Rabbits are found in almost every country in the world. They have excellent adaptability, which can be seen in the 29 species of rabbits that exist today. Because of multiple breeding and raising conditions, rabbits are not all alike in appearance or friendliness.
In this article, we will cover 10 of the friendliest rabbit types and what one can expect when raising them.
This post draws upon research and literature and touches on size, habits, and methods of showing affection, among other things.
What Is the Friendliest Type of Rabbit?
The Lion Head is the friendliest type of rabbit and also has an interesting appearance. However, it must be socialized at an early age so that it is not as nervous around humans.
Top three friendly rabbit types:
- The Lionhead Rabbit
- The Himalayan
- The Holland Lop
What Makes Certain Rabbits Friendly?
When you look for a rabbit to adopt, you look for certain qualities. In most cases, the total of these equals friendliness. For a rabbit to be considered friendly, it must not be aggressive.
Among non-aggressive rabbits, the ones who are comfortable with human contact or even seek it are considered the best. Aside from that, social intelligence and being easy to train also count.
List of friendly rabbit types:
The Holland Lop has a maximum weight of 4 lbs and is considered one of the friendliest rabbits in the world. Its popularity means you can acquire a Holland Lop with relative ease due to breeding demand. The tiny lop doesn’t bite intentionally, except in very rare instances.
As a result, parents often adopt it for their kids. Of course, caution and care are required in handling the bunny. It is quite fragile in frame and size. The Holland lop is quite fluffy, but its fur doesn’t shed, and it keeps itself clean.
That means you don’t have to brush it as often. You can find Holland Lops on the cheaper side as they breed with ease and don’t require much effort to raise. However, this depends on their demand and supply.
They are more abundant in states with slightly cold winters and mild summers. Holland Lops are the cheapest in the Pacific Northwest. They come in solid as well as broken (two-tone) colors.
- Doesn’t take up a lot of space.
- Doesn’t like being held.
The Dutch Rabbit
Dutch rabbits have a friendly aura despite their restlessness. One can easily pet them without the fear of getting bitten. If you sit next to a Dutch, it is likely to hop away right away. This might seem unfriendly, but you’ll see it hop right back to you to bump you with its nose. What else is that if not playful?
Their appearance is very traditional, with perky ears and an acute nose. The Dutch rabbit is slightly larger than the Holland Lop, with a maximum weight of 5.5 lbs. However, not all Dutch rabbits are heavier than Holland lops.
Where the largest Holland Lops are 4 lbs, Dutch rabbits can weigh 3.5 lbs on the lighter end. Dutch rabbits can be potty trained and require occasional grooming. Their fur glistens in direct sunlight and is very pleasant to touch. Their price tag is also pleasant, starting at $30 for common colors and going up to just north of $90 for rarer colors.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- They have long, expressive, ears.
- It is harder to acquire in warmer states.
The Lionhead rabbit is just as eccentric in appearance as its name. It truly has a lion-like mane. But don’t confuse its appearance for its temperament. Despite parodying the king of the jungle, Lionhead rabbits are exceptionally friendly and fond of people.
They show affection in ways similar to cats. A lionhead rabbit will be full of energy when let out of its cage and will most likely sit in your lap of its own accord when it is in the mood.
Despite weighing 3 lbs, Lionhead rabbits pose a bite risk to kids. Preteens can have a lot of fun with lionheads, but if they are chased, they cannot differentiate between a genuine threat and playtime.
Lionhead rabbits are prey, not predators, which means they are wired to keep their distance. This twitchiness has been domesticated out of some rabbit types. Lionheads aren’t one of them and have to be in a relatively spacious cage. These rabbits cost $50 to $100 based on color and availability.
- They have an interesting appearance.
- They are small and, hence, more manageable.
- They can get anxious if they are not socialized early enough.
A Mini Rex is a calm rabbit with soft, plush fur. It is not as twitchy as most rabbits, but one has to approach it slowly. A Mini Rex’s friendliness is most evident when you’re petting it because the rabbit seems to enjoy it as well. As is evident from the name, a Mini Rex isn’t very big. Weighing south of 5 lbs, this rabbit is not just people-friendly, but also caretaker-friendly.
It requires a degree of care when it comes to grooming. Its velvety fur can get damaged during brushing. Whenever the rabbit needs cleaning, using a dry microfiber cloth or a soft, damp cloth is recommended.
While their name and size circle around their ‘mini-ness,’ their pricetag doesn’t. This lagomorph costs more than $250 in some instances, making it one of the few rabbits that are as expensive as they are friendly.
- The Mini Rex enjoys affection.
- It is quite petite and cute.
- The Mini Rex is a high-maintenance pet.
- It is very expensive.
The Polish rabbit didn’t originate in Poland because its ideal living climate isn’t that of Poland. It might not live up to its proper name, but it does live up to its nickname. This rabbit, called “Little Aristocrat,” is petite and appears aristocratic. It weighs less than 3.5 lbs on average and has bright red eyes alongside upright ears that don’t part much.
Polish rabbits are approachable as they don’t hop away as easily as some other rabbits. They like to show affection by allowing people to pet them. They are timid and observant and can form bonds of varying degrees of trust with different people in your family.
Their bright eyes give them an exotic appearance, which might make you think they’re expensive. Their pricing is similar to the Holland Lop in that it generally doesn’t cross the $100 threshold.
- Polish rabbits allow petting.
- They can build a bond of trust with you.
- Their bright red eyes might scare some children.
It is unclear whether the Netherland Dwarf is friendly or just too small to appear unfriendly. This tiny rabbit weighs less than 2.5 pounds and is ideal for a family with well-disciplined preteens. Their fragility makes them unfit for households with toddlers. The Netherland Dwarf is affectionate after you win its trust. And this process is very slow.
These rabbits are naturally inclined to socialize with people and develop a distant bond of trust, at least initially. The Netherland Dwarf eventually closes in proximity until it is comfortable sitting right next to you.
The key to raising the friendliest Netherland Dwarf is to let the rabbit be until it naturally develops an interest in being close to you. It is smart enough to know that you feed it, and it can come to see you as a friend.
- Friendly even with minimal socializing.
- Too fragile to be around kids.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep yourself from picking up your rabbit, you should get an English Lop. This rabbit does not mind being picked up and loves having its fur patted. However, it is quite big and weighs around 11 pounds.
Make sure to have a big, spacious cage or corner for this one. It has massive ground-touching ears that are reminiscent of Bugs Bunny. If you have kids, make sure they know not to pick it up by the ears, as this can hurt the rabbit.
The English lop requires plenty of hay, and the grooming requirements of this rabbit are more elaborate than those covered earlier. It is among the cheapest rabbits to acquire as it costs nearly half of what the tinier types do.
The English lop is accustomed to the cold and is best suited to cooler regions. It is easily available in almost every state and is priced at $30 in the northern states and $50 in the southern ones.
A typical English lop grows up to 33 inches and requires 20 inches of extra space in its cage. Plenty of chew toys are needed to keep him interested. More importantly, you’ll need to check up on the lop’s nail growth because its nails can grow all the way into its foot base.
- The English Lop is relatively inexpensive.
- It does not mind being picked up.
- It is on the heavier side.
- It needs extra space.
The Himalayan also has a classic rabbit look, but its body is cylindrical. It is a long rabbit with a shorter height. For the most part, they are white with contrasting ears or ear tips. They often have black noses, tails, and feet as well.
The purest of this type have rich fur on their extremities. At 4.5 lbs. maximum adult weight, these rabbits are quite easy to handle. But they don’t like to be handled as often.
Their friendly demeanor is contingent on early socializing, so you should not bring a fully grown Himalayan rabbit home, hoping it will be friendly.
Adult Himalayans can be friendly if they are raised kindly and not suffocated by petting and picking.
If the Himalayan is not treated well early on and its trust is not gained with patience, it becomes restless and anxious. But with even an average upbringing, the rabbit grows up to be sociable and calm. The Himalayan derives its name from its snowy white color.
But if it breeds with other pale or white rabbits, it can give birth to half Himalayans that might pass off as pure Himalayans. Half Himalayans can be more obviously twitchy compared to pure ones. Regardless of how much Himalayan is in a rabbit, socializing early is the key to having an affectionate housemate.
- They don’t attack even when they are anxious.
- They are sociable, especially when they are purebred.
- Cross-bred Himalayans can seem pure but have aggressive instincts.
The Flemish Giant is unique in that it is the largest rabbit on this list, as well as any list of domestic rabbits. Weighing 20 lbs on the high end, these rabbits truly live up to their name. And fortunately for us, they are gentle giants. They come in a wide range of colors, including but not limited to white, black, and blue.
The Flemish Giant maintains a calm demeanor around people but has to be socialized from a young age. If made nervous, this rabbit will kick with its hind legs. Biting isn’t much of a defense mechanism, but it is not out of the question either.
Flemish giants cost the same as some dwarf breeds, but their prices can change depending on typical demand and supply factors. On average, you can get this rabbit for $50 in cheaper states and $100 in places where breeding costs more.
- They don’t cost a lot of money to acquire.
- They can be socialized to be very friendly.
- They can kick to defend themselves if startled.
From the English Lop to the Holland Lop and Mini Rex to the Flemish giant, all of the friendly rabbits covered in this post are highly adoptable.
But you need to get rabbits while they are young (3 months old) and socialize with them. Alternatively, you can adopt adult bunnies that have been socialized appropriately.
In the absence of abuse, threats, or perceived threats, almost all retail-grade rabbits make good pets.