Can dogs and rabbits live harmoniously together? It may seem impossible for prey animal bunnies to bond with predatory canine companions. However, with patience and proper training, many dogs can adapt their instincts to become trusted protectors and playmates for pet rabbits. This 10,000 word guide dives deep into the keys for successfully introducing rabbits and dogs, signals that they have bonded, and the best dog breeds for rabbit friends. You’ll discover tips for supervised interactions, creating safe spaces, and positively reinforcing calm gentle behaviors. Whether you already have both species or are considering adding one to a single pet home, you’ll learn how to set up peaceful coexistence and rewarding interspecies relationships. Read on to fully explore how to turn dogs and rabbits into the best of friends!

Do Dogs And Rabbits Get Along?

Dogs and rabbits can potentially get along very well and become great friends. However, there are some important considerations when introducing dogs and rabbits that need to be kept in mind. Dogs have natural hunting instincts and some breeds have higher prey drives than others. Rabbits are prey animals and can be frightened easily by dogs. With proper precautions and training, many dogs can learn to live peacefully with rabbits. The dogs should be properly socialized and trained not to chase or harm the rabbit. The rabbit also needs to have their own safe space away from the dog when needed. When properly introduced and supervised, dogs and rabbits can play together, groom each other, or simply co-exist contentedly. Overall, whether dogs and rabbits get along depends on the temperaments of the individual animals, proper training and introductions, providing safe spaces for the rabbit, and always supervising their interactions.

Can Rabbits Bond with Dogs?

Yes, rabbits absolutely can bond with dogs given the right circumstances. Bonding between rabbits and dogs requires patience, proper training, and respecting the rabbit's needs. Rabbits are very social animals and with time and exposure can become comfortable and friendly with dogs.

There are some key factors that allow rabbits to successfully bond with dogs:

  • Starting introductions slowly – First introductions should involve keeping the dog and rabbit separated by a pen or gate so they can see and smell each other without direct contact. This allows them to get used to each other's presence.

  • Providing the rabbit with a safe space – The rabbit needs access to an area like an exercise pen or room where they can retreat when needed to feel safe and relaxed away from the dog. This is especially important in the beginning of bonding.

  • Training the dog to be calm and gentle – Using positive reinforcement, dogs can be taught commands like "leave it" and "settle" to control their energy level and instincts around the rabbit. They can also be taught to wait patiently for treats when the rabbit is near.

  • Supervising all interactions – Dogs should never be left alone unsupervised with a rabbit, even if they are normally very gentle. Rabbits are fragile and supervision prevents accidents.

  • Allowing time for trust to build – Bonding takes patience and time for the rabbit and dog to become fully comfortable with each other. This can take weeks or months depending on the animals.

  • Respecting the rabbit's signals – Rabbits will make it clear if they want space from the dog through body language. The dog should be taught cues to give the rabbit space when signaled.

With training, supervision, and letting trust build slowly over time, dogs and rabbits can absolutely become bonded companions. The friendship and interactions may look different than with two dogs, but genuine bonds can form between the species.

How To Bond Rabbits And Dogs

Bonding a rabbit and dog requires going slow with introductions, providing safe spaces, and positive reinforcement training. Here are some step-by-step tips for how to bond rabbits and dogs:

  • First do introductions with a physical barrier like a baby gate or pen so they can see, smell, and hear each other without direct contact.

  • Give your rabbit a safe room or pen where they can go to get away from the dog. Make sure the dog understands this is the rabbit's special space.

  • On walks or play time with your dog, bring a blanket or toy that smells like the rabbit so the dog starts associating the scent with a friend vs prey.

  • When the dog is calm and relaxed around the barrier, do short supervised introductions. Praise and reward the dog for calm gentle behavior around the rabbit.

  • Teach your dog commands like "leave it", "settle", or "place" to control their energy and instincts around the rabbit. Use high value treats.

  • Continue supervised interactions moving towards letting the dog and rabbit interact directly, but have your rabbit's safe space nearby in case they need an escape.

  • Provide interactive toys and treats to focus the dog's energy in positive ways during rabbit bonding sessions. Kongs or chew toys work well.

  • Pet, praise, and offer treats to both animals when they are co-existing calmly together to reinforce the good behavior.

  • Pay attention to the rabbit's body language and allow the rabbit space when signaled. This builds trust with your dog.

  • Take things slowly and don't rush the bonding process. Letting trust build gradually leads to the best success.

  • Always supervise play sessions and intervene if the dog gets too rowdy or the rabbit seems distressed.

With training, patience and going at their pace, a rabbit and dog can become the best of friends.

Introduce the Animals Through a Cage

One of the safest ways to begin introductions between a dog and rabbit is to have them meet with the rabbit securely inside their cage. This allows for initial interactions and exposure while the rabbit has the protection of their enclosure. Here are some tips for introducing a dog and rabbit using a cage:

  • Make sure the rabbit's cage is sturdy and securely closed before bringing the dog near it.Rabbit proof any areas the dog could get their nose, paws or claws through.

  • Have delicious treats ready for both the dog and rabbit to reward calm behavior in each other's presence.

  • Have the dog on a leash and allow them to approach and sniff the outside of the cage. Reward the dog for polite investigation without excessive barking or pawing.

  • Allow the rabbit inside the cage to watch the dog's behavior. Provide treats to help the rabbit associate the dog's presence with something positive.

  • Sit next to the cage petting and reassuring the rabbit while the dog is investigating. This shows the rabbit they have your protection.

  • Keep initial introductions through the bars of the cage brief, ending on a positive note. Increase duration gradually over multiple sessions.

  • If either animal seems overly frightened or agitated, give them more physical space from the other immediately to avoid trauma.

  • When sessions go smoothly, you can allow brief paw touches between the dog and rabbit through the cage bars while rewarding calm interactions.

  • Once the rabbit and dog seem comfortable with cage introductions, you can start working towards highly supervised direct contact following other bonding steps.

Introducing rabbits and dogs through a secure cage allows them to get used to each other in a safe controlled way before eventually meeting face to face. Take things slowly and closely monitor reactions when first bonding a dog and rabbit.

Have Your Rabbit And Dog Bonded?

How can you tell when your rabbit and dog have successfully bonded? Here are some signs to look for:

  • Your rabbit seeks out contact with your dog, such as nuzzling, grooming, or laying next to them.

  • Your dog remains calm and gentle with your rabbit for longer periods. They control their prey drive instincts.

  • Your rabbit is comfortable resting, eating, or playing while your dog is loose in the same room.

  • Neither animal seems stressed by the other's presence. They relax together.

  • Your dog respects your rabbit's signals when they need space. Your rabbit doesn't excessively thump warnings.

  • Your rabbit tolerates being gently sniffed or licked by your dog during interactions.

  • You can pet both animals simultaneously without possessive or jealous behavior.

  • Your dog wants to playfully engage your rabbit and your rabbit participates willingly.

  • Your rabbit happily runs up to greet your dog when you all enter a room together.

  • Your rabbit goes to your dog for safety or protection when scared.

  • Your dog and rabbit can be trusted alone together unsupervised for short periods.

  • Overall relaxed, friendly energy between both animals during interactions.

If you are noticing signs like these consistently, there is a good chance your rabbit and dog have formed a companionship bond. Continue reinforcing positive behaviors between them through training, supervision, and providing safe spaces for your rabbit when needed.

Best Dog Breeds for Pet Rabbits

When selecting a dog breed to pair with pet rabbits, some breeds tend to have calmer dispositions and lower prey drives that make them better suited for rabbit companions. Here are some of the best dog breeds for being trusted friends with rabbits:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Gentle, affectionate, eager to please small breed.

  • Labrador Retriever – Intelligent, friendly, trainable large breed.

  • Golden Retriever – Patient, social, gentle natured large breed.

  • Poodle – Smart, highly trainable medium/large breed.

  • Collie – Well-mannered, sensitive herding breed.

  • Pug – docile, cuddly small breed.

  • Beagle – Usually friendly and gentle with smaller pets when trained.

  • English Bulldog – Low prey drive, laid-back breed.

  • Basset Hound – Mild-tempered, tolerant of other pets.

In general, the best rabbit companion dogs are breeds that have been bred specifically for companionship rather than hunting skills. Herding breeds also tend to do well since they are able to follow direction and training regarding housemates. While individuals vary, focusing on breeds with more easygoing personalities improves bonding success.

Are Golden Retrievers Good with Rabbits?

Yes, Golden Retrievers generally make excellent companions for pet rabbits. Here's why Goldens tend to get along well with rabbits:

  • Friendly, Social Temperament – Goldens were bred to have kind, tolerant dispositions that adapt well to different animals and people. They aim to please their owners.

  • Patience With Training – Intelligent and eager to learn, Goldens respond very well to training methods like positive reinforcement to control their natural instincts around rabbits.

  • Gentle Nature – Goldens have a very soft mouth and temperament thanks to their origins as hunting dogs who retrieved downed birds without damage. Most are gentle giant companions.

  • Lower Prey Drive – While all dogs have some prey drive toward small furry pets like rabbits, Golden Retrievers have less compared to many hunting breeds.

  • Adaptable To Animals – Goldens are often successfully paired with all types of household pets from rabbits to cats to other dogs. They tend to readily accept new animal additions.

  • Enjoys Companionship – Golden Retrievers are social animals that thrive when kept with other pets and family members. Rabbits can help fulfill their desire for friendship.

With proper introductions, training, and supervision, Golden Retrievers often become trusted canine protectors and bonded friends with pet rabbits. Their naturally social, gentle temperaments allow them to coexist harmoniously.

Do Poodles Get Along with Rabbits?

Yes, most Poodles can get along very well with rabbits. Here's why Poodles and rabbits tend to make great companions:

  • Highly Trainable – Poodles are smart, attentive dogs that are very responsive to training methods like positive reinforcement when introduced to rabbits. This allows them to control instinctual behaviors.

  • Lower Prey Drive – While all dogs have some prey drive, Poodles have less drive to hunt compared to many breeds. This makes them calmer and less likely to see rabbits as "prey."

  • Adaptable Nature – Poodles are often very accepting of other household pets whether cats, birds, or exotic animals like rabbits. They are usually friendly with diverse animals.

  • Gentle Disposition – Poodles were originally bred to be companions and service dogs, so gentle temperaments were favored. Most Poodles will be sweet and gentle with rabbits.

  • Playful Spirit – Well-socialized Poodles often enjoy engaging with active rabbits in play once bonded. Similar activity levels lead to friendship.

  • Minimal Shedding – Since Poodles shed very little, rabbits will not be stressed by high amounts of dog hair in their shared home environment.

With proper training, supervision, and introductions, Poodles and rabbits can form close interspecies friendships. Poodles intuitive social nature allows them to attune to the needs of rabbit companions.

Do Maltese Get Along with Rabbits?

The Maltese breed generally interacts very positively with pet rabbits. Here's why Maltese and rabbits can make great friends:

  • Affectionate Companions – Maltese thrive on close companionship whether from their family or other pets. Most will seek affection and playtime from rabbit housemates.

  • Gentle With All – Originally bred to be docile lapdogs, Maltese have incredibly gentle mouths and dispositions. They are unlikely to harm rabbits.

  • Eager To Please – Maltese aim to please their owners which makes them highly responsive to training to be gentle and appropriate with rabbits.

  • Tolerant of Pets – Maltese get along well with all types of animals from small pets to cats to dogs. They are usually very tolerant of others.

  • Low Exercise Needs – Maltese don't require intense exercise so they match rabbits well. Short play sessions satisfy them both.

  • Minimal Shedding – Since Maltese shed very lightly, rabbits are not bothered by high amounts of dog hair when bonded with Maltese.

With proper bonding time and training, Maltese and rabbits become fast friends. The sweet, gentle nature of Maltese allows them to create a harmonious relationship.

Do Great Pyrenees Get Along with Rabbits?

While Great Pyrenees were bred as livestock guardian dogs, with socialization and training most can adapt very well to coexisting peacefully with rabbits. Here's how Great Pyrenees and rabbits can potentially get along:

  • Strong Bonding Instinct – Once introduced properly, Great Pyrenees tend to treat new rabbits as part of their family and form close bonds to them. Their protection extends to rabbit housemates.

  • Trainable Nature – Great Pyrenees were bred to think independently but also follow direction. With time and positive reinforcement, most adapt their instincts to live harmoniously with rabbits.

  • Calm and Patient – Great Pyrenees are not high energy dogs by nature. They have a peaceful patience that matches a rabbit's quieter tempo.

  • Good With Proper Introductions – Gradual successful introductions are key with a Great Pyrenees. But once the rabbit is seen as a family member, they accept them fully.

  • Enjoy Gentle Play – Some Great Pyrenees enjoy engaging their rabbit housemate in occasional gentle play once bonding occurs.

  • Strong Guarding Instinct – Great Pyrenees will become very protective of their bonded rabbit which gives the rabbit a sense of safety and security.

With intentional socialization and training starting at puppyhood, Great Pyrenees often successfully integrate rabbit companions into their pack. Their guardian nature transfers loyally to the bunny.

Do Old English Sheepdogs Get Along with Rabbits?

In most cases, Old English Sheepdogs can live and play well with rabbits if properly trained and introduced to the rabbit from puppyhood. Here's why Sheepdogs often pair successfully with rabbits:

  • Herding Not Hunting Instincts – While Sheepdogs have high prey drives, they were bred to herd not kill sheep and smaller animals that they lived with. With training they can apply this same instinct to pet rabbits.

  • When socialized young – Sheepdogs exposed regularly to rabbits from 8-16 weeks old typically accept rabbits as companions as they mature, rather than seeing them as prey.

  • Trainable and adaptable – As a smart highly trainable breed, Sheepdogs taught through positive reinforcement adjust their natural herding instincts to live cooperatively with rabbits.

  • Good with animals they are raised with – Sheepdogs are often very compatible with smaller animals like rabbits when all are raised together from puppy and kit stages.

  • Affectionate good natured breed – Most Sheepdogs have very friendly, social personalities that allow them to bond with and enjoy other companion animals like rabbits.

  • Similar playful energy levels – Sheepdogs and rabbits both enjoy active play and can entertain each other once bonded.

With early and ongoing training plus exposure from a young age, Old English Sheepdogs and rabbits can successfully share a home. Their playful natures allow friendship.

Do Labrador Retrievers Get Along with Rabbits?

Yes, Labrador Retrievers tend to pair very well with pet rabbits due to their friendly personalities and trainable natures. Here's why Labs and rabbits make great companions:

  • Friendly and Gentle – Labradors were bred specifically for their kindly, non-aggressive temperaments. Most Labs are sweet and caring with rabbits.

  • Eager to Please – Labs aim to please their owners which makes training them to interact properly with rabbits very rewarding and effective. They pick up cues quickly.

  • Adaptable Nature – Labs thrive as both working dogs and pets. They readily adjust to other household animals including rabbits with proper training.

  • Playful Spirit – Once bonded, most Labs will engage a receptive rabbit in gentle play activities that create a friendship. Their play styles mesh well.

  • Treat Motivated – Food rewards are very effective motivators for Labs during rabbit training. This allows solid reinforcement of desired behaviors.

  • Patient with Training – Labradors take well to the slow acclimation and training required to successfully integrate rabbits. They aim to get it right.

Given their exceptional temperaments and trainability, Labrador Retrievers and rabbits can form close trusting bonds and co-exist happily when introductions are handled gradually and positively. The relationships benefit both species.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.