Written by Kerry Greener
Director Just Rabbits Ltd
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.
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:
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!
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'...
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 as pets should be kept in bonded pairs or social groups.
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:
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.
Have you got everything you need to get started with rabbits?
Do you even know what you need?
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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 -
2. Mini Lion Lop -
3. Himalayan -
4. Havana -
5. Standard Chinchilla -
6. Florida White -
7. Californian -
8. Harlequin -
9. Palomino -
10. Thrianta -
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!
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 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.
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:
Of course there are also some good aspects about children caring for rabbits, or indeed any pet:
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.
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!
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:
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...
If you have decided on your perfect pet bunny, these pages will help you through the next stages:
Follow the Rabbit!
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.