Rabbits have always been popular pets; with their cuteness and typically gentle temperament, they make lovely companions without as much of the presence that larger animals like dogs might have.
Smaller breeds are typically a bit more on the timid side, since they are that much smaller, humans can seem intimidating, however when treated calmly and in a friendly way, they can grow to love spending time with you.
Historically, rabbits have been seen as a child’s pet, but they aren’t really great for smaller children that tend to be more excitable and enthusiastic. Rabbits don’t particularly enjoy being picked up, and they have very fragile backs that can break easily if they’re dropped or handled wrong. They are fine for families with older children, that are happy to spend time with them in a calmer more reserved manner. They need some socialisation, large and natural environments, that allows them to express normal behaviours such as digging, binkying, and running.
It’s very important for rabbits to have a buddy, as they are incredibly sociable animals. In the wild, they’re obviously used to living in large groups with lots of space to run around and play. This needs to be recreated as much as possible in domesticated homes so that they can have lots of space for fun and running.
Here are some breeds that are popular as pets!
Dutch rabbits are a pretty small to medium sized breed, reaching the average weight of 2-2.5kg when they reach adulthood. Dutch rabbits are short haired, and ideally would be groomed every week to keep their fur in good condition. They are known to be gentle and easy-going, and they thrive on attention and cuddles. These are better with slightly older children of around 10+ as the generally more excitable ages of kids might frighten them.
Harlequins are recognisable for their very pretty fur colours since they were often used as show rabbits to exhibit the pretty coat. They are a medium to large breed of rabbits, typically weighing between 2.9-4.3 kg! Harlequins have short, soft and very dense coats, which surprisingly aren’t high maintenance, and they only need grooming once a week. Typically, they are outgoing rabbits that love to explore and sniff around, they are also quite affectionate so they will enjoy being pet.
The Holland lop is a small breed of rabbit, weighing between 907g- 1.8 kg. They are quite short and wide, giving them a stocky appearance. Their coat is usually short to medium in length, which should be groomed once or twice a week, when they are moulting it would be better to do it slightly more often. Typically, rabbits like to interact. They will play and spend time with you, and also might enjoy just sitting and watching the TV with you! Generally, a more docile breed, they make popular pets.
These rabbits are much more on the small side, typically weighing under 1kg in adulthood. They have shorter fur which should be groomed weekly to keep it neat and tidy. They can be very timid as a breed, and very easy to frighten. For that reason, Netherland Dwarf rabbits aren’t ideal as pets for younger children, as they might react by clawing or biting if spooked.
The Lionhead breed is also along the smaller side, weighing about 1.5 kg even in adulthood. As the name suggests, the Lionhead has longer fur around its neck, like a mane, which needs daily grooming to prevent it becoming tangled and painful for your rabbit. The rest of the fur on its body is perfectly fine to be groomed one a week. Lionheads are also quite timid and frightened so aren’t recommended for families with young children.
Other than breed type, there are some things you should keep in mind to keep a happy bunny! We have several blogs on keeping rabbits happy that you should check out.