Gotland Rabbit Breed History/Origin
The Gotland Rabbit, which related to the rare Mellerud Rabbit, is an indigenous breed from Sweden that is now endangered and, therefore, rare. Unlike so many other pet rabbit breeds, Gotlands were not developed as part of a breeding program. Instead, they developed naturally in the wild over the course of centuries. However, modern breeding programs have been established in order to keep the Gotland Rabbit from going extinct.
Since the 1500s, rabbits had been kept on farms in Sweden, mostly for the use of their pelts and meat. Over time, show breeds became more popular and farm rabbits started becoming more rare, but some were discovered on Gotland Island in the 1970s, and today’s Gotlands originated from those rabbits.
Today, the Gotland Rabbit Society is in charge of preserving this breed. Only those animals born from parents registered by the Society are considered purebred and can be registered and maintained in the official gene bank registry.
Gotland Rabbits are inquisitive and energetic.
The body of a Gotland Rabbit will depend upon the gender of the animal. While a doe will be elongated and feature a fine head, a buck will appear more compact and have a thicker muzzle and rounder head. However, the weight will be within the same range for both genders.
The ears should be relatively thin, as well as medium in length, and they should be pointed instead of rounded. The eyes will appear alert, and they will be a bit large in size.
A Gotland Rabbit’s lovely coat will be fine and short. Even though it will typically be straight, there have been a few Gotlands that have featured the Rex fur type.
All eye colors are allowed, and all fur colors and patterns are also allowed within the Gotland Rabbit breed.
The Gotland Rabbit is an indigenous and rare breed from Sweden.
Feeding your Gotland Rabbit a natural diet will help ensure his long-term health and happiness. Search for a high quality hay, as well as non-toxic plants and fresh grasses that have been grown organically.
You can also feed your pet pellets that are specifically designed for rabbits, but only provide them as an occasional treat and in small amounts because they might have too many calories for landrace breeds like the Gotland.
On top of that, you can provide your pet with fresh foods that include dark, leafy greens and vegetables, as well as some starchy vegetables and fruits as treats. And, as with any other pet rabbit, you should always provide him with fresh, clean water.
In terms of enclosure, you want your rabbit’s cage to be large and comfortable. Your pet should be able to move around, stand up tall, and stretch easily while in his cage, but your Gotland Rabbit will greatly benefit from time spent exercising and interacting with you outside of his cage as well.
If you wish to keep your Gotland outside, you can do so if you provide your pet with protection against harsh sunlight, predators, and drafts. Overall, this breed is adapted to living outside all year, and these animals are generally hardy.
Because of its history, the Gotland Rabbit has been able to retain genetic diversity, and it has also been able to maintain good health, so there are few genetic illnesses that are associated with this breed.
Overall, this breed is considered hardy, as it is rarely afflicted with genetic defects or diseases. The key is to prevent your pet from becoming stressed, and to keep him away from sudden temperature changes and drafts that could reduce his body’s ability to fight off infections.
Gotland Rabbits will benefit from time spent exercising and interacting with you.
Gotland Rabbits are known for having a great temperament, making them wonderful pets. They can be described as being friendly and lively, and they enjoy exploring their environment. You should be able to provide your pet with enough room to be active, as this breed is inquisitive and energetic. These rabbits also prefer being with other rabbits, in addition to spending time with their human companions.
Photo credit: Udo Schröter/Wikimedia; Therese van Barneveld/Wikimedia; Britt-Marie Sohlström/Flickr