How to recognise a Rabbit´s sex

Determining the sex of a rabbit is a standard breeding procedure that every breeder should be able to perform perfectly. Whereas in the case of young the correct recognition of sex can cause trouble for beginners, in the case of adult rabbits it is straight-forward.

Principles for handling when determining sex

When determining the sex of rabbits, it is necessary to respect the correct technique for handling and fixation - with regard not only to preventing injury to the rabbits, but also to the breeder handling the rabbits.

In breeding practice there are multiple techniques for fixing a rabbit to determine its sex. The simplest solution iskrálíci gentle, but firm grasping of the skin on the back (with the dominant hand) and “sitting the rabbit on its bottom”, the other hand examines the sex organs. In the case of temperamental or larger rabbits, it is a good idea for one person to fix the rabbit and the other person to determine the sex.

We perform actual determination of the sex in such a manner that we place our index finger at the root of the tail, and with our thumb, gently but surely apply pressure in the area before the external sex organs. The pressure should be enough to reveal the whole external sex organs – in the case of a female it is the vulva, in the case of a male the complete protrusion of the penis. In addition, in the case of a male we see on the sides in the area two non-hairy testicle scrota.

In the older method a rabbit is on a non-slip mat in a natural position and, holding the rabbit by the skin, we lift up its bottom and use our other hand to determine the sex. This older method is, however, unsuitable, as during it the rabbit can more easily escape and primarily by palpation in this position we are not able to uncover any deformities of the external genitals.

Beware of young rabbits!

In the case of young rabbits up to approx. 6 weeks of age, determination of the sex can be quite problematic, but experienced breeders can relatively reliably recognise sex from approximately the third week.

In the case of young rabbits it is necessary to know that they have a relatively large clitoris, which at this age can bekrálíci confused with the base of the penis. The scrota of young males develop from approximately the 5th–6th week of age; we can quite reliably determine them from approx. the second month of age. In some bloodlines the development of the scrotum may be somewhat delayed.

Male rabbits can retract their testicles

With regard to the possibility of retraction of testicles into the scrota, it is possible that during an examination of the sex we will only see the scrota and the testicles will be in the inguinal canal or in the stomach. After a rabbit calms down, they drop again.

Important information: the development of a visible and normally-built scrotum means that a rabbit has testicles (which may only be temporarily retracted). If a scrotum has not developed, the testicles do not have anywhere do descend to and such male is a cryptorchid. It is a hereditary defect and such individuals are removed from breeding.