10 Best Rabbits for Beginners (2023)

September 24th, 2022 9:39 AM

10 Best Rabbits for Beginners (1)

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If you're thinking about getting a pet rabbit but you’re not sure where to start, you should first consider which breed would be the best match for your lifestyle and preferences. Some bunnies are too big to be kept in an apartment, others are a bit too high-maintenance for a first-time owner, and some have a personality that won’t click with yours. That’s why it’s important to do your research and make sure that you’ll be able to properly care for the rabbit you pick and that you’ll enjoy their quirks and unique traits as well.

To help you find the right companion for you, we’ve rounded up the 10 best rabbits for beginners, whose traits make them perfect for first-time owners. These rabbit breeds are relatively low-maintenance, tend to be friendly and sociable, intelligent and easy to train, so even a complete beginner could manage to train and socialize them with a bit of patience and effort.

10 Best Rabbits for Beginners (2)

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#1 Mini Lop Rabbit

With their fluffy fur and small, rounded bodies, the Mini Lop looks like a bunny straight out of a children's picture book. These rabbits are not only adorable (although it is the first thing you’ll notice about them), but also have lovely personalities – generally, Mini Lop rabbits tend to be sweet, friendly, and quite affectionate. With a medium-length rollback fur, these rabbits don’t require extensive grooming and are generally considered low-maintenance and suited to newbie owners. The Mini Lop weighs 4.5 to 6 pounds on average and will be perfectly happy living in a house or an apartment, with a single or senior, or a family with children to play with.

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10 Best Rabbits for Beginners (3)

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#2 Polish Rabbit

A little bundle of cuteness, the Polish rabbit has round chubby cheeks, short ears, and round, large eyes which make them oh-so-pretty. These bunnies have a short flyback coat that’s easy to maintain and come in black, blue, chocolate, white (with red or blue eyes), and broken pattern, so any beginner can easily find a bunny to fall in love with. The Polish rabbit is docile, calm, and very affectionate, so they will make a most loving companion, especially for singles or seniors. As a dwarf breed, the Polish rabbit weighs around 2.5 to 3.5 pounds so they are not the best choice for families with young children, who could inadvertently drop or hurt such a small bunny.

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#3 Lionhead Rabbit

Despite their fluffy, wooly mane, Lionhead rabbits are not a high-maintenance breed – they are a perfect compromise for beginners that are in love with fuzzy breeds with wool coats but don’t want their first rabbit to be a lot of work when it comes to grooming. Their mane could be wispy and concentrated on the head and chest (called single mane), or thick and present both on the head and on the flanks (called double mane). Lionhead rabbits are recognized by ARBA in a variety of colors and are considered well suited to first-time owners. This is, in big part, due to their friendly, playful, and affectionate temperament and small size (2.5 to 3.5 pounds in adulthood) which makes them well-adapted to life in apartments and houses alike.

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10 Best Rabbits for Beginners (5)

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#4 Harlequin Rabbit

With one-of-a-kind markings and exceptional personality, the Harlequin rabbit will quickly grow on you. Also known as the Japanese rabbit, this breed is best known for their distinctive coats that come in two variations – Magpie or Japanese. Magpie Harlequin rabbits are white with markings in black, blue, lilac, or chocolate color, and Japanese Harlequin rabbits are orange with any of the mentioned contrasting colors of markings. In addition to their striking physique, Harlequin rabbits are popular for their outgoing, sociable, curious personality which makes them interesting and loving pets to families of all shapes and sizes. They are a medium to large breed and weigh 6.5 to 9.5 pounds on average.

#5 Dutch Rabbit

These little loaves of cuteness are instantly recognizable for their rounded bodies and contrasting markings – a wedged tuft of white fur on their forehead, a band of white from the top of their shoulders to their belly, and white legs contrasted by dark fur in black, blue, speckled gray, chocolate, or orange with smokey blue shading. Dutch rabbits are a well-loved breed both because of their beautiful looks and friendly, loving personality – they thrive on affection and are considered easy to train. Perfect if you are a beginner and want a sociable, intelligent bunny you’ll quickly form a bond with. These rabbits weigh 4 to 5.5 pounds and are suited to singles, seniors, or families with children.

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#6 Himalayan Rabbit

Considered to be one of the oldest breeds of rabbits in the world – so much so, that their exact origins are lost to history – the Himalayan rabbit steadily remains one of the more popular breeds even today, centuries after first being bred. And there’s plenty of reason for it, too! Starting from their appearance, Himalayan rabbits boast unusual looks – they are always white, with dark “boots”, egg-shaped mark on their nose, and colored ears and tails. Their personality also leaves little to be desired, as these are gentle, docile, and calm rabbits that adapt well to various environments, making them perfectly suited to beginners looking for their first pet rabbit. Weighing 2.5 to 5 pounds, the Himalayan is considered to be a small rabbit breed.

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#7 Mini Rex Rabbit

Mini Rex’s most notable trait is their luster, velvet-like fur that, despite its luxurious feel, is quite easy to maintain. In fact, too much brushing can ruin the beautiful texture of their coats, so it’s advised to groom them only every two weeks! In addition to their stunning coats, Mini Rex rabbits also have a great personality with a friendly temperament and calm yet curious nature, so they’ll be sociable and playful but not overly energetic. An all-around great bunny for beginners, this breed is considered small and adult Mini Rex rabbits will weigh 3.5 to 4.5 pounds.

#8 Holland Lop Rabbit

If you have a soft spot for long, floppy ears, you’ll fall head over heels for the pretty Holland Lop. These rabbits were selectively bred to display large furry ears that fall to the sides of their head, disproportionately big when compared to their small rounded head and body, which only ramps up the cuteness factor. It also doesn’t hurt their cuteness that they are a dwarf breed, weighing only 2 to 4 pounds when fully mature! Their personality is as lovable as their looks, so you can expect your Holland Lop to be sweet, gentle, and quite playful – even though they are tiny, these bunnies are energetic and will love to play and hop around the house.

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#9 Mini Satin Rabbit

Yup, the name is not misleading in the case of the Mini Satin rabbit – the fur of these petite bunnies is as soft as silky satin! Their sleek coat doesn’t need much grooming though, so they are a great choice for beginners who don’t want a high-maintenance coat breed for their first pet. With a small, well-rounded body, the Mini Satin can weigh anywhere between 3 to 4.5 pounds when fully mature and will adapt well to life in an apartment or families with children – as they are big enough not to be inadvertently hurt by a young kid, but not too big for them to cuddle with. And cuddle they will – if properly socialized on time, Mini Satin is a sweet, calm, bunny with an affectionate streak that makes them true “lap bunnies”.

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#10 English Spot Rabbit

Rightfully dubbed the “Dalmatians of the rabbit world”, English Spot rabbits share quite a few traits with their canine look-alikes: their elegant looks, distinct markings, and a sweet, goofy personality. The English Spot is easy to recognize for their butterfly markings on the nose, colored ears, complete with a herringbone stripe down their back, circled eyes, cheek spots, and a myriad of tiny spots on their sides. Can’t miss them even if you try! While the black and white combo is the most common, English Spot rabbits come in a variety of colors, including lilac, blue, gold, and tortoise. As a medium-sized breed, an English Spot will weigh anywhere from 5 to 8 pounds in their adulthood.

5 Essential Tips for Beginner Rabbit Owners

Being a rabbit owner comes with a lot of responsibilities – like any other pet, rabbits also require your care, attention, and affection. You will need to adapt your home to be a safe and welcoming environment for your pet bunny and make sure that you meet their needs, from nutritional to emotional. This way, you can rest assured you'll have a happy, healthy bunny that thrives in your care!

  • Spay or neuter your bunny

Getting your bunny spayed or neutered isn’t only important if you don’t want them to reproduce. It also eliminates the possibility of some unwanted behaviors motivated by hormones, such as aggression, territorial urine marking, or mounting. What’s more, rabbits who have been spayed or neutered have much lower risks (or none at all) of developing some serious health issues down the road, such as pyometra, uterine, mammary, and ovarian cancer in females, and testicular cancer in males. Not to mention that rabbits that have been “fixed” tend to be calmer, friendlier, and more affectionate with their owners.

  • Rabbit-proof your home

Rabbits are notorious chewers and will gnaw at anything if given a chance, so you will have to move any dangerous or important items out of their reach. Cords and wires are the first to go, as they are one of the favorite forbidden “treats” of bunnies and, needless to say, can be very dangerous if chewed on, and inconvenient for you when you reach for your charger only to realize it’s been snipped in half. Baseboards should also be protected as well as wooden furniture legs, same as any plants you have – especially if they happen to be toxic to bunnies like many of them are.

  • Litter train your rabbit

If you’re opting to keep your bunny indoors, as many pet owners do, you’ll want them to know where to go potty instead of doing their business all over your home. Luckily, rabbits can be successfully trained to use a litter, although they can be a bit more difficult to train than a dog or a cat, with a little patience, it’s more than possible. You’ll need to get a rabbit litter box and litter that’s appropriate for bunnies (not cat litter!) which is usually made from paper, as it is the safest for rabbits.

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  • Choose the right housing

Even though a rabbit should spend most of their time outside their enclosure, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need a spacious, comfy enclosure for those periods of time they are inside it. As a rule of thumb, a rabbit’s enclosure should be 4 times their size, so they can comfortably hop around, lie down, and stand up. Their enclosure should contain a sleeping area, their litter, and their food and water, as well as some toys to pass the time.

  • Provide proper diet

A rabbit’s diet consists primarily of timothy hay – around 80% – which they should be given in unlimited quantities, with a limited amount of rabbit pellets, with helpings of leafy greens. It’s crucial that your bunny’s diet is high in fiber, as it supports their digestive system and helps prevent GI stasis, a dangerous life-threatening condition that is common for bunnies.

FAQs

Which rabbit breed is best for beginners? ›

Other popular breeds for beginner pet rabbit owners are the Mini Lop, Mini Rex, Dutch and Polish. All four are small breeds that have reputations of being gentle. That being said, all types of domestic rabbits have the potential of being good pets.

Which rabbits are the easiest to train? ›

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 with floppy ears. They are extremely cheerful and playful, and are easily trained. Mini Lops are great for anyone looking to have a litter-trained bunny.

What is the calmest Bunny? ›

The calmest rabbit breeds are the Himalayan, the Flemish Giant, and the English Spot.

Are 2 rabbits easier than 1? ›

They will often be far happier and content with a mate. Rabbits are not that unlike humans, they also get bored, even depressed, and when they do, they often act it out with destructive behaviour. Take your time to get a new mate, or even better, buy two rabbits from the start.

How many rabbits should I start with? ›

How many rabbits should you start with? Idealy start with a trio OR 5 unrelated rabbits. A trio is 1 buck (male rabbit) and 2 does (female rabbit).

What is the laziest rabbit? ›

As one of the first domesticated rabbit breeds, English Lops are popular for their laidback and friendly temperament. In fact, these bunnies are so laidback that they're considered lazy by expert rabbit owners.

What type of rabbit likes to cuddle? ›

Mini Lop Rabbit

These little rabbits are adorable with floppy ears and a pudgy body. They are known for their love of cuddling and are affectionate. They make great pets for children because they tolerate being picked up frequently and are happiest when receiving attention in the form of pets and cuddles.

How do I pick the right rabbit? ›

Each animal should be bright, alert, and active. They should all have shiny, lush fur and be plump and well-fed. If any members of the litter are sickly, do not choose them or an apparently healthy littermate, as that animal may soon also become ill. Run your hands and eyes over the entire rabbit.

Are boy or girl rabbits easier? ›

Male rabbits are easier pets for first time rabbit caretakers. They tend to be less territorial with fewer destructive habits and are known for having calmer personalities.

What pair of rabbits is best? ›

Mixed-sex pairs usually work best, so if you are thinking of getting rabbits for the first time, it's advisable to get a male and female, although same-sex pairs are not uncommon. Obviously if you take on an already bonded pair then it's all been done for you!

Can rabbits be left alone for 8 hours? ›

Rabbits can only be left alone for a maximum of 24 hours. If a rabbit doesn't eat for 24 hours it can die. 8-12 hours is more optimal, especially if they have a companion, space to exercise, and food to eat. Bunnies kept alone, or who crave more attention and care, will do best when left for 3-6 hours at most.

Is it better to have 2 male or female rabbits? ›

Rabbits should always live in pairs, as they can become stressed or sick if kept alone. They are sociable animals that need the company of other rabbits. One male and one female is the best pairing. Make sure they're spayed and neutered before introducing them.

Can 2 male and 1 female rabbits live together? ›

Rabbits can live happily in male/female, female/female, male/male pairings and larger mixed groups. However, the most natural and therefore easiest pairing is male/female. In the wild, rabbits tend to live in male/female pairs and will sometimes remain partnered for life.

Can you keep just 1 rabbit? ›

Rabbits can live alone, but you'll need to provide your pet with the attention (company, petting, grooming, exercise, playing, and enrichment) that a bonded rabbit partner would provide. It's always advisable to keep rabbits in pairs. If you can find a pair of rabbits that are already bonded, so much the better.

How often should I hold my new bunny? ›

He says that rabbits should be picked up at least once a day so they are used to being handled, and even get used to short trips in the car.

How many hours a day should I play with my bunny? ›

It's best to spend about an hour each day with your rabbit. On average, early morning is the best time to play with a rabbit, as it will be the most active. After that, the evening will be a prime opportunity for petting and cuddling. Younger rabbits may need your undivided attention as they have more energy.

What are the signs of a bored rabbit? ›

Signs that your rabbit might be bored

Rabbits might start chewing things that they shouldn't, destroying their pen, or trying to dig out. They might also start to over-groom themselves to give them something to do.

Where do rabbits love to be pet the most? ›

The best places to pet a rabbit are their forehead and behind their ears. The cheeks and strokes down their backs are also good spots. But rabbits dislike being pet on their bottom, feet, chin, and underside.

Do rabbits like to sleep with you? ›

Conventional wisdom suggests that rabbits sleep in a hutch at night. But small animals, such as rabbits, like to sleep next to their owners. They enjoy the soft bedding, warm, and companionship.

Are rabbits happier alone or in pairs? ›

Rabbits are a social species and have evolved to live in groups. In the wild, rabbits do not live alone. Rabbits kept as companions are not biologically different from their wild counterparts and so their innate need to be kept in the company of other rabbits is just as strong.

How do you pick up a rabbit without scaring it? ›

Move slowly and talk quietly around rabbits so as not to startle them. They're more likely to be relaxed in a quiet and calm handling environment. Picking rabbits up when you're close to ground level is less likely to scare them, and is also safer, as it helps prevent them from being dropped from a height by accident.

How do you pick up a rabbit without biting? ›

Gentle Handling

According to the ASPCA, you should pick up your rabbit by supporting his forequarters with one hand and his hindquarters with the other, holding him close to your body so he feels secure. When your rabbit feels safe, he's less likely to bite or scratch out of fear.

Do female rabbits spray? ›

Reducing urine marking behaviours Males and female rabbits can spray urine on vertical surfaces to mark their territory. It is more commonly seen in males than females.

Do female rabbits have periods? ›

So, do rabbits have periods? Rabbits do not have periods. Female rabbits are induced ovulators, meaning that they only release an egg in response to a suitable mate being around and during, or just prior, to mating. This is different from other types of ovulation, like human experience, which occurs cyclically.

What bunny has the best personality? ›

Jersey Wooly Rabbit Personality

This breed of rabbit is very affectionate and friendly. They love to play, cuddle, and be pet. Calm, quiet, and affectionate, this rabbit is ideal for families. One will form a close bond with its companions.

How much space do 2 rabbits need? ›

One guideline to go by is at least 8 square feet of enclosure space combined with at least at least 24 square feet of exercise space, for 1-2 rabbits, in which the rabbit(s) can run and play at least 5 hours per day.

Is rabbit a good pet for beginners? ›

Rabbits make great pets. In general rabbits need appropriate housing, exercise, socialisation and a specific diet for good welfare. Some breeds of rabbits, particularly the longer haired rabbits, may require daily grooming.

Is rabbit a beginner pet? ›

Rabbits may be easy to love, but they are not quite as easy to care for. Rabbits may be easy to love, but they're not quite as easy to care for. These lovable, social animals are wonderful companions for people who take the time to learn about their special needs.

Is rabbit OK to be alone? ›

In the wild, rabbits live in big groups and they enjoy being with friends who will play with them, groom them, understand them and look out for them. So if these sociable animals are kept on their own, they may become bored, depressed, and very lonely.

What are the disadvantages of rabbit? ›

PET RABBIT CONS

They don't get on well with other animals, so if you have a dog you might find a serious feud ensues. "Rabbits have a need to chew to keep their teeth healthy," says Laura. They'll chew on almost anything - watch those electrical cords! They can bite and become aggressive if when they feel cornered.

Is it better to have 2 male or 2 female rabbits? ›

Rabbits should always live in pairs, as they can become stressed or sick if kept alone. They are sociable animals that need the company of other rabbits. One male and one female is the best pairing. Make sure they're spayed and neutered before introducing them.

What gender of rabbit is more affectionate? ›

Male rabbits tend to become more involved when owners look to interact with them, so you may find them more affectionate and less bothered about being picked up — although some breeds can be friendlier than others.

Which rabbit is most friendliest? ›

English Spot Rabbit

The sweet-natured English Spot is ideal for families with children, first-time rabbit owners, and seniors because they are some of the most friendly and affectionate rabbit breeds. They can be curious and full of enough energy to be an entertaining companion.

What age is best to get a rabbit? ›

IDEALLY, find a bunny at least 12 weeks (3 months) old and weaned. Respectable breeders should be open to keeping the bunny for an extra week or two of weaning, and it could save your bunny a lot of stress (and possibly its life).

What should I know before buying a rabbit? ›

9 Things to Know Before Adopting a Bunny
  • Rabbits require gentle handling. ...
  • Not all rabbits get along. ...
  • Rabbits love to chew. ...
  • Rabbits need regular exercise. ...
  • Rabbits require a well-balanced diet. ...
  • Rabbits need their habitat cleaned regularly. ...
  • Rabbits are indoor companions. ...
  • Rabbits need routine veterinary care.
4 Jan 2022

Can I cuddle a rabbit? ›

Most rabbits love to be cuddled and stroked when approached in the right way. Few like being held or carried as being so high up from the ground makes them feel insecure, however, many will happily sit on your lap or snuggle up next to you for a cuddle.

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