall. During these major moults, your rabbit will shed more fur than normal.


 Although harlequin rabbits don't have very long hair, you may need to brush them occasionally. Brushing can help reduce the amount of fur you find around the house and on your clothes.

Thermal Baths

 Rabbits are generally very clean animals, so bathing them may not be necessary, but if they get messy, a quick bath may be warranted. Use dish soap and lukewarm water while thoroughly cleaning your rabbit and drying it thoroughly with a towel.

Upkeep Charges

 Caring for a harlequin rabbit can cost more than expected. Due to daily fresh vegetables, hay, and pellets, expect to spend around $50 per month on food alone and an additional $10-20 on toys and bedding. Additionally, you'll want to budget for routine and emergency vet visits when your rabbit needs medical attention.

Pros And Cons Of Keeping A Harlequin Rabbit As A Pet

 Rabbits require a lot more space and attention than many people realize, but they are also very friendly pets. They need fresh vegetables to eat each day, but can be cuddly and live up to 12 years.

Buy Or Adopt Your Harlequin Rabbit

 Harlequin rabbits are not a common breed, so they are not usually found in pet stores. You will most likely need to purchase your Harlequin Rabbit from a breeder online or at a rabbit show, but sometimes you can find one from a rescue group. If you are looking to rescue a harlequin rabbit, you can contact your local chapter of the House Rabbit Society to see if they have recommendations for rabbit rescues or contact local rabbit rescues directly.

Reproduction And Breeding

 The American Rabbit Breeders Association lists upcoming shows as well as harlequin rabbit breeders on its website who have paid to list their contact information. You should expect to pay between $20 and $100, depending on the color and quality of the pattern. If you decide to have more than one rabbit and they are of opposite sexes, you will want to have your female neutered to avoid unwanted litters. Alternatively, you can get two females. If you want to have two males, you will have to neuter them if you want to prevent them from fighting.


Is a harlequin rabbit a good pet for children?

 Yes! Harlequin rabbits can make great pets for children. Rabbits can be a lot of fun because they enjoy playing and have distinct personalities. However, young children will need help handling, feeding, and cleaning a Harlequin Rabbit.

How much does a harlequin rabbit cost to purchase?

 The price of a harlequin rabbit varies depending on the color and pattern of the fur. Display quality models will cost more than a quality pet model, but their price can range from $20 to $100.

Is it difficult to take care of a harlequin rabbit?

 A rabbit is more labor intensive than a hamster, but caring for them is not difficult. They need adequate play space and time as well as fresh food every day. Rabbits aren't just caged pets.

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.