Skip to Content

What is the rarest rabbit in the world?

Rabbits come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. While some breeds like the Holland Lop are quite common, others are incredibly rare. But what is the rarest rabbit breed in the world? Let’s take a look at some of the most uncommon rabbits and find out which takes the crown as the rarest of them all.

What makes a rabbit breed rare?

There are a few key factors that make certain rabbit breeds rare:

  • Limited numbers – Some breeds have very small populations, numbering just a few hundred worldwide.
  • Newly developed – Newly created breeds take time to build up numbers and get established.
  • Difficult to breed – Some breeds are trickier to successfully breed which limits numbers.
  • Low demand – Breeds that aren’t as popular or in-demand tend to remain more rare.
  • Extinct – Unfortunately, some rare breeds have already gone extinct.

For a breed to be considered very rare, the global population usually numbers in the hundreds or less. Established breeds with larger numbers can still be considered rare compared to more common breeds.

The rarest rabbit breeds

Here are some of the rarest rabbit breeds from around the world:


The Himalayan rabbit has a distinctive color pattern similar to the Siamese cat. It has white fur on the body with colored points on the ears, nose, feet and tail. The breed was developed by crossing a Himalayan patterned chinchilla rabbit with a Californian white rabbit. Himalayans have a very small global population, estimated at less than 50. This makes it one of the rarest rabbit breeds in the world.

Golden Glavcot

The Golden Glavcot originated in Ukraine and Russia. It is a relatively new breed developed in the late 20th century. Golden Glavcots have a unique gold-brown color over their entire body. They have a stocky, compact body type. Only about 100 Golden Glavcots exist globally according to recent estimates.


The Rhinelander breed gets its name from the Rhineland region in Germany where it was first bred in the early 1900s. It has a distinctive color pattern of black and yellow/gold blotches over a white base coat. The global population of this rare breed is approximately 300. Rhinelander numbers declined severely during the World Wars but have recovered slightly since then.


The Shirebrook rabbit comes from the village of Shirebrook in Derbyshire, England. It is one of the more recently developed rare breeds, first appearing in the 1980s. Shirebrooks have a bold black and white banding pattern throughout their fur. The estimated global population is less than 200. Many Shirebrooks live in the UK, although some exist in the US and other countries.


Unsurprisingly, the Lilac breed has a distinctive lilac coat color. It is believed to have first appeared in the UK as a color mutation in the early 1900s. The Lilac remained rare for decades until a breeding program began in the 1970s to establish it as a recognized breed. Even with those efforts, fewer than 200 Lilacs exist globally today.

Silver Fox

The Silver Fox is aptly named for its thick, lustrous silver fur. It originated in the early 20th century from selective breeding of chinchilla rabbits. Silver Foxes have a stocky, compact body type. Their numbers are extremely limited, with an estimated global population around 100. Most of these rare rabbits still reside in Europe.


The Beveren is the largest rabbit breed in existence. It originated in Belgium in the early 1900s. Beverens were at one time quite numerous and popular as a meat and fur breed. But after World War II their numbers plummeted. Today there are estimated to be less than 50 true Beverens left worldwide. Some breeders are working to increase their numbers again.

Cream Rex

The Cream Rex breed has the distinctive Rex fur, which is soft, dense and curly. Their fur is cream colored, although some may have white banding on the feet and tail. Cream Rex rabbits originated in Germany in the early 1900s. But after World War II their population was nearly wiped out. Today there are estimated to be less than 100 Cream Rex rabbits left globally.


The LaMancha breed gets its name from its distinctive lack of ears. They have very short ear pinnae called a microtic ear. LaManchas originated in the US in the 1970s. The breed almost died out completely in the 1990s when breeders lost interest. Through dedicated efforts their numbers have risen to around 150 worldwide, making them one of the rarest rabbit breeds.

The Volcano rabbit – The rarest of them all

The rarest rabbit breed of all is the Volcano rabbit, also known as the Zacatuche or Teporingo rabbit. It is found only at the highest elevations of volcanoes in central Mexico.

The Volcano rabbit is the world’s smallest rabbit, averaging just 8 inches long and 1.1-1.6 pounds in weight. It has small rounded ears, short soft fur and short legs. Its fur is brownish-gray with a lighter underside.

Volcano rabbits inhabit a tiny habitat range of only about 800 acres. They live exclusively in the alpine grasslands at elevations around 12,000 feet on two Mexican volcanoes – the Volcán del Ajusco and Volcán de Toluca.

It is estimated there are only around 250-300 Volcano rabbits left in the wild. Their numbers have declined precipitously in recent decades due to habitat loss from livestock grazing, agricultural expansion and human development. Volcano rabbits are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Conservation efforts are underway to try and protect remaining habitat for the Volcano rabbit. Some specimens have also been taken into captive breeding programs to help preserve this incredibly rare species.

Due to their tiny population, limited distribution, and endangered status, the Volcano rabbit is considered the rarest rabbit breed in the world.

Why are some rabbit breeds so rare?

There are a few key reasons why certain rabbit breeds have become so rare:

  • Persecution and hunting – Many rabbits were hunted and killed for meat and fur over the centuries. Some rare breeds were over-hunted and nearly wiped out.
  • War and disasters – Populations of some rare breeds were decimated by the World Wars, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks.
  • Declining interest – As some breeds grew less popular, fewer breeders worked to raise them and their numbers dwindled.
  • Difficulty breeding – It’s trickier to successfully breed and raise some rarer rabbit varieties, limiting population growth.
  • Limited habitat – For the Volcano rabbit, their rare status is due to extremely limited native habitat and range size.
  • Modern agriculture -Commercial rabbit farming focused on fewer fast-growing breeds for meat production.

All these factors have contributed to making some rabbit breeds much rarer than others over time. Many now have populations low enough to be considered endangered.

Conservation efforts for rare rabbits

A number of conservation initiatives aim to protect rare rabbit breeds by:

  • Captive breeding programs – Zoos, universities and breeding facilities aim to establish viable captive populations of endangered rabbit breeds as a safeguard.
  • Monitoring wild populations – Scientists track the health and numbers of rare wild rabbit colonies like the Volcano rabbit.
  • Habitat protection – Conservationists work to preserve and protect limited habitat ranges for endangered rabbit species.
  • Breed promotion – Rabbit fancier groups and breeders promote interest in raising and showing rare breeds.
  • Genetics research – Scientists study the genetics of rare breeds to support conservation efforts.
  • Reintroduction programs – Captive-bred rabbits are carefully reintroduced to areas where their wild populations once thrived.

Thanks to dedicated conservationists, some of the rarest rabbit breeds like the Beveren and Silver Fox have been brought back from the brink of extinction. But ongoing efforts are still needed to ensure the survival of threatened rabbit species like the Volcano rabbit.


While some rabbit breeds like the Netherland Dwarf number in the millions, others are incredibly scarce. A variety of factors have caused certain breeds to become exceptionally rare. The rarest of all is the endangered Volcano rabbit, found only in a tiny habitat on Mexican volcanoes and numbering less than 300 remaining in the wild.

Conservation initiatives are working to protect these rarest rabbit breeds and ensure their unique genetics are not lost forever. With dedicated human effort, even some of the world’s rarest rabbit breeds can be brought back from the brink to once again thrive.