The Belgian Hare is beautiful and energetic, often called "the poor man's racehorse." True purebreds are quite rare in the United States and Canada, which only adds to the Belgian Hare's allure.
Belgian Hares are very elegant, sleek and graceful. However, they are also energetic and need a large cage to run around in. Belgian Hares often become a beautifully rich, deep chestnut red color that is highly desired among fans of the breed. They move often and with grace, especially when you are near them. They prance around, not doing the typical hop, but much more gracefully, almost like a dance. However, Belgian Hares are a very nervous breed, which makes them more susceptible to bacterial and viral diseases. They are also very difficult to breed. Although Belgian Hares are active rabbits they seem to enjoy being handled and posed. When posing them you should not lift them up by their ears but instead gently lift them from under their chin. When they are handled a lot they tend to develop strong bonds with their owners and distinct personality traits.
Belgian Hares are graceful and tall, weighing an average of eight pounds. Their body is very long, fine and sleek. Belgian hares also have long legs and ears. The most common color is a dark chestnut red with black ticking on their backs.
Belgian hares originated in Belgium in the early 18th century as a cross between domestic and wild European rabbits. They were selectively bred to be a beautiful and practical meat rabbit. In the mid 19th century, they were imported to England and called the "Belgian Hare." English breeders made the Belgian Hare appear more spirited, like wild English rabbits. The first Belgian Hare was brought to America in 1888, where it enjoyed immense popularity. In 1917, their popularity fell, mainly because too many tried to make the Belgian Hare a meat rabbit, while they are truly a race rabbit. However, today, true Belgian Hares are rare, due partly to the degree of difficulty many have had in breeding them.