Rabbits can make great pets – they’re cuddly, small, and downright adorable. However, it’s important to understand that they are also a huge investment. Like any other pet, these creatures require lots of space, time, attention, and resources to care for them.
With that being said, there are a lot of rabbit breeds available if you are interested and prepared to take on the responsibility of a pet rabbit. According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, there are 49 distinct breeds of rabbits with different characteristics from their ears to their fur. Our veterinarian at Brookhurst Animal Medical Center, Dr. Lopez, is trained to treat bunnies, and he has a special place in his heart for the little critters. From his experience, here are a few unique types of rabbits that stand out the most. Some are rare while others are common and make excellent companions. Check out our list of notable rabbit breeds!
- Lionhead Rabbits: The Lionhead Rabbit is a new breed of dwarf rabbit that originated in Belgium. Its name is derived from its lion-like, wool mane around its head. These intelligent creatures can be trained to use litterboxes and follow basic commands. They can also be incredibly social and energetic pets. If you plan to adopt a Lionhead (or any rabbit at all for that matter), it’s important to have lots of outdoor space for your pet to explore and exercise.
- Angora Rabbits: There are four different types of Angora Rabbits, but they all share the same long, silky Angora wool. These fluffballs are generally easygoing and playful. Like other rabbits, they are high maintenance creatures. Owners should be especially careful of wool block, which is a condition that rabbits may develop from ingesting their own hair as they groom themselves. Since Angora Rabbits have especially long, thick fur, they’re more susceptible to this condition, which can cause loss of appetite and major digestive problems. Dr. Lopez recommends monitoring your rabbit’s stool and regularly grooming its long fur.
- Colombian Pygmy Rabbit: The Colombian Pygmy is the smallest member of the rabbit family, with adults averaging around 1 pound each. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to own this little bun as a pet because they’re an endangered species due to the loss of their natural sagebrush habitat. However, you can appreciate them in all their tiny glory at the Oregon Zoo, where experts are working to breed and conserve their species in the wild.
- Volcano Rabbit: As original inhabitants of the volcanos in Mexico, this round rabbit breed gets its name from its interesting home. Unlike other members of the rabbit family, they have short, brown fur and have tiny ears. They’re also known for making a high-pitched squeal to communicate rather than thumping. Unfortunately, they are also an endangered species and it’s improbable that you’ll be able to adopt one.
- Sumatran Striped Rabbit: The Sumatran Striped Rabbit is known for its striking appearance, namely the distinctive brown stripes on its coat. Unlike the other balls of fluff, this breed is long, lean, and muscular. Little is known about the incredibly rare, nocturnal bunny except that it is intelligent and elusive. The Sumatran Striped Rabbit is so rare, it’s only been sighted a few times and most people are unaware of its existence at all. Unfortunately, as humans continue to destroy Indonesian forests for resources, this rabbit breed faces the threat of extinction from habitat loss.
Rabbits come in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re interested in raising one of your own, make sure you’re properly educated on rabbit care first. Despite how cute and gentle they are, bunnies are the third most abandoned pet after cats and dogs, according to the National Geographic. A great option is to check out the local animal shelter and adopt a rescue rabbit. These extraordinary animals also require medical attention from a veterinary specialist. At Brookhurst Animal Medical Center in Anaheim, Dr. Lopez provides specialized care for exotic pets like rabbits. If you’re ever in need of a rabbit vet in Anaheim, feel free to stop by.