You have decided to get your child a pet rabbit. But how do you know which is the best rabbit breed for your kids to get? You go to the pet shop and the workers are lucky to know what breeds are available. You’re not even sure if that is a pure-bred.
Let alone if it is the best rabbit breed for your kids… All the questions…
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered mamma.
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Rabbits make a great next step when it comes to getting a pet for your child. They are not quite as much work and commitment as a dog but more interesting and affectionate then a goldfish.
Do I think a rabbit is a good pet for every kid? Nope. But you should know your child well enough to have a pretty good idea if they will enjoy the rabbit rather than creating more work for yourself.
I think rabbits are a good and easy pet for first-time pet owners. But they can be a little sensitive when it comes to feeding foods that are out fo the ordinary. So keep in simple.
Quick things to remember when choosing a rabbit for kids.
- Rabbits are a very quiet animal and they don’t eat a whole lot. So if you are looking a pet that is next level compared to a goldfish a rabbit is a good choice.
- Rabbits need someone who is confident and not jumpy in their movements. Screaming and loud noises are also an issue for rabbits.
- Rabbits scare easily and do not like to feel like they might be dropped. So someone who is a bit nervous around them will cause the rabbit to get squirmy and try to get out of their arms causing scratches and hurt feelings.
- Rabbits have their nails out all of the time so getting scratched is a regular thing that happens with rabbits. It’s not on purpose but it happens.
Before you choose a breed of rabbit think about a couple of these things…
The size/strength of your kids. French Lops are a great pet for even the youngest kids BUT! They are big and strong so they are hard for smaller kids to move around.
How much time you are willing to put into the grooming.
Wooled breeds are cute but they take more time because they need groomed every day. Breeds like rex or french lops don’t need much grooming at all. Except when they are molting and need help getting all that loose fur out.
Think about your location when choosing the best rabbit for your kids.
When choosing a rabbit breed think about your location and the severity of the seasons. If your rabbit will be outside thinking about the weather is a must.
In the northern states where the winter is cold. Having a slender breed like Rylander or Tans would not work as well.
The same goes for hot locations. A French Lop or Flemish Giant can’t handle the heat as well. Read this post for more on how to keep the rabbit cool in the summer heat.
Sometimes The Rabbit Temperament Can Be Genetic
This tip will be of more use if you are involved in rabbit shows. Or have a way of knowing where your rabbit came from such as a pedigree.
Some bloodlines will have a tendency to be on the aggressive side because the breeders want to have the best body type possible so they won’t cull a rabbit that has too much natural aggression. I don’t say that to scare you. I just want you to know that if you didn’t end up with the best rabbit for your kids it might just be a bad apple.
That one rabbit was just downright mean and that does happen. If that is not a natural characteristic of that breed don’t be afraid to try the breed again.
Sex Plays A Role In The Personality
If you are looking for a good pet rabbit make sure you are getting a male (buck) rabbit. The female (doe) rabbits will become hormonally out of balance (ladies can I get a witness) and become fussy or sometimes aggressive if she is not bred. (Be nice on the jokes right here;) It’s odd to say but it is the truth. If you have a female rabbit breeding once a year should do the trick.
That is not to say that all does will be like that but you don’t know until they reach maturity. Then you are stuck with a rabbit that would make a 200lb man turn and run.
Some does are fine or will just ignore you for a while. But some are a monster to handle even if they are normally very sweet. This happens with about 50% of my french lops.
Ok, here are my recommend best rabbits for kids. It is going to be very hard for me to say “this is the friendliest breed” or this will be the best rabbit for your kids because there are so many variables.
Here is a list of my favorite rabbit care tools.
- Comb (This is an awesome set)
- Grooming Rake – I don’t know what took me so long to find this thing but it is great when they are molting to get large amounts of hair out of the undercoat.
- Clippers – I love these clippers and the animals are totally chill when I use them too.
- Nail Clippers
- Lockdown Bowls – 14oz bowl – Rabbits are masters at throwing things. These will stop food waste.
English Lop (have owned)
The English lop is definitely one of the best rabbits for pets. They do have some special needs because of their long ears so make sure to read up on them before you try to buy one.
The English Lop weighs a minimum of 10.5 pounds with no max weight. They have an ear span at a minimum of 21 inches from tip to tip for the breed.
Rabbit Temperament: They naturally have a very calm temperament and are good-natured, but are chewers. So if in a wood hutch you will need to make sure they cannot get to the door edges or corners they can get their mouth around. The breed will be lazy for the most part, however, they are also very curious and can become bored. Some kind of toys is recommended to help keep them entertained, if not you could have some behavioral issues show up due to boredom.
Con: There are two issues I would say that make this breed an issue. They love to chew so if you have them in wood cages they will destroy the cage. So wire is best.
The second one is their long ears. If you will keep them outside their ears are easily torn and also need to have protection from the cold because they will get wet and freeze to wire or get water on them and stick to the cage.
French Lop Personality (own currently)
French lops have a minimum of 11.5 pounds and no max weight so you can see as large as 18 pounds. Their body mass is huge compared to say a dog that weighs 18 pounds so make sure you get to see adults before you decide you want to have this breed.
I would say these are one of THE BEST rabbit breeds for a pet because they are really big and can handle a lot, but they are easy going and are not a jumpy breed.
Rabbit Temperament: French lops are like little dogs. Very good temperament and easy to care for. They are very big but will put up with a lot so they are a good breed for small children to sit on the floor next to them. Some animals of this breed enjoy to have a few toys but are often content being lazy and some will not even mess with a toy. Some like to through things like their food blows so it is best to have their feed secured to the cage.
Below is the type of bowl I water my big boys and girls out of and I COULD NOT live without them. They take a lot of abuse and are great for stomping out ice in the winter.
Con: The main issue with this breed due to their size and strength. they are VERY hard on cages and wire. I build my own cages and floors are needing replaced every other summer.
I don’t consider the size a con but you just have to make the choice for your family. I do think they are a great rabbit for kids BUT do to the size that can be an issue. So if you are willing to move the animal for your child then I think french lops would be great for kids.
If you want to learn more about the french lop rabbit bread read this post here.
Mini Lop Temperament (have owned)
Mini lops have a minimum weight of 4.5 pounds and a max weight of 6.5 pounds for the breed. These guys are about half the weight of French lops and are often confused with Holland lops.
Temperament: Mini lops again are a very easy going breed, you might have the occasional fussy one but that is not normal for the breed. If you find one that seems to be naturally fussy you should consider a different animal.
Holland Lop Temperament
Image Cred: Jack & Birdie’s Rabbitry located in central Florida – Click to visit.
Holland lops have no minimum weight and have a max weight of 4 pounds for Sr. rabbits.
Rabbit Breed Temperament: These little guys are the best choice if you have little space and would like to keep a rabbit indoors. You would be hard-pressed to find an aggressive Holland lop. They are a good breed for a small child (8-12) who has the drive and will to start their own herd of rabbits. They are easy to manage and do not have the strength of a larger breed.
Con: I have heard that they are not the greatest breeders and struggle with having litters. This does depend on the bloodlines and sometimes years are just bad for breeding.
American Fuzzy Lop
American fuzzy lops have no minimum weight and have a max weight of 4 pounds for Sr. Rabbits.
Temperament: Again are a very good breed for small spaces or children but they do come with a little bit of extra work with the wool. They do need extra brushing or they will become matted if not groomed. Very calm but you can occasionally find a fuzzy lop that is a little more standoffish.
Mini Rex (have had)
Mini Rex has a minimum weight of 3 pounds and a max weight of 4.5 pounds for Sr. rabbits.
Temperament: This is another small breed that is not as laid back as the lop breeds but you can still get a good temperament in the breed if handled on a regular basis. They are slightly more jumpy but would not be a problem for even a young person to handle.
Netherland Dwarf (have had)
Netherland dwarfs have the smallest A.R.B.A. standard weight with a max weight of 2.5 pounds for Sr. rabbits.
Temperament: These little guys are energetic (so a slightly larger cage is recommended) but still good temperaments for the most part. They are not naturally aggressive. They do make good pets for smaller spaces but still need room to move. If they feel confined in a cage that does not have enough space this can cause behavioral issues.
Size – The standard for this breed has no minimum and does have a max weight of 3.5lbs. This is the weight that a breeder who tries to stay within the breed guidelines from the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
This little woolly breed will always have a special place in my heart because they were the first breed I got when I had a herd of my own. They are great for small kits because of their small size and for the most part they are not overly energetic.
They can be housed in a small area compared to the giant breeds and don’t have a huge amount of energy. They have a bold shaped head similar to the french lop and were developed to be a small pet rabbit with wool but that were easy to care for.
They are a wool breed and need to be groomed often. They do not produce nearly as much as angoras they still be combed at least once a week. (but you can run into the few that need groomed a bit more often)
Size – This breed has no minimum and has a max weight of 3.75lbs
Lion heads are pretty similar to the jersey woolly in regards to body size. They are another relitively calm breed but I would say they have more energy then Jersey woollies.
They have wool everywhere except for the saddle.. Meaning a across their back and down their sides a bit where a saddle would sit if you where to put one on them. The most common and noticeable features is the ring of wool around their neck (yep you guessed it) like a male lion. They are a fairly new breed recognized by the ARBA in 2014.
These next two breeds are some of the most common breeds out there. While I don’t think they make the best choice for a pet I see them in feed stroes and pet shops all the time. As well as all over county fairs and having a high turn out at rabbit shows. I have some theories about choosing meat breeds for pets but these are a pretty calm breeds. I think the main reason for this is that they are not small.
Size – With a senior weight of 8-10lbs they are a heavy breed. Califorian or “cals” are one of the most popular breeds in the US and recagnized by the ARBA. They are one of the favorites when it comes to producing meat and good quality pelts. If you want to get into showing and meat production they are one of THE MOST competitive breeds out there. There are a lot of them which makes them affordable BUT that also causes you to pat A LOT for top quality animals.
Size – Senior bucks 9-11lbs and Senior does 10-12lbs.
The most common color is white but they also come in black and red as well as broken verities of the two colors. They are one of the oldest recognized meat breeds and are popular for their fast growth rate.
Of course go with the bred that you family wants to have. But when it comes to finding a good pet for you child the two key things I think you need to watch is size and energy level of the rabbit.