One of the joys of owning a pet rabbit is the love and affection that these adorable animals provide. A wide array of breeds are very loving towards their owners, so they quickly become a cherished part of the family.
Most rabbits adore human company, but some are easier to bond with than others. Harlequins, Lionheads, Rex, Polish, and Mini Lop rabbits are particularly cuddly. Dutch, Jersey Wooly, Himalayan and Chinchilla rabbits are easy-going and cheerfully tolerate handling.
Every rabbit has a unique personality, so choosing a breed and hoping for the best is not enough. Spend time with a rabbit before permanently bringing it into the family. We will help you decide which breeds of rabbit to focus upon, narrowing down your search criteria considerably.
- 1 Do Rabbits Make Good Companion Pets?
- 2 Top 10 Most Friendly Rabbit Breeds
- 2.1 1) Harlequin Rabbits as Pets
- 2.2 2) Rex Rabbits as Pets
- 2.3 3) Jersey Wooly Rabbits as Pets
- 2.4 4) Dutch Rabbits as Pets
- 2.5 5) Mini Lop Rabbits as Pets
- 2.6 6) Chinchilla Rabbits as Pets
- 2.7 7) Polish Rabbits as Pets
- 2.8 8) Lionhead Rabbits as Pets
- 2.9 9) Californian Rabbits as Pets
- 2.10 10) Himalayan Rabbits as Pets
Do Rabbits Make Good Companion Pets?
Bringing a rabbit into your home is a huge responsibility. Rabbits aren’t low-maintenance starter pets. They require lots of attention. If you meet their day-to-day needs, you’ll have a new best friend.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 50 different breeds of rabbit. So, you’ll have lots of options when choosing a pet for your family. Every breed of rabbit has different personality traits and quirks.
Top 10 Most Friendly Rabbit Breeds
All rabbits are friendly and affectionate. Bunnies are social animals, and loathe being alone for long periods of time. This means that any rabbit will enjoy spending time with humans.
What interaction they enjoy differs between breeds. Rabbits are often skittish due to their status as prey animals. This means that being handled does not always come naturally. Patience and understanding are required.
A house rabbit should be comfortable with being petted, especially if you have children. With this in mind, the friendliest breeds of rabbit that are ideal for any home include the following:
- Harlequin Rabbit
- Rex Rabbit
- Jersey Wooly Rabbit
- Dutch Rabbit
- Mini Lop Rabbit
- Chinchilla Rabbit
- Polish Rabbit
- Lionhead Rabbit
- Californian Rabbit
- Himalayan Rabbit
Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these bunnies. With more information, you can build the ideal environment for your pet.
1) Harlequin Rabbits as Pets
Hailing from France, Harlequin rabbits take their name from their distinctive fur markings. These bunnies love human interaction, making them great companions.
As the name suggests, Harlequin rabbits are the clowns of the bunny world. They live to entertain, so you’ll forge an effortless bond in no time at all.
Harlequin rabbits are energetic, and should roam free whenever it’s safe to do so. They’re very docile and will enjoy being petted and stroked.
Above all, a Harlequin rabbit should always be the center of attention. If you shower your Harlequin with affection, it will return it in spades. Expect plenty of demands for cuddles and petting from a Harlequin.
2) Rex Rabbits as Pets
There are many different sub-breeds of the Rex rabbit. Members of this family all have similar temperaments, though. They welcome human interaction.
Rex rabbits are maternal and protective. This makes them great companions for seniors or single people. They’ll always be keen to keep you company, day and night.
Rex rabbits are very intelligent. This means they can be trained to use a litter tray. This, coupled with their limited grooming needs, makes them the most popular rabbit in the country.
Rex rabbits prefer being petted and scratched to being held. This is especially prevalent in the mini Rex breed. They will squirm if they’re held too tightly. Avoid distressing a Rex by insisting on cuddles.
3) Jersey Wooly Rabbits as Pets
The Jersey Wooly is the perfect companion for anybody with limited mobility or energy. These dwarf-sized bunnies are much lazier than most rabbits. They’ll happily cuddle on the sofa for hours.
This breed is also famed for its docility. The Jersey Wooly is often informally called the ‘no-kick bunny.’ This makes them safe for children to interact with.
As this breed is so small, they can also dwell in a more compact enclosure. This makes them ideal for small houses or apartments. Just let them out, and enjoy the attention they provide.
The only note of caution for the Jersey Wooly is their grooming requirements. Their thick fur will need to be brushed daily. This affords further opportunities to bond with this loving bunny, though.
4) Dutch Rabbits as Pets
The name of these rabbits is misleading, as they hail from England. That’s the only complexity that surrounds these bunnies. They are loving and easy pets to maintain.
One of the best things about Dutch rabbits is their calm demeanor. These rabbits are easygoing and affectionate. A Dutch rabbit will be nonplussed by children, no matter how chaotic. They actively enjoy being held and go with the flow.
Dutch rabbits are small – only just larger than a dwarf breed. They pack a lot of energy into that little frame. This bunny requires exercise and fresh air. Unleash them in the garden with your children to meet their needs.
5) Mini Lop Rabbits as Pets
Arguably more than any other breed, the Mini Lop was born to be a pet. They look like teddy bears and love to be showered with affection. They return this adoration without question.
Mini Lop rabbits are also intelligent. This works in your favor, as it means they can be litter trained. They require constant entertainment, though. Fill their hutch with toys, and arrange exercise for your rabbit.
Mini Lops and children can be a great match. This breed is loving, and will enjoy being petted, held and cuddled. They’re also energetic, so bunny and child will tire each other out.
The only note of caution with Mini Lops is that they can become overstimulated. Over-excitement brings out the worst in a Mini Lop, and they may bite in their exhilaration. It’s safer to pair this breed with older, calmer children.
6) Chinchilla Rabbits as Pets
The Chinchilla rabbit is a comparatively young breed. Don’t be fooled by the moniker; they’re not related to chinchillas. The name comes from this breed’s distinctive gray coat.
Chinchilla rabbits are easy-going and enjoy human company. Due to their larger size, they should be released from their hutch often. This doesn’t mean they need to run free, though.
Chinchilla rabbits are not particularly energetic, and will often be found relaxing on the floor or sofa. This makes them loving pets for anybody looking for a lower-maintenance rabbit.
It’s best to introduce children to a chinchilla rabbit while the bunny is young. If you do so, the rabbit will welcome their presence. They enjoy petting, and will happily tolerate handling.
7) Polish Rabbits as Pets
Few bunnies are more suited to life as an indoor pet than the Polish rabbit. This dwarf-sized breed is tiny and can contentedly live in a smaller hutch.
As the Polish rabbit is quite lazy, they also require limited exercise. Instead of running around, a Polish rabbit is likelier to seek cuddles. A bonded Polish rabbit is among the most affectionate of all bunny breeds.
Polish rabbits will fascinate children as this is the breed that magicians pull from hats. The bunny will be equally enamored with a child that wants to pet and cuddle them.
The only note of caution surrounding Polish rabbits and youngsters is the bunny’s small frame. They are so small that they can easily be dropped.
8) Lionhead Rabbits as Pets
The Lionhead rabbit is among the most loving and affectionate of all bunny breeds. This rabbit doesn’t just tolerate being handled. They actively welcome it.
Lionhead rabbits are also more playful than many rabbit breeds. They enjoy entertaining humans and find children delightful. If a Lionhead rabbit is being showered with attention, it’ll be perfectly happy.
All of this sounds like a Lionhead rabbit is a perfect first rabbit for youngsters. Unfortunately, Lionheads also need a great deal of care.
This breed is initially timid, and will bite and nip when afraid. The trust of a Lionhead rabbit must be built slowly, steadily and calmly.
Also, Lionhead rabbits require near-constant grooming. Their name arises from a genetic mutation, which produces a mane of hair around the neck. Some children will lack the patience needed to manage this.
Lionheads make affectionate bunnies for committed owners. If you demonstrate the patience they require, this breed is the ideal companion.
9) Californian Rabbits as Pets
Californian rabbits are affectionate and love to cuddle. There is one caveat, though. This breed is initially shy. You need to earn the love of a Californian rabbit.
This means that Californian rabbits are not ideal for children. They won’t bite, as they’re a docile breed. They will be afraid and anxious which can lead to health concerns.
Once you have bonded with a Californian rabbit, let it call the shots. If you wait for your bunny to approach you, you’ll reap the rewards. You’ll find that your bunny rarely leaves your side.
Californian rabbits will hop into your lap and ask for petting once you’ve gained their trust. Let your bunny roam around the house and it’ll soon come to find you.
10) Himalayan Rabbits as Pets
This is the oldest known rabbit breed in the world. As a result, they’ve had plenty of time to adjust to domesticity.
Himalayan rabbits are very loving and docile, and they’ll welcome the human company. They need time outside their hutch. This doesn’t necessarily mean exercise, though.
Himalayan rabbits need to run a little, but what they love most is sunshine. If you have a back yard, allow your Himalayan to relax with you outdoors. They enjoy cuddling up with their owners and soaking in the sun’s rays.
Patient, calm and small enough for anybody to carry, Himalayan rabbits make loving family pets. Just make sure they get sufficient sunlight.
Which Breed of Rabbit is Most Child-Friendly?
Before adopting a bunny as a child’s pet, there are several things to consider. These include:
- Temperament. You need a rabbit that will not bite, scratch, or kick while being handled.
- Size and Weight. Your child should be able to pick a rabbit up comfortably. Smaller bunnies are delicate and get hurt if dropped.
- Activity Level. Always find a pet that matches a child’s energy levels. Lazy bunnies grow weary of being expected to play regularly. Energetic rabbits get frustrated if they feel cooped up.
- Maintenance. Rabbits can be a lot of work. Ensure that a child is prepared to meet a rabbit’s cleaning and grooming needs.
It’s hard to look past the Harlequin rabbit. These bunnies love people, grow to a child-friendly size and weight, and can be taught tricks.
If a Harlequin rabbit is not an option, consider a Dutch rabbit instead. These bunnies love to exercise, and are very tolerant of handling. This means that they’ll contentedly play with a child for hours.
The ever-popular Mini Lop is always an option. These bunnies are adorable, and will become a constant companion for your child. Just supervise playtimes and don’t allow a Mini Lop to get too agitated.
Few things are as rewarding as the mutual adoration of a pet rabbit and its owner. But, before you introduce a bunny to your family, find out the pros and cons of having a pet rabbit.