Its tempting to choose a rabbit breed that you like the look of first. But that does not mean you whill choose one of the best rabbit breeds for pets.
There are also some key factors that will have an effect on a rabbit’s personality. Causing it to be not so friendly. So let me share some tips with you on how to know if your rabbit will have a good personality or not. Of course, it’s not full proof but it’s better than going in blind.
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Sex Plays A Role In The Rabbits Personality
If you are looking for a good pet rabbit make sure you are getting a male (buck) rabbit. All-day every day.
The female (doe) rabbits will become hormonally out of balance (ladies can I get a witness) become fussy and even aggressive if she is not bred often enough. It’s odd to say but it is the truth.
That is not to say that all does will be like that but you don’t know until they reach maturity.
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.
The Age You Get The Rabbit Will Have An Effect On Its Personality
If you get the rabbit at 12 weeks or older it has started to get used to the original owner or breeder. This is a fine balance and as a rabbit raiser, I do my best to play with them just enough to keep them friendly but not attached to me.
Staying With Siblings Or Momma Too Long
When siblings stay together too long they will start to fuss with each other. To be safe I want all of my rabbit litters separated by 12 weeks old no questions asked. This also keeps them looking for attention from people not from each other. Which is what you need if you want to have a nice pet rabbit that wants to be with you and does not ignore you.
This goes alongside that but your rabbit does not need a rabbit buddy. I have a blog post about this in more detail. But the shortest way to make my point is do you want your rabbit to be buddies with you or another rabbit?
Rabbits are not pack animals. Let me say that again for the people in the back!
Rabbits are not pack animals!
They are loners and come together to do one thing. Make babies. So don’t feel guilty about it.
Sometimes The Rabbit Temperament Is In The Blood Lines
This tip will be of more use if you are involved in rabbit showing. 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.
Other times it is just the breed. Some breeds are just hard to handle cough… checkered giants… cough, cough…
But if you are willing to put up with their shenanigans then get the breed you love.
Like any animal, on occasion, you might find that bad apple in these breeds I am going to recommend. 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.
What Was The Breed Ment For
Every breed and species was meant for something. And as animal owners or potential animal owners, you need to do your homework to understand what the bread was meant for so you don’t get in over your heads.
If they are a market animal (intended to be eaten) then it is not as big of a deal if they are friendly and easy to handle. A market rabbit is going to be are going to be gone in about 10 – 12 weeks anyway. Make sense?
Now I am not saying that all meat rabbits are nasty but they definitely have a tendency to be grouchy and not make the best pets.
Whether you are looking for a rabbit as a pet, 4h project, or to produce meat for your farm. You don’t want a breed that is a total jerk. Yes, jerk
You want to at least find something that will be easy to handle and not attack you if you do something it doesn’t like.
If you are looking for a project for meat check out my post on rabbit breeds with the best feed-to-meat conversions.
Best Rabbit Breeds For Pets
Here are several breeds that are not hard to find, naturally calm, and make good pets.
Keep in mind that I have not owned all of these breeds. But I do come in contact with them and get to see how most of these breeds react at shows and other events. I have not recommended any breeds that I have not seen in real life and gotten to see their natural behavior of the over all breed.
Just note that I don’t have pictures of some breeds because it is really hard to find purebred rabbit photos that I am allowed to use on my site. (If you own the breed listed and would like your rabbitry features please reach out on the contact page.
Lop Rabbit Breeds
Lop breeds on the whole are pretty clam by nature and would be a safe bet if you are looking for a good first time rabbit pet.
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
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.
Rabbit Breeds With Wool
These breeds are pretty easy going BUT You are getting yourself into a LOT of work if you choose to get a breed with wool. They need to be groomed at least weekly if not every few days. Some of the breeds may even need to be sheered.
English & FrenchAngora
English Angora Weight
- Senior Bucks – 6 months of age and over should have a weight of 5-7lbs
- Senior Does – 6 months of age and over should weigh 5-7.5lbs
French Angora Weight
- Senior Bucks – 6 months of age and over should have a weight of 7.5-10.5lbs
- Senior Does – 6 months of age and over should weigh 7.5-10.5lbs
The angoras are both very calm breeds and to be honest, are not supper active as adults. If you are wanting a breed to be entertaining then this is not it. But they are great calm rabbits.
- Senior Bucks and Does – 6 months of age and over should not weigh over 3.5lbs
I had this breed as my starter breed when it came to showing and learning this whole world. They are a great small breed to start with. They do have a bit easier wool to deal with but do need more grooming than most rabbits.
Since they are smaller they do have a little more energy but should not be aggressive by nature.
American Fuzzy Lop
- Senior Bucks and Does – 6 months of age and over should not weigh over 4lbs
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.
Other Friendly Rabbit Breeds
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.
Here is a list of my favorite rabbit care tools list incase you missed it.
- 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.
- 5.5-inch J-Feeders (These are the most common feeder used by any rabbit raiser.
- Hanging cages to let the waste fall to the ground. Perfect for sheds, barns, or lean-to style hutches.
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 have 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.
If you’re not sure if a rabbit breed will make a good pet ask a breeder.
Before you buy a rabbit and you are not sure if you will like the breed. Try to find a breeder that will give you all the info. If they are open and practically unload on you. Then you know they are being honest. But if they are short answered you might not be getting the full story.
It takes time to learn about animals. Don’t be in a rush if you’re not sure a breed is right for you.