Rabbits exhibit a wide range of personality traits. Certain breeds are known for having specific characters. Depending on what traits a breed is known for, rabbits of that kind may only be suitable for certain owners and environments. Knowing the personality traits you can expect will help you determine if a breed of rabbit is the right type for you.
Rabbits have distinct personalities. The adult personality of a rabbit can be determined by the personality traits its breed is known for. However, a rabbit’s personality is also affected by how it is raised and socialized. Rabbits exhibit a number of different personality traits, including cleverness, playfulness, timidness, and more.
Certain breeds of rabbits are known for being playful. For example, Netherland and New Zealand rabbits make for very fun pets. Other breeds, like the Flemish giant and British giant, are quite docile and enjoy relaxed households. Be sure to consider your home environment, the age of your children (if you have any), and how much free time you have available.
Do Pet Rabbits Have Personality?
Rabbits are a beloved pet not only because of their adorable appearance, simple diet, and relatively small size. They are also full of personality. Rabbits can be as energetic as dogs, sociable as birds, and as lazy as cats. What determines a rabbit’s personality, though? Is it a nature versus nurture debate? The truth is that it is a bit of both.
Every breed of rabbit has character traits that are ingrained in that breed. Some are even bred specifically for those traits.
A bunny’s character evolves as it matures. During this time in its life, there are a variety of influencing factors that will impact its developing personality. If you want to cultivate certain traits, you can always try to apply training. You can also change certain aspects of its environment, such as stressors, to influence its personality.
Every rabbit is an individual. Certain traits can be predetermined by the rabbit’s breed. However, it is not guaranteed for a rabbit to express only the personality traits its breed is known for.
Getting a Lionhead rabbit increases your chances of owning a friendly, energetic rabbit that loves to play. However, it does not guarantee that this will be the case. You may find one that is docile. This may be because of environmental influences, or your Lionhead may just ‘be that way.’
Do Rabbits’ Personalities Change?
A rabbit’s personality changes over time. This is for two reasons:
- Mental development as it ages
- Impacting factors in its environment and social circle
A rabbit is born with predetermined personality traits. However, these are not set in stone. They can be influenced by how it is raised by its mother, and then by its owner (and the breeder before them). As the rabbit grows and its brain develops, these traits emerge and strengthen. They will eventually solidify at full maturity.
Over the course of a rabbit’s life, its personality will largely remain the same. This only changes if the bunny experiences a lifestyle change or dramatic event, such as a traumatic incident. Neutered rabbits may also see their personality change slightly post-operation.
Take the Netherland dwarf rabbit as an example. This breed offers ample personality and is known for having an attitude. However, when raised and socialized correctly, the Netherland dwarf is an affectionate and playful rabbit. When mishandled or not hand-raised, the rabbit will develop an independent and standoffish personality. It may even become aggressive.
Those that rehabilitate abused or mishandled rabbits will usually see dramatic personality shifts during recovery.
Pet Rabbit Personality Traits
Rabbits can be playful, energetic, and sociable. They can also be aggressive, standoffish, and timid. A rabbit may exhibit several personality traits, or only a handful. Certain traits may only appear while a rabbit is young, an adult, or an elder. Traits can be rare amongst certain breeds, and prolific in others.
Rabbits are complex animals. Therefore, it’s best to group personality traits by breed. Are you deciding on a pet rabbit? Are you trying to better understand your current rabbit? Then this can be helpful when making your decision or approaching the bunny.
Lionhead Rabbit Personality
Lionhead rabbits are so named for the brilliant tufts of long fur around their neck and head – much like a lion’s mane. As a newer breed, we are still gathering knowledge about the personality and needs of this small rabbit. At this point, we are certain that it’s a timid rabbit.
Largely, Lionhead rabbits are playful and friendly with the right handling and socialization. One can be quite energetic and enjoy play sessions. Even still, Lionhead rabbits are not ideal pets for children or those new to keeping rabbits. A timid nature and delicate stature mean that owners must be familiar with caring for bunnies.
Additionally, Lionhead rabbits can frighten easily. They may be semi-aggressive when in this scared state. Handling this rabbit incorrectly can result in such an episode. This rabbit will need a stress-free environment.
If a Lionhead rabbit is the breed you’re after, meeting the parents is important. By seeing the personalities of the mature parents, you can better gauge the personalities of their kits.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Personality
The Flemish Giant rabbit has definitely earned its name. Easily reaching 15 lbs. as adults, this is a very big rabbit. Does that mean it has an equally big personality? Not really.
Flemish giants are very calm and docile, earning them entry into the ‘gentle giant’ club. Such a relaxed, sweet personality makes them a good rabbit for multi-pet households and for families with young children. This is also a very affectionate breed that will happily settle in your lap for cuddles.
Although docile, Flemish giants can still be nervous with improper handling. The large size of the rabbit can make handling it difficult, especially for children. Picking it up is not advised. Although not known for aggression or biting, a nervous rabbit will still struggle if anxious. This may result in nips and scratches if the bunny continues to be restrained.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Personality
Netherland dwarf rabbits are the epitome of small but mighty. Even though this rabbit rarely grows larger than 2.6 lbs., it has a big personality. In fact, its personality is so iconic that it’s a hallmark of the breed. Given this temperament, the Netherland dwarf is a rabbit for those experienced in keeping bunnies.
As a very active and intelligent rabbit, the Netherland dwarf needs lots of enrichment and social time. Over time and with the correct handling and socialization, the Netherland dwarf will usually become docile and friendly. However, the breed can still be skittish, even with proper care.
This rabbit loves to play, and its energetic personality shines during playtime. All of this energy does mean that the Netherland dwarf needs a large enclosure. Outside of social time, a rabbit will entertain itself by exploring and playing. When these needs are not met, the ‘attitude problems’ of the breed start to come through.
Breeders have worked with the Netherland dwarf to tone down the less appealing temperaments. These were once synonymous with the breed. Improper handling and care will undo this work.
Palomino Rabbit Personality
Palomino rabbits are a larger rabbit with light-colored fur. As a stocky bunny without the delicate stature of other breeds, this rabbit is well-suited as a pet for young families. It can also fit with first-time rabbit owners.
Docile in nature and very calm, this bunny will happily wander around the home. That is actually quite important, as the Palomino will form a strong bond with its family. The rabbit will need socialization time to reinforce the bond. That’s where its friendly personality will shine.
Palomino rabbits are also fastidious groomers. Once you have bonded with your Palomino, it will likely groom you too.
New Zealand Rabbit Personality
New Zealand rabbits aren’t overly common as pets, despite their wonderfully calm and docile nature. This rabbit makes a great pet, even for families with young children. Usually hitting 10 lbs. in weight, the New Zealand rabbit is also a larger rabbit, although still not a giant.
Considered a great companion pet, New Zealand rabbits are very easy to handle and are oddly relaxed about the experience. As a social animal, this rabbit will also bond closely with its family. One will be quite playful. Rarely will you see any aggression from this breed either, which includes biting and kicking behavior.
The New Zealand rabbit is a large rabbit with an easy-going nature.
Angora Rabbit Personality
Angora bunnies are one of the oldest domestic breeds of rabbit. As such, there are a number of Angora rabbit types recognized, like the English, French, German, Giant, and Satin variants. The average adult size, as well as the wool or fur length and density, varies across the breed. It all depends on the variant.
All Angora types need regular grooming, as this rabbit was bred for its luxurious wool and fur. Animal Science notes that the French Angora rabbit produces roughly 549 lbs. of wool every 14 weeks.
Thankfully, all of these Angora rabbit variants share a similar personality. They have a docile nature and will form a close bond with their owners. Friendly, playful, and intelligent, these rabbits are great companion animals. However, they are delicate and aren’t suited for young children.
Holland Lop Personality
The Holland lop is a small breed with drooping ears, making it a highly sought-after pet. The breed is also quite friendly, although it is noted that males and females display different personality traits. In general, the breed is relaxed, docile, and takes well to handling.
Male Holland lops are thought of as outgoing and active. They may seek out attention more than female rabbits. That is not to say that female Holland lops aren’t receptive to pets and affection. They are, but female rabbits aren’t as active or outgoing as males. They make up for this with their friendly nature.
Female Holland lops that have not been neutered may also get nippy on occasion.
German Lop Personality
The Holland lop is a large and long-lived rabbit compared to other breeds. Often, a well-cared-for individual will live up to 12 years of age. This, in combination with a calm and docile nature, makes it an excellent pet.
Previously, the German lop was primarily a show animal. Now it is mainly raised as a domestic companion, as it is very well suited to the life.
Friendly as they are, these rabbits will form strong social bonds and enjoy quality affection time. As this rabbit is also stockier than some of the more delicate breeds, it is suitable for younger owners. Care must still be taken with handling, however.
American Fuzzy Lop Personality
The American fuzzy lop is a top-tier breed in the fancy rabbit category. The result of crossbreeding Holland lops and Angora rabbits, this is a very sweet natured bunny that loves to play. Aside from the extra fuzzy fur, the American fuzzy lop is even-tempered, affectionate, and loving. All of this makes the breed an excellent companion.
Female American fuzzy lops can be somewhat shy. They also require a quieter home environment. Male American fuzzy lops are more outgoing. They’re resilient to more active homes, making them ideal rabbits for first-time owners.
Attention seeking as this rabbit can be, it does well with other rabbits and adores toys. Offering this rabbit plenty of toy enrichment is a must.
Alaska Rabbit Personality
Despite their name, Alaska rabbits are actually from Europe. They are a medium-sized rabbit with glossy, black fur and a gentle personality. A tendency to be skittish around loud noises or sudden movements limits this rabbit’s suitability as a pet for children. However, with the right guidance and teaching, the Alaska rabbit is a great pet for families.
This rabbit’s personality is very affectionate and outgoing. It responds very well to training, enjoys human and rabbit companionship, and becomes very energetic during play sessions. As a very active rabbit, it thrives on attention and needs regular enrichment.
The Alaska rabbit’s personality means that it requires a lot of attention and affection. Depending on what kind of rabbit you’re after, this can be good or bad. Not providing a rabbit with enough enrichment and affection can lead to a depressed, timid, or standoffish bunny.
Californian Rabbit Personality
Californian rabbits are good-natured bunnies that enjoy playing. Although not labeled as a giant, this rabbit comes close. Females regularly reach 12 lbs. in weight, with males hitting 10 lbs. As a friendly rabbit with a very good nature, the Californian rabbit is an excellent pet for families with young children.
Although not known to be overly affectionate, this rabbit is still quite happy to receive attention. It will easily bond with its owner. An active personality will need lots of enrichment to prevent boredom. As such, this is a rabbit suitable for free-roam homes or for large enclosures that allow for exploration. One will not do well kept to a small or medium-sized enclosure without daily outings.
As this rabbit is currently raised for meat production, it can be difficult to find a domestic breeder. What are the benefits of purchasing from a reputable breeder that creates domestic lines? They track parentage and can introduce you to the kit’s parents. As such, you can gauge the potential personality of the kit once it has grown.
English Lop Personality
The English lop is almost, but not quite, in the gentle giant class. Tapping out between 9-12 lbs., this breed is large and muscular – as rabbits go, at least. The English lop is a calm, even-tempered rabbit that suits domestic life when it is properly socialized from a young age.
As a social rabbit, the English lop gets along relatively well with other rabbits and pets. It will also thoroughly enjoy playtime and being on the receiving end of your attention.
Relaxed as the English lop is, it does need enrichment. While one will thrive with attention, it will also happily occupy itself with toys and exploring its enclosure. This is a rabbit suitable for older children.
Thrianta Rabbit Personality
Thrianta rabbits are wonderful companion animals with inquisitive natures. They form very close bonds. As such, they don’t do well as solo rabbits. It is best to keep Thriantas in duos or trios. As gentle rabbits, they are not known for aggression or biting.
It rarely grows larger than 6 lbs. and is stockier than the more delicate breeds. As such, this rabbit is well-suited to inexperienced rabbit owners. It is also great with children, although care should still be taken with handling.
The Thrianta’s curiosity needs to be fulfilled with toys, mental enrichment, and roaming time.
French Lop Personality
Close in size and personality to the Flemish giant rabbit, the French lop is a good family pet – when socialized young. Older rabbits brought into a domestic setting may not bond as closely with people. Even without a close bond, most French lops will remain placid. They are not known for aggression or anxiety.
Calm, docile, and even-natured, this is a wonderful domestic companion. Although not equal across the breed, French lops are quite playful and enjoy toys. Social as this rabbit is, it will greatly enjoy spending time with other rabbits and its family. The French lop is noted for its gentle demeanor, even towards children.
Rhinelander Rabbit Personality
The Rhinelander rabbit is the result of several cross-breeding experimentations. This led to a medium-sized rabbit with calico-type markings on a white coat. Although mainly bred as a show rabbit, the Rhinelander makes for a good pet and adapts well to domestic life.
This rabbit displays two ends of the personality spectrum, capable of being both placid and active. Once bonded, Rhinelander rabbits are quite affectionate. They thrive off of spending quality time with their owners. Keeping more than one rabbit is advised, but not necessarily. Rhinelanders do very well with other rabbits.
They are intelligent animals that can be quite active. As such, these rabbits need lots of enrichment and stimulation. Puzzle toys for mental exercise are recommended.
Finding a Rhinelander breeder is not easy in the U.S. The breed is found mainly in Germany.
Mini Lop Personality
Mini lops have largely the same personality as Holland lops. The exception is that mini lops are very playful. Despite being very active, their small size makes the mini lop suitable as an indoor-only pet.
Mini lops do display a slight personality difference between the sexes. Males are recommended as the more ideal choice for first-time rabbit owners. They aren’t as skittish as females can be. In general, all mini lops will form strong social bonds with their owners, enjoy playing, and are very affectionate.
Rex Rabbit Personality
Rex rabbits have short, velvety fur and come in a number of colors. As such, this breed is popular as a show animal. The rex rabbit is also highly suitable as a pet. This is true even for young children, so long as the rabbit is handled correctly.
This bunny has a playful, affectionate personality. One will love socializing with people and other rabbits. It will also take well to training, since it’s quite intelligent. This rabbit is very active, and needs lots of enrichment and bonding time to feel fulfilled.
Female rex rabbits are also very maternal. One will bond closely with young kits in need. It will even foster orphaned kits.
Mini Rex Personality
Mini rexes are quite literally smaller versions of the normal rex rabbit. The differences lay in the adult size of each (8-11 lbs. for a rex, and 3.5-4.5 lbs. for a mini rex) and in their personalities.
Mini rexes have the same personality as the normal rex, only dialed up. The mini rex is more boisterous and playful, bursting with energy and affection. While it can still be easy-going, it enjoys company and may suffer from boredom or depression without it.
Harlequin Rabbit Personality
Harlequin rabbits come in two varieties: Japanese and Magpie. The hallmark of the Harlequin is a perfect split between the colors of its fur, and its clever personality. This is a very intelligent animal, and thus it needs lots of enrichment and puzzle toys. A Harlequin rabbit’s enclosure needs to be full of items to investigate and climb over as well. You can train the Harlequin in several tricks.
As a playful and friendly rabbit, these are also great as pets for children that have been taught how to handle rabbits. Despite being very inquisitive and active, Harlequins are also docile and take handling well.
Harlequin rabbits are shorter-lived than some other rabbit breeds. They rarely live older than 5 years of age.
Dutch Rabbit Personality
Dutch rabbits are also known as Brabander and Hollander rabbits. Although small in size, this is not a dwarf breed. It comes in a variety of colors, although the pattern remains the same. It’s quite iconic of the species, in fact.
Given the wide range of colors and friendly personality, this is a very popular rabbit breed to keep as a pet. It also makes for an excellent show animal.
As an intelligent rabbit, the Dutch rabbit takes well to training. It thrives off of ample enrichment, playtime, and snuggles. With this sort of companionship, a Dutch rabbit will grow to be friendly and highly relaxed.
Dutch rabbits are also very docile and attentive. As such, during playtime, one will still be quite gentle. All of these attributes make an excellent pet rabbit for families that enjoy spending quality time with their animals. An energetic personality will mean that Dutch rabbits do need lots of this attention, though.
Calm and easy-going as this rabbit is, it can still be skittish. Once comfortable within the home and family, it will largely settle down.
Havana Rabbit Personality
Havana rabbits are on the larger side, weighing in at between 4.5-6 lbs. They have short fur, come in four colors, and are popular as pets. Havana rabbits are one of the calmest breeds of rabbit, making them a great choice as a pet bunny.
Havanas are calm and relaxed, as rabbits go. One will bond closely with its owner and other rabbits. It will adopt a very friendly and playful personality once the relationship is formed. This makes the Havana breed an ideal pet for those unaccustomed to the nervous nature of many rabbit breeds.
Havana rabbits are also great as show rabbits. They are quite intelligent, can be trained, and display a higher ability to handle unfamiliar situations and presences.
Havana rabbits are noted to have a semi-aggressive nature when not hand-raised and socialized correctly. It is highly recommended to meet the parents of a rabbit kit prior to purchasing it. This will allow you to gauge the potential character of the kit, and check if it has been hand-raised.
As Havanas can have an attitude and are still quite delicate, they are not recommended as pets for small children.
Jersey Wooly Rabbit Personality
Jersey wooly rabbits are one of the most beloved pet rabbits in the world. A small size, woolen coat, and very docile nature make this rabbit breed great for families. Jersey wooly rabbits rarely grow larger than 3.5 lbs.
This breed of rabbit is very affectionate and friendly. They love to play, cuddle, and be pet. Calm, quiet, and affectionate, this rabbit is ideal for families. One will form a close bond with its companions.
The Jersey wooly is also known as the ‘no kick’ rabbit. These bunnies are so docile that it is very rare for a Jersey wooly to bite or kick, even if mishandled. Of course, how a rabbit is raised will affect its adult personality. Even still, it is very uncommon to see aggression from this breed.
However, dwarf rabbit breeds, like the Jersey wooly, have been noted as more susceptible to clinical diseases. The Canadian Veterinary Journal notes encephalitozoonosis as one such disease.
Blanc de Hotot Rabbit Personality
Originally from France, the Blanc de Hotot rabbit was bred for its stunning white fur and meat. Given this, it is a beautiful, hardy rabbit that can live for up to 10 years. The breed also actually does quite well as a pet.
These rabbits are playful and affectionate. One will happily settle in your lap or arms for pets. It will also return the favor with grooming. These rabbits are quite sturdy, well-suited to children and first-time rabbit owners.
The Blanc de Hotot also comes in a dwarf variety. You may also hear this breed referred to at the Eyes of the Fancy rabbit. This is due to the thin line of black encircling their eyes.
Varying from breed to breed, rabbits have ample personality. It can range from calm and docile, to active with attitude, and everything in between. Just be sure to pick a rabbit that suits your household and expectations.