A male rabbit is a buck, while a female is called a doe, young rabbits are called kittens or a kit. The American rabbit breeders association recognises 48 rabbit breeds while the British rabbit breeders association recognises over 60 breeds.
Popular rabbit breeds:
French lop, English lop, Lionhead, Flemish giant, Continental giant, Dutch rabbit, Netherland dwarf, to name a few!
All these breeds are entirely suitable as pets for children, and they make great indoor pets as well as being full of personality.
The french lop is a medium-size rabbit and well known for its calm and intelligent characteristics, and they have a boxy shape of the head with ears that droop, often referred to as Frenchies they do equally well both indoors and out.
French lops were first introduced into the Uk from France in the nineteen-thirties, and their popularity continued to grow, and today they are one of the most popular rabbit breeds for showing.
Another increasingly popular rabbit is the lionhead, aptly named because of its fur around the neck liking it to a lion. These are small rabbits averaging about three-four pounds, and just as equally intelligent and charming as its larger cousins. They are known as one of the cutest rabbit breeds available today.
Believed to be a cross between a Belgian dwarf and an Angora, these rabbits started showing in Belgium and France in the nineteen-sixties.
Lifespan typically between four-seven years and weighing approx three and a half pounds. Classed as Calm/Friendly and requires more grooming than other breeds.
However, these little cuties are quite timid and scare easily; this also can have an impact on their health and lead to signs of aggression. Which unfortunately excludes them from being the ideal pet for young members of your household.
Originally from Flanders in Belgium, in the sixteenth century, these are the oldest breed of rabbit known to us.
The Flemish giant is very docile and calm and again another rabbit which is very popular in show circles. They are easy to train and tolerate other pets well.
Because of their size and weight, as well as the power in the back legs, these rabbits have to be handled carefully to avoid injury to oneself as well as the pet.
Typically these weigh approx 13 plus pounds and have a lifespan of five-seven years. Temperament classification is Calm/friendly.
They are uniquely coloured with specific combined colours, consisting of white and one other colour and having exact markings. Originally from France and bred for meat. In the eighteen-thirties, they appeared in Britain and became a favourite of rabbit fanciers due to their very distinct markings. The body shape is compact, boxy, and well rounded.
These are a small to medium rabbit with a calm and easy-going mannerism, and suitable for households with children twelve years of age and over.
With a typical lifespan of approx five-eight years and weighing four pounds, they are classed as Gentle/Calm.
The body shape is compact, boxy, and well rounded.
Which is best, Rabbits kept outside or Inside?
Historically rabbits have been kept outdoors in hutches and sheds, but today more and more people are deciding to keep a rabbit inside, either in a cage or just like a cat with a litter tray. So, first of all, we will look at the rabbit needs!
- A healthy diet.
- To be spayed/neutered.
- Fresh hay every day.
- Regular health checks.
- Company ( they don’t like being alone. )
- A spacious, safe home.
- Yearly vaccinations.
- And lots of love and attention.
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems so you will want to be careful about the type and quality of the food which you will be giving your bunny.
A healthy balanced diet for a rabbit is essential and should mainly consist of 80%grass-based-hay along with some 10 %leafy greens. Pellets should be about 5% and treats 5%.
The grass-based hay must be a constant supply available to the rabbit at all times, the protein and fibre content are ideal for regulating a rabbits digestive system, your rabbit will also be absorbing nutrients, it also encourages foraging which is the rabbit’s instincts. It so will stimulate the rabbit mentally as well.
As well as hay being good for the digestive system, it is also suitable for their teeth, and rabbits need to eat food that wears down their continually growing teeth and due to the abrasive nature of hay it does this quite well.
Rabbits love their fresh leafy greens, and it gives them lots of different textures and tastes which are full of nutrients and again is also mentally stimulating for them.
It’s a good idea to supply different types of leafy greens except for iceberg lettuce which is very poor in nutritional value. A few good leafy greens are listed below.
Basil, Broccoli leaves, Cabbage, Carrot tops, Coriander, Cucumber leaves, Dill, Green leafy lettuce, Figleaves, Lemongrass, Watercress, Wheatgrass, Turnip greens, Rosemary, Sage, Red cabbage, Mint.
As your rabbit gets older, you will have to adjust your rabbit’s diet, and at any of the top quality pet stores, you should be able to find a knowledgable book on the finer points of a rabbits dietary needs.
Pellets are certainly not a necessity in a rabbits diet, but they are an excellent way to introduce supplements and extra nutritional value.
Due to the considerable weight and size difference found in rabbits, It’s a good idea to get a good quality pellet from a reputable pet store, which should include guidelines on the packaging as to what amount to include in their feed.
Typically pellets should consist of,18% or higher fibre content, 12-14% protein content, and 3% or less fat content.
Don’t worry too much if your rabbit empties their bowl before the day has ended because there should be fresh supplies of hay available anyway, and as stated earlier pellets shouldn’t be the primary makeup of the rabbit’s meals but rather an add-on.
As you can imagine, rabbits consume a large amount of water throughout the day, and clean, fresh water should always be available to them.
Always make sure that their water bowls/bottles are clean and don’t have any water mould on the surfaces,
Bear in mind that the leafy greens you supply will also be holding water so don’t worry if some days ( especially when there are leafy greens provided) that your pet isn’t drinking as much water as the day before.
If you find that your rabbit is a messy drinker or tips over the water bowl, then a water bottle is a better alternative, especially if bits of bedding etc. is ending up in an open container.
Treats can be a good indication of your rabbit’s health, and a healthy rabbit will come running for its favourite food,
If they don’t come running, then that’s a pretty good indication that all is not right so further investigation would be advisable. If your rabbit is refusing to eat anything at all, then a trip to your nearest local vet is desirable.
Rabbits love sweet fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, apples, melon, plum, peach, etc., but fresh fruits should only be occasional treats. Daily treats should be one of their favourite vegetables, and you will soon get to know which plants they love best from their regular food source.
Dried fruits are also ok as a treat provided that no added sugar has been added, once again read the package for ingredients and feed directions. There are a lot of unsuitable foodstuffs, so choose a recognised brand with complete ingredients and explanation list.
As you care for and get to know your rabbit, you may decide to change the diet for one that you have found out to be more healthy,
Bear in mind that rabbits have a delicate digestive system so any significant change in their diet will impact quite quickly. It is best to do this slowly and over some time as the last thing you want is a bunny with an upset tummy or even a bunny that just flatly refuses to eat new foodstuffs.
Keeping an eye on your bunnies poops will also give you a good indication that their digestive system is regularly working.
Indoor or Outdoor Rabbit?
Until recently, rabbits have mostly been kept outdoors in hutches and sheds, but today more and more rabbits are finding their way into our homes. Some people believe that rabbits should be outside living a more natural life as they would in the wild, i.e. digging and foraging and enjoying the fresh air.
Then there some people believe the opposite and that its better the rabbit is inside where its a more controllable environment and that a closer eye on the bunnies health is kept.
My research into this matter has revealed to me that there is no right or wrong way as long as the rabbit’s needs, such as healthy food, exercise, and companionship, are met.
You will need the right size hutch with decent size and sturdy run, the bunny should be able to at least do four bunny hops along its length, but if you have room for a larger one all the better. Never house just the one bunny on its own, that would make for a miserable rabbit, so two rabbits of the opposite sex and neutered with plenty of room is the order of the day.
The most popular method of housing an indoor rabbit is by using a cage like a dog cage, and let out for exercise throughout the day, or just having free roam of the house with a bed in the cage.
Whatever rooms the rabbit has access to will have to be rabbit-proofed because your favourite bunny won’t be so beloved if you find your expensive sofa has been nibbled, also trailing cables are a no-no, so some thought is going to have to take place if its an indoor bunny or bunnies that you want.
Rabbit health care:
Rabbits need vaccinations! Although vaccinations don’t guarantee immunity from killer diseases vaccinated rabbits stand a better chance of surviving them, it is recommended that in high-risk places in the Uk vaccinations are being carried out every six months. Typically high-risk areas are flat and marshy where there are a lot of mosquitoes. Or an area where there are a lot of wild rabbits, everywhere else then yearly is recommended. If in any doubt then your first port of call should be your vets, they will advise on any concerns you may have regarding your pet.
Where to buy a rabbit:
Buying a rabbit is the easy part where availability is concerned, there are many pet stores up, and down the country that usually does have a few rabbits on show for you to see and handle,
Ask your local vet and contact a local breed club in your area. You will sometimes see cards on pet store advertising boards advertising rabbits.
The latest Uk animal welfare regulations didn’t impact as much on rabbits as it did on cats and dogs, so these pets are still available at pet stores. They are also available directly from reputable breeders that advertise on pet classified advertising platforms such as https://www.pets4uk.co.uk
This is a website that I maintain, and you can read more about us in this next link:
Have you considered rehoming a rabbit? there are many rabbits needing homes, and below I will include a link to a couple of rehoming/rescue centres.
We hope this blog has been informative and helpful for you, below are a couple more links to our other blogs that are just as informative.