10 Friendliest Rabbit Breeds
Rabbits are known as timid, shy creatures – which doesn’t surprise when you factor in the fact that they are prey animals. However, that’s not to say that all rabbits shy away from human contact, especially when properly socialized and given time to acclimate to their new life in your family. Many rabbits are naturally more laid-back and sociable, and when that is combined with patience and time from the owner’s side, you’re bound to make fast friends with your pet bunny. Of course, it helps a lot to know which rabbit breeds are more friendly than others, if you are looking to create a strong bond with your rabbit and have an affectionate, outgoing companion without having to wait for ages for the bunny to relax around you. To help you make the right choice, we’ve rounded up 10 friendliest rabbit breeds out there!
If you want a definition of a cute, cuddly rabbit, you’ll see the Mini Lop’s picture as an example. With their floppy ears, soft fluffy coat, and friendly personality, these rabbits make fantastic pets for families of all sizes – singles, couples, seniors, or families with children. They are not overly demanding and warm up fast to their owners, especially if you often play and socialize with them. Categorized as a medium-sized breed, the Mini Lop weighs 4.5 to 6 pounds on average.
This tiny bunny is probably the cutest rabbit breed you’ll ever see – their petite bodies make them look like babies even when they are fully grown. The Netherland Dwarf rabbits are one of the smallest rabbit breeds in the world, weighing only 1 to 2.5 pounds on average! However, their adorable looks are not what earned the Netherland Dwarf a place on our list. Calm, affectionate, and sweet, this rabbit will quickly befriend you if you shower them with attention, teats, and plenty of playtime outside their enclosure.
A popular choice as a pet for children or first-time owners, Mini Rex is cherished for their wonderful personality. Calm, quiet, yet affectionate and friendly, this rabbit makes a lovely, low-maintenance pet even if you haven’t had any experience with rabbits. Their fur is their most distinctive quality thanks to its plush, velvety feel that looks luxurious and is a delight to pet. Weighing 3.5 to 4.5 pounds on average, the Mini Rex is considered a mini breed and won’t require a very large enclosure, either.
A Polish rabbit will love to be in the spotlight, so they will enjoy handling, cuddling, and even being picked up. As long as they are in the center of everyone’s attention, all is good! Since these rabbits are naturally sociable and affectionate, it doesn’t take very long for them to relax around you and start seeking out your company. And, needless to say, you’ll fall in love with these bunnies from the second they enter your life! Classified as a dwarf breed, these rabbits are quite small, weighing 2.5 to 3.5 pounds on average.
These tiny, fuzzy bunnies have captured countless hearts around the world! The Lionhead rabbit has it all: stunning looks, fantastic personality, and adaptability that makes them a great pet for families of all shapes and sizes. Lionhead rabbits are best known for their wooly mane which surrounds their head (hence the name) and sweet-natured personality that leaves no one indifferent. In addition to being friendly and affectionate, these petite rabbits are also full of energy and very playful, so count having to meet their needs for fun and exercise. With an average weight of 2.5 to 3.5 pounds, so they will do well in a smaller enclosure with plenty of time outside it (circa 18 by 24 inches).
#6 Dutch Rabbit
Considered to be one of the oldest domestic rabbit breeds in the world, the Dutch rabbit had plenty of time to become naturally comfortable around people, whether shown at competitions or cuddled by a loving owner. These bunnies are easily recognizable for their markings – dark colored ears and rumps, a stripe of white fur from the top of their shoulders to their belly, white legs, and a wedge of white going up the front of the face (called the ‘blaze’) – but it’s their personalities that have made them such beloved pets. Easygoing, friendly, loving, and very energetic, they are a joy to be around! Since this is a mini breed, you can expect your Dutch rabbit to reach a weight between 4.5 to 5 pounds when fully mature.
This entry is for all of you that are simply enamored by those fluffy bunny furballs – the impossibly cute American Fuzzy Lop! Boasting a wooly coat similar to that of the Angora, and adorable drooping ears, this rabbit will charm you from the get-go. If you want a playful energetic rabbit that will enjoy hopping by your side and playing with you, then this is the breed for you. Friendly and curious, the American Fuzzy Lop will make sure no day in their company is boring. As dwarf-sized rabbits, they will reach just 3.5 to 4 pounds in their adulthood, which only makes them even cuter.
This breed is old, that the story of their origin has been lost to history – but thanks to their great personalities and lovely looks, these rabbits consistently stayed a pet owner favorite throughout the centuries. The Himalayan rabbit sports unusual markings – colored boots, an egg-shaped marking on its nose, and colored tail and ears – while their coat is always a contrasting white color. As for their personalities, you’ll love them if you want a lazier, more laid-back bunny that doesn’t object to being cuddled and handled. They are quite friendly and sweet, but aren’t as energetic as some other rabbits on our list – and for some, that’s precisely what they want as a pet. As a small breed, Himalayan will weigh anywhere from 2.5 to 5 pounds.
Tiny but mighty, the Dwarf Hotot has one of the more unique looks in the diverse world of rabbits. They have a pure white coat that makes their markings stand out even more – thick black bands that go all around their eyes, resembling eyeliner and enhancing their pretty, cute eyes even more. And their personality perfectly complements their adorable looks, as these rabbits are as sweet as they come, playful, and quite friendly. Since they belong to dwarf breeds, they remain small even when they reach adulthood – with an average mature weight of 2.5 to 3.5 pounds
These oversized floppy ears might be what first drew you to the English Lop, but it's their amazing personality that will really seal the deal. Gentle and calm, these bunnies love getting cuddles and being handled, while their energetic, curious nature makes them big fans of quality playtime with their owners. They’ll be the sweetest companion to any size family! As a medium-sized rabbit breed, an English Lop will grow to be 9 to 10.5 pounds in their maturity.
How to Bond with Your Rabbit
Even if your bunny is among the friendliest rabbit breeds, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to put in an effort to get them to trust you and bond with you. At their very core, rabbits are prey animals above anything else, which means it doesn’t take much for them to be skittish and wary of a new environment. To help your pet blossom and reach their full potential, you will have to work on creating an actual relationship with them.
To avoid stressing your rabbit and ensure you’ll start off on the right foot, you will have to be patient and work your way up gradually. This means you can just pick up and cuddle your rabbit as soon as you get them – they have to feel relaxed and accustomed to you before you reach that stage. In other words, approach them slowly and gently and let them set the pace. Before any actual interaction, you will have to simply let your bunny get familiar with you. Ideally, the first step you’d take is to be near your rabbit but without trying to force them to come to you. Lie down or sit down on the floor when you let your pet out of the enclosure, and just wait to see if they come to your first, even if it’s just for a curious sniff before hopping away. It might take days or weeks before your bunny is confident enough to approach you and initiate contact. After you see that they are comfortable around you, you can try to pet them, without picking them up (as that might feel too overwhelming in the early stages). Once they don’t shy away from your touch, you can begin building a real bond with your new companion.
Another great tip is to be calm around your rabbit, as loud noises or unexpected handling could cause significant stress. You can start handling your rabbit only after a while when it’s clear that they are not jumpy around you. If your bunny flinches when you try to touch them, even just occasionally, there is a high chance that they would try and jump out of your hands when you are holding them, which would not only aggravate and stress them out further but can also be a cause of a serious injury. This is why you should make sure to establish a routine of gently petting your rabbit, offering them to eat treats or food from your hand, and grooming them, so they are feeling confident and calm when you’re touching them, and after a while, you can try picking them up. But just in case, the first few times you are picking them up, do it from a seated position rather than a standing one, as if they do try to jump out, the fall won’t be dangerous for them.
One of the best (and most practical) ways to build a bond with a friendly rabbit is to start training them. While not as trainable as, say, dogs, rabbits are still smart animals that can be taught quite a few things. Many rabbit owners that keep their pets in the house prefer to litter train them to ensure good hygiene and provide your rabbit with a dedicated spot where they can do their business. Through this process, which is fueled with positive reinforcement (using treats and praise as a reward), your bunny will grow closer to you while learning a useful skill.
And, of course, you should do everything in your power to provide the best possible care to your rabbit so they can feel content and safe in their new environment. Their enclosure should be spacious (at least three times their size), so they could sit, sprawl, or hop about it without feeling cramped. Inside the enclosure, you should have all their necessities such as food, fresh water, toys, and litter. However, this doesn’t mean your rabbit should spend day and night in their enclosure, no matter how big it is. Rabbits need plenty of time outside their enclosure to thrive, and spending time with them when they are outside the enclosure is the only way you could ever create a meaningful bond with your pet. Get them an extra-large puppy pen where they can hop around, play, and explore safely, or – if you want them to free-roam your home – rabbit-proof your house so they can’t injure themselves or damage your property.
With all these things in place, with some patience and a lot of love and devotion, your rabbit will become friendly and loving in no time. And you’ll quickly see how rewarding all that effort was!
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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