Before you add a pet rabbit to your family, it’s essential to be certain that you’re choosing the right breed. If you choose the wrong breed, you might not be able to give your newest family member the love, grooming, exercise and attention he or she needs every day.
To ensure that you choose a pet that will be a perfect fit for your lifestyle, you first need to examine the care requirements of different rabbit breeds. Once that’s done you can research your favourite breeds to find out which one will be ideal for you.
What to consider when choosing a pet rabbit?
- How much space do you have? Every rabbit needs housing with adequate space for them to move around – the larger the rabbit, the more space they need. Ask your breeder for details on exactly how much room your rabbit needs to live happily.
- How much grooming does your rabbit need? While some short-haired rabbits are reasonably low-maintenance, longer-haired breeds such as the beautiful Angora will need a lot more regular grooming. It’s also worth remembering that regular cleaning of your rabbit’s hutch is essential to ensure that he stays fighting fit.
- How much exercise do they need? Sufficient exercise is a crucial welfare requirement for all pet rabbits, with around four hours of daily exercise recommended. This doesn’t mean taking your rabbit for long walks on the beach like you do your dog, but letting him out of his hutch to explore each day is a great idea. Unfortunately, the Victorian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee reports that only 36 per cent of pet rabbits are lucky enough to be allowed out of their cage daily.
- What about mental stimulation? Boredom is a massive issue among Australia’s pet rabbit population. Your bunny is an intelligent and inquisitive animal that wants to play, run and dig every day, so make sure you’ll be willing and able to meet all of your chosen breed’s daily play time needs.
- What health problems might they have? Certain breeds of rabbit can be prone to suffering from specific hereditary health problems. Make sure you’re aware of any genetic issues that affect your favourite breed and check that your breeder has taken necessary steps to reduce the risk of these problems occurring. Other preventative health care measures such as vaccinations and desexing are also essential, so make sure you know everything you need to do to help your pet stay healthy.
- Can you meet all of your rabbit’s care needs? If the answer is no, you really shouldn’t be getting a rabbit. Getting a pet you don’t have the time or inclination to properly care for is simply cruel, so look for a lower maintenance pet or maybe reconsider your need to get a pet at all.
5 popular rabbit breeds
Rabbits come in all shapes and sizes and with a variety of temperaments, so let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular rabbit breeds in Australia.
Intelligent and easy to handle, the Rex is a playful and fun-loving breed. It has plush fur and often makes a great pet for children.
Known for their tuxedo-like appearance, Dutch rabbits are distinctively cute and come in a wide variety of colours. The breed has a gentle, steady temperament that makes it a very popular choice as a pet.
Cute, cuddly and curious, the Mini Lop is simply adorable. It also has a bright and inquisitive personality, with its affectionate nature making it a wonderful family pet.
Known for its long, soft wool, the Angora rabbit is sometimes said to have the appearance of a fluffy slipper. It’s also curious and typically loves people, but you’ll need to be prepared to spend a but of time grooming that gorgeous coat.
Docile and placid, the Chinchilla has silky fur and comes in a variety of sizes. It usually gets on well with people and is known for its curiosity and intelligence.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the rabbit breeds available in Australia, so make sure to do plenty of research before choosing a particular breed. If you put in the hard work now, you’ll be sure to end up with the perfect pet for your lifestyle, allowing you and your bunny to enjoy many happy years together.