There are many breeds of rabbit out there. These differ in color, coat and in temperament. Some of them are wild, some are domesticated some are somewhere in between. In this Guide to Rabbit Breeds we’ll look at the most popular ones and will also address questions such as, Are Bunnies Good Pets, What are the Best Rabbits for Pets and How Long Have Rabbits Been Around?
Best Rabbits for Pets
Lops tend to be the best rabbits to keep as pets. The are usually kind natured and a little easier to please, assuming you care for them properly, that is. The same could be said for all bunnies, but you may have a harder time of it with a rex rabbit, as they can be temperamental.
I actually have a rex rabbit myself. My partner bought her for the both of us, but mainly for herself, over a decade go. She wanted a bunny she could bond with, but she quickly learned that the rabbit was a little more temperamental than she had hoped. She turned to me to have the rabbit picked up, after which I would put it on her knee.
These early days seemed to bond me more to the rabbit than her and before long, the rabbit was aggressive and territorial to everyone, but me. She was super sweet and kind to me, and still is, but she would attack others like a territorial cat. In time, she mellowed, but it just goes to show how difficult it can be with this breed and indeed with all breeds.
I have heard of similar stories from parents who ended up bonding with a rabbit they bought for their kids. The kids were too aggressive, the rabbit came to see them as a threat and the parent as a friend, and so they ended up bonding with the adult and not the kid.
It’s always good to have a bond with a rabbit though, even if you have to work that little bit harder for it and get a few more scratches than you might have hoped.
Are Bunnies Good Pets?
It has been said that rabbits do not make good pets for children, even though there is a general consensus that suggests this is the case. The reasons given for this are that rabbits can be very grumpy and while many perceive them to be animals that you can just pickup and cuddle at all times, that is rarely the case.
However, bunnies still make good pets if the owners are responsible. They can be good pets for kids but only if those kids know how to treat animals and will not neglect the rabbit as soon as they realize it is not a toy.
They need care and attention. They need to play and exercise and while they are not there to be cuddled all day, they do need to be handled on a regular basis to make sure they get used to human contact.
Also, remember that they are small creatures and are therefore more susceptible to harm than cats and dogs. As a result, they will not standup to abuse from children, no matter how innocent it seems or how innocent their intentions were.
Put the animal first when thinking about getting a pet for your child. You know what you kid is like and you should know if a bunny is a good fit for them. If they are not the quiet and loving types and tend to get bored very quickly, a rabbit is not a good fit. In fact, no pet is a good fit for a child like that, but a dog or cat is likely to be a better option because they should be able to fit seamlessly into he family once the child decides that it’s not the toy they thought it would be.
Species of Rabbit
There are many different breeds of rabbit. We have listed many of the most popular ones below. If you see hyperlinks on these then go ahead and click on them to be taken to our guide pages on that specific rabbit breed:
- Angora Rabbit: A white and fluffy rabbit. One of the oldest breeds of rabbit.
- American Fuzzy Lop: Very similar to other breeds of Lop, this one was bred into existence by mating popular Lops with Angoras.
- Alaska Rabbit: This one actually comes from Germany, despite its name. All Alaska Rabbits are black.
- Brush Rabbit: A wild breed of rabbit often found on the west coast of the United States.
- Cashmere Lop: Named for its beautifully soft fur.
- Deilenaar: A breed from the Netherlands that is medium in size and either gray or otherwise dark in color.
- Desert Cottontail: A wild rabbit that resides in dry areas.
- Dutch Lop: A lop-eared cutey. This is a dwarf rabbit found in pet stores worldwide.
- Eastern Cottontail: One of the most common breeds of rabbit in North America, these are the ones you will see in the wild. They are gray, fast and agile, often putting their domesticated cousins to shame with regards to speed, jumping ability and agility.
- Giant Rabbit: A large breed of rabbit. This term is actually used to describe several breeds of rabbit, including the Checkered Giant and the House Rabbit.
- Mini Lop: A lop-eared bunny that is a popular pet.
- Pygmy Rabbit: A small and very cute breed of rabbit.
- Rex Rabbit: A beautiful rabbit with the look of a wild breed but with the nature of a domesticated breed. They used to be bred for their fur, which is super-soft and luxurious and now they are one of the more popular pet bunny breeds.
- Satin: A European breed of domesticated rabbit.
- Swamp Rabbit: A breed that resides around the swamps and wetlands of the US and Canada.
- Volcano Rabbit: This is a unique breed that lives in mountainous parts of Mexico
Where do the Different Rabbit Breeds Come From?
It is commonly believed that rabbits share a lineage with rodents, as they have many similar traits. They evolved long ears and powerful hind legs so they could detect and avoid their prey and their breeding habits ensured that there were constantly growing and populating.
Over time several different species evolved, including the European rabbit. It is from this rabbit that all domesticated rabbit breeds evolve.
Unfortunately, a lot of the rabbits that are bred in captivity are done so for their fur, their meat or so that cosmetics can be tested. This is obviously not something we agree with and it’s something we think all rabbit lovers should get behind and try to stop. Even if you eat meat and are okay with bunnies being bred for this, it’s a different story to know that they are being tortured in labs just to test the effectiveness of a mascara.
Rabbit Rescue vs Buying Pet Bunnies
It’s a story you will see all over the world and in every single pet store. Child wants pet and thinks bunnies are cute. Parent buys child pet. Child realizes that the bunny is a living creature that needs play and exercise, and not a toy to be cuddled all day. Child loses interest, bunny ends up locked away in a cage until it dies or is given to a rescue center.
It’s horrible and it’s a cycle that needs to stop. Kids can make great rabbit owners, but only when they are responsible enough and show that they understand what it takes. Also, knowing that so may bunnies are locked up all day because they are no longer cute or friendly is heart-breaking.
So, if you want to buy yourself a bunny, get a rescue one and save a life. In fact, this can be the perfect alternative to a baby bunny for a child that wants a pet and insists they are responsible. It could help to show them what needs to be done, how much work it takes and how much love they need to give, and at the same time you could be saving the life of a rabbit.