How To Choose The Right Breed Of Rabbit For You

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How To Choose The Right Breed Of Rabbit For You

Rabbits are small furry mammals that like to live in groups. They are very sociable creatures and like a lot of company. They live off grassy and leafy weeds and vegetables, and are generally most active during dusk and dawn. Rabbits are timid creatures that can startle easily, with a mostly gentle demeanour, and some domestic breeds make an ideal family pet who can be housed in a cage or hutch both inside and outside. Rabbits who live inside the home are often referred to as house rabbits, and would normally be housed in a cage with a separate pen or run that they can freely move about in for exercise. Rabbits who are kept outside live in a hutch. The hutch is much more sheltered to protect its inhabitants from the weather. Outdoor rabbits also often have a separate run to provide them with space for exercise.

There are a number of different breeds of rabbit, over fifty in fact, but the most common ones found available to purchase are listed below. In order to choose the right breed, however, there are a number of factors to consider.

What is the budget?

It is important when considering purchasing any pet what the initial and on-going budget is. It is not just the initial purchase of the rabbit but the regular maintenance and upkeep costs that should be considered when choosing which rabbit is right for you. Although they are not as expensive as a dog or a cat, rabbits can live for eight to ten years and will need regular trips to the vet for vaccinations and health checks. Ensure a budget is in place for the possible life expectancy of the rabbit.

Is the rabbit going to live inside or outside?

Just about any breed of rabbit can live indoors as a house rabbit. If buying a rabbit as a house rabbit it is best to purchase one over 12 months old. A baby rabbit is lots of fun but also a lot of hard work.

Any breed of rabbit can live outside. Rabbits are hardy creatures and can withstand most temperatures, but are not adapted to damp conditions. Often during damp or winter months the cage should be moved into a shed or garage.

Are young children going to be handling the rabbit?

When purchasing a rabbit for a family with young children it is important to note that the life expectancy of many breeds of rabbit is between eight and ten years. If and when a child's enthusiasm has dwindled, someone still needs to care and look after the rabbit. When moving rabbits it is preferable that they are in a cage or box carried by an adult rather than being carried about in the arms of a child. Most rabbits don't like to be picked up or cuddled.

What space is available in the home or garden?

Rabbits are not designed to live permanently in a confined space and so in addition to its regular shelter any rabbit will require somewhere to run about for exercise. Rabbits are affectionate and sociable but are ground loving and need to be able to runabout on the floor, so space needs to be available for this. Larger breeds will need much larger cages or hutches, and in turn a similarly larger amount of space in which to roam .

How much time is available for care of the rabbit?

Rabbits are very sociable animals and need company. They are used to living in groups and so if a rabbit lives alone it is important that members of the family make the time to interact with the rabbit, play with it and give it some company. Long haired breeds will also require time set aside for grooming.

Popular breeds of domestic rabbit:

Dwarf Lop

Probably the most popular breed in the UK, the dwarf lop are in fact not dwarf in size. They come in a variety of different colours with a thick medium length coat which requires regular grooming 2 to 3 times a week. They can weigh up to 6lb in weight.

They have a happy temperament and can live for up to ten years.

Himalayan

A slender shorter haired breed with an excellent calm temperament. Smaller than the Lop, it weighs up to 4.5lb and has striking pink eyes. Very little grooming is required for the Himalayan, making it an easy rabbit to keep indoors or out. The life span is upwards of eight years. Settling in and bonding time is most important with a Himalayan.

Netherland Dwarf

The smallest of the 'pet' breed of rabbits weighing only 2lb. This breed is quite timid in nature with a short coat requiring little grooming. This breed needs a little more one to one attention and care to nurture them into a loving pet. They can live very long lives but due to their nature are probably not best suited for children.

New Zealand

The New Zealand is the classic white rabbit. A very large rabbit weighing over 12lb makes it an ideal rabbit for young children as they cannot easily pick them up and carry them about. They have a slightly shorter life span than other breeds due to their size and shed a lot of hair so daily grooming is recommended.

Polish

The Polish is a very small rabbit but very lively requiring a lot of attention. The Polish rabbit is not a suitable breed for children. They are available in many colours and require very little grooming and live for about eight to ten years.

Sussex

The Sussex is the newest of breeds to this country and makes an ideal house pet for all the family. The temperament is both vivacious and friendly, and the rabbit has a medium length coat requiring grooming about once a week. They weight around 7.5lb and have an expected life span of about six to eight years. This breed is not easily found and some searching may be required to find a breeder.

Lion Head

A small sized rabbit with relative short hair requiring little grooming. They weigh about 3.5lb. Their hair is slightly longer in the face, which is where they get their name. The Lion Head will happily sit on a lap and make an ideal breed for children.

Other things to consider when choosing a breed of rabbit:

* Take time to research thorough across all the breeds, and read up on all the care and behavioural aspects of the breed.

* Research medical traits and ailments in breeds so you know what to look out for should the rabbit become ill.

* Which ones are likely to require most time grooming or will shed the most hair? This might be a problem if the rabbit is going to live in the house. There are however plenty of grooming tools and accessories available which help make light work of a shedding rabbit. Rabbits will shed hair on a continual basis but also moult in the summer months, at which time they will need extra maintenance.

* If there are other pets living in the house, how will they cope with a rabbit running loose?

* Which sex rabbit would you like?

* What colour rabbit would be preferred?

* What food should the chosen rabbit be fed and how often?

* What type of bedding does a rabbit prefer and how often does it need to be changed?

* Make sure you can provide a safe and secure home for your rabbit so they cannot escape or come to any harm.

* How to bond with the rabbit and introduce it to children.

* Would it be better to have single rabbit or to acquire two together - or perhaps buy a single one to start off with and introduce another at a later stage?

* What sorts of toys are suitable for a rabbit to play with?

How and Where to Buy a Rabbit:

eBay does not list livestock and cannot make any recommendation on where to purchase rabbits. eBay does however recommend that any potential purchasers of rabbits do their research thoroughly and take advice from a veterinary professional or reputable breeder before making a decision to purchase. Once you have your rabbit all the supplies to take care for, feed and learn about your new rabbit can be purchased on eBay.

How to Find Supplies for Your Rabbit on eBay:

Accessories and equipment to take care of a rabbit can be sourced on eBay. It is a good idea to decide on what you are going to need and purchase it before buying the rabbit - and keep in mind any time needed for postage of items.

To find items, navigate to eBay and select Pet Supplies from the category menu. Then choose Rabbits. From here you can use the left bar menu to filter results from item type - such as Cages & Houses or Toys - brand, or condition (new or used). You can also use the drop-down menu to sort results, for example by best match, price or time ending for auctioned items.

Conclusion

Rabbits are ideal pets for those after an animal that is cute, sedentary and does not require walking or boisterous exercise. They will quickly become a well-loved member of the family and care should be taken to make sure that the best breed for you is chosen at the outset, as well as all the necessary supplies sources to keep you and your rabbit happy and healthy.

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