What Are The Best Dog Breeds For Rabbit Owners?

Does your family have pet rabbits, and you are looking to bring a dog into the family? There are dog breeds that get along with bunnies and rabbits. But what are the best dog breeds for rabbit owners?

There are dog breeds that get along with rabbits. However, it is all in the prey drive. Dog breeds that have a low prey drive, are best to have around other animals like rabbits.

Today we will go over the breeds that are best for rabbit owners. Remember, there is no guarantee that one of these dogs will not give chase to your rabbit. But, they will be less likely to give chase. 

Before we get into the breeds that are best for rabbit owners, let’s take a look at some of the better traits to look for in a dog when you have a rabbit or bunny in the house.

Traits 

  • Low prey drive (obviously)
  • Submissive
  • Calm 
  • Obeys simple commands like “sit,” “stay,” “leave it.”
  • Friendly 
  • Affectionate 

There are also groups of breeds to avoid. Those breeds would be from the sporting group. The sporting group breeds are hunters and used for hunting smaller animals, sometimes larger animals. The toy group is another group to avoid as they can be over-exuberant. Toy breeds that are known to be anxious and super energetic are best to avoid because rabbits get spoked very easily. However, some breeds in the sporting group do not have a high prey drive(desire to pursue, capture, and kill quarry) and are good around other pets and dogs. We will get into those in just a bit. 

Breeds from the herdingworking, and non- sporting groups are probably a better match for your rabbit. These are the recommendations, but all dogs have different personalities, and this will determine the compatibility. 

Calm rabbit Breeds

  • Flemish Giant
  • California Giant
  • Checkered Giant

Skittish rabbit Breeds

  • Dutch Lop
  • Netherland Dwarf
  • Mini Rex

You will notice that the larger rabbit breeds are the ones that are calmer than the small rabbits—just a little tip for you to think about. 

Best Dog Breeds For Rabbit Owners 

Australian Shepherd 

An Australian Shepherd
An Australian Shepherd with blue eyes in the snow.

The Australian Shepherd came from Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains and dated back to the 1800s. An indigenous group called the Basques known as the world-class shepherds called these dogs the Pyrenees Shepherd. These people decided to sail to Australia because the widespread land was a shepherd’s dream. They bred their dogs with Collie and Border Collies while in Australia. They then set sail for The United States of America and ended up in California.  

The dog was given the name Australian Shepherd because it came to America by way of Australia.

The Australian Shepherd is very smart, easy to train, and very affectionate. They do very well with other dogs, children, and other animals like the rabbit. However, since they are bred to herd, they may think the children and other animals need herding. Once you teach them that kids and other animals are part of the family, the herding should stop.

This dog breed needs at least 30-60 minutes of physical and mental exercise a day. If this dog does not get the required exercise, it may become hard to live with. With the proper training, this dog can be an excellent companion, devoted, and extremely loyal canine family member. 

General Stats of The Australian Shepherd 

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years 
  • Height Male: 20-23 inches (50cm – 58cm)
  • Height Female: 18 -21 inches (46 cm -53cm)
  • Weight Male: 50-65 lbs (23 kg -29 kg)
  • Weight Female: 40-55 lbs (18 kg -25kg)
  • Group: Herding 

Basset Hound 

A Basset Hound sitting down
A basset hound sitting in the park

The Basset Hound is from France and has been around since the 1500s. This breed is part of the hound group and was used for trailing rabbits and hares. However, they have a low prey drive, and they do not chase what they are tracking. But they are still in the hound group, so you must keep a close eye. These guys are good-natured, and one of the most chill dogs you will ever come across. The Basset Hound is exceptionally affectionate and gets along with children and other animals. This canine is a good choice for a family with children of any age, and other small house pets. 

The Basset Hound needs daily exercise even though they are a bit lazy. They will be happy with a quick walk around the block or some playtime in the backyard. This canine is low maintenance when it comes to their coat. A proper brushing once a week will do. However, the Bassat Hound likes to drool, so you will have to keep the area around their mouth clean regularly. This helps keep away bacteria, infections, and bad odor. 

Basset Hounds love to investigate at a slow pace. They are very good at tracking, and you may find that if they are on the trail of something, it will be challenging to get them back on track. This dog also has a very loud bay (howl/bark).

General Stats of The Bassat Hound

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 Years
  • Height Male: Up to 15 inches (38 cm)
  • Height Female: Up to 15 inches (38 cm)
  • Weight Male: 40-65 lbs (18 kg – 29 kg)
  • Weight Female: 40-65 lbs (18 kg – 29 kg)
  • Group: Hound

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dogs are great with other pets
A Bernese Mountain Dog looking off in the distance

The Bernese Mountain Dog is from Switzerland and has is dated as far back as the Roman invasion. These dogs were used as a draft dog, herder, drover, livestock guard, and an all-round farm dog. They can withstand cold, harsh weather. As a member of the working group, this large dog breed is known for its long silky coat and friendly nature. The Bernese Mountain dog is truly a family dog. They get along with children like peas and carrots, and they are super friendly towards other household pets, including rabbits. An excellent dog breed for rabbit owners.  

Bernese Mountain Dogs are sensitive and unconditionally devoted and loyal to their family. They are great with children so much that they are known as the “nanny dog.” They have been known to allow children to lean up against them as they take their first steps. Although great with their family and other dog and pets, the Bernese Mountain dog is not thrilled by strangers and may keep a close eye on a stranger. 

This dog is a hard-working dog, so it needs daily exercise. A good long hike would make this dog’s day. They also LOVE the cold weather and pulling. So in the wintertime, if you live in an area where it snows, take this great beast out for sled pulling! 

General Stats Of The Bernese Mountain Dog 

  • Life Expectancy: 7-10 Years
  • Height Male: 25 – 27.5 inches (63.5 cm – 70 cm)
  • Height Female: 23 – 26 inches (58 cm – 66 cm)
  • Weight Male: 80 -115 lbs (36 kg – 52 kg)
  • Weight Female: 70 – 95 lbs (34 kg – 43kg)
  • Group: Working 

Bichon Frise- A Good Dog Breed For Rabbit Owners

A Bichon Frise running in the park
A happy little Bichon Frise running freely in the park.

Bichon Frise- A History

The Bichon Frise is from the Mediterranean and dated back to ancient times. This small dog breed was a favorite with the upper class in Italy. After the French invasion of Italy back in the 1500s, these dogs were taken in by the French and eventually spread throughout Europe. The Bischon Frise had a setback and eventually became a street dog. They were picked up by peddlers and organ grinders because of their ability to perform tricks. This is how the peddlers and grinders made money. When WWI hit, and they were nearly extinct. Same thing when WWII came about. It was not until they arrived in the 1960s to America that these dogs got the attention of people. They were recognized by the America Kennel Club in 1971 and have been popular in America ever since. 

About The Bichon

Bichon Frises are full of energy, extremely playful and affectionate. IF you are looking for a small dog that gets along well with children, other dogs, strangers, and other house pets, then look no further. This dog does very well with other household pets, so they are a good breed for rabbit owners. These dogs do not have a high prey drive, and would rather make friends than foes. 

This dog loves to cuddle and be everywhere you and your family are. Therefore, they do not do well when left alone, as they will suffer from separation anxiety. They are also known to bark, but you can fix that with some proper training classes.   

Being a super active small dog, they need a lot of exercise to keep them physically and mentally healthy. Taking them on daily walks a few times a day is excellent. If you are going to keep them active inside, then make sure you have a lot of fun games for this little white ball of fur!

The BF does not shed, so good news if you are looking for a non-shedding dog. However, loose hairs may get caught in their coat and can cause the hair to mat. So, they need brushing and combing every two days. Being a white dog, you can expect that some areas will be harder to keep clean than others. Give this dog and an occasional bath, but keep their face clean at all times. No one likes a dirty face!

General Stats of The Bichon Frise 

  • Life Expectancy: 14-15 Years
  • Height Male: 9.5 – 11.5 inches (25cm – 29cm)
  • Height Female: 9.5 – 11.5 inches (25cm – 29cm)
  • Weight Male: 12-18 lbs (5.4kg – 8.6kg)
  • Weigh Female: 12- 18 lbs (5.4kg – 8.6kg)
  • Group: Non-Sporting 

Boxer

A young boxer tilting its head
A young boxer tilting its head.

Boxers’ area of origin is Germany, and they have been around since the 1800s and are part of the working group. The Boxer was used to chase away larger game like deer, wild boar, and small bears. This dog would hold onto the game until the hunter arrived to take over.  

These canines may be big, but they are super affectionate and devoted! Boxers are incredibly playful and energetic, so they are best suited for an active family. They get along very well with children and other household pets and dogs. However, they can be aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs and are suspicious of strangers.  

If you are looking for a medium-sized dog that will get along with everyone in the family, including your rabbit, and make a great guard dog, then you may want to look into getting a boxer. 

The Boxer needs daily exercise! These canines love to run. If you or your family are not into running, that is fine. This dog will do fine with a long walk. Keep in mind that if you live in a warm climate, this dog does not do well outdoors and should never be left outside in the heat. You can still take it for a walk, but keep it short when it’s scorching outside. You may have to take this dog out early in the morning before it gets to warm, or after sunset.

Coat maintenance on this dog is slim to none. That being said, they only need to be brushed once a week to get rid of any dead hair. 

General Stats Of The Boxer 

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Height Male: 23-25 inches (58 cm – 65cm)
  • Height Female: 21.5 – 23.5 inches (55cm – 60cm)
  • Weight Male: 65-80 lbs (29kg – 36kg)
  • Weight Female: 50- 65 lbs (23kb – 29kg)
  • Group: Working 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel- A Good Dog Breed For Rabbit Owners

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is from England and dates back to the 1600s. They were used for getting rid of birds and a lapdog for King Charles II. So you could say that the Cavalier is a very hight class doggo! These sweet-faced dogs are part of the toy group, but they are not a highly active dog, nor do they have a high prey drive. They make a great family dog and get along just great with other dogs and pets you may have.

The Cavalier is the house pet of all housepets! They love children and other animals. This dog is extremely gentle, sweet, and affectionate. Cavaliers are happy curling up in your lap or going out for a brisk walk, as long as they are with their human companion. 

Although not a high energy dog, the Cav does need daily exercise. Take this sweet pup out for a light walk or some playtime in the yard. Their beautiful long coat requires brushing every other day. 

General Stats of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years 
  • Height Male: 12-13 inches (30cm – 33cm)
  • Height Female: 12-13 inches (30cm – 33cm)
  • Weight Male: 13-18 lbs (5.9kg – 8.2kg)
  • Weight Female: 13-18 lbs (5.9kg – 8.2kg)
  • Group: Toy

Coton de Tulear

These little white bundles of fur call the Coton de Tulear are part of the Non-Sporting Group, and has is not a high prey drive canine. Their area of origin is Madagascar, and they have been around since the 1500s. Translated to English from French- Coton de Tulear means “Cotton of Tulear.” The name Cotton because of their white fluffy coat and Tulear, the seaport at the tip of Madagascar. These dogs were kept on sea trading ships as companions and ratters. 

The Coton gets along quite well with other dogs, pets, and children. This dog breed is extremely affectionate and loves to feel loved. They are also straightforward to train and happy to please. While they are active indoors and can get most of their energy out with fun games inside, they still need daily walks to keep them mentally healthy. 

Do not rely on this breed to protect you, as they are pretty much hopeless in the department. However, if you are looking for an affectionate family dog, loves children, and will get along with your pet rabbit, then this small breed may be just the one for you!.

Lastly, the Coton de Tulear does not shed much, but they do have a coat that requires a lot of maintenance. Their hair tangles very easily, and with that comes mats. You must brush the coat with a pin brush every day. Leaves or twigs that get caught in the coat should be removed immediately before they get tangled. The Coton requires weekly bathing.

General Stats of The Cotton de Tulear

  • Life Expectancy: 15-19 Years
  • Height Male: 10-11 inches (25cm – 28cm)
  • Height Female: 9-10 inches (23cm – 25cm)
  • Weight Male: 9-15 lbs (4kg – 7kg)
  • Weight Female: 8-13 lbs (3.6kg – 5.9kg)
  • Group: Non-Sporting 

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever comes from the Highlands in Scotland and has been around since the 1800s. They are part of the sporting group. However, they do not have a high prey drive, and they love other dogs and animals. They were used for retrieving in cold water and pushing through heavy vegetation. These dogs are expert swimmers and can stand frigid water. The Golden Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States of America.

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendliness towards other dogs, pets, and strangers. They are incredibly gentle and get along great with children. These dogs are very obedient and devoted. However, if they are not brought up with proper training, then you may have a hard time with this breed. A well trained GR is very rewarding. They love to learn and please their owners.

The Golden needs daily exercise and lots of human interaction. This dog does well in obedience lessons that challenge the dog, and they love retrieving games. These two things alone will give them the physical and mental exercise they need. But don’t forget the daily walks as well. They definitely need those!

The Golden is the perfect classic dog for a family that is looking for an outgoing, easy to train, trustworthy, and loyal canine companion. You need not worry about other pets in the house as well, because the Golden is super friendly and gentle towards other animals. 

General Stats of The Golden Retriever

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Height Male: 23-24 inches (58cm – 59cm)
  • Height Female: 21.5 – 22.5 inches (54cm – 57cm)
  • Weight Male: 65- 75 lbs (29kg – 34kg)
  • Weight Female: 55 -65 lbs (25kg – 29kg)
  • Group: Sporting 

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is from Canada and has been around since the 1800s. This dog is in the Sporting group just like the Golden. They were initially used for water retrieving. This medium-sized dog recovered fish, and would pull small fishing boats through icy water, and assisted the fishermen in all tasks that involved swimming. A reliable all-purpose water dog!  

The Labrador is an extremely popular dog, and well, they deserve it. They are obedient when trained, and they get along with children, other dogs, and household pets. The Lab is very playful, affectionate, and easy to train. This dog does well indoors and outdoors. They do require a lot of daily exercise and mental challenges to keep them busy. If a Lab gets bored, then trouble starts to happen. So to avoid that, make sure they get the exercise they need. They love to learn, so some challenging games would be a good idea. Swimming is one of their favorite activities and will provide them with the physical exercise they need. So, if you have a pool, be prepared to share it with your Lab.  

The coat on this dog requires weekly brushing to remove dead hair. They have a thick double coat that is water repellent and sheds a lot. They only need occasional bathing.

General Stats Of The Labrador Retriever 

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Height Male: 22.5 – 24.5 inches (57 cm – 62 cm)
  • Height Female: 21.5 – 23.5 inches (55cm – 60cm)
  • Weight Male: 65-80 lbs (29kg – 36kg)
  • Weight Female: 55-75 lbs (25kg – 34kg)
  • Group: Sporting

English Bulldog- A Friendly dog breed- Great for Rabbit Owners

The English Bulldog area of origin is England, and its date of origin is the early 1200s. These dogs were initially used for bull-baiting(a blood sport – pitting a bull against another animal, usually dogs) that eventually outlawed in 1835. The breed became almost extinct but was brought back by people who loved these dogs and is known as a national symbol for England. 

English Bulldogs are affectionate and very friendly. This dog gets along great with children, and somewhat okay with strangers. They can get aggressive towards dogs they are not familiar with, but they do quite well with other pets. This dog does not have a prey drive and is very docile and mellow. The English Bulldog is one of the best dog breeds for rabbit owners.

These little tanks like to be outside and enjoy short walks. This dog is not built to run or jog and should not be forced to do so. They do not do well in the heat, and it can be hazardous to their health. They must be kept indoors on hot days. With that being said, they cannot stand cold temperatures either. The Bulldog’s coat is very low maintenance and only needs brushing once a week. However, their face requires daily cleaning because they drool a lot.

General Stats of The English Bulldog 

  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 Years
  • Height Male: 14-15 inches ( 36cm – 38cm)
  • Height Female: 14-15 inches (36cm – 38cm)
  • Weight Male: 50 lbs (22kg)
  • Weight Female: 40 lbs (18kg)
  • Group: Non- Sporting 

Conclusion

I hope you found this article useful in your search for the best dog breeds for rabbit owners. Remember to search out a dog that has a low prey drive as they are less likely to attack and kill your cute little rabbit. Even though these dogs are low prey drive, it really depends on the personality of the dog. These breeds are not a guarantee; they are just less likely to prey upon a rabbit. You must always practice safety when these two are around each other. And never, ever leave the two alone unsupervised. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Introduce Your Rabbit and Dog?

Introductions should be taken at a slow pace. You should avoid any sudden movements as rabbits get scared easily. Bring them into the same room so they can get used to each other’s scent. Your dog should be on a leash with one person holding the dog, and another taking care of the rabbit. 

It will take time for two to get used to each other. If you have a smaller breed of rabbit, it may take even longer. That is because smaller rabbit breeds are easily scared and very skittish. A larger rabbit breed is more chill and less likely to get spooked at first sight of your dog. 

Again it all depends on the dog on whether or not it will take to the rabbit. You may find that you need to keep the two apart.

Should My Dog Take Obedient Classes Before Meeting My Rabbit?

It is always a good idea to enroll your dog in obedience classes. A well-trained dog will be more willing to listen than one that has not been trained. You can use words like ‘gentle’, ‘leave it’ while around the rabbit. Reward your dog for being obedient around your rabbit. Dogs love treats, so have some treats on hand. 

Bibliography 

  1. Coile, D. Caroline, Ph.D., Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds, Barron’s Educational Series, Hauppauge, New York, United States of America, 2015.
  2. American Kennel Club- Bulldog
  3. Helton, S. William., Canine Ergonomics: The Science of Working Dogs, CRS Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2009
  4. Bull Baiting, Wikipedia,https://wikepedia.org/wiki/Bull-baiting. Accessed May 2, 2020
  5. Canadian Kennel Club-CanadianKennelClub-https://www.ckc.ca/en/Choosing-a-Dog/Choosing-a-Breed/Sporting-Dogs/Retriever-Labrador

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