Rabbits are cute and fluffy and feature in many children’s books and programs. So, it’s natural that kids are drawn to them and want them as pets. If you’re considering getting your child a bunny, make sure you do plenty of research. Rabbits are a big commitment and aren’t as easy to take care of as many first-time owners expect.
This article will cover the basics of what you need to know before getting your child a pet rabbit. We’ll also look at how to pick the best bunny for kids, and zoom in on 10 of the best bunny breeds for kids.
Are Rabbits Good Pets for Kids?
Getting a rabbit is a big decision as they need a lot of space, attention, and care. Bunnies are not easy pets to take care of. Rabbits are prey animals, which means they can be quite nervous and don’t like being picked up. Most rabbits take a while to get used to being petted, and there’s no guarantee they will enjoy this. Rabbits are fearful of sudden movements and loud noises.
For all these reasons, rabbits are not always the best pets for kids. Instead, they’re better as family pets, meaning adults carry out a lot of their care and teach children how to interact with their furry friends safely.
Personalities Are Important
Whether a child and a rabbit make a good match depends on many factors. For example, the child’s age and the personality of both the rabbit and the child. If your child is at an age where they understand how to be calm and patient, they might get on well with a rabbit.
A bunny could be a wonderful friend if your child has a gentle nature, knows how to be respectful of animals, and is willing to take time to build a bond with an animal.
On the other hand, if your child is very young, loud, or struggles to stay calm when needed, a rabbit might not be the best choice. If your child is likely to get disappointed if the bunny doesn’t want to play or be stroked, another more friendly pet might be better.
If the rabbit has a calm and reasonably confident personality, they are more likely to get on with a child. Finding a playful rabbit might be a good match if your child is a bit older and quite active. Take your time to consider your options to find the right pet for your child.
Adopting a Rabbit
Adult rabbits make better pets for a child than baby rabbits. Adult rabbits are calmer, less likely to bite, and are likely to be used to humans.
For many reasons, adopting a rabbit is a much better idea than buying one! When you adopt a bunny, the rescue center can help you to pick one that matches your child’s personality. They will usually allow you to go and meet the bunny as a family so you can get an idea of how you will get along. They might even guide you and help as you settle your pet into their new home.
Adopted bunnies are usually health checked, neutered, and some will even be litter trained, making your life so much easier! You’ll also be helping a rabbit who needs a home.
Once you bring your rabbit home, you must set clear boundaries and teach your child how to interact appropriately with the rabbit.
It’s vital the rabbit feels safe and is handled properly, so they don’t become afraid or get hurt.
It’s best to do this gradually over the course of days and weeks, in short periods, so your new bunny doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Best Bunnies for Kids
It’s important to remember that every rabbit is an individual, just like kids! Their personalities, likes, and dislikes will vary.
However, some rabbit breeds have traits that can make them better pets for kids.
Below is a list of 10 bunny breeds that might make a good friend for a child.
Himalayan rabbits are striking to look at with their short white coat combined with darker spots. They’re known to be calm and friendly by nature which is great for kids. Once they settle into their new home and get used to you, they will likely enjoy affection and want to play. They’re quite curious and love to play games and investigate new toys.
When fully grown, Himalayan bunnies weigh around 3.3 to 4.4 pounds (1.5 to 2 kg). They’re relatively small, which makes them delicate, so it’s crucial to teach your child to be gentle with them.
There are two types of Harlequin bunnies: Japanese and Magpies. They have different patterns and markings. Generally, Harlequin rabbits are very outgoing, playful, and curious. They’re sometimes referred to as the ‘clown’ of the rabbit world due to the color of their coats.
They’re popular pets because of their fun and friendly nature. This breed is quite clever, and your kids might even be able to teach them some tricks!
Like Himalayan rabbits, they’re pretty small. They usually weigh between 5.5 and 8.8 pounds ( 2.5 and 4 kg). Although they’re quite playful, they still tend to enjoy calm affection and may enjoy being petted by your child.
Dutch rabbits make an ideal pet for a family. They’re very sociable and love affection! They enjoy being petted and played with, especially after getting used to their new owners. This breed is gentle by nature which is ideal for kids.
Some owners even describe them as the most laid-back rabbit breed. They enjoy lots of stimulation as they’re very intelligent. They’re easy to train and might even be able to learn some tricks.
This bunny breed is small, weighing about 4,4 pounds (2 kg). Dutch rabbits have a short coat that’s relatively easy to maintain. They’re also adorable to look at!
4. Mini Lop
Mini lops are absolutely adorable with their floppy ears and furry little faces. They’re one of my favorite bunny breeds! Despite weighing no more than 6.6 pounds (3 kg), they’re quite sturdy little creatures. Once they get to know you, they can be very affectionate and might seek your attention. Mini lops can also be very playful at times.
Since they take a while to warm up and are so small, I recommend them for older children or young children who can be quite calm and patient.
It’s worth noting that there are two types of Mini Lop rabbit: the US Mini Lop which we’ve discussed here, and the Holland Lop. The Holland Lop is often called the Mini Lop in the UK. They’re smaller than the US Mini Lop but look similar.
As the name suggests, Chinchilla rabbits resemble Chinchilla rodents! They have a beautiful gray coat that is exceptionally soft to the touch. I remember being surprised by just how soft they were when I first petted one. This breed is usually highly affectionate, seeking out cuddles and loving being petted.
Chinchilla rabbits are pretty playful and may enjoy interacting with children who can play quietly. Since they have such a calm temperament, many people recommend them for first-time rabbit owners.
The standard Chinchilla rabbit weighs between 4.4 and 8.8 pounds (2 and 3 kgs), although there are larger versions of the Chinchilla breed the American and the Giant.
Havana rabbits are very active and playful, so they need plenty of stimulation. This breed might be a good choice if you have a playful child. They are curious and can be pretty mischievous, which kids might find amusing!
While most Havana rabbits will enjoy short bursts of affection, they aren’t the sort of breed that is likely to sit and cuddle for long. So, if your child wants a friend they can stroke, this might not be the right breed for them.
On average, Havana rabbits weigh between 4.6 and 6.3 pounds (2.1 and 2.9 kgs), similar to the other breeds we’ve discussed.
Keep in mind that because they’re so active and intelligent, they need a lot of space and time out of their enclosure, or they will get bored.
Lionhead rabbits are incredibly fluffy, with fur around their head ‘like a lion’s mane.’ Kids are often very drawn to these rabbits because they’re so little and cute!
Lionheads are affectionate and playful, so their personalities mesh well with most kids. However, they are very small, weighing only 3,3 pounds (1.5 kg) or even less. Their small size means they’re very delicate, so they’re better suited to an older child or a young child who is very patient and willing to be very gentle.
Remember that if you get a Lionhead rabbit, they will need frequent grooming and brushing. Their long coats can matt easily, especially around their head. I’d recommend daily brushing, which is quite a commitment.
Californian rabbits are bigger than the other breeds we’ve discussed, weighing up to 10 pounds (4.7 kg). This makes them less delicate and perhaps easier to handle for children. They tend to be very calm and gentle, especially when appropriately socialized. They’re very popular family pets because of their friendly nature when bred as pets.
Their distinctive markings make this breed beautiful to look at. They look similar to the Himalayan, with their white fur and darker markings.
Since Californian rabbits are fairly large, they will need a bigger enclosure and more space to play daily. Ensure you have enough space if you’re considering this breed.
9. French Lop
Much bigger than the mini lop, the French Lop can reach 11 and 13 pounds (5 to 6 kg) in adulthood. They’re sturdy, large rabbits with a lovely nature. If you have a younger child, a larger rabbit like the French Lop may be more suitable as they’re less delicate than smaller rabbits and, therefore, less prone to injury with mishandling.
However, it’s still crucial that your child learns how to interact with their new friend appropriately to keep them safe and happy.
French Lops have cute floppy ears and dense fur. They usually love affection and will quite happily accept pets and cuddles. They’re intelligent, willing to learn, and eager to please. Lop rabbits are truly an honor to be around, although I am biased because my lovely bunny was a Lop breed. Keep in mind that because they’re bigger, these rabbits need more space than most breeds on this list…
10. Continental Giant
Continental Giant rabbits are among the oldest and biggest breeds of rabbits. They’re certainly not for everyone as they are very big, weighing 22 pounds (10 kgs) or more! That’s more than manydogs! Their size means they need a ton of space! They should have a minimum enclosure of 12ft squared. They need lots of exercise, attention, and stimulation. They also cost more to keep.
However, a Continental Giant could be the ideal family pet if you have the resources to take care of them. Their size means they’re much less fragile than small rabbits, so they could be better around younger children.
They are truly gentle giants by nature and are very friendly. They’re intelligent, can be easily trained, and can even learn to walk on a lead! They tend to be affectionate and love a good cuddle.
Giant rabbits have a particular set of needs which we’ve discussed. If you’re considering getting one as a family pet, do plenty of research first!
Rabbits are not the best pets for kids, but they can be excellent family pets. They make wonderful friends for children with adult supervision. Although rabbits have individual personalities, some breeds (like the ones we’ve discussed) are more suited to a family home.
Did you find this list helpful? Do your children have a rabbit as a pet? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.