With their history of multipurpose use, rabbits have been a valuable commodity for hundreds of years. From their earliest purposes as sources of meat and fur, many a rabbit’s agreeable nature and attractive looks led to their eventual adoption as show animals and, more recently, pets in the home. It should come as no surprise then that unique or high-quality rabbit breeds have been sold for sometimes shocking prices!
If you’re considering buying a rabbit to keep in your own home, you may be curious as to which breeds are most likely to drain your wallet. When purchased from a breeder most rabbits will cost between $20 and $50, or slightly more if they include a pedigree (the rabbit’s list of ancestors) that qualifies it for use in rabbit shows. Pet stores will charge significantly more, with prices ranging into the hundreds of dollars.
Outside of these general norms though, a few highly sought-after bunnies qualify as the most expensive rabbit breeds. In this article, we’ll be looking at the most extravagantly priced rabbit breeds of today, as well as a few honorable mentions of costly breeds throughout history. Let’s get started!
1. Harlequin Rabbit
With their trademark two-tone coats, Harlequin rabbits will always stand out from a crowd. Originally known as the “Japanese” rabbit, the exact origins of the breed are unknown. Brought into the United States in 1917, its status as an extremely rare breed led to an exorbitant cost of $40 for a fully grown adult; adjusted for inflation, that would be almost 900 dollars in today’s money!
2. Holland Lop
Ranking as the most popular breed of rabbit for professional shows, the Holland Lop’s adorably droopy ears and compact puffball of a body have made it a favorite of novice and experienced owners alike. Owing to this popularity, a properly pedigreed Holland Lop from a nationally recognized family can easily sell for $250 or more.
3. Lionhead Rabbit
A relative newcomer to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Lionheads were first recognized as a pure breed only as recently as 2014. Having been in the United States for less than thirty years, they are quickly becoming a crowd favorite due in large part to their shockingly styled fur and petite size. While Lionheads have a long way to go before reaching the popularity of Holland Lops for show purposes, they still easily sell for around $100 with an included pedigree.
4. Mini Rex
Heir to the king of all-time most expensive rabbits, the Mini Rex vies with the Holland Lop for both most popular (and most expensive) rabbit today. Commonly kept as show rabbits and house pets, their velvety soft, densely plush coats have won them legions of adoring fans. Like the Holland Lop, Mini Rexes with pedigree from a nationally recognized family routinely sell for $250 or more.
5. Netherland Dwarves
Petite and packed with energy, the spunky Netherland Dwarf has lent its genetics to miniaturizing many a breed of rabbit. Available in a huge variety of colors and coat patterns, it rounds out the top three most popular show rabbit breeds alongside the Holland Lop and Mini Rex. Slightly more common than its two competitors for most popular rabbit breed, well pedigreed examples from established bloodlines sell for between $100 and $200.
This French-born beauty is proud holder of the title of Most Expensive Rabbit in History! Their exceptionally dense and plush fur led to an almost nationwide craze when they were first introduced to the United States in the early 1920s.
In her book, Rabbit Breeds: The Pocket Guide to 49 Essential Breeds, author Lynn M. Stone cites that a male/female pair of Rex Rabbits could cost as much as $1500 in 1930 – the equivalent of almost 22 thousand dollars today, or over 10 thousand dollars per rabbit! While even the most well pedigreed Rex will cost nothing close to this today, its heritage and title live on in its genes.
Final Thoughts on the Most Expensive Rabbit Breeds
Outside of buying a rabbit for show use, their cost is not necessarily a great indicator of how kind, affectionate, or loving they will be. If you are interested in showing rabbits though, do consider seeking out a popular breed from a nationally recognized pedigree! Even at their most expensive, you’ll never have to pay quite as much as anyone did for a Rex in 1930s America, after all.