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March 19, 2017 PetGuide
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Mellerud Rabbit

 
  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 6.6-7.7 lb
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years
  • Body Shape: Compact
  • Best Suited For: Rabbit owners of all experience levels
  • Temperament: Good-natured, calm, lively, curious
  • Comparable Breeds: Gotland Rabbit

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Sharing part of its history with the Gotland Rabbit, the Mellerud Rabbit is an old breed of farm rabbits that had been common throughout Sweden. The rabbits became known as farm rabbits around 1881, and they were primarily kept for their fur and their meat. However, the farm rabbits disappeared from a majority of Sweden in the 1900s, causing many people to believe that they had gone extinct.

In the latter part of the 1990s, though, a few of the old farm type rabbits were found in Mellerud at the home of an older woman known as Edith i Sjöskogen, who had kept rabbits since around 1937. This line of rabbits was believed to be older than 1937, and the only time an outside breed was added to this line was in 1968, with the addition of one male and one female black and white rabbit. In the early 2000s, as this population started to dwindle, Edith gave up seven rabbits that would provide the foundation for a breeding project directed at preserving the breed.

It was not until 2011 that the Mellerud Rabbit finally received official landrace status by Jordbruksverket. Today, the Gotland Rabbit Society is also responsible for preserving the Mellerud Rabbit, as it is a rare breed. Only about 160 rabbits were registered as of 2013, so breeders are working on increasing that number for high genetic diversity.

The Mellerud Rabbit is a rare breed.

Overall, the Mellerud Rabbit is considered strong and hardy.When it comes to this breed’s conformation, it is similar to that of the Gotland Rabbit. Bucks are typically a bit more compact and will feature a thicker muzzle and rounder head. The does have a body that is relatively elongated, and they also feature a fine head. However, the bucks and does weigh the same amount.

The eyes should have an alert expression and be somewhat large, while the ears should be medium in length, as well as relatively thin. The ears should also be pointed instead of rounded.

The coat of the Mellerud Rabbit should be short and fine.

A Mellerud Rabbit’s fur will either be black with spotting, known as Dutch rabbit markings, or albino. There’s a high degree of variation when it comes to the white markings on the Mellerud then there is in most traditional show breeds because the breeders never made it a goal to standardize the Mellerud Rabbit’s markings.

Also, most of these rabbits will have white on the front of the chest, along with a white muzzle, white front paws, and blazes to varying degrees. The white markings might even extend to the back, shoulders, hind legs, and sides of the face.

Eye colors include blue, brown, or a mix of those two colors.

Overall, the Mellerud Rabbit is considered strong and hardy.

The Mellerud Rabbit is known for being lively and curious.You can house your Mellerud Rabbit indoors or outside, as the breed is hardy and adapted to all climates. However, you should provide your outdoor rabbit with a large enough hutch that is safe from the elements, dry, and protected from harsh sunlight, drafts, and predators.

Always ensure that your pet has access to fresh, clean water. These rabbits can be fed high quality hays, fresh grass, and a variety of vegetables. While pellets might be too high in calories for the Mellerud and other landrace breeds, you can provide them to your pet as a treat or in small amounts, rather than as a main part of his diet.

Overall, the Mellerud Rabbit is considered strong and hardy. Be sure to provide your pet with a safe, stress-free, and clean environment in which to grow and explore, whether indoors or outside, and check your rabbit’s teeth regularly to ensure that they are not becoming overgrown. Giving your pet plenty of fibrous vegetables and gnaw toys will help keep the teeth at the appropriate length and prevent problems.

You should also make it a point to feed your rabbit the appropriate amount of food to prevent excess weight gain. When rabbits gain too much weight, they find it difficult to groom themselves, and that makes them vulnerable to flystrike.

Finally, you can talk to your vet about vaccinations for your rabbit, as well as the option to spay or neuter your pet if you are not planning on breeding your rabbits.

The Mellerud Rabbit is known for being lively and curious.

Known for being lively and curious, the Mellerud Rabbit is also a bit calmer when compared to the similar Gotland Rabbit. Because they are good-natured and calm, these rabbits make wonderful pets.

Like other rabbits, you should be gentle and calm when handling your Mellerud. Many breeds are not appropriate for young children, but if your older children know how to care for, pick up, and handle a rabbit, this breed will make a good family pet. If you are new to keeping rabbits as pets, though, you should learn how to properly pick up and carry your rabbit so that he does not become stressed or injured.

Photo credit: Galleytrotter/Flickr; Nordens Ark


Comparable Breeds

Go to Gotland Rabbit

Gotland Rabbit

  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 6.5-8.5 lb
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Body Shape: Compact
  • Best Suited For: Rabbit owners of all experience levels who are willing to keep more than one rabbit
  • Temperament: Energetic, curious, lively, friendly, active, social
  • Comparable Breeds: Mellerud Rabbit