Can Rabbits And Dogs Be Friends

Can Rabbit And Dogs Live Together
Source: Pixabay

Yes, domestic rabbits and dogs can live together. But, it’s not as easy as saying it. In some cases, their bonding takes no time whereas in some it’s all about efforts and time. These two different breeds or species requires a safe and friendly environment to build the needed bonded. One is a prey and the other is a predator. Rabbit’s natural instinct is to fear and dog’s instinct is to hunt the other.

If left to their own devices without any training, we’ll find the dog hunting the rabbit and hurting the rabbit severely. Most times, it’s recommended to train the dog to resist its hunting instincts and learn to play with the pet bunny. There are some breeds in dogs which are not aggressive or territorial as others, they are rather friendly, love playtime and bonds with rabbits or other pets like turtle, cats, guinea pig, etc.

Can Dogs And Rabbits Live Together

If you’re considering adding a new member in your family which is not the same breed as your live-in pet tenant, it can be a deadly decision. Moreover, if one breed is a prey animal and another is a predator, you are calling for trouble. Hence, just so you don’t regret getting a new pet home, you need to understand what kind of prey drive or hunting instincts your dog has.

Try to choose a dog with low prey drive but we all know it’s not that straightforward. When it clicks with a dog, you cannot not think of getting it home. But what you need to do without fail is, even after imparting training, supervise your dog’s behavior towards the rabbit and stop it if there’s any sign of ill-behavior.

Source: Zazu Talks

Find out more about how rabbits and cats can become friends here.

How To Help Dogs Bond With Rabbits

When you introduce a new member, either a dog or a rabbit, to the family, it is important to follow a few steps to make sure everyone gets along fine – especially your dog and the rabbit.

Train your dog

Dogs tend to be aggressive towards prey animals like rabbits. They become territorial if a new rabbit is brought into the house. Best way to help your dog curb their natural instinct of attack is by teaching them how to control it. Dogs love human companions and follow their teachings more than other animals including rabbits. If there’s one animal pet that will listen to you, it is the dog.

Dogs love to chase whereas this behavior will startle your rabbit into fleeing. And once dogs see rabbits running, they’ll take it as an opportunity to hunt. Do not let your dog chase your rabbit, otherwise the bonding process will go to waste.

The idea of bonding rabbits with dogs is for dogs to think the rabbit is a part of the pack. Note that, you’ll have to be patient and continue to supervise them to keep them safe.

Bring an adult dog to set an example

If you have puppies or young adults, wen teaching them, it becomes easier if they see older dogs treat rabbits nicely. Bringing in a trained dog who plays with rabbits and builds a good bond will be a great reference for the younger pet dogs. Young dogs are known for been boisterous, loud and more active than the older ones. Learning by seeing other dogs do and react towards other species will help the pups learn faster.

Let the dog scent the rabbit

To safely have the rabbit in close vicinity of the dog, make use of a hutch. Have your rabbit inside the safety of the hutch while the dog can sniff the rabbit through the bars. Even the rabbit would start to sniff build a familiarity with the dog. Do make sure you control your dog from aggressive barking or whining, this might spook the rabbit.

Let rabbit roam freely

Once the dog has scented the rabbit and become familiar with the rabbit’s scent, the next step can be to let the rabbit roam under supervision. Keep an eye out on the dog and stop it if they show any signs of attack. Letting the rabbit roam for the first few times when the dog is in the rest mode is the best possible moment for this training.

Which Dog Breeds Bond Well With Rabbits

There are certain dog breeds that are more likely to get along with your rabbit. Here’s a list of some of them:

Golden Retriever: They are known to be gentle, docile and easy-to-train animals. They are often affectionate and careful. They befriend other animals easily no matter the species, size or the temperament.

Source: This is Bailey

Maltese: They are small dogs and have a calm personality. They may not be the friendliest dog breed to other animals, but they are laidback and may not choose to chase and hunt. The only downside to Maltese dogs is their bark which may irritate your rabbit or throw them into a panic mode.

Poodles: Trained Poodles can warm up to your rabbit in due time. They are known to be high-strung with piercing barks but they are one of the smartest dog breeds. They are also very affectionate and love to spend quality time with the people it loves.

Toy poodles are the best option as a pet when you have a rabbit pet, considering the dog’s smaller size. Smaller the size of the dog the chances of accidental injury to your rabbit lessens.

Labradors: Despite their large size, they one of the sweet-natured breeds. They are affectionate, careful, playful, and eager to please. One of the reason why they serve as service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and therapy dogs.

English Sheepdog: They can be easily trained to work with prey animals. Family is important to this breed and they can become a good companion for your rabbit. They love affection and attention from their pet owners and other pet breeds.

Beagle: Contrary to what some may say, beagle can get along with rabbits too. While a wonderful family pet, this breed is also known for being the hunting Beagles. Tale as old as time, there prey is mostly rabbits. But, they can be friendly to rabbits in a domestic environment and take a liking if they are trained well under constant supervision.

Source: The Dodo

Great Pyrenees: They livestock guard dogs and tend to spend their time with prey animals. They have extremely low prey drive and are docile and calm. They’ll treat smaller animals with sophisticated gentleness and bond very well. They’ll even take smaller species like rabbits under their protection and a part of their pack.

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

Bottom Line:

Keep your rabbit away from the dog until it’s undergone and accepted the needed training. Eventually, your dog and rabbit will bond with each other with ease. But, remember it’s the type of dog that is not aggressive and can be tamed to accept other species in its pack. Not all dogs can be controlled or their natural instincts to hunt can be curbed.

Although, even the best training can leave room for accidents or injuries. For the safety of your rabbits, keep an eye out for behavioral changes and have a watchful eye when they are together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is grooming important for rabbits?

Yes, rabbits know how to groom to keep themselves clean but they will still need a little help from their pet parents. Here are some ways to groom the rabbits in a safe way.

2. How long can rabbits live?

The lifespan of a rabbit is 8 to 12 years. You can determine their age by looking at the size of their body, hair and skin texture, hock quality, behaviors and day-to-day activities.

3. What type of bedding is good for rabbits?

Avoid anything that could harm your bunny if eaten, breathed in or absorbed. Clean bedding is important for your rabbit’s health and hygiene. Do not let the soiled bedding stay uncleaned. Learn more rabbit’s bedding requirements here.


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