Dewlap In Rabbit (Double Chin) – Unveiling the Adorable Mystery

If you’re a rabbit owner, you may have noticed a unique physical feature on your furry friend: a dewlap, also known as a “rabbit double chin.”

But what exactly is a dewlap, and why do rabbits have them?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the topic of dewlaps in rabbits and provide some insights into their purpose and function.

We’ll cover topics such as the anatomy of the dewlap, how it changes over time, and what to do if you notice any abnormalities.

So, if you’re a rabbit owner or considering getting a rabbit as a pet, keep reading to learn more about this fascinating aspect of rabbit physiology and what it means for your furry friend’s health and well-being.

Understanding Dewlap in Rabbits

Dewlap is a term commonly used to describe the loose fold of skin or “double chin” often seen in rabbits. This feature is more pronounced in certain breeds and is generally more noticeable in female rabbits.

The dewlap can have both functional and aesthetic purposes, contributing to the unique appearance of each rabbit.

The dewlap is located on the ventral surface of the neck and consists of a fold of skin that contains fatty tissue.

In female rabbits, it serves a practical purpose during nesting. The mother rabbit can pluck fur from the dewlap to line her nest, providing a warm, comfortable environment for her babies.

In some cases, the dewlap may become quite large, making it difficult for the rabbit to groom and maintain proper hygiene.

Every rabbit has a unique dewlap, which can vary in size, shape, and texture. Factors such as age, breed, and genetics all play a role in the development of this characteristic.

Although it is more common in female rabbits, a dewlap can be seen in some males as well.

It is important to understand that a prominent dewlap does not necessarily indicate an issue with the rabbit’s health or well-being.

Regularly checking and monitoring the dewlap is an essential part of maintaining your rabbit’s health. This is particularly true for rabbits with a more prominent dewlap, as they can be more susceptible to skin issues and infections.

Ensure that the area remains clean and free of debris or signs of irritation. Consult your exotic veterinarian for advice on proper care and grooming techniques.

In conclusion, the presence of a dewlap in rabbits is a natural and normal part of their anatomy. By understanding its function and appearance, you can ensure that your rabbit remains happy, healthy, and comfortable.

Don’t forget to monitor the dewlap regularly, keep it clean, and consult with your exotic veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding your rabbit’s well-being.

Dewlap Development and Indicators

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Dewlap, also known as the rabbit double chin, is a flap of skin and fatty tissue found under the chin of rabbits. You might have noticed it’s more common in female rabbits than male rabbits.

Let’s dive into the factors that contribute to this fascinating trait and some indicators that are essential for you to consider in rabbit care.

In female rabbits, the development of a dewlap usually occurs during maturity, coinciding with the onset of sexual maturity or puberty.

The presence of estrogen and other hormones play a significant role in the growth of this unique feature.

The hormones trigger the deposition of fat in the dewlap, and the size of the dewlap varies according to the individual, breed, and age of the rabbit.

Male rabbits might also develop a dewlap, although it’s often smaller and less noticeable than those found in females.

The main reason for this difference is their hormonal makeup – male rabbits typically have lower estrogen levels, which contributes to the reduced size of their dewlap.

Now that we’ve seen some of the factors affecting dewlap development, it’s essential to be aware of certain indicators that can signal problems:

  • Weight gain: An unusually large dewlap could be a sign of excess weight gain in your rabbit, which can lead to health issues. Monitoring your rabbit’s diet and ensuring they have enough exercise can help prevent excessive weight gain and reduce the size of the dewlap.
  • Dental issues: A large or inflamed dewlap may also be an indicator of dental problems, such as jaw abscesses. Dental disease in rabbits is relatively common, so it’s crucial to pay attention to any changes in your rabbit’s dewlap and consult a veterinarian if you suspect dental issues.
  • Fur loss: Female rabbits may pluck fur from their dewlap when they’re getting ready to give birth. The plucked fur is used to create a soft and warm nest for her babies. If you notice fur loss in the dewlap but pregnancy is not a possibility, it could indicate stress or other health concerns that need veterinary attention.

In conclusion, understanding the development and indicators of dewlap in rabbits is crucial for maintaining their overall health.

Keep an eye on your rabbit’s dewlap, and if you notice any abnormalities or concerning signs, don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian.

Role of Dewlap in Rabbit Breeding

A dewlap is a fold of skin and fatty tissue that hangs below a rabbit’s chin, often more prominent in female rabbits, known as does.

It plays a vital role in rabbit breeding, particularly in providing insulation and comfort for their babies.

When a doe is expecting babies, she will begin to build a nest for her little ones. She does this by gathering materials such as hay, straw, or even fabric to create a soft and warm place for them to rest.

The dewlap comes in handy during this nesting process because the doe can actually pull fur from the dewlap to line her nest, providing added insulation and warmth for the newborn babies, called kits.

This behavior is especially helpful as rabbits are born hairless and require extra warmth during their initial days of life.

Another way the dewlap assists in rabbit breeding is by acting as a “calling card” during mating. Both bucks (male rabbits) and does may exhibit larger dewlaps depending on their breed.

In some rabbit breeds, a more prominent dewlap may signal good health or maturity, which can be attractive to a potential mate.

Moreover, the dewlap serves as a source of protection for the rabbit during playtime or interaction with other rabbits.

It can shield sensitive body parts such as the throat from injury, reducing the risk of harm during these interactions.

In conclusion, the dewlap is an essential feature in rabbit breeding, providing important benefits for nesting and mating. It also ensures the safety and comfort of rabbits during their day-to-day interactions.

As a responsible rabbit owner, be mindful of the dewlap’s role in your pet’s life and provide a healthy, comfortable environment for them to thrive.

Offering them safe and homemade toys can also keep your bunnies engaged. You can learn more about homemade rabbit toys here.

Common Health Concerns Related to Dewlap

A dewlap is a flap of skin that hangs beneath a rabbit’s chin, often more prominent in females and larger rabbit breeds.

It’s important to monitor your rabbit’s dewlap regularly, as this area can be prone to several health issues, including dental problems, infections, dermatitis, wet dewlap, and skin infection.

Let’s discuss some of these concerns in detail.

Dental issues in rabbits are quite common due to their continuously growing teeth, which can lead to complications if not properly maintained.

Some dental problems in rabbits can cause drooling, leading to a wet dewlap. A moist dewlap can then create a suitable environment for bacterial growth and skin infections.

To prevent these issues, ensure your rabbit’s teeth are properly aligned and maintain a diet rich in hay, which helps wear down their teeth naturally.

Another health concern related to dewlap is infections, which can occur due to a lack of airflow and the accumulation of moisture.

This buildup can lead to bacterial and fungal infections that affect the skin underneath the dewlap. Make sure you regularly check and clean the area to prevent severe infections from developing.

It’s important to seek veterinary care if you notice redness, swelling, or discharge in your rabbit’s dewlap area.

Dermatitis is a common issue associated with dewlaps, often resulting from a wet and unclean environment.

This condition is characterized by inflammation of the skin, leading to redness, itchiness, and possible hair loss.

To minimize the risk of dermatitis, ensure your rabbit’s living space is clean and dry, avoid wet dewlap, and check their dewlap consistently for any signs of inflammation.

Lastly, skin infections can arise due to various factors, including poor hygiene and untreated dermatitis.

If you notice any symptoms such as hair loss, redness, or scabs on your rabbit’s dewlap, it is important to consult a rabbit care expert to identify the cause and seek appropriate treatment.

Remember, as a responsible rabbit owner, being attentive to your rabbit’s dewlap health is essential.

Regularly inspecting and maintaining a clean, dry dewlap will help prevent many of these common health concerns and ensure your furry companion remains comfortable and healthy.

Obesity Relation to Dewlap

Obesity in rabbits is often linked to the development of a larger and more prominent dewlap. A dewlap is extra skin and fat found under the chin of a rabbit, particularly in females.

Even though a dewlap is primarily for female rabbits as they use the extra fur on this area to line their nests, overweight male rabbits can also develop a dewlap due to excess fat deposits under the chin.

A major contributing factor to obesity in rabbits is their diet. Overfeeding and providing a diet high in calories and sugar can lead your rabbit to gain excess weight, which can result in an enlarged dewlap.

A healthy diet for young rabbits should consist of high-quality pellets, fresh vegetables and hay, while monitoring the portion sizes.

Another reason for a rabbit’s dewlap to become enlarged is if they are not consuming enough fiber. Rabbits require a high amount of fiber in their diet to maintain optimal digestive health.

Hay should be the primary source of fiber, making up 70-80% of their diet. Insufficient fiber intake can lead to your rabbit having digestive issues.

This may affect their ability to properly consume their cecotropes, which are soft feces containing essential nutrients that rabbits need to eat.

In some cases, a rabbit might chew on non-food items like cardboard out of boredom or lack of suitable chewing material.

Although chewing cardboard isn’t detrimental to your rabbit’s health, it can’t replace the nutritional value of proper food like hay, which provides essential fiber.

To prevent obesity and minimize the chances of an enlarged dewlap, make sure to provide your rabbit with a well-balanced diet, encourage regular exercise, and offer mental stimulation through toys and environmental enrichment.

By maintaining a healthy weight, your rabbit’s dewlap will be less likely to become excessively large and problematic.

Role of Genetics in Dewlap Formation

When it comes to rabbit breeds, genetics play a significant role in determining various physical traits, including the presence and size of the dewlap.

The dewlap is essentially a fold of skin under the chin that might resemble a “double chin” in rabbits.

In some breeds, the dewlap is more prominent and even desired, while in other breeds, it might be smaller or barely noticeable.

Let’s look at the involvement of genetics and its influence on dewlap formation in different rabbit breeds.

The Flemish Giant, for example, is a large rabbit breed with a noticeable dewlap, especially in female rabbits.

It’s essential for females to have some dewlap as it allows them to pull fur from it to create a comfortable nesting environment for their newborns. The genetic component for this breed contributes to the development of such a prominent dewlap.

On the other hand, the Netherland Dwarf is a small rabbit breed with a compact body and a very minimal dewlap.

This breed’s genetics call for a shorter, more rounded face, and the development of a large dewlap is not part of their breed standard.

In fact, when evaluating a Netherland Dwarf for show purposes, an excessive dewlap would be considered a fault.

It’s important to understand that within each breed, there can be variations in the appearance and size of the dewlap.

This is because genes from one rabbit may be passed on to its offspring differently than genes from another rabbit of the same breed.

In some cases, such as the Cluj Rabbit, genetics play a role in determining the color of their fur in addition to the presence of a dewlap.

In summary, the genetics of a rabbit dictate various physical traits, including the formation and size of the dewlap.

Different breeds have unique breed standards that may call for a more or less prominent dewlap, emphasizing the importance of genetics in their development.

As a rabbit owner, understanding the role of genetics in the appearance of your rabbit can help you appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of each individual animal.

Dewlap Management and Grooming

Dewlaps are a common feature in rabbits, especially in females, and play a role in the grooming process. Managing and grooming your rabbit’s dewlap is essential for its health and well-being.

To begin with, ensure that your rabbit’s fur, including the dewlap area, is kept clean and free of matting.

You can gently brush your rabbit’s fur using a soft brush or comb designed specifically for small animals. Taking care of your rabbit’s fur is not just about brushing: trimming your pet’s nails is an important part of grooming too.

Learn how to trim your rabbit’s nails properly to avoid overgrown, painful nails, which may cause discomfort and hinder grooming.

Sometimes, it might be necessary to clean your rabbit’s dewlap if it becomes soiled. However, bathing a rabbit can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet.

Instead, use a damp cloth to gently clean the area and avoid soaking your rabbit in water. Read more about how to wash a rabbit without causing stress or harm.

Properly maintaining your rabbit’s living environment can also contribute to good dewlap management. A clean and spacious living area will reduce the likelihood of your rabbit’s dewlap getting soiled or infected.

Don’t forget to provide plenty of opportunities for your rabbit to exercise and engage in natural grooming behaviors.

Spaying or neutering your rabbit is another essential aspect of managing its overall health, including dewlap care.

A spayed female rabbit is less likely to develop an excessively large dewlap due to hormonal changes.

Additionally, neutered male rabbits tend to have smaller, easier-to-groom dewlaps. Learn how to care for your rabbit post-neuter or spay to ensure a smooth recovery.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively manage and groom your rabbit’s dewlap, helping maintain its overall health and happiness.

Dewlap After Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and neutering are common procedures performed in rabbits to prevent reproduction, reduce hormone-related behaviors, and improve overall health.

When a rabbit is spayed or neutered, it can affect their dewlap—the fatty tissue under their chin, which can be quite large, especially in females.

After a rabbit is spayed or neutered, you may notice changes in the size of their dewlap.

In some cases, the dewlap may decrease in size as hormone levels are reduced, while in others, it may stay the same.

It’s important to monitor the size and condition regularly to ensure your rabbit stays healthy and comfortable.

Dewlaps can serve as a source of insulation and cushioning, and female rabbits often use them to pull fur to line their nests when they’re expecting young.

However, spayed rabbits no longer have the need to create a nest and therefore may not rely as heavily on their dewlap. As a result, their dewlap may appear less prominent over time.

Neutered rabbits, on the other hand, generally don’t experience a significant reduction in dewlap size, since they don’t have sizable dewlaps to begin with.

Male rabbits tend to have smaller dewlaps than their female counterparts, so the change following neutering will likely be less noticeable.

Regardless, it’s essential to continue monitoring the dewlap in neutered rabbits as well.

It’s crucial to maintain a healthy diet for your spayed or neutered rabbit, as overweight rabbits are more likely to have larger dewlaps, which can become cumbersome and difficult to clean.

Providing fresh hay, leafy greens, and a small number of pellets will help keep your rabbit’s weight in check and prevent an overly large dewlap.

In conclusion, it’s essential to pay attention to your rabbit’s dewlap after spaying or neutering.

Though changes in size can vary, keeping a close eye on it and maintaining a healthy diet will ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy.

Addressing Dewlap Issues

A dewlap is a fold of skin under a rabbit’s chin, which can sometimes present health problems. To address dewlap issues, it is crucial to be aware of the potential concerns and know when to consult a veterinarian.

Excessive dewlap size can put your rabbit at risk for infection and irritation, particularly when the skin becomes moist or dirty.

To prevent these issues, it’s essential to keep the area clean and dry regularly. Doing so helps inhibit bacterial or fungal infections from developing.

It is vital to monitor the dewlap for signs of redness, inflammation, or discharge. Should you observe any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Obesity in rabbits can also contribute to an enlarged dewlap.

Maintaining a nutritious and well-balanced diet, consisting of hay, vegetables, and a limited amount of pellets, is necessary to promote good health and a manageable dewlap size.

Providing ample space and opportunities for exercise is also crucial in keeping your rabbit healthy and their dewlap under control.

In some cases, addressing dewlap issues may require medical intervention, such as surgery.

Depending on the severity of the problem, a veterinarian might decide to perform a surgical procedure to remove or reduce the dewlap.

This can alleviate discomfort and prevent potential health issues such as infection, pressure sores, and difficulties with grooming.

It is essential to follow your veterinarian’s advice and take action if your rabbit is experiencing dewlap-related health problems.

Timely intervention, regular maintenance of the area, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and consulting a veterinarian when necessary will help ensure your rabbit’s dewlap remains a manageable and healthy aspect of their life.


In conclusion, understanding dewlaps in rabbits is crucial for maintaining their overall health and wellbeing.

The dewlap, also known as a rabbit’s double chin, serves various purposes, particularly for female rabbits. It is used as a source of extra fur for lining their nests during pregnancy and can also provide insulation.

Rabbits are prone to certain dental and dermatological issues in the dewlap region.

It is essential for you, as a responsible pet owner, to regularly check your rabbit’s dewlap for signs of irritation, infection, or abscesses.

Early detection of these issues can help address them more effectively and prevent further complications.

Proper cleaning and grooming are necessary to keep the dewlap sanitary, reducing the chance of infection.

In addition, monitoring your rabbit’s dental health and providing appropriate toys for them to chew on can further decrease the risk of dental-related issues in the dewlap area.

By following these guidelines and keeping a close eye on your rabbit’s dewlap, you can ensure that your fluffy friend stays comfortable, healthy, and happy.

Remember, providing the best care possible for your rabbit will allow them to thrive and form a strong bond with you for years to come.


Dewlaps are a common feature in some rabbit breeds, and they can raise questions for rabbit owners. In this section, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about the rabbit’s double chin.

What is a dewlap?

A dewlap is a fold of skin and fatty tissue found under the chin and neck of some rabbit breeds, particularly in females. It serves as a source of warmth and protection for young rabbits when a doe pulls fur from her dewlap to line her nest.

Which rabbit breeds have dewlaps?

Dewlaps are more prominent in larger rabbit breeds such as Flemish Giants, French Lops, and New Zealand Whites. It’s essential to note, however, that not all rabbits within these breeds will have a dewlap, and some smaller breeds may also develop them.

Are dewlaps unhealthy?

In general, dewlaps do not pose any health risks for rabbits. However, they can become an issue if they grow too large and obstruct your rabbit’s movement or breathing. Additionally, obese rabbits may have bigger dewlaps, putting more strain on their neck and causing discomfort.

How do I care for my rabbit’s dewlap?

Regularly check your rabbit’s dewlap for any signs of irritation, sores, or infection. Gently clean the area with a soft damp cloth and mild soap if necessary.

Additionally, ensure your rabbit maintains a healthy weight to avoid excessive fat deposition in the dewlap. Consult an exotic animal veterinarian if you have concerns about your rabbit’s dewlap or need guidance on proper care.

Can male rabbits have dewlaps?

Although less common, male rabbits can also develop small dewlaps. It is essential to monitor their dewlaps as you would with a female rabbit, ensuring the area remains clean and free from any signs of irritation or infection.

Maurice Alice

Dr. Maurice Alice is a veterinary expert with over 10 years of experience in exotic animal medicine, specializing in dental care for rabbits and rodents. He is dedicated to providing exceptional care for his patients and is passionate about promoting animal welfare.

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