Even though there are more than 300 rabbit breeds worldwide, the American Rabbit Breeders Association only recognizes 50.
Forget the 300; if you were to pick a pet among the 50 different breeds, you’d probably go for the cutest one depending on the coat, size, or whatever appeals to you.
While most of us like rabbits because of their appearance, that does not necessarily mean they make good pets. Depending on your needs and the characteristics of each breed, one may better fit your description of a pet.
For instance, you might find that you like the American rabbit for its calm temperament.
That said, you should understand each breed perfectly before choosing a pet. To save you the hassle, I came up with a list of ten rabbit breeds that make great pets.
Read on to learn the details of each, so you can pick what suits you.
Top three friendly rabbit types:
- American rabbit
- Mini Lop rabbit
- Harlequin rabbit
10 List of Best Rabbit Breeds for Pets
Most rabbit breeds make great pets, and you can find one that suits your needs.
I believe there’s a breed for everyone.
Those who want a friendly pet get a friendly one, while those looking for a sweet, calm pet get exactly that.
Here are some of the best pet rabbit breeds:
1. American Rabbit
Breed size: Large| Weight: 9-12 lbs| Colors: Blue and white
This rare breed possesses a calm and sweet temperament, making it ideal for small families or individual owners.
It was once a popular show animal, but sadly, it’s now listed as critically endangered. This is a large breed, weighing a maximum of 12 pounds. So, if you’re into large bunnies, this breed suits you well.
Besides, it has a perfectly-shaped body covered in a beautiful coat and comes in blue or white. Considering the dense, silky textured coat, I feel like “beautiful” is an understatement. Even more, the coat is free from stray colored hairs, creating an even deeper color.
The white variety has small red eyes that go well with the white coat. Initially, this breed was developed as a fur and meat breed, but is currently more of a pet breed.
It is perfect for owners who want to breed it, especially since females have good motherly instincts. Furthermore, they produce large litters and live five to eight years, depending on how you take care of them.
Thanks to their friendly nature, this breed is easy to care for, and beginners can have an easy time.
- Sweet and calm temperament.
- It needs a lot of space since it’s large.
2. Mini Lop
Breed size: Small| Weight: 4.5 to 6.5 lbs| Color groups: Broken, self, agouti, wide band, pointed white, ticked, and shaded.
The Mini Lop is categorized as a small breed because it cannot weigh more than 6.5 pounds. But despite the small size, this rabbit is strong with a compact body shape.
Its fur is rolled back and of normal length, so it returns to position when you brush backward. The ears are unique; instead of pointing upwards, they fall at the sides and have furred tips.
Most people confuse the Mini Lop with the Holland Lop, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice Mini Lops are larger and weigh more than Holland Lops.
While this breed is not necessarily a good pet for young kids because it can get over-excited and bite in exhilaration. But apart from that, its energy matches your active child, and he will appreciate all the cuddles, hugs, and strokes.
That said, Mini Lops thrive better in an active environment where they can play and move around freely. If you live alone and are mostly outdoors, get a bonded pair to make your Mini Lop’s life as fun as it should be.
But if you can reward him with quality time, this breed will make your work easier when it comes to litter training, as it’s one of the most intelligent breeds around.
- It takes less space.
- Very energetic.
- It may bite when excited.
3. Harlequin rabbit
Breed size: small to medium| Weight: 6.5 to 9.5 pounds Colors: Blue, orange, black, chocolate, fawn, or lilac together with white.
This breed features a unique pattern of two different colors. A typical Harlequin will have half the face black and the other half white. This description fits the Magpie Harlequin as it often combines white with lilac, black, blue, or chocolate.
As for Japanese Harlequins, you’ll often see a combination of fawn or orange with lilac, chocolate, or blue. Interesting, right?
They’re probably the most colorful and come in different sizes. This breed suits both adults and kids, provided you offer the attention it seeks. It’s quite playful and energetic, so it will mostly roam around looking for company.
But don’t worry, you can keep him calm on your lap as you stroke his back, as this breed enjoys cuddles and all forms of petting. In one line, Harlequins enjoy human companionship, so they are easy to bond with.
But he is not your ideal rabbit if you’re not the kind that pets your bunny. He demands a lot of attention, and you’ll be hurting his feelings if you can’t spare time to stroke him. Maybe go for a more independent breed.
- Perfect for kids since they’re playful.
- Colorful pattern.
- Easily frightened.
Breed size: Small| Weight: 5.5 to 6.5 lbs| Colors: Blend of grays, dark blue
If you like a calm, lazy pet, the Chinchilla is your perfect match. They’re not as energetic as Lops and often relax on the sofa or in a corner on the floor.
This makes them ideal for calm, quiet environments, so they thrive better with adults than kids. They can’t match the energy of playful kids, so your children will find them boring, while the pet will find the kids a nuisance.
But don’t assume they despise human companions because of this. They enjoy company and are easygoing, so they would rather sit on your lap than walk around the house.
There are three recognized Chinchilla breeds, namely, Giant, Standard, and American. Most have soft coats in blends of grays and appear silverish.
- Thrive in calm environments.
- Appreciate human companionship.
- Chinchilla is a lazy bunny that prefers lying around.
5. Blanc De Hotot
Breed size: Medium to large| Weight: 8-11 lbs| Color: White
The Blanc de Hotot has a solid white color and looks like a bundle of pure white cotton from afar. The only difference is the black markings surrounding the dark eyes, creating an “eyeliner” look.
You can never mistake a Blanc de Hotot with another breed with such distinctive features. The Dwarf Hotot probably developed from the Blanc de Hotot, but the size will help you differentiate.
This breed came from Hotot-en-Auge in France and was recognized by the ARBA in 1979. Since then, this unique breed has enjoyed a loyal following and remains a favorite of many.
It has a well-rounded body, a short neck, and a cute, innocent look, which makes it adorable. Often, females weigh more than males, but both are active and easy to handle, making them ideal for families with kids, beginner pet owners, and individuals.
If you offer the best care to this cute animal, he may live an average of five to eight years or more. Blanc de Hotot is quite common and survives in almost any climate.
- It survives in almost all climates.
- It’s common and easy to acquire.
- Requires a large space.
Breed size: Small| Weight: 2.5-4.5 lbs| Color: White
Himalayans go by different names, some of which are Russian rabbit and Black nose rabbit. The name “black nose” comes from its appearance, as most of them have white bodies with dark extremities like the nose, legs, and ears.
Its body is cylindrical, giving it a unique look. The Himalayan is one of the oldest breeds, as they were first noticed in 1857. Living with humans ever since, these animals have adapted to domestic life, hence their docile nature.
This breed enjoys soaking in the sun, so feel free to cuddle him as you bask outside. You should also allow him time outside the hutch, as he enjoys little runs around the compound.
They make great pets both for families and individual owners. They’re also calm and loving, all the qualities of great pets. Thanks to their small body size, kids can carry them around, and they’ll enjoy the company.
Introduce the bunny to your kids at a young age so they can create a solid rapport as they grow together. But even at old age, Himalayans are not necessarily a threat but may take a little longer to bond.
- Both family and individual-owner pets
- Easily adapts to a domestic setting.
- Takes time to bond with them at an older age.
7. Polish rabbit
Breed size: Small| Weight: Less than 3.5 lbs| Color: Chocolate, black and blue.
Originally, this breed was popular in Europe but made its way to America in 1912. It’s believed to have originated from Britain and not Poland, as the name suggests, though there’s no proof of that.
Though it’s small in size, the Polish is not a dwarf but rather a small breed rabbit. Most weigh less than 3.5 pounds, so kids can easily carry them around. They also top the list of most affectionate rabbit breeds, so they make great pets.
Polish rabbits like being held, petted, and enjoy the attention of humans. They’re quite calm, so you can have them around toddlers, and they’ll make a great match.
But since they’re small in size, don’t let kids carry them around, as they can easily drop them.
It is also an old breed, as its mention can be traced to text from 1860. Compared to other bunnies, this breed has short ears and comes in different colors.
Both beginners and experts have a chance with this easy-to-handle breed. Shower him with cuddles, love, and affection to make your pet feel appreciated, as he loves that.
- Easy to bond with.
- Calm temperament .
- Young kids might find their conspicuous eyes scary.
8. Mini Rex
Breed size: Small or mini| Weight: 3 to 4.5 lbs| Color: White, blue, black, lilac, broken colors, and chocolate.
This breed was developed by Monna Berryhill from an undersized Lynx Red and a Dwarf Rex, hence the dwarf genes. But though they’re often classified as dwarfs, the Mini Rex is slightly larger than true dwarfs.
They’re popular for their plush, velvety fur and small size. As for appearance, Mini Rex has a smooth, compact body with well-rounded hindquarters. Their ears are upright but not more than 3.5 inches.
Unlike most rabbits, Mini Rex has one coat layer, and almost all the hairs are the same length. They come in different colors, especially since breeders are exploring exotic combinations.
This breed is gentle and sociable, making it an ideal pet for families and individuals. But, of course, each has a distinct personality.
And though they’re social creatures, you’ll have to win their trust before picking them up. But once there’s a genuine bond, you’ll enjoy the company and have quality play time, particularly in the evening or late afternoon when they’ve got bouts of energy.
- Beautiful body.
- Enjoys human affection.
- It’s a high-maintenance pet.
9. Jersey Wooly
Breed size: Small| Weight: Less than 3.5 lbs| Color: Variety of colors
The Jersey Wooly is a new dwarf breed recognized by the ARBA in 1988. They reach a maximum weight of 3.5 lbs. and come in a variety of colors.
Although they’re not very active, this breed is gentle and docile, so it best suits individuals rather than families with kids. Your pet can’t match your kid’s energy, especially if they’re young and want to play with him.
But older kids who prefer calm pets can match well with a Jersey Wooly. They can be calm and rarely bite or kick unless frightened. However, you can still get some that are outgoing and prefer exploring the environment rather than sitting still on the couch.
As the name suggests, this breed has a woolen coat with a high risk of wool block. But even so, their coats are easier to maintain than most woolen coats. They also need frequent grooming to keep up with their hygiene.
That said, the Jersey Wooly falls under high-maintenance pets, so maybe not the best pet for someone who’s not around much.
- Gentle and docile.
- Enjoy cuddles.
- Expensive to maintain.
10. English Lop
Breed size: Large| Weight: 9 lbs| Color: Broken, ticked, shaded, and agouti.
The English Lop is famous for having the longest ears of all rabbits. This breed can be traced to 1800 and is probably the first lop-eared breed. This means other lop-eared bunnies can trace their origins to the popular English Lop.
Since their ears touch the floor when lying around, they need to be checked regularly and their nails kept short so they don’t hurt their ears.
The English Lop possesses all the qualities of a great pet as it’s calm with a laid-back personality. It’s also quite friendly and, therefore, easy to bond with.
- Unique long ears.
- Laid-back personality.
- They don’t cope well in extremely cold conditions.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Rabbit Pet
The common mistake beginner rabbit owners make is to walk to a store, pick the cutest bunny, and go home.
Choosing a rabbit is more than getting a cute one and hoping for the best. You need to consider several things before selecting one. Some include:
1. Breed of the rabbit
The breed affects the weight and size of a bunny. And because rabbits are generally active animals, size affects the amount of space a rabbit has.
A large breed needs more space than a small or dwarf breed to remain active. Weight also matters, especially for owners with kids. You want to get a sizable pet that your kids can comfortably carry around without dropping them because they’re too heavy or too light.
We’ve also seen that breeding affects the personality of a rabbit. Some breeds are friendlier than others, and this is an important factor to consider. Besides, while some breeds are playful and enjoy moving around, others prefer relaxing on the couch, so depending on your needs, pick one that fits well into the family.
Rabbits are generally low-maintenance pets, but once in a while, you’ll find one that falls under the category of high-maintenance pets. For example, some need constant grooming or a larger cage due to their size.
You all know a large cage costs more, so consider this before settling for a large rabbit. And not just that, some rabbits will need special care and eat specific foods due to health complications.
The cost of buying one is another thing to keep in mind. Apart from that, there’s the cost of neutering, but this mostly depends on the gender of the rabbit. Females are more expensive to neuter than males because their surgery is more complex.
3. Your experience with pets
Though most rabbits make great pets, not all are ideal for beginners. A new rabbit parent should go for calm, easy-to-maintain bunnies so you both have an easy time. Besides, you want a pet you can easily bond with, so choose a friendly breed.
Experts can pick almost any type and work through them. They know almost everything about rabbits, particularly how to care for and bond with them.
4. Family status
Do you have kids, or are you an individual owner? If you have kids, go for an active, playful pet that will keep your kids company. This is not just an advantage for your children. If you consider its personality, you’ll also be doing the rabbit a favor.
Getting a rabbit that prefers lying still on the couch for your kids won’t do them any good. They won’t have the expected experience, or even worse, the rabbit may get aggressive, especially since kids will intrude on its personal space.
5. Age of the rabbit
Kittens are often curious and may have little accidents as they explore their environment. This applies to most rabbits regardless of their species.
In addition, young ones may be messier than adults. Contrary to what most people believe, kittens take longer to litter train than adults. Think of it this way; an adult bunny is more intelligent and reserved, so they are more likely to remember things.
On the other hand, kittens are still growing, so they are less composed. Besides, their curious nature forces them to move around, leaving litter anywhere in the house or compound.
6. Your preference
The reason we get pets is that we enjoy being around them. With that in mind, get a pet that fits your preferences so you can have an easy time taking care of him.
If you prefer a playful pet, get an active breed that will keep your house warm and lively. And if you don’t want your pet roaming around, get a calm, lazy pet that prefers sitting on your lap as you watch TV.
You can always get a rabbit that fits your preferences, especially since there are numerous breeds in the world.
That’s it, friends! I believe I’ve given you details of the best rabbit breeds that make great pets.
From the rare American rabbit to the popular English Lop, you now have what you need to make a decision. Go for a breed that suits your needs and matches your personality.
In addition, be patient with your bunny when you get home and allow them time to adjust to your domestic settings. Don’t start litter training immediately, as it may not be effective when they’re still new.
Instead, focus on bonding and creating a friendly environment for your pet. And because you made an excellent choice, bonding should be as easy as ABC.