View Full Version : Good first rabbit

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 01:02 pm
So, I am seriously considering getting a rabbit. What breed do you recommend for a first pet rabbit?

I've been looking at dutches, rexes, mini-rexes, satins, new zealands. I like a rabbit with long erect ears and short fur that doesn't need a great deal of maintenance.

I don't want something too small, and also not something too giant. I want a rabbit that will like human attention, like to be pet, easily litter box trained; a good overall companion. Also, it should be able to get along with cavies (though they will not be housed in the same cage).

I'd really appreciate any input I can get. Thank you.

04-25-05, 01:15 pm
Of all the rabbit breeds I have come accross, I have to say it really depends on the animal itself. I have a mini rex mix myself and he is awesome. I have fostered several breeds and each have been pleasant. With that being said litter traning comes with age and the bunny being spay or neutered. An older bunny from a shelter thats already fixed and tranined may be a better bet for you. Fixing a rabbit can get expensive. Most rabbits will tolerate guinea pigs. Maybe contact a local shelter and foster a few bunnies to see how each one is in your home and then go from there. This way your not commited to a rabbit that may be sweet in one place and not the same once settled in your home. You can check out www.rabbit.og (http://www.rabbit.og) for some great rabbit info and www.petfinder.com (http://www.petfinder.com) to find a shelter in your area. Bunnies are so much work but if you are dedicated to them they are such wonderful pets. Let me know if you need more help.

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 01:26 pm
Well, from online research, it says that dutches make great first pets, and that they have a great personality. Does the personality, in terms of liveliness, differ by pet breed? I like the coat of the satin, and I hear the New Zealands enjoy being handled. Also, how big do these rabbits get, say, compared to a cat? Is a 10 lb rabbit really big, or is a 5 lb rabbit really small?

04-25-05, 01:32 pm
Dutch rabbits are good first choices. New Zealands have been compared to dogs, they love to fetch and play I guess more so than other breeds. Some breeds are more active than others but again thats not set in stone. Smaller breeds can weigh up to 3 pounds, med size bunnies are about 3-6 and anything above 6 is considered large. I do think New Zealands are on the larger size where the dutch i think full grown is about 5 pounds. A 5 pound rabbit is a good size I think and not too big. A 10 pound rabbit is HUGE, lol and def requires a big cage or to be let uncaged. A 10 pound rabbit is the same size if not bigger than some cats. If you're trying to get a size idea a med size rabbit would be about 2 full grown male guinea pigs if that helps at all. Kind of hard to compare the two lol.

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 01:39 pm
Hey, thanks. My friend's cat is about 12 lbs, and he's pretty heavy. lol. I think dutches seem good, but maybe a little on the small side? I already have two small pets. Have you ever interacted with a New Zealand bunny?

04-25-05, 01:44 pm
I have had one experince with a New Zealand and he was the nicest thing ever. He was turned into the shelter when someone lost interest. He was about 4 years old and such a riot. I really enjoy the breed probaby more so than most others I have worked with. They do enjoy people and are easy to clicker train. Thats my opnion anyway. Dutch rabbits are a good size, how big of a cage were you thinking of housing the bunny in? If cage size isnt an issue then I would say read more on the New Zealands. If I was looking for more of a "lap dog" type rabbit my choice would be a flemish gaint, they get enormus but are such awesome little love bugs.

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 01:49 pm
Well, I currently have a 3X3 grid cage for my cavies. I was thinking about building a cage with a bunny section on bottom, and the cavies on top. So, the rabbit cage would be 2 stories of 3X3.

I would like to, however, eventually let my rabbit be a free range rabbit.. kinda like a cat. I've heard of some people doing this. Do you keep your mini-rex in a cage?

04-25-05, 01:55 pm
Yes my guy is in a cage, its a leith pet werks cage thats 2 stories. He is also free roam when I am home and uses his litter box like a champ! You always want one level tall enough for the bunny to be able to stand up straight to stretch and the length should allow the rabbit to hop 2xs before reaching the other side.

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 02:02 pm
Soo..... Dutch or New Zealand? What do you think?

04-25-05, 02:09 pm
I would read up and see if you can meet both breeds. I think you will super happy with either. They are both great choices.

04-25-05, 02:18 pm
I did want to add that I think males make better pets in my opinion. Females can become very cage aggressive, though spaying does help. Good luck

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 02:22 pm
I did want to add that I think males make better pets in my opinion. Females can become very cage aggressive, though spaying does help. Good luck

Thanks for your help. That aren't any breeders near where I live. :( It will be at least a 2 hour drive! sigh...

So hopefully I can find one that carries both New Zealands and Dutches.

Well, thanks again.

04-25-05, 02:39 pm
It seems that people around here know a thing or two about rabbits!

Kinberly is right. Females can get cage aggresive. Males are usually a bit more laid back...but they will spray. Neutering is almost a must unless you don't mind occationally getting sprayed. They will spray you (and their play areas) because you are their possesion.

The bigger the breed the more laid back they are. I'm glad you don't want a mini. They usually aren't all that people oriented and can have a lot more health and teeth problems.

Certain purebreds can be very tempermental. I recommend getting a "mid-sized mutt" from a rescue or the SPCA. The "mutts" have many color and pattern variations. If you have purebreeds to choose from I agree that Dutch and New Zealand are strong choices to go with.

Don't forget that Rabbits are very social and like Guinea Pigs would like a buddy. The dynamics for pairing are much like with GPs so if you can get an already bonded pair then all the better.

If you are only getting one then be prepared to do a lot of "social grooming". That means petting the head and ears several times a day. Grooming is how rabbits bond and it will be your job to do this for your rabbit to keep him/her happy. A lack of social grooming can lead to a very depressed rabbit.

You will notice that when you stroke the head from nose to ears that the rabbit will usually lower it's head or it may come up to you and lower it's head by you. This means "groom me, I need love and reassurance".

Here is the link to The House Rabbit Society http://www.rabbit.org/ . They have lots of great info and have a rescue locator so you may be able to find a rabbit (or 2 )to rescue near you

Cavy Tamer
04-25-05, 02:56 pm
I kind of wanted a baby rabbit....

Should I just get a shelter rabbit instead?

04-25-05, 03:09 pm
Yes get a shelter rabbit. There are too many homeless animals. I have heard that male rabbits are better companions but I personally find my females more socialable than my male. I have two drawf lops and an english spot. My english spot is on the big side at 8lb's. My two "drawf" lops are 6lb.

I have heard of dutch's being very affectionate and loving but I have never owned one myself. Small rabbits tend to be more aggresive than large rabbits.

If you are serious about this you have to realize that you might get a rabbit who is not what you want.

04-26-05, 06:27 am
I'm glad you don't want a mini. They usually aren't all that people oriented and can have a lot more health and teeth problems.

You're kidding?! I have a -mini rex- . I chose a mini rex because of its reputation and personality for being gentle and playful. My mini rex is awesome! I have three rabbits: mini rex, dwarf, and what I think is a 'mutt'. They are all about the same age 1-1 1/2 yrs.

The mini rex is the the friendliest, most loving rabbit out of the bunch. He loves to play, cuddle, and like most rabbits... is a bit mischevious! He loves to play 'catch me if you can', roll the ball, and ring the bell. When they are out of their cages he is the one that flattens his head to the floor waiting for a scritch.

I have pictures of him in my profile gallery - check him out. And because he is a mini rex, his fur feels like "velvet" -literally-. It is so soft. The other rabbits feel like cat fur. There is virtually ...No Maintenance... to his fur other than an occassional brushing. My other rabbits shed like cats and need more frequent brushing.

Don't get me wrong, I love all of my rabbits, but there are so many positive things I can say about him.

By the way, when you do get a rabbit, try to get one that is already socialized. They are less skittish. Good Luck!

04-26-05, 06:48 am
I have a mini rex mix as well and he is one the of the sweetest animals Ive ever known. I really belive its what you put into them with love, determines the pet you end up with. Breeders are an ok choice if you are prepared to spay or neuter. In some places to spay a female can run you up to 135 dollars or better. When you rescue chances are the bun is already litter trained and spayed for a small dontaion fee of about 65 dollars. Plus you have the staisifcation of knowing you gave an unwanted animal a loving safe home. Best of luck.

04-26-05, 09:54 am
Sorry if I offended...I misspoke. I meant to say that Dwarf rabbits (not minis) can be tempermental...especially netherland dwarfs. However they are not all tempermental. I too have had a dwarf that was very loving...but I had two that wanted nothing to do with people even though they were sociallized and loved.

I have also heard these things about dwarfs from my Vet (who is fabulous) and through the house rabbit society. Some is from my personal experiance.

There are some dwarf breeds that are very good for beginners...like the Polish Dwarf.

I don't think minis are considered dwarfs so their breeding probably isn't as messed up. You both said you have/had mini rexs....probably the mini rex hasn't been so "man-tinkered" as to have become neurotic like netherland dwarfs.

Once again it's not all dwarfs...they just have a higher propensity to be independant and aggresive.

The small size still lends to a higher risk of mouth problems. They have the same number of teeth at the same size as a standard rabbit...but they are jammed into a smaller mouth.

Sorry for the misunderstanding...neurotic or loving I adored all my rabbits and love the one I have now (a bunittude filled Dutch male).

As far as getting a baby...many rescues have babies for adoption. The House Rabbit Society rescues are always getting in pregnant rabbits. Please try not to buy from a pet shop. Their rabbits usually come from animal mills and uncaring breeders. There are already too many rabbits without homes. Don't support an industry that is one of the causes of the problem.

04-26-05, 09:57 am
I took no offense so no worries here (hug)

04-26-05, 10:03 am
Good...Like I said, even my crazy neurotic rabbits that would chase people (and me) around the house trying to kill us were loved....they just didn't get as many kisses on the nose for fear of losing half my face.

I had a standard rex a long time ago. He was VERY sweet....maybe it's a rex "thing". However my most loving, smartest rabbit was a Belgium Giant/Flemish Giant/French Lop mix...he was HUGE. He had the biggest heart would walk on a leash, play fetch, play dead and come when called every time...I miss that big lug.

Cavy Tamer
04-26-05, 12:48 pm
Oh decisions decisions....

I saw a dutch bunny at the pet store. While all the other bunnies were just sitting around staring into space, he was dashing back and forth in his cage. I liked him because he was lively and entertaining. When the employee tried to take him out of his cage for me, he did this hilarious little dance move to keep away from the employees hands. I just thought that was "charming". Are dutch bunnies generally more entertaining than most? Or are they all the same?

04-26-05, 01:33 pm
It was probably because he was a baby; young rabbits are highly active and playful. You mentioned earlier that you wanted a baby, but I just wanted to warn you that if you adopt a baby you will not know his true personality until it is an adult. Right now would be the perfect time to head down to your local shelter or rescue as many young (and baby) rabbits are being dumped from Easter. Our shelter just recieved two adorable male babies: a minirex and a lopear, they were neutered on Sunday to prevent fighting so they could stay together.

New Zealand's are great for first time rabbit owners as most are very friendly and mellow. You should be able to find plenty of them at a shelter or rescue because they are considered hard to adopt out because of their red eyes and large size. Many people pass them up for the dwarfs and lops.

Dutches would be more active than a New Zealand, but a NZ would probably be more cuddly than a Dutch.

Oh decisions decisions....

I just thought that was "charming". Are dutch bunnies generally more entertaining than most? Or are they all the same?

04-26-05, 02:55 pm
I have to agree with bunnyluv. Also as already stated spaying and neutering has a HUGE bearing on how rabbits are as adults. Please please consider rescuing a rabbit, there are so many that need a great home. There are babies and adults. I posted a site as well as others that list rescue groups in your area. www.petfinder.com (http://www.petfinder.com) and www.rabbit.org (http://www.rabbit.org) have listings. Petstores dont get bunnies for their temperment and lord only knows if they are really healthy. I hope you really consider to rescue a bun and save a life. Best of luck in yor search for a new family member.

04-27-05, 07:03 am
I wasn't offended either - just surprised since mini rexes have such a great reputation.

I agree with you about the dwarfs, my dwarf is brutal. We just adopted him a few weeks ago. He's very sweet and loving in your arms (if you can manage to pick him up), but the minute you put him down on the floor he lunges at you. I have a 4 1/2yr old and I'm scared she's going to get bitten. I have to put him out on my deck just so I can put food in his cage. I can't tell you how many bites I have on my hands, arms and ankles. The other day he bit through my thumbnail.

04-28-05, 11:35 am
Here is some basic information on Mini Rex's:


"I love my buns!"

Cavy Tamer
04-28-05, 01:47 pm
I am a college student, who isn't entirely aware of his future situation. If I got a rabbit now, I can surely spend a lot of time with it right now, and most likely will remain that way for at least a year. In fact, most likely I'll be able to always spend a good deal of time with it. THe only issue is perhaps I could study abroad, or move somewhere in the future, maybe even oversees. Could I bring the rabbit with me? Also, can I bring the rabbit along on car rides?

04-28-05, 02:55 pm
You will have to check with different airlines and see what the rules are; I would only fly with a rabbit if you can bring him with you in the cabin. Plane rides and car rides are very stressful on rabbits and should be kept to a minimum or avoided all together.

I think it would be fine to travel with a rabbit if you are moving, but I would never reccomend bringing a rabbit along on a vacation.

04-28-05, 03:24 pm
Rabbits can get very stressed easily. If you are going travelling then I do not reccomend getting a rabbit. Since you already have two guinea pigs it will be very hard. Usually if you move overseas your rabbit will have to be in quaratine(sp?) for something like 6months. Moving once will be ok but continually moving will stress the rabbit out too much.

Cavy Tamer
04-28-05, 03:27 pm
Rabbits can get very stressed easily. If you are going travelling then I do not reccomend getting a rabbit. Since you already have two guinea pigs it will be very hard. Usually if you move overseas your rabbit will have to be in quaratine(sp?) for something like 6months. Moving once will be ok but continually moving will stress the rabbit out too much.

Thank you for that. That's exactly what I needed to know. I guess I won't get a rabbit after-all..... sigh....