Having rabbits as companions (indoor pet rabbits that keep you company - like cats or dogs), is quite a new concept to most people, but the idea is becoming more popular every year.
Rescue centres around the world have commented that many adopters of their rescue rabbits are first-time house-rabbit people and of these most prefer to start with just one rabbit. If all goes well, they usually move on to adopting a second rabbit.
Unlike cats or dogs, the vast majority of rabbits crave the companionship of at least one of their own kind. So be prepared to love the idea and have a little indoor warren of your own!
Most breeds of rabbit make ideal companion pets but there are some breeds that stand out a little above the others, not just for their docile natures and companionship qualities but also for their compatibility as indoor rabbits.
It is only by letting your bunnies live with you, alongside you, in your home, that you will truly appreciate their individuality, personality, and most of all, their friendship.
This page will help you decide if companion rabbits are right for you and which breeds could make the best companions.
Here are some other great Top Tens...
The information on this page is very important if you are just starting out with rabbits, slightly unsure of a few aspects, or just have no knowledge at all about keeping rabbits as pets, especially where companion rabbits in your home are concerned.
There are other aspects to consider too, such as house training, bonding two rabbits together so they have full time companionship when you are not around and making sure children and other pets are addressed in to the equation.
There's a lot to consider!
But don't worry, the following jump links are all on this page, so
choose what you feel is most relevant to you and your situation, and you
can move forward feeling confidently informed. (Well, hopefully!)
Yep that's right... the title does exactly what it says!
It will give you all the information you need to make that perfect choice.
This super-duper 'cheat-sheet' is the ideal way for anyone that is fairly new to raising rabbits to come up with their perfect bunny breed and variety!
This excellent rabbit cheat-sheet, written by Kerry Greener, is the ideal way to choose your perfect bunny!
Enter your details in the box to the right get your super-duper, 10 Ways to Choose Your Perfect Bunny 'Cheat Sheet'...
Having a rabbit as a companion in your home means a bit of training and that's not just for the rabbits! You will need to be able to communicate with your rabbits in a way that they understand you., but this isn't as difficult as you may think...
Rabbits have an amazing ability to learn a second language, meaning yours, so communicating with a rabbit is actually quite easy once you get to know their habits, noises, actions and behaviour triggers.
Of course communication is better when it is a two-way connection and if you begin with the right training strategy, it will be a relatively quick process of learning on your rabbits part, before he understands what you are saying too!
Rabbits are surprisingly clever don't you know!
Treat based clicker training is an ideal way to start training a rabbit. But you must find their most favourite treat because bunnies have a tendency to get bored quickly. (Just a few 5 minute training sessions a day is usually best).
If you think you have what it takes to train your clever bun, you'll find much more on all aspects of rabbit training on this page...
Rabbits and cats can co-exist quite happily with lots of different species including cats, dogs, hamsters & birds, to name but a few!
Some say rabbits are more intelligent than cats and, with the right attention, bunnies can be trained, not only to go to the toilet in the right place but even jump over hurdles, come when called, stand up on command and other neat little tricks.
You try and get a cat to do that! Mind you, they probably could, they just don't want to!
If it's important for you to see how rabbits will react to other pets in your household - take a peek at this page.
Have you got everything you need to get started with rabbits?
Do you even know what you need?
Perhaps you've even gone a bit overboard with your equipment, bedding, food etc., or maybe you simply just don't know where to start.
Well, that's OK because we have thought of everything for you already...
Get started the right way with this detailed NEW RABBIT CHECKLIST
Go from 'Newbie Without a Clue' to 'Rabbit Savvy Clever Clogs' in a few minutes with minimum effort!
Let go of overwhelm and information overload with super condensed, helpful and relevant data :-)
Don't even think about getting rabbits until you check out this New Rabbit hecklist!
This is EVERYTHING you need to know before your bunny rabbit comes home with you.
Don't worry about price, this Ultimate Checklist will over-deliver on expectations and at less than half the price of a cup of coffee, it will be the best thing you've bought today!
Ready? Set? Go!
If you are completely prepared for companion rabbits, there are some breeds that stand out above others, these are the breeds that come as close as you can get to 'man's best friend'...
1. Flemish Giant -
2. Jersey Wooly -
3. Angoras -
4. Cinnamon -
5. Rex Rabbits -
6. Silver Fox -
7. Perlfee -
8. British Giant -
9. Satin -
10. Thuringer -
If you still haven't found the right bunny rabbit for you, then hop over and have a look at all the rabbit breeds in this extensive alphabetical list - there's bound to be a breed there that you will fall in love with at first sight!
The top 10 rabbits listed in the recommended selection above are only given as a guide and are not an exact science.
Please remember the following when considering bringing any new rabbit in to your family:
Rabbits are all different.
Cats and dogs have their own unique personalities, rabbits do too.
Most domestic rabbit behaviour is still linked to the ancestral habits of wild rabbits, but still, each rabbit retains their own 'personality'!
A grouchy rabbit has a good reason for bad antics, a happy bunny, sad bun or even a depressed bunny can be read and understood if you recognise the signals and act accordingly.
Knowing what sex you want when choosing ONE rabbit will narrow your choice by 50% straight away of course, but please note, if you are just starting out with rabbits then understand that rabbits prefer to live in pairs.
In fact it's a very poor shop/breeder/rescue centre etc. indeed that doesn't inform you of this when you are first starting out.
Letting you go merrily on your way knowing you only will ever have one bunny, is negligence and is rather sad for the bunny that is to spend the rest of his or her days not being licked, snuggled and groomed by another bunny companion.
So, with that knowledge in hand, you'll be needing two wonderful bunnies!
There's an unwritten rule when it comes to bunny parings...
If you neuter your rabbits, most of these unwanted behaviours and problems will disappear as they are caused by the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone.
Be aware also that some rabbits like the Dwarf Lop (Mini Lop), Cashmere Lop, Holland Lop and American Chinchilla don't have bad spraying habits but they do like a good degree of courtship behaviour (circling and chin rubbing.)
That 'Je ne sais quoi' - 'I don't know what', is that uncertain something that all pets have, that draw them to you.
It's knowing that, that little bunny is your perfect friend and will listen to your every blithering word.
It's something admirable in that big round show bunny you just love and burst with pride over.
It's that look from bedraggled, helpless rescue rabbit that you can't help acting on when you look deep into their pleading eyes.
It's the Attractor Factor!
When it happens you just can't miss it or ignore it.
If you are lucky enough to come across 'it' when seeking your perfect bunny, sometimes the Universe letting you know that it has done all the decision making for you already.
Grasp the offering with both hands, and love it for as long as you can!
Some families, that perhaps have never even had a pet cat or dog, think that rabbits as pets would be the easier option.
However, the fact is that a rabbit takes more looking after than a cat or a dog!
Lets think about that for a minute...
just needs a few streets, fields or gardens to roam around in (peeing and pooping in all but their own garden), a bowl of food at a regular time of day (provided by anyone that will give it) and a warm place to sleep (sofa, bed, laundry bin, sock drawer - they really don't care).
A dog might need a 20 minute walk twice a day or a large garden to romp about in (pooping whenever and where-ever, with you trailing behind their back-end with a pooper-scooper), a tin of dog food once a day, (which, as long as it's dead animal they'll eat) and a smelly old blanket, (or smelly dog basket) to sleep on, let off gas in, lick their genitals in etc etc. - Bit unfair, I love dogs! ;-)
A rabbit, however, needs a safe, secure and clean exercise area with at least 30 minutes twice a day, (early morning & dusk). They also need 'bonding' time with their owners for petting, grooming and general social interaction, (they get depressed and lonely when left on their own). They need constant access to grass and hay (with quality food pellets on a consistent basis). They also need a covered, clean, dark place to sleep and call their own which they'll use consistently, (no other place will do once it is established). Their home, living area, toilet area and exercise area need to be clean, tidy and safe EVERY DAY. This all adds up to a MINIMUM of 3 hours of dedicated attention per day.
OK, so this might be simplifying and exaggerating it slightly to make a point, but you get the gist!
Your child will need to understand the above and A LOT more besides:
Children keeping rabbits as pets is a BIG responsibility and shouldn't be a passing whim or phase.
A test is always a good idea...
Keeping rabbits as pets with children in mind, should be very carefully considered.
When I rescued my rabbits from the RSPCA they were very interested in who they were intended for, checking that I wasn't getting them for a young child.
They were for me of course, but I still got the third degree and tested on my capabilities and understanding of keeping rabbits as pets before 'Kisses' & 'Cuddles' were allowed home to me. Quite right too!
Most rabbit rescue centres or rabbit adoption homes will allow you to foster your choice of rabbits first. This is a great way of testing your children's understanding and abilities before you commit. You'll be amazed at the little problems that occur in the first few weeks. Rabbits will:
Test your children on their abilities in the first week.
Their reward for high scores is of course, rabbits!
OK, So why have rabbits as pets then?
Having said all that, I'm not trying to put anyone off here, in fact I love the idea of rabbits being part of family life as much as cats and dogs.
Rabbits are social animals that need the companionship of humans (or other animals like cats and dogs) but your family must have patience, understanding and an acceptance of individual differences to earn their trust.
As the responsible adult you may have to resign yourself to the fact that your children just aren't ready for any type of serious commitment or dedication to tasks and lack the basic fundamentals of a caring and compassionate attitude.
Wow, a bit dis-heartening I know, but it just means they're not quite there yet, they will be.
The responsibility of rabbits as pets will then fall down to you, but be aware rabbits are very sensitive to changes to their feeding, cleaning, and exercise routines. Changes are stressful and may lead to illness. Symptoms of illness are often subtle changes in appetite, behaviour and/or droppings.
It is unreasonable to expect a child of any age to take full responsibility for the care of a rabbit (or any pet). The rabbit and your children, as well as the family peace, will benefit greatly from you accepting this notion.
Unless the adults of the household are enthusiastic, informed, and committed about the work involved, a stuffed rabbit is probably a better choice!
Rabbits can live from 5 years, for the larger giant breeds, to over 18 years for popular breeds such as the Jersey Wooly and the smaller lop eared rabbits such as the mini lop.
Are you prepared for many years ahead of care, nurture, training, plus keeping supplies and equipment in stock, up to date and in working order?
Are you prepared to dedicate lots of time and energy to tasks such as cleaning, repairs to housing and grooming etc.
Share your views, points, tit-bits and tales! (Remember, you don't have to have a Facebook account to make a comment.)
All input is good, no matter how small ;-) Thank-you.