In a nation of pet lovers, rabbits emerge as the third most popular pet in the UK, next only to dogs and cats. It is estimated that 2% of the UK adult population owns a pet rabbit. This is not surprising because bunnies are smart, playful, and great companions.
Not all rabbits are the same. They may share some similarities in appearance and behaviour but different breeds come with varying physical characteristics and personality traits. They also require different care needs.
We have identified the 6 most loved rabbit breeds based on popularity and suitability as pets at home so that potential owners can find the best match.
6th – Holland Lop Rabbit
Being a dwarf rabbit, the Holland Lop should weigh no bigger than 4 lbs. when fully grown. They have a wide stocky body and fluffy head with a distinctive thick fur at the back known as the crown. Their long furry ears that fall on either side of their heads are their most striking feature. And if that weren’t adorable enough, the Holland Lop often pose like a cat.
The Holland Lop is a friendly and energetic breed, so this indoor rabbit needs to be given space to roam and hop about outside its cage. The breed is typically low maintenance as their smooth and glossy coat only requires weekly grooming. However, Holland Lops shed a lot in the summer so they need more brushing to keep their coat tangle-free and to prevent them from ingesting their own hair.
The Holland Lop makes for a wonderful pet and families or individuals seeking their first pet will find this breed a delightful furry companion.
5th – Flemish Giant Rabbit
The Flemish Giant Rabbit is not only the largest rabbit breed in the world, but it is also one of the oldest known breeds in existence. These gentle giants typically weigh about 14 lbs when fully grown but they can weigh up to 22 lbs and grow up to 2.5 feet tall. They come in seven different coat colours and have thick and shiny fur.
With their friendly nature, easy-going personality, and relaxed temperament, the Flemish Giant Rabbit would make a great pet for families. However, because of their power and strength, they require proper handling techniques to prevent injuries to both owner and pet.
They are a sturdy and hardy breed but they are prone to having sore hocks and digestive issues. They tend to panic when they don’t feel safe. However, with early socialisation and training, the Flemish Giant can be relaxed with people. Due to their large size, the Flemish Giant should be kept in a large hutch so that they can stretch out and move around with ease.
4th – Mini Lop Rabbit
Larger than the Holland Lop, the Mini Lop bunny can weigh anywhere from 3 lbs to 6.5 lbs. Despite being small in stature, the Mini Lop’s distinctive circular body is compact and heavily muscled. Due to their short neck, their head sit close to their bodies which makes them look like they’re missing their necks. Their furry ears hang vertically to the sides of the head and their medium-length rollback coat is soft and lustrous. Although they do not need much grooming, weekly brushings are necessary to maintain their gorgeous fur.
The Mini Lop have moderate exercise requirements, including opportunities to roam outside their enclosures. They need adequate space to stretch out their legs comfortably so as to avoid sore hocks and injuries. They like feeling the grass and ground beneath their tiny feet so it will be great to have ramps to their fenced enclosures.
The Mini Lop are friendly and affectionate that they are only one of the few rabbit breeds that enjoy being petted and cuddled. However, when angry, they will stamp their hind feet, especially when their meal is late or when strangers enter their territory.
Because of their friendly temperament and sweet disposition, the Mini Lop are suitable for families with children and first-time pet owners.
3rd – Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
The Netherland Dwarf are amongst the smallest breeds of rabbits in existence. They can grow anywhere from 1 lb to 2.5 lbs. They are so tiny that they can easily be mistaken for a baby rabbit even when fully grown. Due to their small size, they are a popular choice as indoor pets.
These tiny rabbits typically have very large heads and round faces that are disproportionate to their short stature and rounded bodies. They have distinctively small ears that are carried high on their heads, which adds to their “baby” look.
The Netherland Dwarf are typically shy and skittish but friendly when they warm up to people. They don’t like to be picked up or cuddled. They are balls of energy that require regular exercise as much as the larger house bunnies. They can be stubborn and extremely active that they may not be suitable for families with small children. However, when socialised at an early age, they can be trained to be gentle and even-tempered.
2nd – Angora Rabbit
The Angora Rabbit is one of the oldest rabbit breeds in the world. Originating in Turkey, these rabbits are bred for their soft woolly fur. Because of their thick coat, they require regular grooming, especially during shedding season, to prevent their fur from becoming matted or tangled.
Angora Rabbits weigh around 5-6 lbs and have compact bodies, flat heads and short ears. These gentle, calm, and even-tempered rabbits like to play and be around their humans. They don’t demand constant attention but their personality shines through when they are interacting with humans.
1st – Lionhead Rabbit
Lionhead Rabbits have a distinctive woolly mane around their head which resembles that of a lion’s mane. Weighing 2.5-3.75 lbs, these small, compact bunnies can either have single mane or double mane. They also come in a variety of colours, Because of their long woolly fur, they require regular grooming. They need frequent brushings when they moult to prevent fur block.
Lionheads are typically good-natured and gentle rabbits, however, they can be quite timid. As a lively and playful breed, Lionheads need to be given many opportunities to play outside the cage. But despite their playfulness, they are not recommended as pets for very young children. They have the tendency to get scared easily which can trigger aggressive behaviour. The upside is that it can be trained to follow basic commands.