What you need to decide

Are you willing to care for it; although it may live up to 15 years old?

Although most rabbits live less than seven years, some can live to be fifteen. A rabbit can never be forgotten about for a single one of those days. Smaller breed rabbits do not normally live as long, but there is always the chance. For Mini Rexes, Polish, and Netherland Dwarfs, live exspectancy is around 7 years.

Do you want a male(buck) or female(doe) rabbit?

A male rabbit is known as a buck and a female as a doe. Males can be friendlier and calmer, but many females are nice also. Females are prone to getting territorial if harassed, invaded, picked on, or bred. Any rabbit may attack, stratch, bite, and growl if it has undergone any of these scenarios. Some females are very nice, and some males are aggressive, but for the most part males are gentler than females. Some breeds are more aggressive than others, some are more skiddish, and some are quite friendly. I have only had a few problems with female rabbits having on and off tempers, but that's because they had been bred, or had been terrorized as juniors.

 Do you want an adult(senior) or young rabbit(junior)?

For most breeds of rabbits, any rabbit under six months old is a junior and over six months is a senior. There are exceptions to this; when there is another category in between junior and senior, but for Mini rexes, Polish and Netherland Dwarfs they only have junior and senior categories. Juniors have more time to socialize, and are more cute. While seniors may not have been socialized very well and have outgrown some of their cuteness. But in a junior you cannot tell, for sure, how nice(quality) that rabbit will turn out. Seniors on the other hand are how they will be. You know they aren't going to change looks or personalities anytime soon. 

 Do you want one, or more?

Rabbits like to have company and companions to live with, but only if they are spayed or neutered. Unspayed females will fight, and so will unneutered males. A male and female together is also a bad idea. Besides breeding constantly, the male will terrorize the female, kill her kits, and rebreed her. If you have a spayed or neutered rabbit with another spayed or neutered rabbit, they will probably get along, but that is not fool-proof. If you want more than one rabbit, or one for each kid, that's a great idea! But you will need to purchase a seperate hutch/cage for each rabbit.   

 Do you want a pedigreed rabbit?

Getting a pedigree assures you that that rabbit is a purebred. It does not assure you that it meets the Standard of Perfection(exactly what the breed should look like), but it give an indication of the health of the rabbit. Cross-breed rabbits have not been bred for the best breed traits, and should not be chosen if you have any interest in showing your rabbit. You do not need a pedigree for 4-H fairs. You also do not need a tattoo. If you want a pet quality rabbit(not very good for showing or breeding) you will probably not get a pedigree as the rabbit shouldn't be put back in the breed's breeding line. If you want to raise and sell purebred rabbits you need to have a pedigree for each of your rabbits as proof of purebreds.  

 Will you keep it away from electric wires, carpets, and baseboards?

If a rabbit runs loose in your house, even for a little while, it may get into trouble(if not watched). Rabbits will chew through electrical cords and be killed or injured. You can buy plastic tubing to protect the cords and rabbit.  A rabbit will also chew on baseboards, furniture, and curtains. It is best to keep the pet in a cage or under your careful eye when loose in your house.  Houseplants can also be toxic. Some comon toxic plants are: Chives, elephant's ear, foxglove, garlic, hemlock, mushrooms, daffodils, nightshade, onion, peace lily, poinsettias, rhododendron, rhubarb, tulips, and yew.

 Do you understand the financial and time responsibilities?

Besides the cost of the actual rabbit equiptment may cost(approximately) as follows:

Cage- $25 to $250

Food and Water Dishes- $1 to $5

Feed- Depends on size of pellets bag. From $10 to $30 a bag.

Toenail trimmer- $15 to $30

Pet Porter- $20 to $50

Other Optional costs: bedding hay, straw, treats, toys, brush, salt licks, nest box.

Time

Cleaned cage every week, fresh food daily(at same time each day), clean water every few days, or every day when it's hot or cold outside, time for socializing and giving attention.

Will your other pets accept a rabbit?

Some dogs will get along with caged rabbits, or ignore them, while others will not. The same goes for cats. If a rabbit is frightened enough it will run around in it's cage until it kills itself or slams its head into something. 

 Who will clean the cage?

What a common scenario. You bring a pet home your child promises to care for and a little while later it is your responsiblity. A cage needs to be cleaned and it needs to be fed and watered. These don't take much time or energy, but someone will have to do it. 

 Do your children understand the fragility of rabbits?

Rabbits have very fragile skeletons and may become aggressive if handled incorrectly or violently. If your child does not understand how to handle a rabbit nicely, then the child cannot be around the rabbit without constant supervision. Some children can do more damage than a cat or dog. 

What breed do you want?

The final decision is what breed you want to get.

 The Mini Rex has delightful fur that is like velvet, and does not get to be over 4 1/2 lbs. It is rarely aggressive, but more often than not shy(if not socialized correctly). The Mini Rex is a favorite to most bystanders, but can be a "scardy-cat". It is not as curious, hardy, or inquisitive as other breeds. It is the most beautiful to look at and can easily become your companion, as they rarely get aggressive.

The Netherland Dwarf is a tiny rabbit that does not get over 2 1/2 lbs. Although is often smaller. They have a round appearance, and very entertaining personalities. They are curious, inquisitive, adventureous, and hardy little rabbits. Some say the Netherland is aggressive, but this is not normally correct. One can almost get addicted to this little bundle of personality.

The Polish is slightly larger than the Netherland Dwarf. They can not get over 3 1/2 lbs, but most are smaller. Although Polish do not come in as many colors as the other two breeds, they are the most hardy, and gentle rabbits. They are easily cared for and do not get many illnesses. They have kind personalities, even the females. They almost never get aggressive. Their small size makes them just as easy to carry around, and temperment makes them great pals.

 

 

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