Rabbits have roamed our earth for hundreds of years, and it is only within the last few centuries that they have been domesticated and considered pets. Originally domesticated for their meat and fur, the New Zealand rabbit was one of the first rabbits to be bred in captivity specifically for the meat trade.
The New Zealand rabbit may have gotten its name from earlier belief that it originated from rabbits imported from New Zealand in the early 1900s. It is more likely the New Zealand is a cross between the Flemish giant and the Belgian hare. Large in size and weighing in between 9 and 12 pounds, the New Zealand has a life expectancy of 5 to 6 years. Spaying and neutering can extend this life span to a maximum of 10 years.
- Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images