Think you want a pet rabbit but you want to make sure which is the right breed?
Under each breed, I will give a short description of the rabbit temperament as far as what I have seen of the breed in person.
Before we get into which is the friendliest rabbit breed lets think about something first.
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Every breed and species was meant for something. And as animal owners or potential animal owners, we need to do our homework to understand what the bread was meant for so we don’t get in over our 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 rabbit. They are going to be gone in about 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.
If you want to go deeper into my observations on animal behavior and understanding what they were meant for I recommend that you read this post.
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 does not like.
If you own a rabbit you are going to get scratched. That’s a fact. So don’t take that as a personal offense. With their sharp nails being out all the time they can’t help it.
If you are looking for a project for meat check out my post on rabbit breeds with the best feed to meat conversions.
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.
Lock down Bowls – 14oz bowl – Rabbits are masters at throwing things. These will stop food waste.
Sometimes The Rabbit Temperament Is In The Blood
This tip will be of morse us 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 there 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.
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) become fussy and even aggressive if she is not bred often enough. (Be nice on the jokes right here;) 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. Then you are stuck with a rabbit that would make the toughest 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.
Rabbit Breed Personalities – Top 7 Breeds That Make The Best Pets
Here are several breeds that are not hard to find, naturally calm, and make good pets with the least amount of effort to keep them in a good mood.
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.
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.
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.
Get your free copy of the profitable rabbitry quickstart guide.
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.
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 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.
Rabbits are one of the best pets to start out with especially if you are not a huge fan of noise.
Before you buy a rabbit and you are not sure if you will like the breed. Try to find a breeder that will let you come see the rabbits to see if you like the breed. Don’t waste someone’s time if you are not seriously looking at the breed but most times people are fine with you coming out for a short time.