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Bunnies have been part of my family for a long time, and during that time we’ve had both male and female rabbits as pets. So do male or female rabbits make better pets? Let me give you the short answer and then let’s dig deeper.
I recommend male rabbits for pets over female rabbits, especially for first-time bunny owners. Male rabbits tend to be more extroverted and are generally prone to less aggressive behavior than females. However, gender alone does not determine the temperament or the ease with which a rabbit will bond with its family.
The truth of the matter is, gender is just one factor in a rabbit’s personality. Trauma and the rabbit’s environment can also affect their personality and behavior.
Hormones play a huge part in rabbit personality too. Unneutered or unspayed rabbits will have more tendencies to exhibit unwanted behavior due to their raging hormones.
However, if you are a dedicated bunny owner these things are just details. Animals, especially bunnies will eventually learn to trust and bond with their family if given the proper care and attention. Remember that bunnies are social animals and thrive as part of a family. Therefore, the need for them to bond is innate in them.
How do you differentiate a male rabbit from a female rabbit?
The only way to precisely differentiate male rabbits from female rabbits is by closely examining their genitals. It takes a lot of practice to tell the difference between male and female rabbit genitalia. The most obvious difference is the opening in their sex organ which is more of a slit in female rabbits.
To identify the sex of a rabbit one must have a keen eye as well as adequate knowledge on how rabbit boy part and rabbit girl parts look like. Do expect rabbit genitals to look exactly like the genitals of your dog or your cat.
In general, to sex a rabbit you need to gently put your bunny on your lap with their stomachs out. Female rabbits will have genitals that are characterized by a V-shaped with a slit for a hole while adult bucks will more of an oblong sex organ with a circle for a hole.
Sometimes you will be able to see the oblong testicles of male rabbits above their genitalia, but not always. Male rabbits have the ability to retract their testicles into their bodies.
However, it’s easier to show how to sex a rabbit than it is to explain it so I’ve included a video below.
Pros and Cons of Male rabbits and Female Rabbits As Pets
Before I delve further into the pros and cons of owning male or female rabbits I would just like to emphasize again that gender is not an all-encompassing trait that determines a rabbit’s behavior.
Each rabbit is an individual and they can have their quirks and personalities that are not necessarily aligned with their generalized gender behaviors.
However, there are differences between male and female rabbits’ personalities, and in the table below we’ll go into more detail about these differences.
|Trait||Male Rabbit||Female Rabbit|
|Bonding with family||Friendly and more extroverted. Easier to bond with than female rabbits.||More aloof and snobbish than male rabbits|
|Territorial tendencies||Less territorial than female rabbits.||Can be more territorial especially when they are not spayed.|
|Cleanliness||Un-neutered males will spray urine to mark their territory.||Unspayed females sometimes spray urine to mark their territory, but not as often as males.|
|Cost||The initial cost is the same for males and females. Male rabbits are less expensive to maintain than females.||The initial cost is the same for males and females. Feeding cost is higher and spaying cost 20 to 50% more than neutering a male rabbit.|
|Destructive tendencies||When bored can result in chewing things||Being bored can result in chewing things, however, natural nesting instincts can lead to even more destructive behavior.|
Male Rabbits Bond Easier Than Female Rabbits
Males rabbits tend to be more extroverted than female rabbits. You might say that female rabbits tend to have a diva side and are more prone to be snobbish towards new owners.
Male rabbits bond easier with people than female rabbits. This is one of the reasons that I recommend male rabbits for first-time bunny owners.
Male and female rabbits bond equally well to other rabbits, though both sexes bond easier to other rabbits if they have been fixed (spayed or neutered). However, you should never keep unfixed male and female rabbits together or you’ll soon have lots of baby rabbits.
Female rabbits are generally known to be more of a challenge than male rabbits, especially to first-time bunny owners. They are also more stubborn and headstrong than their male counterparts. You might also find that aside from bonding, training female rabbits can be a challenge too.
If you already have a female rabbit, don’t be discouraged. Some female rabbits are super easy, just fewer of them than male rabbits. Likewise, some male rabbits are a huge pain.
Patience is a virtue when it comes to bonding with rabbits. Do not expect that they will trust you unconditionally immediately. Instead, settle in the long haul and enjoy the baby steps.
Consistently set a time to bond with them. Give them bunny treats! Even headstrong females are not averse to getting their favorite treats. Bananas are like candies to rabbits, so you may well use them moderately to convert your rabbits to your side. However, please don’t use sugary treats like bananas as a treat all of the time you will make your rabbit fat and lazy.
Rabbits are also very social animals and they thrive better raised as a pair or being a well-integrated part of a family. With the proper and constant care, you will find that the most stubborn and aloof of rabbits can learn to love you.
Male and female rabbits show their love by gently nudging you with their nose; this means that they want you to give them gentle head rubs. Head rubs are very calming to rabbits because they think that when you are gently stroking their head you are grooming them. Grooming is a sign of affection in the rabbit kingdom, rabbits will usually groom each other to show their love and companionship.
If you are struggling bonding with your pet rabbit (regardless of sex) the first thing to focus on is knowing that you’re not alone. There are a ton of communities and groups out there that you can reach out to for advice or some tips and tricks. My articles for example aim to inform and guide all bunny enthusiasts on how to care for their rabbits
Female Rabbits Are More Territorial Than Male Rabbits
You might think male rabbits would be more territorial than females but you’d be wrong.
Female rabbits are more territorial than male rabbits. This also means that female rabbits are more aggressive than male rabbits. This is because female rabbits are always ready to protect their home and their babies, even if they don’t have any yet.
This territorial behavior might manifest as kicking or even biting, though neither action poses a real danger to people. It’s just really annoying and makes it really hard to bond with your bunny.
To be clear, male rabbits will also exhibit territorial behavior. Male rabbits who are unneutered might also kick or bite, but it’s more likely that they will ‘mark their territories; in very unpleasant, stinky, and messy ways.
Male rabbits in the wild spend less time underground with the colony because they don’t take part in caring for babies and rabbits can have babies about every thirty days. Therefore, male rabbits have a weaker territorial tendency than female rabbits.
Because of this, they will be less likely to bite or be aggressive when you or someone else enters an area that they consider their territory. However, when a male rabbit does exhibit territorial tendencies they will more likely guard or be territorial over a larger area. For example, if your rabbit house is in the family room a female might really protect their rabbit cage while a male may be territorial over the entire family room.
Female Rabbits Are Cleaner Than Male Rabbits
Female rabbits are cleaner than male rabbits and they stink less.
Male rabbits that are unneutered will mark their territories. This usually includes chinning, spraying, or scattering their droppings.
Chinning is not an issue as this only involves rabbits rubbing their chins over areas and things that they are claiming as their own. Rabbits have a scent gland under their chin just for this purpose, but the scent is so subtle that most people never even notice it.
However, spraying and scattering droppings can be a bigger problem as rabbit pellets are endless and can be a chore to clean up. Even worse, when a male rabbit sprays to mark his territory, they are actually spraying pee on everything that they claim as their own personal domain. Rabbit urine really stinks and can smell up the whole house, stain carpets, hardwood floors, and even walls.
Male rabbits who are not fixed will also have raging hormones and experience a near-constant need to mate. Thus, you will find them mounting and humping things, even some non-rabbit pets and your favorite stuffed animals.
However, getting your male rabbit neutered will likely eliminate these behaviors and will at least greatly reduce them. While getting a rabbit neutered is costly, it’s worth the peace it brings to your home even before you consider the other benefits of getting your bunny neutered.
Females rabbits will not spray or scatter their droppings as often or as far as male rabbits. However, they rub their chins on surfaces to mark their scents just as often as males. This scent is undetectable to humans.
However, female rabbits can also mount other rabbits and other pets. Mounting is not a purely sexual behavior. It can also be a sign of dominance, rabbits will try to mount other pets to assert their own dominance. If the other pets do now want to submit then they might retaliate and this might cause fights.
Once again, spaying your female rabbits will greatly reduce or even eliminate these behaviors.
Female Rabbits Are More Expensive To Keep Than Male Rabbits
The initial cost to buy a pet rabbit is generally equal for male and female bunnies. However, the maintenance cost for a female rabbit is generally higher than for a male rabbit. Females eat more and the cost to get them spayed is significantly higher than the cost to get a male spayed.
As a rule of thumb, does (female rabbits) are bigger than bucks (male rabbits) so they naturally need more food and bigger cages to keep them happy. While the difference is maintenance cost is going to be small, as the food bill for a rabbit isn’t that great, it’s worth noting.
It should also be noted that the cost of getting a female rabbit spayed is much higher than the cost to get a male rabbit spayed. We strongly recommend getting pet rabbits spayed or neutered. There are lots of benefits to getting your rabbit fixed, and while the cost isn’t inconsequential, it’s worth it.
Bored rabbits can be destructive regardless of their sex. A bored rabbit will chew or claw furniture, carpet, or even walls. To avoid this behavior, we recommend quality rabbit toys and playtime with your bunny. A tired rabbit is a good rabbit.
However, female rabbits have more destructive tendencies than male rabbits because they have natural instinct to build nests which leads them to be big diggers.
Not only do pregnant rabbits try to build nests, but there is a not-so-uncommon condition called ‘false pregnancy’ which can cause the same behavior. In most cases, a female rabbit that is pregnant (real or false) will just pull out some chest fur to make a nest, but sometimes they go all out to build their nest.
A house bunny that is trying to build a nest might start by trying to dig a burrow and I’ve even seen them dig through the wall sheetrock. Then they might move on to trying to find more soft material for the next for their ‘false pregnancy. This material might come out of your pillow, comforter, coat, or even your couch.
Spaying your female rabbit will eliminate both real and false pregnancies.
I hope you found this article about the difference between male and female pet rabbits helpful. If you are considering getting a new bunny, I encourage you to take the time to learn the essentials.
At the very least, you need to fully understand a healthy rabbit diet. Start with this article about the ideal rabbit diet which was written by a veterinarian. Next, I encourage you to look through our recommended rabbit gear. Having the right rabbit gear makes your life easier and your bunny’s life better.
Do you already have a bunny? Then tell us about them!
Do you have a female or a male bunny? Perhaps you own both, do they adhere to the stereotype of their genders or are they rebels of their own? Tell us about them in the comment section below.