8 of the Best Pet Rabbit Breeds
Every rabbit breed brings different characteristics into your home. Some have different physical characteristics such as floppy vs straight ears, and others have unique personality traits such as willingness to cuddle and need for exercise. Therefore, knowing what breed your new fuzzy friend is can be important when you are looking to adopt or buy a bunny. While there are some essential rules to giving your rabbit the best care possible, different breeds also have different care needs, so you should choose accordingly. While all rabbits make great pets, certain breeds make better pets for those who don't have an abundance of space or money to care of the more demanding breeds and just want a fun, hoppy bunny friend.
1. Mini Rex
Mini Rexs are a breed that came into being in France in the late 1800s. A recessive gene makes Rexs hair stick out from their bodies instead of lying flat, and their outer layer of fur is shorter than that of most breeds. This means that when you pet these rabbits, their exceptionally soft undercoat can be felt. They are often nicknamed "Velveteen Rabbits" for this reason.
As the name implies, they are fairly small in size (they weigh between 3.5 and 4.5 lbs fully grown) and are incredibly friendly. There is little reason to question why they are one of the most popular breeds in America.
2. Holland Lop
Holland Lops are popular show rabbits. They are a dwarf breed, meaning they are on the small side for rabbits. The standard Holland Lop weighs between 2 and 4 lbs. The breed originated in the Netherlands, and was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1979. They can have either broken or solid coloring in a wide variety of colors. Holland Lops are excitable by nature, so they are fun to play with but can also be a little difficult to get in and out of their cages. They probably aren't the best breed for families with children. The rabbits are known to get along well with children, but they will struggle if they don't feel like being held, so be sure to supervise any attempt to get the rabbit out to play.
The Dutch rabbit (a bit of a misnomer, since it actually was originally bred in England) is well known for its unique color pattern. They are a bit larger than dwarf breeds, but still on the smaller side overall, averaging 3.5 to 5.5 lbs. They are a calm and easygoing breed, making them exceptional pets, especially for those with children, who need a pet who can put up with the chaos of being frequently pet and held.
4. Dwarf Hotot
Much like Dutch rabbits, Dwarf Hotots are known mostly for their unique coloring. They have entirely white coats, except for one small circle of color around their eyes. For years, the only Hotots who were allowed in shows were those with black spots, but recently those with chocolate spots have also been given the ok to compete by the ARBA.
Originally, this was not a dwarf breed. The larger Blanc de Hotot was bred in the early 1900s to be a black-eyed, white haired rabbit that could be used for fur and meat. As both rabbit meat and fur went out of style and more people began keeping these critters as pets, dwarf breeds became increasingly popular, and the Dwarf Hotot breed was created.
Hotots have upright ears and tend to be under 3 lbs in weight. They tend to be outgoing, though occasionally can be moody. They are a great breed for anyone who wants a rabbit that will cuddle and be pet often, as long as you can wait out the short moody periods.
5. Mini Lop
Perhaps one of the most popular breeds in the world, Mini Lops are frequently sold or bred as pets and show rabbits. Similar to Holland Lops, they are small rabbits with floppy ears. The breed is extremely cheerful and playful, and is easily trained. These are great rabbits for anyone looking to have a litter-trained bunny. They are very sociable with other rabbits and animals, but do prefer calm children. This breed needs intellectual stimulation, so be sure to put plenty of toys in their cage.
6. Mini Satin
One of the smaller breeds of pet rabbits, Mini Satins are also extremely soft and their fur is lustrous. Larger satin breeds became very popular when the satin gene was first recognized in 1956. From there, breeders went on to try to make a smaller version of these rabbits. Mini Satins are very friendly and tend to be calm. Therefore, they're great for a busy household with other animals or children. Occasionally they can be temperamental, so be sure to ask the breeder about your particular rabbit before committing to a Mini Satin if you do have a hectic house.
7. Netherland Dwarf
Unlike many breeds on our list, Netherland Dwarf rabbits are not the best pet breed for families with children. Extremely small (usually between 1.1 and 2.5 lbs), these rabbits suit a stable and quiet environment better than one that includes children running around. Despite their small size, these rabbits need a lot of exercise, and do better in homes where they're free to run a good chunk of the day. They are a skittish and aloof breed, which again is why they are not well suited as children's pets. They are, however, great pets for adults, and make good companions for adults with disabilities. They do enjoy human interaction, but only in an environment where they feel safe and stable.
Yet another dwarf breed, Polish rabbits are a small breed of rabbit whose size does indeed mean they need less space. They tend to need less exercise than other breeds, meaning they're ideal for those who want a rabbit but can't designate a lot of space for a pen. They are a calm and friendly breed, and bucks tend to be especially laid back. They are also prone to litter box training, which is always a nice trait for an indoor pet rabbit.