How to Find a Friendly Pet Rabbit
i am going to be honest, rabbits don’t always make good pets. If they are inside or outside in an unideal cage situation, you need to clean their droppings once or twice a day. Add on nail clipping, brushing, and feeding & watering (especially changing frozen water 3-4 times a day for outdoor cages in the winter) and they aren’t that easy pet you can spend 5 minutes on a day. if your rabbit is mean or stand-offish, it can feel like all that work isn’t worth it.
Do Your Research on Breeds
Unlike dogs and cats for pets, it’s best to get a pure-bred rabbit. They have less health and behavioral issues. Plus, you know what you are going to get out of the breed as far as temperament, behavior and size. There are some great books and websites out there on breeds, such as American Rabbit Breeders Asso., Rabbit Breeders, or Rabbit Production (the definitive book on raising rabbits).
I have heard first hand from owners that Flemish Giants, Dutch, Lops, and Tans make nice pets. (Of course, we think Standard Rex make the best pets, but we’ll get into that later). I have also heard first hand that Lionheads and Dwarf Rabbits don’t always make good pets. They are small, not very bright and not very relaxed. Again, every rabbit is different, like humans, but breeds definitely have certain traits. Be very beware of any rabbit that is not pure bred. I have heard story after story of people who get rabbits from the lady down the street, craigslist, a pet store or humane society and the rabbit is mean or just uninterested in being a pet. Also, never get a New Zealand or Californian or a white rabbit with red eyes that you aren’t sure of the breed. These rabbits are the most popular rabbits to bred as they grow out fast for meat. Unfortunately, since they are grown for size and not temperament, they are often the meanest of rabbits.
Make sure the Breed meets your Needs
Why do you want a pet rabbit? If the answer is you already have a rabbit and want a friend for it… ask yourself these questions. Is it a spayed male? Then purchase another spayed male for a delightful life. If he is not spayed, DO NOT get him a friend. He will impregnate a female and kill another male. Is your rabbit a female? If so, then STOP looking for a rabbit friend, unless you have a very large cage. Even then, I don’t recommend getting another rabbit. Female rabbits in general DO NOT like other rabbits. They are solitary creatures and they want you to be their best friend, not a rabbit. I have had tried several times to have two females together and it never lasts. They may be okay most of the time, but there is still humping (females like to show dominance) and biting. Every time someone comes to buy a companion for their female rabbit, it has never worked out. The first female always rejects her new friend.
If you absolutely want two rabbits, purchase 2 castrated male brothers that have never been separated. They will live happily together forever. We castrate males for $50 each (to spay at a vet, you will pay upwards of $150-$300 per rabbit).
Are you purchasing for a child? If so, you may think you want a smaller rabbit. Make sure you really get to meet the rabbit first, or talk at length with the breeder if they don’t have a full website about their rabbits (like I do). Again, rabbits can be difficult pets. Also, there is no money in rabbit breeding, often you have to have a lot of rabbits or you make just enough to pay for food. This means many breeders may barely put their hands on your rabbit. A well loved rabbit from the beginning will make a better pet as they get old.You want to try as hard as you can to get the sweetest rabbit available and know what you are getting into. Why do we think Standard Rex make good pets? Look at this….
This is Sage, a sweet eight week old Standard Rex. We’ve brought her inside for a cuddle and she has decided to take a nap on Chardin’s chin. Can a miniature rabbit do this? I haven’t seen one and Mini Rex would barely let us hold her, much less rest her head on us, and she was a purebred.
For our customers interested in pets, a month or two advanced notice is key. This allows for us to find a naturally sweet rabbit, give them lots of love and affection from birth and castrate them before they are sold. We know people get excited about pets and want them asap, but you will be happier in the long run by waiting until the rabbit is ready for you. Also, this will give you time to get everything properly set up for your rabbit.
Why Angoras don’t make Good Pets… They are Working Rabbits only!
Being an Angora raiser, I often get requests to help someone get their Angora back in health. I have seen too many matted, unkempt, neglected Angoras to ever recommend them as a pet to anyone who isn’t a spinner. They require too much care and expense. Please don’t purchase an Angora unless you are an experience rabbit owner with the time and desire to use their wool. This is also why I don’t breed Angora regularly. IF you are a spinner or knitter interested in spinning your own wool…. Angoras make wonderful pets, depending on the breed and breeder. Castrated males are the best wool producers and have the nicest temperament. You need to brush them regularly and keep their bits trimmed and cleaned. You may need to clip them a couple of times a year and lots of timothy hay to keep them regular, but I love my Angoras and they always make people go.. oooooh.