Multi-pet homes can be a serene sanctuary of fluff, or a complete disaster depending on whether your pets click. The same goes for dogs and rabbits, a pet combo that can either be ideal or turn into a nightmare. While a bun-pooch relationship will depend on several factors, a determining reason for mutual acceptance or intolerance may be their personality.
Being natural predators, dogs’ temperament will, to some extent, depend on their genetic predispositions. Some dogs are hunters and instinctively chase prey animals like rabbits, while some are herders and would rather enfold and protect a lovely bunny.
With that in mind, here are nine dog breeds that make the right choice for a rabbit-loving home and will most probably take a liking to a new long-eared friend.
Dog breeds that get along with rabbits
Although a typical representative of the hunting canines, these gentle and mild-tempered dogs are very accepting of other pets, like cats and rabbits. Due to their curious nature and relaxed attitude, Basset Hounds will rarely scare away a timid rabbit and would instead leave them space to get comfortable and calm.
Bernese Mountain Dog
These gentle giants used to be bred in Switzerland to herd cattle and serve as watchdogs, so they can easily take up the role of protectors. That said, their size and robust presence may be too much for introverted and shy rabbit breeds, so make sure to match this dog with a more social and outgoing bun.
To turn this intelligent and good-natured pooch into a loving family member, he’ll need devoted training in early puppyhood.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This sporty and outgoing breed is no less affectionate and patient, making it an excellent match for rabbits. A Cavalier will do its best to please the owner and follow instructions, which is a preferable trait for proper training. Introduce a puppy Cavalier to a rabbit, and with some behavior assistance, you’ll get a lifelong friendship.
On top of being perfect family dogs, these carefree goofballs are usually very accepting of other pets. A Goldie will most probably lay down playfully and curiously in front of a rabbit, introducing himself with a greeting sniff. Make sure, though, to keep the bunny in their hutch the first time you introduce it to a Golden Retriever, as they can accidentally cause harm in their clumsy and uncontrollable excitement – especially if they’re not properly trained.
Similarly to their relative Goldies, Labradors effortlessly accept fellow pets and make fantastic family dogs. Being reliable, loyal, and patient, Labs can get along well with rabbits and trained to stay calm around them. Labrador retrievers get really sad and restless when left alone, so the company of a friend rabbit can be beneficial for them too.
This small breed is a great pet choice for small homes or apartments. Their ability to adapt and learn makes them a desirable match for other animals, like rabbits. Although small and cute, a Maltese can be fierce and strong-headed, but with a few training tricks, it can get used to sharing space with a fellow pet.
Coton de Tulear
This is another small breed that matches well with rabbits due to its adapting ability. This cotton-like fur ball is very intelligent, but sometimes needs assistance with behavior and jealousy. Luckily, their welcoming nature and love of company make them very accepting of other pets.
Contrary to popular belief, Boxers are usually gentle, loyal and very affectionate. Underneath their rough and ready exterior lies a loving and intelligent cuddler. Of course, a Boxer’s attitude towards other pets will depend on their upbringing, as Boxers can easily be trained into wary and vicious guard dogs. If you bond a bunny and a boxer from an early age, they can become good friends and live in harmony.
This Asian breed was actually created to serve as a loyal and devoted companion. What more can you want for a defenseless and gentle rabbit?
A Japanese Chin is small and tamed enough to comfortably lie next to a rabbit who will probably feel safe to hop around it and not feel threatened. Since they can get shy and reserved around strangers, don’t be surprised if you notice your bunny being territorial and dominant around the Japanese Chin.
Although breeds listed here typically have low prey drive, this doesn’t guarantee they will leave your rabbit alone or that other breeds will always chase one. No matter how adorable and comfortable your pets look together, never leave a dog and a rabbit loose without supervision. Keep the rabbit safe and enclosed in a sturdy cage or a rabbit hutch to ensure no one gets injured.
The bottom line is, proper behavior training, safety measures and patience are what it takes for these two animals to befriend or at least live safely and comfortably in the same household.
About the Author:
Emma is a professional writer and blogger, with two furry friends and a lot of pet behavioral and pet health knowledge to share. She has written for numerous big animal magazines and health sites, and is a regular contributor to The Catington Post.