Choosing Your Companion Rabbit

Selection Criteria

There is no rabbit who won’t make a delightful companion if you are willing to allow the rabbit to be him or herself, and not make demands that s/he behave toward you according to your concepts what s/he should be like. Patience, kindness, and spending lots of time offering yourself will bring out the delightful character of any rabbit.
However, children need immediate gratification, and few adults are willing to care for an animal who takes little interest in them for months before giving their affection. If you are an adult who can do this, there is special delight in winning the affection of a reluctant rabbit! But be honest with yourself. And if children are involved, consider their limitations.

Where to Get Companion Rabbits

One of the best places to get companion rabbits is from the House Rabbit Society, an organization that licenses chapters around the world. These chapters assist shelters in their areas, by taking rabbits when the spatial limits or medical abilities of the shelters are exceeded.
Each chapter spays and neuters all of the rabbits who come to them, litter-train them, socialize them, and work with adoptive families to guarantee the success of adoptions. HRS knows rabbits as house-companions better than any other organization, and is committed to being available to help solve problems, give advice, and answer questions as long as adopters have rabbits.

The Colorado HRS is located in Broomfield, serving the entire state, and sometimes, states beyond Colorado.

Where NOT to Get Your Companion Rabbit

When you purchase rabbits from breeders, county fairs, 4-H, stock shows, pet stores, and people who wanted “just one litter,” you contribute to the suffering or death of many other rabbits. Let me explain. Very few sellers provide good information about the care of rabbits. Nor do they question whether buyers will be committed to the rabbits’ well-being. In fact, they may try to make people buy rabbits on impulse, by selling 4-week old bunnies (some of whom won’t survive or will succumb to illness because they aren’t well enough developed to be weaned).

As a result, many people who buy from these sources are likely to do any of the following:

  • Put rabbits in a hutch outdoors (which is itself cruel, and is nothing but an extra chore for the people).
  • Feed the rabbits an unhealthy diet.
  • Sometimes don’t feed them regularly (starving strays are sometimes found, who have clawed their way out of a hutch in desperation).
  • Fail to recognize symptoms of serious illnesses.
  • often dump them, leaving them to be eaten by the dozens of predators waiting for them.

If you purchase a rabbit from these sources, you are personally responsible for the killing of a rabbit in a shelter who could have had a home with you. You are also personally responsible for the suffering of the next litter that the seller will produce, because you made it worth the seller’s while to breed another litter.

Note: Most of us bought our first rabbit from these sources without realizing the consequences. It is not our intention to blame anyone for unwittingly being pulled into the lure of those who sell rabbits. But those who deliberately purchase a rabbit, knowing the consequences, certainly don’t share the HRS philosophy, and have no place with us unless they re-think their actions.