10 Most Popular Rabbit Breeds
If you’ve decided that a rabbit is a perfect pet for you or your family, you might be wondering which breed is the most compatible with your lifestyle and preferences. The world of rabbits is diverse, with 50 rabbit breeds recognized by ARBA and many more in development, so it might be difficult to narrow down your choice. Luckily, there are more than a few rabbit breeds that have consistently been the most popular choices, both for first-time owners and seasoned bunny parents, as they combine lovely looks with an even lovelier personality, making them a favorite choice for a pet rabbit for years – or decades– back. Take a look at our selection of the 10 most popular rabbit breeds for pets, and you might just meet your new best friend!
Fuzzy, sweet, and adorably tiny, the Lionhead Rabbit makes a wonderful pet for families of all shapes and sizes. These bunnies are easy to spot thanks to their distinct mane, which earned them the name – it’s fluffy and wooly and encircles their heads. They come in various colors, and ARBA recognizes them in several self colors (such as blue, black, chocolate, etc), tan colors (silver marten, blue otter, fox, etc), mark colors (butterfly, harlequin, or Vienna marked), wideband colors (frosty, fawn, and orange) and shaded colors (siamese sable, smoke pearl, and others). The Lionhead rabbit is energetic, affectionate, and quite playful – no day will be dull with this cute bunny by your side.
Weighing 2.5 to 3.5 pounds on average, they are a great choice for owners living in apartments as they won’t need enormous enclosures to feel happy and thrive. The lifespan of Lionhead rabbits is usually between 7 and 10 years, so you will have a lasting companionship with your bunny.
This dwarf rabbit is the epitome of cuteness, with its big floppy ears and tiny body – not to mention it also has a wonderful personality to complement their adorable looks. Holland Lop has a wide and short body, and his most memorable trait is the large furry ears that fall on the sides of their head. They are accepted by ARBA in over 40 colors and patterns, so needless to say, you’ll easily find a Holland Lop to fall in love with. As cheerful, cuddly, semi-active rabbits, Holland Lops do great with beginner rabbit owners, or seasoned owners that want a social bunny they can interact with.
The average weight for a Holland Lop is 2 to 4 lbs, and they can be surprisingly long-lived for bunnies, with a lifespan of 7 to 14 years.
One of the most elegant-looking rabbit breeds around, the Mini Rex is a well-proportioned rabbit with a unique, luxuriously plush coat that’s a dream to pet. Seriously, these rabbits feel like velvet and you’ll love cuddling them. All the better, too, since the Mini Rex is gentle and friendly and will love to be petted by his owners. These rabbits have a calm demeanor and thrive on affection and attention, making them a suitable pet for first-time owners, families with older children, or seniors and singles. Their distinct coat is recognized in over 10 colors by ARBA, from solids such as black and blue to stunning lynx and silver marten.
Considered to be a small breed rabbit, the Mini Rex weighs around 3.5 to 4.5 pounds on average and boasts a lifespan of 7 to 10 years, providing proper care and attention.
An all-around great breed, the Polish Rabbit is friendly and loving and makes an exceptional choice for beginner rabbit owners that want a sociable bunny that’s not too high maintenance. They are calm and docile but that doesn’t mean that they are passive or boring, quite the contrary – these bunnies are sociable, curious, and make lovely pets. Their soft, flyback fur is accepted in 6 variations – black, blue, chocolate, white (with either red or blue eyes), and broken pattern (any color that is mixed with white).
As a dwarf breed, the Polish rabbit is quite petite, weighing only 2.5 to 3.5 pounds on average, with a lifespan of 5 to 6 years. This makes them suitable for living in apartments, provided that they have plenty of time outside their enclosure.
#5 Dutch Rabbit
Even though the Dutch rabbit is one of the oldest domesticated rabbit breeds in the world, it still remains one of the most popular ones – with good reason. Not only do these bunnies sport a unique look, but they also have the most wonderful temperament! Their most distinctive trait is their coloring, with uniform marks no matter their color – dark ears and rumps, white “saddle” on the back, white “collar”, and the “blaze”, which is a wedge-shaped patch of white fur on their nose. Dutch rabbits are well known as gentle, curious, and playful bunnies that make lovely companions for kids and adults alike.
With an average weight of 4 to 5.5 pounds, they are considered to be a small breed, with a lifespan of 5 to 8 years they get to share with you.
Best known for their snowy white fur and striking red eyes, New Zealand rabbits are docile, calm, and quite smart. They are gentle souls and will do well with children, seniors, or singles, as loving companions and pets. These bunnies have somewhat of a chubby appearance, with well-rounded bodies and erect ears, and are recognized by ARBA in red, white, black, blue, and broken colors, even though white New Zealand rabbits remain the most popular type.
As a large breed, New Zealand rabbits need a bit more space, with their weight ranging from 10 to 12 pounds. Before you commit to getting one, be sure you have the space and ability to care for them, as they will live for 5 to 8 years.
Teensy weensy and oh-so-cute, the Netherland Dwarf rabbit will make you fall head over heels in seconds! So small that it can almost fit inside your hand, this petite bunny has a rounded body, big eyes, and small ears, all of which only contribute to their charms. Their personality is lovely, too, as they are sweet, shy, and affectionate – but you should be aware that it’s only when properly socialized, as they are naturally timid and skittish.
These rabbits weigh only 1 to 2.5 pounds on average and have an impressively long lifespan for their species – 10 to 12 years. When it comes to their coloring, ARBA accepts more than 20 coat colors, so you can rest assured that this breed is as diverse as they come.
If you think Siamese cats look stunning, you’ll fall head over heels for the Californian rabbit! With a similar type of markings, the Californian boasts a black or near black nose, feet, ears, and tail and their coat is always white, with pink eyes, just like albino breeds. The contrasting markings and the bold eye color really make these bunnies look striking! They are docile, gentle, and affectionate bunnies, which makes them fantastic pets for families of all types and shapes.
As a large breed rabbit, the Californian weighs approximately 8 to 10.5 pounds and can live anywhere from 5 to 10 years, so be sure you’ll be able to provide ample space and proper care for your new bunny before adopting one.
The only thing cuter than a bunny with big floppy ears is their miniature version! Mini Lop rabbits are the product of crossbreeding a German Lop with a Chinchilla rabbit, earning them their trademark large ears that fall to the sides of their head and soft, fluffy fur that feels luxurious to touch. Playful, affectionate, and curious, the Mini Lop doesn’t lack character – these bunnies are sociable and love to interact with their people when properly socialized.
Even though not a dwarf or a small breed rabbit, Mini Lop rabbits are still fairly compact as a medium breed and weigh 4.5 to 6 pounds on average. Their lifespan is 5 to 10 years, so you can count on having a bunny buddy for a good long while in your life.
If you have ample space in your home for a large rabbit enclosure and want a big, huggable bunny that looks like they’ve stepped out of a cartoon, Flemish Giant is the breed for you. Their rollback fur is considered low maintenance, and ARBA recognizes it in seven colors – light gray, steel grey, sandy, fawn, white, black, and blue. Despite not being common with markings or exotic coloring, the Flemish Giant is striking because of its incredible size – the largest of their kind have measured over 20 lbs.
As the name suggests, these rabbits are categorized as a giant breed, and weigh 9 to 14 pounds on average, with a lifespan of 5 to 8 years. They are really the epitome of the gentle giant, with a calm, sweet, and affectionate personality that makes them lovely companions for families, singles, or seniors.
What to Know Before Getting a Rabbit
You might think that a rabbit is easier to care for than a cat or a dog and this might be the reason for considering adopting one – if that’s the case, you might want to hold off on your decisions. Rabbits, like any other pet, have needs and special care requirements and are by no means a pet that’s effortless to care for. They need a special diet due to their frequent digestive issues and ever-growing teeth, toys for enrichment, a spacious enclosure with plenty of time outside of it, socialization, and training… The list goes on. On average, most rabbit breeds live between 5 and 10 years, so it’s not a commitment to take on lightly.
In other words, unless you are ready to commit to fully caring for your new furry friend, don’t get a rabbit.
Do Rabbits Need to Live Indoors?
While most rabbit breeds (not all, mind you) can live both indoors and outdoors, provided that their housing needs are met, it’s best if you keep a pet rabbit inside your house. This way, you can ensure that they are truly safe from predators and spend time in a place with a regulated temperature, without extreme heat or cold which could harm them. In addition, sharing a home with a rabbit will help strengthen your bond and make your rabbit friendlier, as they’ll get used to your presence more quickly.
Rabbits should have an enclosure even if they are kept indoors, as you need a space to safely shelter them when you’re not there or at night while you sleep. Otherwise, they should spend the majority of their time hopping around your (rabbit-proofed) house, enjoying the freedom to be active and explore their environment.
Which Rabbit Breed Is Right for Me?
If you live in an apartment or need to limit bunny-friendly space to a single room or two, your best option is to go for a dwarf rabbit breed that won’t feel restrained living in a small home. Large breeds or giant breeds need much more space to exercise and explore, so it would be difficult to meet their needs without ample room in your home.
For those that are beginners, breeds with a low-maintenance coat are a better choice than wooly breeds, such as the Angora. While rabbits are avid self-groomers, to prevent GI blockages and help their health, you’ll have to groom them to minimize shedding and remove dead hair, so it’s best to opt for a breed that doesn’t have demanding fur if it’s your first pet.
Every rabbit has a unique personality, but some breeds are more predisposed to act a certain way than others, thanks to generations of selective breeding. Some breeds are naturally included to be docile and calm, which can be great if you want a gentle, sweet rabbit, whereas others are more intelligent and playful, and would be a better match if you want to successfully train your rabbit or have a pet you can interact with more on a day to day level.
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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