Roger Rabbit

What type of rabbit is Roger Rabbit?

What breed of rabbit is Roger Rabbit, star of the live action/animation groundbreaking film? Your question finally answered.

Have you ever had a weird question that kept going around your mind? Utterly inconsequential, but nags and gnaws away? So you do what we all do, and put your trust in Google. 

And always, someone, somewhere, will present an answer to you neatly by the algorithms of the internet. Nearly always… …and then you end up with a question that no-one else has asked. 

You know what the question is, because you’ve ended up on this page.

What type of rabbit is Roger Rabbit? In particular, what breed of rabbit? 

I have happy memories of the ground-breaking film that mixed live action with traditional animation. Bob Hoskins starred as the world-weary private eye inveigled into investigating who framed Roger Rabbit. But there are many different breeds of rabbit – what type was Roger? 

That is, what type besides cartoon rabbit – Wikipedia classifies Roger as a Toon Anthropomorphic Rabbit. I can’t find that classification anywhere on the ARBA website.

The answer wasn’t obvious, but I did some digging around. Here’s my hypothesis.

What type of rabbit is Roger Rabbit? Roger Rabbit is most likely to be an American White rabbit.

How did I come to this conclusion? My reasoning is laid out below – see what you think.

Is Roger Rabbit a rabbit or a hare?

The first question is to establish whether Roger Rabbit is really a rabbit. After all, he could be a hare. 

You think this is unlikely? But Bugs Bunny, a cartoon parallel, seems at time to be more like a hare than a rabbit, and the two are similar. For example, the first short film in which Bugs Bunny got his name was called Hare-um Scare-um. And the first ‘official’ Bugs Bunny film was called A Wild Hare. 

Charlie Thorson, the lead animator, created Bugs Bunny as a mix between a hare (called Max Hare) he had drawn for an earlier film and the cute rabbits more typical of Disney.

Bugs Bunny
Is Bugs a rabbit or a hare?

The key evidence that Bugs is a rabbit is that he has a burrow, living underground. Hares live overground. And Elmer Fudd calls him that ‘wascally wabbit’. But other evidence points towards the hare: 

  • He is a loner (hares are loners; rabbits are social creatures); and
  • Bugs Bunny has long ears.

So some people think that Bugs Bunny is more likely to be a hare than a rabbit (info here).

But Roger Rabbit is more rabbit like. The evidence mounts up:

  • Roger Rabbit is extremely sociable (not least, he is married to the delightful Jessica). Rabbits are sociable whilst hares are solitary.
  • One of his relatives is a rabbit. His uncle is Thumper, from Bambi, as this line from the movie shows:
    My Uncle Thumper had a problem with his probate and he had to take these big pills and drink lots of water.”
    (Could Roger Rabbit’s dad be one of Thumper’s sisters – Trixie, Daisy, Ria or Tessie?!)
  • Let’s not forget, his surname is Rabbit.
  • But the real clincher is that his creator, Gary K Wolf, has confirmed that Roger Rabbit is a rabbit:
    Roger IS a rabbit, yet his last name is Rabbit. So does that make him Roger Rabbit Rabbit? That’s the kind of conundrum that makes a Toon’s head explode. And mine too if I think about it too much.”

All in all, we’re safe in thinking that Roger Rabbit is a rabbit and not a hare.

What type of ears does Roger Rabbit have?

One of the ways to tell rabbit breeds apart is through their ears. They can be classified in five different categories:

Fish - mini lop rabbit
This is Fish
  • Erect ears – this is the most common.
  • Full lop ears – both ears hang down. Fish, one of our rabbits, has full lop ears.
  • Half lop ears – one ear up, the other down. Chips, our other rabbit, often carries her ears like this (but at other times both end up upright).
  • Oar lop ears – the ears stick out fairly horizontally – sometimes called helicopter ears.
  • Horn lop ears – the ears stick out in front.

Roger Rabbit has erect ears, so we can rule out all the breeds of rabbits which are lop-eared (so definitely not the same breed as our rabbit Fish).

What colour is Roger Rabbit?

Another distinguishing feature of rabbit breeds is their colour. This is a simple one – Roger Rabbit has white fur.

What length of fur does Roger Rabbit have?

Angora rabbit
Angora rabbit – a bit fluffier than Roger Rabbit
Ross Little [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Some rabbits have really long fur – like the Angora breed. They need lots of grooming (high maintenance bunnies).

But Roger Rabbit has much shorter fur.

He’s not what you’d call ‘fluffy’ at all.

Again, this helps narrow down the possibilities.

Where does Roger Rabbit come from?

Roger Rabbit speaks with an American accent, and lives in California. We can assume that he’s an American rabbit.

Putting the clues together

So Roger Rabbit is a rabbit with erect ears, white short fur, and an American breed.

My conclusion: Roger Rabbit is an American White Rabbit.

American White Rabbit
American White Rabbit

Why? The American White Rabbit is a large breed (and Roger Rabbit is certainly larger than most rabbits…). The ears are long and erect (just like Roger’s), and the fur short. The breed is known for being friendly and with a sweet temperament (again, just like Roger’s). And it is American (just like Roger). You can find out more at the American Rabbit Breeders’ Association.

It all fits together. Case closed.

Convinced by this? Get ready to be convinced that rabbits are better pets than dogs – we have 7 reasons why.

Posted by Jonathan