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Suggestions Please

How to help your child get the most from a pet rabbit.
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Suggestions Please

Post Number:#1  Unread postby HOWsMom » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:19 am


My daughter is almost 11, she is currently researching, saving money, and planning for her first bunny.

We live in a city, so this will be a house-bunny, with limited outdoor time.

She has planned quite a large cage, and knows she needs a safe enclosure as well for out-of-cage / training time as we have dogs.

She wants a small-ish rabbit, but not TOO small (so - no Flemish Giants, and no Netherland Dwarfs either), and she wants to be able to show the rabbit in local shows, at least one of which is ARBA sanctioned.

She does not plan on breeding the rabbit, but wants one as a pet.

She has been reading rabbit books, going through tons of websites, and been in touch with RabbitRescue Canada, as well as talking with a few breeders at the last local rabbit show (at a local fair).

We are in Ontario, Canada if that matters for breed availability.

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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Dood » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:47 am


There are not many medium sized breeds to choose from in Ontario

A well marked Harlequin might fit the bill

There are LOTS of over sized Hollands and crosses (5+ pounds) that might be able to show as Mini Lops :mrgreen: (pedigrees are not required to show rabbits, they just need to match a Standard of Pefection of one of the breeds and not have any disqualifications)

I have Mini Lops but they are definitely not show quality ;)

Here is a Havana (4.5 to 6.5 pounds) Breeder - http://countryviewrabbitry.weebly.com/havana.html

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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Celice » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:21 am


you can try Himilayan's they are a very kid friendly rabbit. I love mine they have such great personalities, or a Mini Rex, dutch, and satins make good pets and show bunnies.

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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:18 pm


I've also heard some great things about Himalayans and mini lops.

Show marked harlequins can be on the trickier side to find.

Some lines of rex or mini rex are nice and docile, but some are on the higher strung side, so if you go that route, be careful to make sure the breeder has compatible ideas about breeding for temper.

(All the handling in the world may not help a genetically high strung animal after puberty.)

Also, may I suggest a MALE rabbit?
It seems to me that doe temper is more of a gamble and that bucks are more consistent.

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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#5  Unread postby HOWsMom » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:56 pm


She is still doing her research, so we really appreciate the advice.

My guess is that she will end up getting her bunny through a Rabbit Rescue - they have their buns already spayed / neutered, which she can show via 4H, but not sanctioned shows (I think - I may be pulling this out of thin air!).
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:53 pm


I find that Rex have a very sweet temperament, and they are a smaller meat-class breed. I would not recommend a Satin or a Mini Satin as a pet, at least not out of the lines around here- they are very high strung compared to Rex- the only scratches I get from mature rabbits are from our "Satans". ;)

I would be extremely cautions about getting a rabbit from a rescue- many of them believe in trying to save everybunny even if they have potentially painful and life threatening illnesses such as Pasteurella. If you do opt for a rescue, I would highly recommend visiting it and listening for sneezing from the rabbits. An occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about, but if you hear multiple sneezes in a short period of time, RUN AWAY.

You are correct that altered rabbits cannot be shown in ARBA. The whole point of showing rabbits is to evaluate their type so you can further improve the breed by breeding only superior animals.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#7  Unread postby HOWsMom » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:49 pm


We are definitely getting some heavy pressure from the Rescue - saying "I don’t think that there should even be a question of whether you get a rabbit from a breeder or a rescue/shelter. Every time you buy one from a breeder, one is euthanized in a shelter… pretty simple. The only humane option is to adopt".

As with any other organization with a cause, I will definitely take their beliefs into account, but I will not for a moment agree that it is the "ONLY" option.

A good friend of mine works with this rescue organization, so we do get more pressure to go with them.

I generally do agree that rescuing pets is the best (none of my pets have ever come from breeders) - but if we decide that one specific breed is the best for her / us - I will also take THAT into account.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ottersatin » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:31 pm


Every time you buy one from a breeder, one is euthanized in a shelter… pretty simple. The only humane option is to adopt".
The above statement is absolutely UNTRUE!
A Rabbit purchased from a reputable breeder is bound to be of better quality,
more healthy, and more customer/owner friendly than an unwanted re-homed
rabbit with no obvious background. A breed knows all of the particulars of
any Rabbit that he/she might offer as a pet or breeding stock.
The decision is yours, but you may be allowing yourself to be brainwashed
into believing the hype of the Rescues!
Best of luck to you and your Rabbit[s] whatever your final decision might be.
Ottersatin. :oldtimer: I DO NOT have any SATAN'S! Only Satins!
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:58 pm


HOWsMom wrote:We are definitely getting some heavy pressure from the Rescue - saying "I don’t think that there should even be a question of whether you get a rabbit from a breeder or a rescue/shelter. Every time you buy one from a breeder, one is euthanized in a shelter… pretty simple. The only humane option is to adopt".


Oh boy. :canofworms: get ready for the MSD :soap: relating to all animals, not just rabbits.

Animal "rescue" has become the new fad with pet owners, and while I applaud this with people that are experienced in the care of (insert species), I think that encouraging (guilt tripping) first time owners into adopting "rescue animals" who often have behavioral or health issues is counter productive in the long run because the cost of training and corrective health care can be exorbitant and ultimately make new owners think that keeping an animal is too expensive and time consuming.

Case in point; I breed Australian Shepherd/Border Collie cross dogs and charge a pretty penny for my puppies... but they are born in the house, handled daily, are well socialized with people and dogs and are raised in a clean environment on a high quality food to ensure their future health and well being.

I raise our puppies to be calm and responsive before encouraging any excitable behaviors and counsel prospective owners on the appropriate way to raise a puppy so that it will be a polite and responsive member of the family.

Contrast that to the rescue puppy (or dog) that was born in the back yard, had limited contact, ate crappy food served out of a trash can lid, was perhaps neglected, beaten, or otherwise abused- but at the very least did not have enough interaction to become a well rounded dog.

My second dog was a "rescue" from the pound, and he was an absolute nightmare for about two years until I corrected all of his behavioral issues through intensive training. Thankfully for him, I was able to devote that time and energy to his training since I was a young adult with no other obligations- but few people have the time, money, or desire to "rehabilitate" problem animals... and even if they do, they may decide that owning a dog/cat/rabbit is too expensive and time consuming to get another.

I feel that responsible and ethical breeders actually do much more in furthering the love of keeping pet animals than "rescues", primarily because their goal is to provide animals that are well rounded and a pleasure to add to the family.

The initial cost may be greater, but the savings in training costs and health issues will more than make up for it in the long run.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#10  Unread postby 3mina » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:05 pm


If your daughter wants to show, going to a breeder is your best option in my opinion. Taking a generic 'rescue bunny' to a show is discouraging for adults much less a youngster. At our February show a very nice lady brought her rabbits and after her first time on the table she was ready to chuck them all because she had been misled as to the quality of her stock. It took us quite a while to reassure her that it was possible to improve what she had. I would hate to see that happen to a kid.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Cspr » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:33 pm


While rescue rabbits can be lovely, I have to say my experience has been a bit sub-par.

I took in a "Lion Lop" (aka Lionhead mixed with some sort of lop, probably Mini). I was told came with two cages, one indoor and one outdoor, so I felt it was a good investment. When I went to see her, I was automatically concerned. She was being fed only fruits/veggies and hay, no sign of pellets anywhere. While natural feeding can work, they were feeding carrots and other high sugar items like they weren't treat food. She was in a guinea pig cage filled with pine shaving bedding. She was constantly sneezing (changed the bedding to more rabbit-friendly and no problem) and they seemed unconcerned even though it could have been P. When I looked her over, I noticed a) she had a broken foot and b) she had never been brushed despite having a single mane. My bleeding heart went "Welp, we gotta take her," so I did.

It took her months to trust me enough to be able to pick her up without her hyperventilating and kicking violently. I still have scars from that. Oftentimes she won't eat her proper food, picking through to get the "best bits" and leaving the rest. While the guinea pig cage wasn't technically too small, she still was cage aggressive and constantly shook and chewed the bars. I figured I'd put her in the outdoor hutch with my other rabbits after quarantine. She then decided that she couldn't be contained and escaped her hutch multiple times by chewing or kicking out, so it ended up a patchwork mess of pieces of wood I screwed on to cover up holes. I would go out and end up having to chase her around my wooded backyard. :/ Nowadays she lives loose as a yard rabbit, but she's strangely attracted to water, particularly mud puddles, so her fur often mats despite my best efforts. She still doesn't much like to be handled, making grooming and toenail clipping quite the chore.

I admit I have also had trouble with irresponsible breeders, but the majority of breeders I meet at shows have extremely pampered, spoiled animals who are all treated like they're royalty. Also? A lot of the breeds wouldn't compete with rescued rabbits at all. They're fur/meat rabbits or wool rabbits or otherwise not companion breeds. That'd be like saying if you buy a livestock guardian dog, you'd kill a Labrador/pit bull mix when the latter dog might be absolutely awful at guarding sheep. Anyway, if you want to get a rabbit to show, I suggest going to a show breeder. That way your kid might get a ribbon and, yeah, it's not all about winning but a chance at winning is still a good thing. After all, even as an adult having a rabbit DQ'd stinks.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Susie570 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:18 am


I'm gonna chime in as well.

I used to think that rabbit rescues were a good idea. I no longer do.

I believe that rescues for just about any other type of animal is a valuable asset. A dot, cat, horse or bird taken from rescue, can USUALLY be rehabilitated with time and patience. MOST of the (non-fatal) diseases for those critters can be treated over time, or at least vaccinated against to protect other animals.

These things are not true of rabbits.

Buy from a reputable breeder who has friendly, healthy stock. Unhealthy, crazy rabbits (I hate to say) should be euthanized, not 'saved'. I say this as a person who has been into 'animal rights' most of my life and I say it because to do anything else is a huge disservice to these rabbits, the adoptive owners and other rabbits. I will amend my statement to say that IF a rescue maintained a strict policy of culling sick and genetically crazy rabbits, as well as providing their rabbits with proper care, I would be in full support of their efforts. /rant.

Oh, and my personal favorite breed is mini lops. Medium sized, (mostly) sweet tempered, social rabbits bred to be good pets. Few genetic health problems.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#13  Unread postby HOWsMom » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:58 am


The rescue organizer already got back to me.

Vet records are kept, and given to the new owner upon adoption.

Pasteurella is treated - with antibiotics of various types, the first line being baytril.
So - is this infection treatable / curable ? Or not ?
We have other pets in the home, I'm not sure I would want to take the chance of bringing something into the home if it's not.
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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#14  Unread postby owlsfriend » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:08 am


My only comment is that a Free Rabbit, is never a good deal....

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Re: Suggestions Please

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Miss M » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:13 am


If you were to adopt from the rescue, I recommend you get only a rabbit that has never been treated for illness. Fur mites or ear mites are one thing, illness is another. If you bring home a rabbit that was treated for Pasteurella, the chances are very good that the rabbit will relapse at some point. It is generally agreed upon that Pasteurellosis cannot actually be cured, only knocked down. This is more of a danger to other rabbits than other species, though it can be transmitted among species, if I remember right.

You could consider a rabbit that has been at the rescue but never treated for anything infectious. This would suggest a healthy immune system.

I would agree with the others, though. You are more likely to be pleased with a rabbit from a good breeder. :)
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