Bunny Rabbit Terminology

  • Abscess – collection of pus caused by infection
  • Agouti – a pattern of color where individual hairs alternate between light and dark bands
  • Albino – a white furred bunny with pink eyes
  • ARBA – American Rabbit Breeders Association
  • Belled ears – ears that lop over or droop, which is sometimes caused in growing bunnies in hot weather
  • Breed– mating bunnies
  • Buck – a boy bunny
  • Buckling – a baby boy bunny
  • Coccidiosis – considered to be the most common bunny disease and very hard to cure. Can be caused by one of nine different species of a protozoan, one of which affects the liver, while the other eight affect the intestines. Baby and young bunnies are more susceptible to this disease. It is spread by protozoa eggs in the bunny feces – a good incentive to keep your bunny cages clean!
  • Colony raising – raising multiple bunnies together in one area inside or outside
  • Crossbreed – breeding bunnies of different breeds
  • Crown – a ridge of cartilage at the top of the head of lop breeds
  • Culling – ridding your litter of  ill or disfigured bunnies. Basically these are bunnies you do not want to breed or sell to potential breeders. However, they may be bunnies that you might keep or give away as pets. Personally, I have never culled my litters, since I have never met a bunny I haven’t loved!
  • Dam – mother of a particular bunny
  • Dewlap – fold of loose skin under the chin of female rabbits
  • Doe – a girl bunny
  • Doeling – a baby girl bunny
  • Dressed – skinned and prepared for cooking.
  • Ear canker – scabby conditions in bunny ears caused by ear mites
  • Enteritis – intestinal problem in domestic bunnies caused by stress or other underlying diseases.
  • Foster – act of placing newborn baby bunnies with a different mother doe
  • Gestation – how long an animal or person is pregnant. A bunny’s gestation is around 28 to 34 days long, averaging 31 to 32 days
  • Heat stroke – illness caused by expose to high temperatures
  • Herd – used to describe a group of bunnies
  • Hock – first joint of the hind leg of the bunny
  • Hutch – bunny housing
  • Hutch card – information card on hutch identifying the bunny and contains breeding information
  • Jacket off – means the bunny will be skinned
  • Kindling – when a bunny gives birth
  • Kit – a baby bunny
  • Lagomorph – consists of eighty species which include 30 species of pika, 20 species of rabbits and cottontails, and 30 species of hares
  • Litter – group of baby bunnies born in one birth
  • Line breeding – a form of inbreeding, but less intense. Bunnies are mated together which are descendants from a particular bunny, but are as distantly related a possible
  • Lop Ears – ears that hang down
  • Malocclusion – misalignment of teeth which is genetic. Probably a good idea to not breed bunnies with this issue.
  • Molting – shedding fur, usually shedding happens in the spring and fall
  • Mucoid enteritis – disease usually affecting young bunnies. Symptoms include loss of appetite, increased thirst, and jelly-like diarrhea.
  • Nesting box – a box used by the doe to make a nest for her kits
  • Nesting – when the doe starts to put nesting material in her box
  • Outcrossing – breeding two bunnies from unrelated lines
  • Palpate – feeling for the developing embryos within the abdominal cavity oft he pregnant bunny. Most reliable way to determine pregnancy
  • Pedigree – written record of an animal’s ancestors going back at least three generations
  • Pelt – skin and fur of a bunny to be tanned
  • Purebred – parents of the same breed
  • Quick – pink part of the toenails/claws that contains the blood vessels and nerves. You need to avoid cutting the bunny’s quick when trimming its nails.
  • Rabbitry – the housing for bunnies, generally  raised for exhibition, breeding, pets, meat, etc. A rabbitry is usually a separate, covered building as opposed to a simple hutch.
  • Saddle – meaty hind body and legs
  • Sexing – term used for checking a bunny’s genitals to determine if it is male or female
  • Sire – father of a particular bunny
  • Sired – fathered
  • Sore hock – an ulcerated condition of the underside of the hind foot of a domestic bunny caused by sparse hair on the hocks. Could be genetics or some breeds, like rexes, have this naturally. Be careful to keep your bunnies out of dirty, wet conditions to avoid this issue
  • Tattoo – permanent mark in ear to identify bunny
  • Test breeding – about two weeks after initial breeding, the doe is returned to the buck’s cage. If she is bred, she will whine, growl, and flatten herself against the cage floor, basically refusing the buck’s advances. Of course, you may have a doe that accepts the buck’s advances in spite of being pregnant or a doe who refuses the buck even if she is not pregnant.
  • Variety – color of the bunny
  • Warren – large, fenced, enclosed area where bunnies can burrow and live as naturally as possible, equal to  “free-ranging”
  • Weaning – separating the kits from the mother which usually happens around 8 weeks of age. When young bunnies start eating rabbit pellets and stop nursing from mama
  • Wool block – blockage in the digestive tract caused by ingesting fur