Other name(s): American Blue Rabbit; American White Rabbit; German Blue; German Blue Vienna
The American Rabbit was once one of the most popular breeds in America, raised for both fur and meat. With the introduction of other commercial breeds for meat and the fall of the American fur trade, the American Rabbit found itself listed on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s priority list as a rare “Critically” endangered species, though they’ve more recently been upgraded to the less-endangered “Threatened” category.
Rabbits have unique and dynamic personalities and can form close, loving bonds with their owners. Many can be trained to use a litterbox, come when called, and may even enjoy learning tricks. Coupled with the fact that they’re quiet, require relatively little space, and are very low odor, it’s not hard to see why rabbits have become the third most popular pet in the United States and Great Britain.
There are a few important things to consider before choosing a rabbit as a pet. Rabbits will require your time and attention. They’re very social, curious, and playful animals and will live a sad life if kept confined to a cage with little interaction. They will need space and opportunity to exercise and explore, and you’ll need to make sure the space has been rabbit-proofed against nibbling and gnawing. A rabbit is a long-term commitment with many living more than 10 years – sadly, with their popularity on the rise, the number of rabbits abandoned to shelters and rescues has also risen. They’ll require occasional veterinary care, and in some countries it’s required that they be vaccinated.
Rabbits are a poor choice as a pet for young children. They may be soft and cute, but rabbits are easily stressed and frightened around loud noises and activity. Many rabbits do not enjoy being held or cuddled and may bite or kick to get away
Appearance / health:
The American Rabbit is average sized with a mandolin-shaped body (long body and meaty loins) and large, upright ears. They average between 9 and 12 pounds. They are recognized in two distinct varieties: the blue and the white. Blue was the American Rabbit’s original color, a coat characterized as the deepest and darkest blue coat to be seen in any breed of rabbit. The white variety developed much later from white mutants within the breed, and from the addition of albino Flemish Giants.
Like other small mammals, American Rabbits can be susceptible to colds and viral infections. Exposure to draft, sudden changes in temperature and stress can lower the rabbit’s resistance to sickness. Rabbits are also vulnerable to conjunctivitis (a bacterial infection of the eyelids caused by smoke, dust, and fumes) and ear mites. Intestinal ailments like coccidiosis (parasites propagated by unsanitary conditions), bloat, and hairball obstructions are also common in rabbits.
Behavior / temperament:
Rabbits are social animals, and are happiest when kept in pairs or trios. Rabbits may bond very closely to one another, forming a near-inseparable “bonded pair”. Non-bonded rabbits should have their own cage and should be carefully supervised until they get to know one another. A rabbit kept singly will need lots of time and attention from their human caretaker, though human companionship can never fully substitute for the interaction they have with each other. Ideally a single rabbit will be allowed plenty of free access to its owner, whether that’s cuddling on the couch or following them around the kitchen.
Rabbits are generally playful and curious and you may find that a free-roaming bunny will greet your guests at the door. They tend to get along well with other household pets, though some cats and dogs have a high prey instinct and may act aggressively towards the rabbit. Some rabbits are quite intelligent and enjoy learning tricks, and many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. Rabbits also love to chew and dig, and it’s especially important for their dental health that they have something appropriate to gnaw on. It’s also important that anything they shouldn’t gnaw on be kept from their reach!
Rabbits may spray to mark their territory, though this behavior can be significantly reduced or eliminated by spaying or neutering. Spaying or neutering can also result in a calmer temperament and fewer behavioral issues.
They are most active at sunset and at daybreak. In general, rabbits are physically fragile and easily stressed, and not recommended as pets for young children.
Rabbits are best kept indoors to protect them from extreme temperatures, predators, and other outdoor dangers. They should be allowed to roam and exercise, preferably where they can get sunlight and fresh air. Extension hutches, exercise pens or lawn enclosures are recommended for safe outdoor exposure.
If kept in a cage, the enclosure should be at least five times the size of the rabbit with plenty of room to stretch and stand upright. Wire mesh flooring should be avoided because it can cause pain and injury to a rabbit’s feet. A hide-away box or sleeping quarters should be provided as a quiet place for a rabbit to retreat to feel safe and for sleep. Baby toys and interesting items should also be available for entertainment. Another option is housing your rabbit in a play-pen or puppy-pen.
Many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. The best litters are non-toxic (rabbits may try to nibble on their litter) and dust free. Recycled paper litters or pellets, citrus-based litters, compressed wood pellets, aspen shavings, newspaper (ensure the ink is non-toxic), and hay are all appropriate. Avoid clumping litters as they can clump inside the digestive tract if eaten, and never use wood shavings from pine or cedar.
Rabbits may also be allowed to roam inside the house as long as the areas where they are free to explore are “rabbit-proofed” for safety. Rabbits allowed to roam at all times should still have a hutch to which they can return for sleeping and a feeling of safety.
Rabbits are herbivorous and their diet will mainly consist of hay, pellets, and vegetables. Hay is very important for both digestive health and dental health. Grass hays such as timothy, orchard, and oat hay can be fed in unlimited quantities, but alfalfa is high in calories and should only be provided occasionally. Fresh pellets should also be made available daily – choose a pellet high in fiber and avoid mixes that include other foods like corn, seeds, or dried fruit.
Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet. Dark, leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, spring greens, and some spinach should make up approximately 75% of the fresh food given to your rabbit daily, with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, and summer squash making up the other 25%. Fruits and starchy vegetables should be limited in the diet, but make great treats! Make sure that all fresh foods are washed thoroughly, and uneaten fresh foods should be removed at the end of the day.
Fresh water should always be available, either from a sipper bottle or in a stable water bowl.
gorgeous heritage rabbits, fine pets, calm personalities, American rabbit meat, gentle temperment
small gene pool, uric acid smell, picky eating patterns, rabbit droppings
White varieties, octagonal exercise pen, color genetics, blueish colour
S-T-E-L-L-A-!-!-! The American White Rabbit
Stella bunny, as I like to call her, is an American White Rabbit. She is super soft and very friendly. While I love yelling STELLA when I see her, it never makes up for the fact that she is STINKY!!!! She is not my rabbit, if she was she would be living outside, and as such she lives inside. Her cage is cleaned regularly but to me, it never seems to help with the stench. The aroma of a rabbit should not overshadow the fact that they produce great fertilizer! If you are a gardener, then this pet could hold all sorts of appeal to you. While I don’t have kids myself, I have four nephews and one niece all of whom LOVE to pet her. They are huge child magnets.
Stella doesn’t particularly enjoy being held, but she loves to be pet. She is fairly interactive and knows where her food is kept, what fresh veggies look like, all to which she stands up in excitement for.
While I’ve never personally had a rabbit that was litter box trained, it is a thing that many people choose to do. I’m a dog owner myself, and I just don’t know that mine wouldn’t try and gobble her up one day. So for her own protection, we keep her in a cage. Stella gets to go outside often and is handled daily by a variety of people.
I’ve been privy to rabbits in the past, and I can say with certainty that they have various personalities. I feel lucky that Stella doesn’t bite or have any nasty habits. This has not always been the case in the past. She is the only one on the property (excluding of course the wild rabbits). This is due to the fact that if we were to have another and lets say it was a boy, they would inevitably live up to their saying and produce hundreds of offspring. Maybe hundreds is an exaggeration, but they do tend to have lots of babies. Have you ever tried to find homes for 20 rabbits? It’s hard! I speak from experience!! One is one too many for me, although one is just right for the other people in my home..
From MirandaBoyer Feb 6 2015 6:59PM
A rabbit favorite!
Dandelion greens are especially a favorite of rabbits and often you can find some of it growing wild in your own yard and kids especially love hunting for the plats so they can hand the treat to the rabbits themselves. It is good for the rabbits to eat greens in addition to their feed..
From EllieB 325 days ago
Beware the bunny
Rabbits are horrible pets for Kids. I repeat, horrible pets for kids!
I really wish I could post this to every single one of the breeds of rabbits to make sure everyone sees it.
Generally speaking, rabbits are very docile and friendly. They can get along with other animals if they are not threatened. And the are obviously super fuzzy and soft to bpet. And when they are bunnies, they are so cute.
My problem with rabbits, is not with the rabbits. They are just not pets for kids. Now I have to list the reasons why, in no particular order.
1. They are dirty. They drink and eat non stop, which means they go to the restroom non stop. Even if you litter box train them, the cleaning will far surpass that of a cat or dog.
2. They are somewhat trainable. Some are incredibly intelligent and can be taught some simple agility. For the most part though, all a rabbit is good for is sitting in your lap and getting petted. They aren't affectionate. They just sit when they learn to.
3. They are skittish and easily scared. I have seen rabbits that could hang with dogs and cats, no problem. But these are their natural predators and they are very close to wild animals. A dog barking can cause them to freak out and run. If there is a way out, you may be searching for them for a long time.
4. They can be dangerous. They have very large hind legs for their size and on them are very sharp claws. A child or animal can easily startle them and they will kick defensively with those legs and do far more damage far faster than a cat.
5. They bite. Those very cute little teeth, hurt like heck if they think they are in danger while holding them. They can and will bite, I have a scar on my hand to prove it.
6.They have to be checked regularly. Their teeth and claw growth have to be monitored, and not a job for kids.
That being said, they can be a good pet for someone who wants a low maintenance (outside of the constant cage cleaning) and soft pet. But I do not recommend them for kids. And they would lose interest in the bunny very fast anyway once they are adults and no longer a bunny..
From AnimalLoverr Mar 20 2016 12:08PM