The Continental Giant is known by several names, referred to as German Giant, Swiss Giant, Vlaamse Reus (In Holland) and Deutsche Riesen (In Germany), however they are one and the same and are simply referred to as "contis" by many. First documented in 1893, fine specimens may be found across Europe. Thanks to hard work between UK and USA breeders we are now beginning to see these beautiful rabbits here in the USA.

The extraordinary breed with it's upright posture (semi-arch breed) and impressive weight potential is truly a sight to behold. Combine the aforementioned with their propensity to be very docile and they truly are gentle giants.

While they are the largest rabbits to be found, claims can be slightly exaggerated. With their standard calling for them to stand when posed and those enormous ears it is easy to overestimate their tonnage. A quality buck may weigh between 22 and 25 lbs., which is on par with a medium sized dog when seeking a size comparison (The heavy bone and dense coat add to their overall mass).

Bucks (males) have large, wide heads while does (females) are comparatively smaller. Does also have a large dewlap once they reach maturity, resembling a large pillow of fur under their chin. Both have remarkably long, spoon shaped ears.

Their average lifespan tends to average 4 to 7 years depending upon the line. Those that mature slower tend to live somewhat longer lives and proper diet improves this as well (more on proper nutrition). Due to their massive size, contis have greater requirements in terms of environment and living space, more is better. In the southern parts of the US, it is too hot to house them outside so provisions for a climate controlled barn must be made (more on housing Continental Giants).

When considering what an ideal Continental Giant should look like, we refer to a book of standards. Each country has their own governing body for standards, our focus herein being the BRC (British Rabbit Council) standard. At present the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) does not recognize the Continental Giant, but with collective efforts that will change.

Like different lines of a particular breed, each region tends to focus on particular aspects of the Continental Type. For example some of the richest coat and color come from Holland, while sheer size and bone tend to be found in Germany, and the UK strikes a balance with both. Of course there are always exceptions and with breeders sharing stock this rules is not set in stone.

Several recognized colors are available including: Black, Dark Steel, Light Steel, Agouti and Red Agouti (Haaskleur), Opal, White, Yellow and more recently Chinchilla (approved July 2014).

[Read more on BRC standards for the Continental Giant]

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