Finding the Right Bunny: A Step-by-Step Guide to Rabbit Selection

Published: April 9th, 2023
Last Updated: July 23rd, 2023
Written By: Bradly Spicer
Finding the Right Bunny

Rabbits are adorable and lovable pets that make great companions for children and adults. However, knowing how to choose the right one is essential before getting a bunny. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to finding the perfect bunny for you.

Understanding Rabbit Breeds

There are over 50 breeds of rabbits, each with unique characteristics and personalities. Some breeds are more social, active, or curious than others, making choosing the right breed for your lifestyle essential. Common breeds include Dutch, Mini Lop, Holland Lop, and Netherland Dwarf.

Understanding rabbit breeds can be important for a new rabbit owner because different breeds have different characteristics and needs. Here are some things to consider when it comes to rabbit breeds:

  1. Size: Some rabbit breeds can be quite large, while others are very small. It’s important to consider the breed’s size when selecting a rabbit, as more giant rabbits need more space to move around.
  2. Temperament: Rabbit breeds can have different temperaments, with some being more docile and others more active or even aggressive. This can impact how easy a rabbit is to handle and how well it may get along with other pets in the household.
  3. Fur type: Some rabbit breeds have longer fur, requiring more grooming and maintenance. Others have shorter fur that is easier to care for.
  4. Purpose: Some rabbit breeds were initially bred for meat, while others were bred for their fur or as show animals. It’s essential to consider the breed’s original purpose when selecting a rabbit, as this can impact its behavior and levels of care.
  5. Health issues: Certain breeds may be more prone to specific health issues, such as dental problems or obesity. It’s essential to research the breed you’re interested in and talk to a veterinarian to understand any potential health concerns. For example, Albino rabbits tend to have poorer eyesight than other breeds.

Determining Your Lifestyle Needs

Before choosing a rabbit, it is essential to consider your lifestyle and living situation. Do you live in an apartment or a house? Do you have children or other pets? Are you looking for an indoor or outdoor rabbit? These questions will help determine the type of rabbit that is right for you.

Caring for rabbits can be an enriching experience, but it requires a particular lifestyle that may not be suitable for everyone. Here are some factors to consider when determining if your lifestyle fits with caring for rabbits:

  1. Time: Rabbits require daily attention, including feeding, watering, cleaning, and playtime. If you have a busy schedule and cannot dedicate time each day to caring for your rabbit, it may not be the right pet for you.
  2. Space: Rabbits need ample enough room to move freely and exercise. They also require a safe and secure environment to prevent them from getting injured or escaping. If you don’t have enough space or a suitable living area for a rabbit, it may not be the right pet for you.
  3. Budget: Caring for a rabbit can be costly, including food, bedding, toys, and veterinary care. It may not be the right pet if you’re not prepared to invest in your rabbit’s health and well-being.
  4. Lifestyle: If you travel frequently or have an unpredictable schedule, it may be difficult to care for a rabbit consistently. Additionally, if you have young children or other pets that may not be compatible with rabbits, it may not be the right pet for you.

Ultimately, the decision to care for a rabbit should be carefully considered to ensure you can provide the necessary time, space, and resources for your pet. If you’re unsure if your lifestyle fits with caring for rabbits, it’s a good idea to speak with a veterinarian or experienced rabbit owner for guidance.

Finding Reputable Rabbit Breeders & Rabbit Adoption

If you’re interested in getting a pet rabbit, it’s important to find a reputable breeder to ensure you’re getting a healthy and well-socialized animal.

However, it’s also important to consider adopting a rabbit from a rescue organization rather than purchasing from a breeder. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Overpopulation: Thousands of rabbits in shelters and rescue organizations await their forever homes. By adopting a rabbit, you’re helping to reduce the overpopulation of rabbits and giving a loving home to an animal in need.
  2. Health: Rabbits from breeders may have a higher risk of health problems due to inbreeding or poor breeding practices. On the other hand, rabbits from rescues are often spayed or neutered and have received proper medical care before adoption.
  3. Socialization: Rabbits from breeders may not have received proper socialization, leading to behavioral problems or difficulty adjusting to new environments. Rabbits from rescues, however, are often fostered in homes where they receive plenty of socialization and care before being adopted.
  4. Ethics: Breeding animals solely for profit can be seen as unethical by some individuals, as it perpetuates the cycle of overpopulation and can contribute to the mistreatment of animals.

If you choose to purchase from a breeder, find a reputable one who prioritizes the health and well-being of their animals.

Look for breeders registered with a reputable rabbit breeders association, have positive reviews from past customers, and are willing to provide references and health certifications for their animals.

Look for breeders knowledgeable about rabbit care and willing to answer your questions.

Once you have found a few breeders, schedule visits to see their facilities and rabbits, look for clean and spacious living conditions, and observe how the rabbits interact with each other and humans. Ask to handle the rabbits and observe their behavior.

Adopting a rabbit from a rescue organization is an excellent option for those looking to provide a loving home to an animal in need while avoiding the potential ethical concerns and health risks associated with purchasing from a breeder.

Assessing Rabbit Health

When visiting a breeder, assessing the rabbits’ health is essential. Look for clear eyes, clean ears, and a healthy coat. Observe the rabbit’s behavior, and make sure it is active and curious. Ask the breeder about any health issues or medical history. Here are some things to look at or ask about:


The rabbit breeder’s facility should be clean and well-maintained. The rabbits should have access to fresh food and water, and their living areas should be free of excessive waste or debris. Common red flags with poor rabbit breeders are:

  • Wire-bottom cages
  • Cages stacked on one another
  • Rabbits being kept outside only
  • No exercise or interaction areas.


Socialization is an essential aspect of caring for rabbits. It helps them feel comfortable around people and can prevent behavioral issues. This is usually critical, and kits should be handled around eight weeks after birth unless they require homemade milk feeding.

A well-socialized rabbit will often have a higher quality of health which can be easily identified by how bright their eyes are, if they have a shiny coat, and are a healthy weight.

You should observe the rabbits’ behavior and temperament. They should be alert, active, and not fearful or aggressive. A reputable breeder can inform you about the temperament of the rabbits they are selling and whether or not they get along with other rabbits.

A reputable breeder should be handling and interacting with the rabbits regularly. This can help the rabbits become comfortable with human contact and can prevent behavioral issues down the line. Remember, not all rabbits like being picked up, even with earlier human engagement.

Health certifications

The breeder should be able to provide you with health certifications for the rabbits, including proof of vaccinations and any relevant medical tests. This can help ensure the rabbits are healthy and free of contagious diseases.

A reputable rabbit breeder should have specific qualifications and health certificates to ensure that the rabbits they breed are healthy and well-cared for.

Being an American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) member is generally a good sign for a rabbit breeder. ARBA is a well-respected organization that promotes responsible rabbit breeding and provides education and resources to breeders.

Membership in ARBA requires adherence to a code of ethics that promotes the welfare of rabbits and responsible breeding practices. Members also have access to educational resources, networking opportunities, and information on best practices for breeding and showing rabbits.

By choosing a breeder who is a member of ARBA, you can feel more confident that they are committed to responsible breeding practices and the well-being of their rabbits.

However, being a member of ARBA is not a guarantee of quality, and it’s still essential to research and asks questions before purchasing a rabbit from any breeder.

Physical appearance

Rabbits should have healthy coats and bright, clear eyes. They should be active and alert, with no signs of lethargy or illness.

A reputable rabbit breeder should produce healthy rabbits that meet their breed’s standards. Here are some physical appearance traits to look for when considering a rabbit from a breeder:

  1. Cleanliness: The rabbit should be clean and free of dirt or debris. Their fur should be shiny and well-groomed.
  2. Body shape: The rabbit should have a well-proportioned body shape that matches the standards for their breed. The body should be firm and muscular and not overly skinny or overweight.
  3. Eyes: The eyes should be clear, bright, and free of discharge or redness.
  4. Ears: The ears should be clean and free of discharge or signs of infection.
  5. Teeth: The rabbit’s teeth should be well-aligned and not overgrown.
  6. Feet: The rabbit’s feet should be clean and free of sores or signs of infection.
  7. Behavior: The rabbit should be alert and active and not show signs of lethargy or sickness.

It’s important to note that some breeds of rabbits may have physical traits that are unique to their breed, such as droopy ears or short legs.

However, even within a breed, there can be variations in physical appearance. Ultimately, the most important thing to look for in a rabbit from a reputable breeder is good overall health and well-being.

When considering a rabbit from a breeder, be sure to ask questions about their breeding practices and the health of their rabbits.

A reputable breeder will be happy to answer your questions and provide documentation to demonstrate the excellent health of their rabbits.

Breeder’s reputation

Look for a breeder who has a good reputation in the rabbit community. Check online reviews and ask for references from past customers. A reputable breeder will be happy to provide references and answer any questions you have about their breeding practices.

Choosing the Right Rabbit Breed

After visiting several breeders or rescues, choose the rabbit that fits your lifestyle and personality best. Look for a rabbit that is friendly, curious, and active. Consider the breed’s size, energy level, living situation, and available space.

Here are some examples of rabbit breeds that may be suitable for families, solo owners, and apartment dwellers:

For Families

  1. Holland Lop: a small breed with a friendly and playful personality.
  2. Netherland Dwarf: a tiny breed with a big personality, known for being affectionate and outgoing.
  3. Mini Lop: a breed with a calm and gentle temperament, making it great for families with children.

For Solo Owners

  1. Lionhead: a small to medium breed with a unique mane of fur around its head, known for being independent and curious.
  2. Mini Rex: a small breed known for its soft, velvety fur and playful personality.
  3. Flemish Giant: is a large breed known for its calm and gentle temperament, making it a good choice for a solo owner with plenty of space for an enormous rabbit.

For Apartment Dwellers

  1. Mini Lop: a small breed that is calm and doesn’t require a lot of space.
  2. Holland Lop: another small breed with a gentle disposition and a low activity level.
  3. Dwarf Hotot: a tiny breed with a compact body and a friendly personality, making it a good choice for apartment living.

It’s important to remember that each rabbit has its unique personality, regardless of its breed. When choosing a rabbit, spending time with them is important to see if their temperament and activity level match your lifestyle and personality.

Bringing Your New Bunny Home

Before bringing your new bunny home, ensure you have all the necessary supplies, including a cage, food, and bedding. Introduce the rabbit slowly to its new environment, providing plenty of exercise and socialization opportunities.

Bunny-Proofing Your Home

Rabbits are curious and love to chew, making it essential to bunny-proof your home. Remove any hazards, such as electrical cords or toxic plants, and provide plenty of safe chew toys for your bunny.

Rabbit Care Basics

Rabbits require daily care, including feeding, grooming, and exercise. They also need regular check-ups with a veterinarian. It is essential to research rabbit care and nutrition to ensure that your bunny stays healthy.

Socializing Your Rabbit

Rabbits are social animals and enjoy spending time with humans and other rabbits. Provide opportunities for your bunny to interact with you and other pets, and consider getting a companion rabbit if you have the space and resources.

Training Your Rabbit

Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box, follow commands, and even perform tricks. Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, to train your bunny. Start with simple commands, such as “come” or “sit,” and gradually work up to more complex tasks.

Bonding with Your Rabbit

Bonding with your rabbit is essential to developing a strong and trusting relationship. Spend time with your bunny every day, providing plenty of opportunities for play and interaction. Show your bunny love and affection through petting, grooming, and cuddling.

Common Health Issues in Rabbits

Rabbits are susceptible to a number of health issues, including dental problems, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal issues. Watch for signs of illness, such as loss of appetite or lethargy, and take your bunny to the vet if you notice any symptoms.

Resources for Rabbit Owners

Many resources are available for rabbit owners, including books, online forums, and local rabbit clubs. These resources can provide valuable information on rabbit care, behavior, and health.

Choosing a suitable bunny requires careful consideration of your lifestyle, living situation, and personal preferences. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can find a healthy and happy bunny that will bring joy and companionship to your life.

5 Facts About Rabbits - Infographic
What to feed a rabbit downloadable sheet
Get our FREE rabbit care eBook! to help look after your rabbit and give them the best care possible!

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Cottontailclub. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.