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Rabbits/how can I choose the right rabbit temperament for me?


Dear expert,
It has taken me years to convince my father to allow me to have a rabbit.  I have done plenty of research during this time frame, and feel well enough educated to provide a good home for a rabbit. However, my father insists that my first rabbit be a Netherland dwarf. I have heard that Netherland dwarfs are friendly and cuddly from many sources and that they are snappy and timid from a few others. Which should I believe? I plan to buy my rabbit from a reputable breeder; the books I've read say that if a baby rabbit has friendly parents, then the baby rabbit will be friendly too. How true is this? A thread I read on a forum claimed that no matter how well or poorly you treat a rabbit, it's individual personality will overall dictate it's personality. I find this hards to believe! Of course a rabbit will be shy at first, but when treated kindly, it will come out of its shell eventually, won't it? I am worried that my first rabbit will be a mean one, and my father will never let me get another pet! Can you help me?


While you can buy from a reputable breeder that may do well with handling the bun early on to socialize, in the end individual personality traits will come out and some will not be cuddly, or enjoy being picked up, or want to be around you all the time. There are a few things you can do to ensure better odds of a friendly and happy bun:

Get them fixed. It prevents spraying/marking, territorial aggressiveness, nesting instincts, and reduces the risk of reproductive organ cancer. 80% of rabbits end up with cancer by age 2.

Lots of toys. And rotate them in and out of their habitat so they think they have new stuff all the time. Figure out what kind of bun you have and get appropriate toys. For example - I have one that's a problem solver. I got him a toy where I can hide treats and he has to pick up different cups to find it.

Get a friend...? Bunnies are just like a lot of animals - they like to have friends around. Giving them a bun-panion gives them someone to "talk to" when you're not around. They'll cuddle and play together, and watching two bunnies groom each other is always so sweet.

Lastly, please remember that local shelters and rescues may have bunnies needing homes too. Some breeders don't use the best practices and you could end up with a bun inheriting all sorts of costly health issues.

Best of luck with your bun.



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Christine Whetstone


I am not an expert on wild rabbits, only domesticated rabbits. I can answer questions regarding habitats, behavior, diet, health, pairing/bonding - pretty much anything having to do with owning a rabbit.


I've owned indoor rabbits for the last 10 years. During that time I've gained experience in areas like bonding exercises, understanding behavior, warning signs of sick bunnies, how to handle more serious illnesses (GI stasis, abscesses, eye problems, etc.) and more. It's rare that I come across an inquiry that I do not already know the answer to.

House Rabbit Society, supporter of local rabbit rescues


Personal experience beats the pants off of a degree, in my opinion.

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