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All pet bunnies are ridiculously cute, but not all rabbits are as friendly as we would like them to be. There are many things that affect how affectionate or cuddly an individual rabbit is and in this article, we are going to talk about each of those things but we’re going to focus on the most friendly rabbit breeds.
- 1 List Of The 12 Friendliest Rabbit Breeds
- 2 Reasons For Unfriendly Rabbits
List Of The 12 Friendliest Rabbit Breeds
1. Lionhead Rabbit
It’s easy to spot this breed of rabbit. Lionhead rabbits have a wool mane that circles their head hence the name “lion head”, but this beautiful mane was actually due to some fortunate mistakes.
The breed is believed to have come from Belgium when breeders were trying to cross a Swiss Fox and a Netherland Dwarf. The result of this attempt is a genetic mutation that has become this breed’s pride and joy.
The mane is not this breeds only distinctive feature, a Lionhead rabbit’s ears are held upright and are slightly pointed at the top. They also have heads that seem a little too big for their compact bodies…It’s super cute!
Lionhead rabbits are known to be one of the most affectionate and friendly rabbits breeds. They are playful and perfect companions for families with little children. They are not known to be averse to being held or cuddled once they have become part of the family and feel safe.
Many Lionhead owners claim that this breed actively seeks cuddle time with their owners.
2. Polish Rabbit
The origin of the Polish Rabbit breed is a mystery, but it matters little because the breed makes up for their lost history with their friendly personality. Polish rabbits are one of the smallest rabbits to exist without carrying the dwarf gene. When fully grown they weigh a mere 3.8 lbs on average.
They are known to be gentle and affectionate. They are also so small and so gentle that they are the rabbit of choice for magicians. Whenever a magician does the trick of pulling a small bunny out of the hat, the bunny inside will almost always be a polish bunny.
Although Polish rabbits generally love to be cuddled, their small size means that children need to be supervised when handling them. Parents should teach their children the proper handling of these rabbits to avoid them getting dropped or otherwise injured.
3. Mini Lop
A Mini Lop is another small breed of rabbit that is not considered to be a dwarf rabbit. They have trademark ears that hang down below their jaws that make all the Lop breed easily recognizable. This breed of rabbit weighs from 4.5 to 6lbs when fully grown.
The Mini Lop’s history started in Germany when a breeder named Klein Weider bred a German Lop with a small Chinchilla Rabbit. They were also previously known as “Little hanging ear”
This breed’s popularity is not only because of its adorable ears and chubby body. Mini Lops are affectionate and curious. Being a small breed of rabbit, they are also considered to have relatively high energy. They are also known to not have any aversion to being held and petted by their owners.
It is important to know however that rabbits are prey animals in the wild, smaller breeds tend to be jumpier than bigger rabbit breeds. When caring for a Mini Lop, make sure to avoid loud noises and sudden movements that may startle or scare your bunny.
4. Rex Rabbit
Rex rabbits are not only cuddle-worthy they are also known for their plushy, velvety coats which makes them one of the most joyful rabbits to pet.
The Rex Rabbit is a large rabbit breed that came from France by breeding wild rabbits with domesticated rabbits. They have short dense fur that points out of their bodies. They can weigh from 8 to 9 pounds. The coat colors for Rex Rabbits are numerous. The breed has 16 recognized coat colors.
They are intelligent and playful and can be held and cuddled by their pet owners after they become accustomed to their new home.
Today, there also exists a miniature version of the breed called the Mini Rex Rabbit. The Mini Rex is very similar to the larger Rex, but most importantly, their temperaments are the same regardless of size.
5. Harlequin Rabbit
One of the most interesting things about the Harlequin Rabbit is its history. The Harlequin rabbit had both French and Dutch roots. They were bred in France by crossing rabbits with the Dutch rabbit breed.
The Harlequin rabbit got its name because of the unique color patterns of its fur. The coat of this breed looks like a Harlequin’s mask thus, giving it its name. Its coat has alternating bands of two colors that are split down the middle.
One side of the Harlequin will be one color, but the other will be entirely different. You might have a white rabbit viewed from the left and a black rabbit viewed from the right! It’s very much like owning two rabbits merged into one.
There are two color types for this breed namely the Magpie Harlequin and the Japanese Harlequin.
The Magpie Harlequin has bands of color that alternate with white. Some of these colors are black, blue, lilac, and chocolate.
The Japanese Harlequin, on the other hand, has colors that alternate with orange.
Another trait that distinguishes the Japanese from the Magpie is the color of their belly. The Magpie Harlequin have white bellies while the Japanese Harlequin have orange ones.
Harlequins love to be petted and scratched on their backs making them perfect for owners who love rabbits with interesting characters and affectionate temperaments.
6. Jersey Wooly Rabbit
The Jersey Wooly Rabbits are real lap bunnies. They love to be scratched, held, petted, and sleep on their owners’ laps. They are small in body and only weigh 3lbs. They are part of the dwarf size of rabbits.
The Jersey Wooly is a fairly new rabbit breed. It’s easy to guess why the breed is named the way it is. Yes, it came from New Jersey and yes, it has wooly fur. The Jersey Wooly was first bred by Bonnie Seely of New Jersey by crossing a Netherland Dwarf and a French Angora.
Jersey Wooly breeds are also lovingly nicknamed “mug heads” because of their squarish heads. This breed is specifically bred to have gentle, calm, and sweet nature. Thus, these traits come naturally to the breed.
Like other small breeds of rabbits, Jersey Wooly rabbits need supervision when handled by children. They also tend to be warier than large rabbit breeds thus, be careful of noises when spending time with them.
7. Himalayan Rabbit
Himalayan Rabbits are not only affectionate, but they are also rare. They are one of the oldest breeds that have been recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). The breed got its name because its fur resembles the fur of a Himalayan Cat. However, some breeders believe that this rabbit did come from the Himalayan Mountains.
The Himalayan Rabbit has a cylindrical body. Its body is long and does not taper when viewed from an aerial view. Himalayan rabbits are striking rabbits in that they are white with points of darker colors in their noses, ears, feet.
The Himalayan Rabbits have a history of being show rabbits therefore, they are not averse to being petted or held by bunny lovers.
8. Havana Rabbit
“Havana, ooh na-na” goes the famous song sung by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendez. The same reaction is elicited by this affectionate rabbit breed. The chocolate coat of some of these rabbits has garnered multiple “oohs” and “aahs” from pet lovers around the world.
Havana rabbits did not originate from Cuba but instead came from the Netherlands. They were named Havana Rabbits because their coat color closely resembles the color of Cuban Cigars.
These are small/medium-sized rabbits with adults weighing between 4.5 and 6.5 pounds.
Havanas are known for their calm personality. They are playful and friendly but are recommended for families with older children.
9. Standard Chinchilla Rabbit
The Standard Chinchilla is a beautiful pet rabbit breed that has a sweet disposition and doesn’t mind being carried or gently handled by its owners.
The Standard Chinchilla rabbit is the smallest breed out of the 3 Chinchilla rabbit breeds recognized by ARBA and it is the smallest of the three chinchilla breeds. The Standard Chinchilla Rabbit grows to about 7.5 pounds when fully grown.
While the other recognized chinchilla breeds are also very nice rabbits, they are also pretty big. The smaller size of these Standard Chinchillas makes them the most popular chinchilla breed for pets.
This breed is not only affectionate, but it is also very active and curious.
The breed originated from France and got its name because its fur resembles a Chinchilla, a rodent that can be found in South America.
10. English Spot Rabbit
The English Spot rabbit is another breed that is no stranger to rabbit shows. Show rabbits are handled a lot during grooming and showing. They’re even handled by strangers during the actual judging. This means that show rabbit breeds are generally selected to be the gentlest, friendliest, and cuddliest of rabbits that pet lovers can own.
The English Spot rabbit also has a rich history behind it. They are one of the oldest breeds of rabbits and are believed to have existed as far back as the 19th century.
The breed is known for having its distinct markings. The English Spot Rabbit is an average-sized rabbit with adults growing to 5 to 8 pounds.
They have “spots” or markings on their bodies. They also have markings on their noses that are shaped like a butterfly. They have adorable eye circles and a “herringbone” which is a strip of color that runs down their spine.
11. Dwarf Hotot
The Dwarf Hotot as indicated by its name is part of the dwarf family of rabbit breeds and it’s tiney and adorable. They only weigh from 2.5 to 3.5 lbs when fully grown. They are striking and unique with their white fur and distinct black eye markings.
Although Dwarf Hotots are small in size, they are not as active as other breeds. They have a quiet disposition and are content staying on their owners’ laps.
We should note that will most owners of these cuties call them friendly lap bunnies, a few say their Hotot is rather moody and can be downright aggressive when they want their space. Because of this, we suggest that these bunnies are best for homes without small children.
12. Holland Hop
The Holland hop is one of the most popular rabbit breeds in the United States and in the spirit of full disclosure is our pet rabbit of choice. How much do we love Holland Lops as pets? Well, that picture above is Snoop sitting in Marley’s lap when she was about 10 years old.
This is a small breed of rabbit known for its compact body and droopy ears. They are one of the smallest breeds of rabbits that exist. They only weigh 2 to 4 lbs. You can say that these rabbits never grow up!
Holland lops are docile and gentle and are very easy to care for. They do not require much grooming but owners have to ensure to feed them quality foods. Also, because of their smaller size, careful handling is needed for these pets.
Reasons For Unfriendly Rabbits
The reason that rabbits sometimes appear to be unfriendly is that they are prey animals by nature. This means that they see a world full of rabbit predators and their reactions to feeling always in danger can appear as not friendly behavior. This behavior includes not liking to be petted or cuddled.
If your pet bunny feels unsafe, it will not want to be touched. This doesn’t mean that your bunny doesn’t like you, instead, it means that you have some work to do to make your rabbit feel safe. Here is a link to an article that I wrote about some of the reasons that your rabbit might not feel safe.
While all rabbits have a strong tendency towards being afraid, not all rabbits experience such fear equally. Just like people, some rabbits are more adventuresome than others.
However, there are some breeds of rabbits that are more friendly than others. These breeds of rabbits tend to just be more outgoing and less aggressive when scared than many other popular pet rabbit breeds.
Science claims that people with pets live longer, more stress-free lives. Pet owners are also observed to recover faster from major life events such as hospitalizations etc. Who could dispute this?
All pet owners know the feeling of coming home to a pet that is always happy to see you. It doesn’t matter if you have been away for days, an hour, or even minutes. Pets have yet to be bested by the best welcome home greeting on this planet.
Studies have always used the human-dog companion as a model but this strong relationship is not exclusive to the Human and Fido bond. Further studies have shown that pets are great mood boosters for their human companions.
The truth is, pets motivate us to move and make lifestyle changes to be able to care for them more. Taking the time to bond with our pets can and will give us unconditional companionship that compares to no other.
P.S. Individual rabbits also have a personality that can be determined by the environment that they grew up in. Do you own the chilliest rabbit to have possibly existed? How about a feisty one? Share with us the memorable moments you have with your bunnies either in the comments below or in our group of rabbit lovers on Facebook.