Welcome to the wonderful world of rabbits! If you’re considering adding one of these endearing long-eared companions to your family, you probably have lots of questions. What breed makes the best pet? Which ones are good for kids or indoor living? We’ve compiled all the information you need to find the perfect rabbit breed for your home and lifestyle. From their unique personalities to their care requirements, read on to discover the best and most popular pet rabbit breeds. Whether you’re a first-time owner or a veteran bunny lover, you’re sure to find new favorite breeds to make your shortlist. Let’s hop to it!
Do Rabbits Make Good Companion Pets?
Rabbits can make fantastic companion pets for the right families. Here are some of the key things to consider when deciding if a rabbit is the right pet for you:
Personality: Rabbits have very distinct, often playful and curious personalities. They can be quite entertaining to watch and interact with. However, rabbits are often considered to be more aloof than dogs and cats. They do not always crave human interaction and affection to the same degree.
Handling: Rabbits prefer to have all four feet on the ground, so they do not enjoy being picked up and held as much as some other pets. However, with regular gentle handling from a young age, rabbits can become quite comfortable being held.
Grooming: Rabbits are relatively low maintenance in terms of brushing, bathing and nail trims. However, you do need to be prepared to comb and pluck loose fur during shedding seasons. Their digestive system also requires a bit more specialized care.
Litter habits: Rabbits can be litter trained quite successfully, especially when spayed/neutered. This makes keeping them indoors much easier. However, even well-trained rabbits will leave stray droppings and you'll need to bunny proof any areas they have access to.
Activity level: Rabbits need adequate time and space to run around every day, whether roaming through rabbit-proofed rooms or an outdoor enclosure. Without sufficient exercise, they may become bored and destructive. Rabbits are crepuscular, meaning most active at dusk and dawn.
Diet: Rabbits have unique nutritional needs, subsisting primarily on hay along with measured amounts of fresh veggies and rabbit pellets. Their digestive system is quite sensitive, so dietary changes must be made slowly.
Veterinary care: Exotic veterinarians with rabbit experience are essential, as they require specialized medical knowledge. Spaying/neutering is highly recommended for health and behavior. Rabbits also need annual checkups.
Chewing: Rabbits love to chew and dig, so you must rabbit-proof your home by protecting baseboards, wires, furniture, carpets, etc. Provide acceptable outlets like toys and chews.
Loneliness: Rabbits are very social and can get lonely if left alone for long periods. Most are happiest with a bonded partner.
Lifespan: Properly cared for indoor rabbits can live 8-12 years. This is a long commitment. They require consistent care and supervision their entire lives.
While rabbits do have some unique care requirements, they can make for very rewarding companion pets for owners who are ready and able to provide everything they need to thrive. Their playful personalities, litter trainability and overall cleanliness makes them a solid option. Do thorough research before bringing one home.
Top 15 Most Friendly Rabbit Breeds – Best Rabbit Breeds for Kids
Here are 15 of the most docile, friendly and patient rabbit breeds that make great pets for children:
1. Dutch – This very popular breed tends to have gentle, sweet personalities. They tolerate handling very well. Dutch rabbits come in a variety of striking color patterns.
2. Rex – Known for being easy-going and enjoying human interaction, the velvety soft Rex breed is a top choice for families. They are available in many color variations.
3. Himalayan – These rabbits are calm, good-natured, and affectionate. Their distinctive color pointed pattern requires some maintenance.
4. Mini Lop – One of the most popular bunny breeds, Mini Lops are playful, smart and great with respectful children. Their floppy ears are adorable.
5. Lionhead – The majestic Lionhead breed has a mild temperament that kids love. Their long fur requires regular grooming.
6. Jersey Wooly – As the name suggests, this breed sports a dense wooly coat. They are mellow, intelligent, and enjoy being held.
7. English Lop – Despite their giant size, these gentle giants make fabulous pets. They love companionship and thrive when kept indoors.
8. American Fuzzy Lop – An amiable breed that lives up to its name with a super fluffy coat. They have playful personalities.
9. Silver Marten – This sleek breed is known for being relaxed, friendly, and eager to socialize with respectful children.
10. Havana – Havana rabbits are mid-sized, docile, and known for tolerating handling exceedingly well.
11. Florida White – Energetic and affectionate, this breed enjoys playtime and cuddles with polite kids. They are soft and snuggly.
12. Checkered Giant – Often described as a gentle giant, this massive breed is mellow and loving despite its intimidating size.
13. English Spot – Children seem to love the signature polka dot marking of the English Spot. They have charming, friendly personalities to match.
14. Harlequin – Not only are Harlequins absolutely gorgeous with their colorful coats, but they are relaxed and thrive when kept as house rabbits.
15. Mini Rex – Mini Rex rabbits are playful and entertaining for families. They have super soft, plush fur and laidback dispositions.
When introduced properly, all of these breeds tend to respond very well to the excited energy and activity level of children. As always, supervision of small children around rabbits is still important. With knowledgeable, caring owners, any of these breeds can make an excellent family pet.
Which Rabbit Breed is Most Child-Friendly?
It can be challenging to declare one single rabbit breed the absolute best for small children. The reality is that a rabbit's individual personality plays a huge role in determining how suitable they are for interactions with kids. However, there are some breeds which tend to have more consistently docile, tolerant temperaments. Here are top contenders for the most child-friendly rabbit breed:
Dutch – Dutch rabbits are likely one of the best breeds for children. They are smart yet typically have a very mellow, friendly personality. They also tolerate handling very well compared to other breeds, making them less likely to scratch or nip.
Rex – The Rex breed is another favorite when it comes to kid-friendly rabbits. They are calm, gentle and affectionate. They generally love being petted and held. Their plush soft coats add to the appeal.
Havana – The medium-sized Havana breed earns high marks for their tolerant, easy-going personality. They are known for being patient with busy children who want to cuddle and play.
Lionhead – Lionheads tend to have a very mild-mannered temperament. Their cute mane of fur around their head gives them added charm. Most seem to enjoy human interaction.
Mini Lop – It's no surprise Mini Lops make fantastic pets for kids. They are energetic, intelligent, and respond well to gentle handling from children. Those signature lop ears are hard to resist!
The most important factor is choosing an individual rabbit with a personality that meshes well with your child’s. While the breeds noted above are great options, be sure to observe the rabbit’s behavior around children before making a selection. With supervision and understanding of proper care, the resulting bond can be immensely rewarding!
Best Outdoor Rabbit Breeds
For families interested in keeping their rabbits primarily in outdoor hutches or enclosures, some breeds tend to adapt better than others. Here are some of the best outdoor rabbit breeds:
American Chinchilla – This rugged, robust breed with handsome fur can thrive outdoors year-round in many climates. They are active and inquisitive.
American – Sometimes referred to as the American Blue rabbit, this breed is hardy and energetic, making them well-suited for outdoor life.
Silver Fox – With their dense, glossy coats and energetic nature, Silver Fox rabbits are great for living largely outside. They tolerate temperature fluctuations well.
New Zealand – Few breeds rival the New Zealand in terms of durability and vigor. They thrive in outdoor hutches with adequate space to move.
Californian – The thick coats and large size of Californian rabbits allows them to prosper outdoors. They need protection from intense sun and heat.
Flemish Giant – This massive breed’s resilience and strength adapts well to outdoor living. Provide ample room and shelter from elements.
Champagne D’Argent – Active and curious, this French breed enjoys outdoor exploration. Their striking silver coats provide insulation.
English Lop – Despite their gentle nature, these large rabbits are quite robust and able to live outdoors with proper housing.
Silver Marten – Their thick fur helps the striking Silver Marten handle colder temperatures. Be sure to give access to shade and cooling.
When caring for outdoor rabbits, be sure they have escape from both hot and cold extremes. Also ensure their enclosure is predator-proof, clean, and roomy enough to explore. Bringing them indoors periodically for socialization is also recommended.
Best Indoor Rabbit Breeds
For families looking to keep their rabbits primarily inside the home, these breeds are often best suited for indoor living:
Rex – The famously plush Rex coat doesn’t stand up well to moisture. This breed thrives when kept in climate controlled indoor settings.
Netherland Dwarf – The tiny Netherland Dwarf adapts well to indoor living. They enjoy human interaction and require minimal space.
Mini Lop – Mini Lops tend to relish their time spent indoors with their families. They are playful and social.
Dutch – Many Dutch rabbits strongly prefer living indoors. They love being around people and enjoy playing.
Himalayan – This breed’s striking color pointed coat requires diligent grooming upkeep, making indoor living ideal. They also crave companionship.
English Angora – With their lavish long fur, Angoras are not suited for outdoor conditions. They thrive as house rabbits.
Lionhead – The lush mane and sociable personality of the Lionhead breed makes them oriented toward indoor living.
Jersey Wooly – Adaptable and washable, the ultra plush fur of this breed makes indoors ideal. They relish playtime.
Holland Lop – Many Holland Lops strongly prefer life as indoor house rabbits. They love human interaction and bond very closely.
Polish – The diminutive Polish breed appreciates a good snuggle indoors. Ensure they get adequate exercise time even in a small space.
Be sure to rabbit proof the indoor area thoroughly to keep curious rabbits safe. Provide activities, toys, litter boxes, baby gates and supervision to set indoor rabbits up for success. Proper indoor care can enable strong bonds. Research specific care requirements for your breed.