The National Rabbit Association of New Zealand

Rabbit club New Zealand


What are they?

The Tan is a very striking rabbit that is always busy,  This breed was almost lost in New Zealand and has had to be worked hard to bring back the tanning. This is very hard to richen as we do not have a viable out cross. We are having to work with what we have got here at the moment. There are so few Tans  in New Zealand and are limited to around 20 (2013) and need more breeders to come on board.

Do Tans make good Pets?

Bucks (Boys) tans make great pets and because they are always so buzzy they  love playing with toys. Does (Girls) love to dig so a cage with wire on the floor is important. Some Tans can become hormonal and will get a bit snappy. This is a lovely breed but due to their limited numbers are very uncommon as pets.

Pet scale 4  out of 5

What to Look For when Buying?

A Short Bodied well Muscled rabbit with a wide head, the fur is Fly Back, the tanning is to be a rich chest nut colour. The top  colour to be a sharp Black, chocolate, Blue or Lilac.  They are approximately 2kg


Tan - Standard

Ring Size B

Points 1

Black, dense and sound     10 

Tan, deep and rich              15     25

Distribution    Triangle          5     

Feet, hind                            10  

Feet front                             5                

Chest, flanks and belly        10    

 Nostrils, eyes and jowl        5  

Ears, outer and inside margin 5  40

Ears, short and black         10    

Shape Dutch                      10  

Eye, full                               5   

Condition                            10      

Total                                   100   

Colour - No other colour but black and tan. No white or foreign colour amongst either black or tan. The colour both in the black and tan should reach well to the skin.

Distribution of Black (body colour) and Tan (markings) - The head and cheeks to be black, that same colour reaching right up to the nose point, but with a ring of tan round each eye (eye circles). The shoulders (except immediately behind the ears), saddle, back, rump, sides and upper part of tail black. All should be free from brindling, except sides and sides of rump, which should be thickly laced with long tan hairs (side ticking). The nostrils, jowl, chest, belly, flanks and under part of tail should be one solid mass of deep golden tan, inclining to red or mahogany tint, brightness of tan to be of greater importance than the actual tint. The tan should be quite clear from any mixture of soot or body colour. The shoulders or neck immediately behind the ears should be tan, wide near the ears and tapering to a fine point towards the back, thus forming a triangle. This should be large enough to be partly seen, even when the rabbit’s head is up. From the base of the triangle near the ears, the tan should descend and if possible meet the tan on the tan chest, thus forming a kind of band or collar around the neck. At the root of the ears, viewed from the front, two tan spots, known as “Pea Spots” should be seen, the larger these are the better.

Hind legs - Rather short and of medium thickness. The outer part of leg reaching from foot to rump, black, inner part rich tan. The division between black and tan should form an unbroken line right up the leg, free from raggedness. The tan on the inner side to be quite free from spots, pencilling, bars or black. Toes wholly tan. Front legs - The lower front part, black as free from brindle as possible. The hind part and toes wholly tan.

Ears - Short, fine but not papery, carried erect and close together. Outside jet-black, well covered with fur. Inside laced with tan all round (if the whole of the insides are tan, so much the better). Ears free from white tips, white hairs or brindling.

Shape - The shorter and more cobby in build the better. Viewed from the side, the body top line should gracefully and moderately arch from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail.

Weight of adult - 2.041kg (4½lb) approximately 5. Coat - Fairly short, laying well to the body with a silky feel to the hand

Blue and Tan - With the difference in colour the previous description answers for the Blue and Tan. It may be taken that the medium tint of blue is preferable, but soundness of colour is to be considered of greater importance than actual tint.

Chocolate and Tan - With the difference in colour the above description answers for the Chocolate and Tan. The chocolate colour to be uniform, deep, rich chocolate brown.

Lilac and Tan - With the difference in colour the above description answers for the Lilac and Tan. The lilac to be of a medium dove grey with a pink tint veiling the surface. 

PENALTY POINTS 1. Brindle white or grey hairs amongst body colour(except on sides of body, where long tan hairs should be plentiful). White ear edges, badly covered ears, white or brindled hairs on outside of ears 5. Smudgy nose point 5. Brindled front legs 5. Black or blue bars, pencilling or spots on tan or hind legs and indistinct line of division along same 10

DISQUALIFICATIONS - Putty nose, white tufts in armpits and all deformities.