- COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
- YEAR RECOGNIZED: circa 1928
- USES: Show, fur, meat
- WEIGHT: 8 pounds (3.6 kg) max., senior does
- BODY TYPE: Compact
- FUR TYPE: Rollback; 1 inch (2.5 cm) long; dense
- COLOR: Uniform lilac (dove gray) with delicate pink tint on surface
THE LILAC RABBIT TAKES ITS NAME from the light purple blooms of the bush by the same name. No, the Lilac is not really a purple rabbit, but animal names are often fanciful, especially where color is concerned. The Lilac breed, however, does sport a striking, lightcolored coat sometimes described as “pinkish dove” or “dove gray.”
Lilacs are small, firmly fleshed rabbits that were developed for meat and fur. Their fur is dense, soft, and silky.
The Lilac was developed in England by at least two different breeders working independently of each other. Their efforts involved Havanas, Blue Imperials, and Blue Beverens. The two English strains eventually were merged.
Meanwhile, Dutch breeders had established a Lilac-like rabbit called the Gouda, and by the time the English Lilacs had reached the United States in 1922, the Gouda had already found its way into North America. Gouda numbers eventually dwindled in the United States, but the breed may well have been used by American breeders in refining the English Lilacs.
The richly furred Lilac has never been common in North America, hence its status on The Livestock Conservancy’s watch list.