Rabbits as Pets

About Rabbits - Breeds ~ Pet Rabbits ~ New Rabbit Checklist ~ Top 10 Rabbits as Pets

Rabbits for All!

Written by Kerry Greener
Director Just Rabbits Ltd

Rabbits as Pets - Top 10 Rabbits for Children... Are YOUR CHILDREN prepared for a rabbit? Did you know that a rabbit takes more looking after than a cat or a dog!Rabbits as pets are wonderful, but are you or your children prepared? A rabbit needs more care than most other pets!

Top 10 Rabbits as Pets

ALL rabbits make ideal pets, of course, and with the correct care they bring lots of joy to any family.

But there are some breeds that are known for their different, more individual characteristics and personality traits, that make them more adept at fitting in to a certain environment, situation, or type of person.

Bunny angel

With this in mind, the differences between these breeds, has meant that some varieties of rabbits have seen a growing popularity among families with children, outdoor only rabbits, house rabbits and rabbits that make good companions, and it is these rabbits that have made it to the top of the following lists...

The Top 10 Pet Rabbits are listed below in popular groups and types:

A Bit of Prep...

Are You Prepared?

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 children are concerned.

The following links are all found on this page so choose what you feel is most relevant to you and your situation to help you make an informed choice moving forward!

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Super Duper Cheat Sheet

Choose the Best Breed of Rabbit for YOU!

10 Simple Ways to Choose

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!

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This excellent rabbit cheat-sheet, written by Kerry Greener, is the ideal way to choose your perfect bunny!
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Bonding Introduction

Rabbits Love Company

OK, so you and your family have decided you want rabbits, and that's rabbit(s), plural of course, because rabbits just love being with other rabbits, either in a bonded pair or a close social group, it's natural, wild rabbits thrive because of their strong hierarchy system.

But recreating this hierarchy with domestic rabbits is not as simple as you may think...

Rabbits in PairsRabbits as pets should be kept in bonded pairs or social groups.

What Does Rabbit Bonding Mean?

Bonding rabbits means to find a suitable friend, partner and companion for a rabbit that is on it's own.

Rabbit bonding is a complex process and I recommend reading everything you can about it before you attempt the process.

These pages will help you on your quest for information about raising rabbits as pets in a bonded pair:

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Children and Rabbits as Pets

Are YOUR CHILDREN prepared for a rabbit?

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...

A cat

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.

Teaching children responsibility is a great lesson in life for a child but make sure the homework has been done first :-)

Not Just For Easter!

Rabbits live a surprisingly long time. Some breeds live for over 15 years. If a child has sole responsibility they will need to work out when they intend leaving school, starting university, leaving the parental home etc. and what will happen to the rabbits in those cases. 

Rabbits don't like to be separated from their loved ones - their owners. They will be depressed and suffer loneliness, stress and sometimes die from a broken heart! 

Marks Out of 10?

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:

  • Dash madly about & squeeze behind furniture to avoid being picked up.
  • Chew skirting boards, doors, beds, rugs, wires and shoes to clear a path to retreat.
  • Bite if approached too quickly or too loudly.
  • Kick, scratch and claw if held incorrectly (and possibly break their back if dropped).
  • Get sick very easily through stress or poor diet

Test your children on their abilities in the first week.

Their reward for high scores is of course, rabbits!

Teach by Example

“It is not easy to manage young humans and animals, but when parents find solutions, rather than dispose of an animal for convenience sake, an important concept is communicated to the child. This is alive. This is valuable. You don’t throw it away.” – Marinell Harriman, Importance of Permanence

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.


  • can learn near-perfect litter box habits.
  • are fun and interesting to watch.
  • have different personalities and can be just as individual as dogs and cats can.
  • don’t need a garden if given plenty of indoor, sun-lit exercise space.

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.

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Adults & Rabbits

Are YOU prepared for a rabbit?

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.

Are you prepared to share your life with rabbits?Are you prepared to share your life with rabbits?

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!

Prepared for the Years Ahead?

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.

Are You Prepared to Share Your Home?

A Hutch is NOT Enough

In order for a family and a rabbit to get to know each other (and for the rabbit’s best health), a domestic rabbit is better being an indoor pet, with as much out-of-cage time with the family as possible.

Bored Rabbit

If you relegate your rabbit to an outdoor hutch (or even to an indoor cage for most of the day), your family will miss getting to know the special personality of the rabbit.

You wouldn't cage your dog all day, you wouldn't hutch your cat all day. Just get out of the habit of thinking that rabbits should be in a hutch and all will be well!

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New Rabbit Checklist

Got Your Checklist? - Check!

Have you got everything you need to get started with rabbits?

Do you even know what you need?

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"Hopefully I have thought of everything you could possibly need to know when getting started with rabbits and condensed all that knowledge into an easy-to-understand, bite-sized checklist."

Kerry Greener

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Top 10 Rabbits as Pets for Children

Ready? Set? Go!

If you are completely prepared for rabbits as pets and your children have grasped the basic principles of keeping a pet rabbit, there are some breeds, in my opinion, that make quite good rabbits for children.

Here's your Top 10 in no particular order:

1 . Sussex -
This is a fairly new breed and with its teddy-bear looks and loveable character the Sussex make great rabbits as pets for children. Very similar in nature to the family Labrador -  friendly, outgoing, and a little bit greedy!


2. Mini Lion Lop -
Mini Lion Lops are mostly even tempered and friendly rabbits. They can be very lively too and are very active, thriving on playing, attention and company. They must have plenty of opportunity to explore outdoors with toys too, such as cardboard tubes, boxes and even noisy cat toys.

3. Himalayan -
A popular children's pet and house rabbit, they are small, generally very calm, with good natures and friendly. They are intelligent, playful and social rabbits that thrive on attention and are usually excellent with children, very tolerant, content to be cuddled and rarely bite or scratch.

Himalayan Rabbit

4. Havana -
Noted for their docile and friendly temperament. Also can be playful with a bit of an attitude, (just like teenagers then) and quick to bond to their owners. They often win top honours at shows, so your children may want to take up breeding and showing this one!

Havana rabbit

5. Standard Chinchilla -
A docile and gentle breed with very soft, silky fur. They are intelligent, curious and playful rabbits and enjoy company and attention. Chinchillas are usually good with children and are also well-suited as house rabbits.

Standard Chinchilla

6. Florida White -
Gentle, tolerant rabbits that were bred for meat and to be laboratory test subjects. Now proving to be an excellent show rabbit and a beautiful pet with their small size making them ideal for youngsters to handle. Let's get them out of those labs!

Florida White rabbit

7. Californian -
With very similar markings to a Himalayan but larger, can weigh up to 12lbs, they are social, loving, quiet and reserved. Mild mannered, even tempered, calm, with good natures, friendly and non-aggressive making them an excellent choice of pet for children.

Californain Rabbit

8. Harlequin -
Playful, docile, and intelligent and excellent choice to hold and snuggle. They can respond to their own name and be litter box trained. They are gentle, so they would be ideal pets for small children. Showing them is a work of genius, the markings need to be just right!

Japanese Harlequin

9. Palomino -
Hardy and strong, this docile breed is popular as both a show rabbit and a pet. They are docile and have a good temperament. Well suited rabbits as pets as they get along well with people and are particularly good with children.

Palomino Rabbit

10. Thrianta -
These rabbits make super pets, known for their gentle dispositions and inquisitive natures, they are not too large and not too tiny to get hurt. They are a perfect starter rabbit for children who may be interested in breeding for show purposes.

Thrianta rabbit

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Additional Notes

Other Breeds

Of course we must not forget the traditional lop eared bunny. There are many different varieties of lops and they all make extremely good pets.

Click the link to find out more about all these wonderful rabbits.

If you still haven't found the right rabbit for you and your family, 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!

Please Note

The top 10 rabbits that I have recommended above are only given as a guide and are not an exact science.

Please note following:

  • Rabbits have their own individual personalities just like people. Not all of them are sweetness and light!
  • One rabbit may be friendly and loving yet another rabbit of the same breed may be bad tempered and bitey! Previous experiences like trauma, stress or bad handling may have affected their temperament.
  • There are many other breeds that would be suitable for the above list, the breeds listed above are just an introduction to those breeds to get you started.
  • A rabbit that is docile friendly and loving with you or another rabbit might be anti-social, bossy, dominant or even timid and insecure with someone else or another rabbit.
  • All rabbits need a great deal of care, the right diet and plenty of exercise and attention - no exceptions!

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Rabbits as Pets For Very Young Children

Responsibility Check

It is very important to note...

Rabbits do not make ideal pets for very young children if they are going to be the main carers.

No child should be given the sole responsibility of caring for a rabbit. Those duties and responsibilities lay with an adult.

If you are not willing to assume full responsibility for the work and care involved, then please don't adopt a bunny.

A child can, of course, get involved with the feeding, cleaning and playing with your bunnies but they should be supervised at all times.

There are some points to consider if a child is to be involved with the care of your rabbits:

  • You can't rely on a child to notice when a rabbit is ill.
  • Older children may lose interest in rabbits as they grow into teenagers - other peer pressure factors being more rewarding.
  • Children will start high school, college or university and school work, socializing etc. will take priority. If they are starting university they will be away from home of course and this is one of the most common reasons why rabbits are given to rescue centres.

Of course there are also some good aspects about children caring for rabbits, or indeed any pet:

  • A child often learns valuable lessons about responsibility.
  • They develop compassion by caring and thinking about something other than themselves. A great lesson in benevolence!
  • Children learn the value of hard work, especially when the hutch, house, cage or shed needs a good clean out!
  • They also appreciate that their actions are time sensitive; changing water containers and regular feeding times being especially important.

An Australian rabbit breeder once said:

"I bought my sons a rabbit after they promised they would take care of it.
  As usual, I ended up with the responsibility.

Thoroughly exasperated, I asked:
'"How many times do you think that rabbit would of died if I hadn't looked after it?"
My 12-year-old replied,

On a Positive Note

Children have the amazing ability to build loving relationships with animals that is somewhat different to that of the animal connection between animal and adults.

The bond seems to be a more innocent and trusting one. Children and animals seem to understand each other in ways that an adult may overlook, can't understand and therefore don't experience.

Sometimes adults will look for problems when none exist or over dramatize certain situations. A child is much more relaxed and unassuming.

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Making the Right Choice

Additional Tips

Different Strokes

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.

Different Strokes - Not all rabbits are the same, they all have different personalities, but some breeds will be more suited to YOU!Different Strokes - Not all rabbits are the same, they all have different personalities, but some breeds will be more suited to YOU.

Guys & Dolls

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.

Rabbits prefer to live in pairs.Domestic pet rabbits prefer to live in pairs or social groups, just like they do naturally in the wild.

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...

  • Boy & Girl - Perfect
  • Boy & Boy - OK
  • Girl & Girl - Oh Dear!

Boys Vs Girls

One of each sex is ideal as rabbits prefer this scenario but if two of the same sex are together, it's better that they are two boys rather than two girls.

Does  (females) start 'nesting' habits as they get older and will dig, scratch, nibble and tunnel at anything given the chance. This behaviour is particularly bad if they haven't been spayed as hormones rage to control, dominate and protect. This leads to territorial and aggressive behaviour towards other rabbits and even us.

Bucks (Males) that have not been neutered can be hyper and spray a lot. They can also be quite sexually aggressive towards females. But generally neutered bucks are much more laid back.

NOTE: Not all rabbits get these behaviours. Some rabbits will never show any aggression, spraying or territorial behaviour at all whether neutered or not.

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.)

Don't Wait

If you wait to to give your rabbits neutering surgery after these bad displays of aggression have started, then the surgery may be successful in some cases but not in all, as enough time will have passed to let the behaviour become a habit.

Attractor Factor!

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.

LIKE attracts LIKE. Two subconscious things connect between you, and sometimes an instant bond is formed, right there and then.LIKE attracts LIKE. Two subconscious things connect between you, and sometimes an instant bond is formed, right there and then.

It's the Attractor Factor!

When it happens you just can't miss it or ignore it.

It's electric!

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!

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Perfect Rabbit Names

Your Rabbit Needs the Right Name

Every bunny has a personality and that should be reflected in their name.

You'll be using their name a lot over the years, to train, to call to talk about, so it should be the right one!

If you need help deciding the appropriate name for your perfect rabbit companion, then look no further.

The following pages have an extensive database of hundreds of suitable bunny names that may just contain your ideal match.

I have divided the pages into suitable groups:

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Where to Get Your Rabbit

The Two Best Places

Rabbit Rescue Centres / Breeders

Rescuing a rabbit from a shelter or charity is by far the best way to find your perfect rabbit pal
  1. Adoption & Re-homing Centres
    Rescuing a rabbit from a shelter or charity is by far the best way to find your perfect rabbit pal.

    There are adoption and rescue centres worldwide, so you should be able to find one near you.

    Here you will find a list of all the rabbit rescue centres in the UK.

    I'm sure you'll find your perfect home companions just waiting for you there.

    And you'll 'just know' when you see them too!

  2. Registered, Reputable Breeders
    If you wish to breed your rabbits to protect the line of a rare breed or you wish to show your rabbits at exhibitions etc, then sourcing from a reputable, recommended breeder is the way to go.

    There are many good breeders listed in the Rabbit Association, Rabbit Council or Rabbit Authority for your country.

    For more information and to select from breeders worldwide go to this page in the first instance.
A Note About Pet Shops

Please don't buy a rabbit from a pet shop.

The reasons are disturbing.

There is no exception to this rule, adhered to by all rabbit lovers.

There is no evidence thus far to make it safe to remove this statement.

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To Sum Up

Hopefully you are now finishing this page with enough of the right stuff to make an informed choice about rabbits as pets for your family and you should also know by now if your children are ready to take on a pair of rabbits.

Some of the information you will undoubtedly already know, but some of it you may find is new to your research pot, and it's these areas I invite you to click the links on and download as much information as you can.

I can also recommend my new iRabbit READY Learning Program as the ideal first step to learning all you need to know at your own pace and from any device of your choosing. You'll also get informational help along the way by email as you learn. Try it risk free here...

Extra Resources

If you have decided on your perfect pet bunny, these pages will help you through the next stages:

Follow the Rabbit!

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