When introducing a dog into your household, you might wonder how well your canine companion will get along with your rabbit (or vice versa). Choosing a rabbit-friendly dog is crucial for a harmonious relationship between a bunny and a dog.
Many dog breeds get along with rabbits due to their gentle temperament and low prey drive. Rabbit-friendly dogs include the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Pug, and Japanese Chin, to name but a few.
In this article, we will explore these breeds and more. We’ll also guide you in creating a safe environment for your rabbit and dog.
As you continue reading, you will find valuable information on rabbit-friendly dog breeds and practical tips to help foster a positive bond between your furry friends. Now, let’s dive into the wonderful world of dogs and bunnies living together harmoniously!
Do Rabbits and Dogs Get Along?
Rabbits and dogs can get along under certain conditions. Dogs with a low prey drive and calm temperament are likelier to get along with rabbits. Other factors to consider are training, size issues, and the rabbit’s nature, which can affect bonding.
Understanding your dog’s prey drive and a careful introduction is required. But with proper care, bunnies and dogs can undoubtedly coexist peacefully.
Ultimately, you must ensure your dog is comfortable around smaller animals and shows no signs of aggression.
Understanding Prey Drive In Dogs
Prey drive is the natural instinct of a dog to chase, catch, and sometimes kill small animals. Certain dog breeds have a higher prey drive, making them less suitable for homes with rabbits. However, with training and supervision, you can help manage your dog’s prey drive and ensure a safe environment for your dog and rabbit.
Some breeds, like the Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, have a naturally low prey drive making the best rabbit-friendly dogs.
Some larger breeds, like Golden Retrievers and Great Pyrenees, can also coexist peacefully with rabbits due to their calm, patient nature, but let’s explore this in the next section.
Dog Breeds That Get Along with Rabbits
There are many dog breeds that can get along well with rabbits. Here are 21 best rabbit-friendly dogs (in no particular order) that make suitable companions for your bunny.
Remember that every dog is unique, and their temperament and behavior depend on their breed and factors like socialization and training.
|Dog Breed||Breed Features|
|Cavalier King Charles Spaniel||Bred as a lap dog, loyal, affectionate, therapy dog|
|Bichon Frise||Small lap dog, playful, affectionate, sociable|
|Maltese||Friendly, small dog, gentle, adaptable, family pet|
|Coton De Tulear||Calm, small breed, non-shedding, playful, friendly|
|Great Pyrenees||Gentle giant, protective, total, patient, tolerant|
|Labrador||Friendly, outgoing, service dog, intelligent, gentle|
|Basset Hound||Calm, low-prey drive, affectionate, loyal, patient|
|Golden Retriever||Social, beloved, soft-mouth, gentle, patient, loyal|
|Poodle||Intelligent, hypoallergenic, highly trainable, loving|
|Japanese Chin||Small lap dog, gentle, affectionate, loyal, friendly|
|Boston Terrier||Companion dog, friendly, happy-go-lucky|
|English Bulldog||Friendly, gentle, medium size, calm, protective|
|Bernese Mountain Dog||Calm, therapy dog, love attention, loyal, gentle|
|Australian Shepherd||Intelligent, low prey drive, loyal, loving, protective|
|Havanese||Hypoallergenic, adaptable, small size, devoted|
|Boxer||Affectionate, friendly, docile, low prey drive, loving|
|Bearded Collie||Trainable, calm, gentle, social, low prey drive|
|Old English Sheepdog||Protective, affectionate, family-friendly, loyal|
|Pomeranian||Small lap dog, non-aggressive, low prey drive|
|Border Collie||Intelligent, low prey drive cooperative, trainable|
|Pug||Lapdog, attentive, family-friendly, loving|
1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These elegant dogs are known for their silky coats and affectionate personalities. Originally from England, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were bred as lap dogs for royalty and are now commonly used as family pets.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are also known for their loyalty and love of attention. They are often used as therapy dogs and are generally good with other pets, including rabbits. Their small size also makes them a good choice for families with limited space.
Check out this fantastic video of a poorly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel receiving lots of support from his rabbit friend…
2. Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise are small, fluffy dogs known for their playful and affectionate personalities. Originally from France, they were bred as lap dogs and are now commonly used as family pets.
They are extremely sociable and affectionate, making them an excellent choice for families with children, and are rabbit friendly.
They are also highly trainable and intelligent, which makes them easy to teach and manage around other animals. Additionally, Bichon Frises are low-shedding, which can benefit households with rabbits that are sensitive to allergens.
The Maltese dog breed is believed to have originated on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean region, where they were bred as companion dogs for royalty and nobility.
They were highly prized for their elegant appearance, friendly personality, and ability to provide comfort and companionship to their owners. Over time, the Maltese became a popular pet among commoners, and their popularity spread throughout Europe and beyond.
Today, the Maltese is still a beloved companion dog, known for their affectionate and gentle nature, intelligence, and trainability. They are highly adaptable and do well in various living situations, including homes with other pets, like rabbits.
Their low-shedding coat also makes them an excellent choice for households with rabbits that are sensitive to allergens, and their small size allows them to coexist peacefully with other animals.
4. Coton De Tulear
This small, fluffy breed is known for being friendly, playful, and affectionate. Originally from Madagascar, Cotons are often referred to as “the royal dog of Madagascar” due to their association with the country’s ruling class.
They have a calm temperament and are generally good with children and other pets, and will get along with rabbits just fine. Their small size and non-shedding coat also make them a good choice for families with allergies or limited space.
5. Great Pyrenees
Despite their large size, Great Pyrenees are gentle giants often used as livestock guardians. Originally from the Pyrenees Mountains in France, these dogs are known for being protective and loyal but also patient and tolerant.
This makes them a good choice for families with rabbits, as they are unlikely to harm them and may even be protective of them. Great Pyrenees are also known for their calm demeanor and affectionate nature. I love this breed, and you can read more about them in this article as I cover their full breed profile, 11 Reasons Why the Great Pyrenees Are Good Dogs.
The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada, originally bred for hunting and retrieving upland game birds and waterfowl. They are now commonly used as service dogs, therapy dogs, and family pets.
Labs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities. They are generally good with children and other pets and are often considered rabbit-friendly due to their gentle and patient nature.
The Labrador Retriever is also known for their trainability and intelligence, making them a good choice for families looking for a dog that can be trained to behave around their pets.
7. Basset Hound
The Basset Hound was originally bred in France as a scent hound for hunting small game, such as rabbits and hares. Their short legs and long ears were specifically designed to help them track scents close to the ground, and their slow, methodical gait allowed their human hunting partners to keep up with them.
But hang on! We’re talking about rabbit-friendly dogs!
While the Basset Hound was bred for hunting, they were not bred to be aggressive towards their prey. Instead, they were trained to track and locate game and then alert their human hunting partners so they could capture the prey. This breeding purpose and training likely contributed to their low prey drive, as they were not encouraged to attack or harm the game they were hunting.
Basset Hounds are now commonly used as family pets. They are friendly, affectionate, loyal, patient, and calm, which makes them a good match to get along with a pet rabbit.
8. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever originated in Scotland in the mid-19th century. They were bred to be hunting dogs, specifically for retrieving game birds, such as ducks and pheasants. Their soft mouth and natural ability to retrieve made them ideal for this purpose, and they quickly became a popular breed among hunters and sportspeople.
Today, the Golden Retriever is still a popular breed for hunting and sporting activities, but they are also widely recognized as a beloved family pet. They are known for their friendly and loyal nature, making them excellent companions for children and other pets, including rabbits.
Golden Retrievers are exceptionally social and thrive on human interaction. They are also highly trainable and intelligent and are known for their gentle and patient nature, which can be especially beneficial for households with bunnies.
Check out the below video of cute baby bunnies getting along with a gorgeous Golden Retriever.
The Poodle originated in Germany in the 16th century. They were originally bred as water retrievers, specifically for retrieving waterfowl during hunting expeditions.
Today, Poodles come in a variety of sizes, including toy, miniature, and standard, and they are widely recognized as beloved family pets. They are known for their intelligence, trainability, and hypoallergenic coat, which makes them an excellent choice for households with rabbits that are sensitive to allergens.
The Poodle is a wonderful breed for anyone looking for a loyal and loving companion to share their home with a bunny. They are great rabbit-friendly dogs that will be an active and engaged member of the household.
10. Japanese Chin
This small, elegant breed is known for its affectionate and gentle nature. Originally from China, Japanese Chins were bred as lap dogs for royalty and are now commonly used as family pets. They are often described as cat-like due to their independent nature and tendency to groom themselves.
Japanese Chins are generally good with other animals, including bunnies, and their small size makes them a good choice for families with limited space. They are also known for their loyalty and love of attention.
11. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers were bred in the United States in the 19th century for fighting as well as hunting rats in garment factories. They were created by crossing the English Bulldog with the now-extinct White English Terrier, resulting in a small, muscular breed with a distinctive tuxedo-like coat.
However, it is important to note that this was a long time ago, and the breed has since evolved into a companion dog. As their popularity grew, they became more commonly kept as companion animals, and their breeding purpose shifted towards creating a friendly and affectionate pet.
Today, Boston Terriers are known for their pleasant and loyal nature, and they make excellent pets for families with children and rabbits. They are often referred to as the “American Gentleman” and possess a happy-go-lucky and friendly personality.
12. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog was originally bred in England in the 16th century as a working dog for bull-baiting, a blood sport that involved setting dogs on bulls for entertainment. The breed was also used for bear-baiting and as a guard dog.
However, in 1835, bull-baiting was outlawed in England, and the English Bulldog’s breeding purpose shifted towards creating a more docile and friendly companion dog.
Over time, breeders focused on creating a dog with a more gentle temperament, and Bulldogs evolved into the friendly and affectionate pets that we know today. They are generally good with children and other pets, including rabbits, due to their calm demeanor.
English Bulldogs are also known for their loyalty and love of attention, and as a medium-sized breed, they are beneficial for households with rabbits that may be easily frightened or overwhelmed by larger dogs.
I love this wrinkly-faced breed (well, I am from the UK!), and if you want to know more about them, you can read all about their Pros and Cons.
13. Bernese Mountain Dog
Despite their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their gentle and friendly nature. Originally from Switzerland, these dogs were bred as working dogs for farmers and are now commonly used as family pets.
They are often used as therapy dogs and are great with children and other pets. Their calm demeanor and protective nature make them a good choice for families with rabbits, and they are often considered rabbit-friendly dogs. Bernese Mountain Dogs are also known for their loyalty and love of attention.
14. Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd was originally bred in the United States in the 19th century as a working dog for herding livestock. They were bred to be intelligent, energetic, and highly trainable.
They are named after the country of Australia because it is believed that the dogs that were used to develop the breed were brought to the US from Australia by sheep ranchers to help them with their flocks.
While the Australian Shepherd was bred for herding, they have a low prey drive and are generally good with other animals. This is likely due to their breeding purpose as a herding dog rather than a hunting dog.
Overall, they are a wonderful breed for anyone looking for a loyal and loving companion to share their home with a pet rabbit.
The Havanese originated in Cuba and were initially bred as companion dogs for wealthy families. They were highly valued for their friendly and affectionate nature, as well as their hypoallergenic coat, which made them well-suited for indoor living.
Havanese have a low prey drive and are, therefore, generally good with bunnies. They are affectionate and loyal toward their owners, and their small size and gentle nature make them well-suited for living in small homes or apartments.
This breed is a wonderful dog if you’re looking for a devoted and loving companion to share your home with your pet rabbit.
16. Boxer Dog
The Boxer dog was originally bred in Germany in the 19th century as a working dog for hunting large game, such as wild boar and deer. They were also used for bull-baiting and as guard dogs.
However, over time, the Boxer’s breeding purpose shifted towards creating a more docile and friendly companion dog. Breeders focused on creating a dog with a more gentle temperament, and the breed evolved into the friendly and affectionate pet that we know today.
Due to their now low prey drive, they are, by and large, good with rabbits and other animals. Their adaptability and friendly nature make them a great choice for families who want a dog that will be a peaceful and loving member of the home.
17. Bearded Collie
The Bearded Collie was originally bred in Scotland as a herding dog for sheep and cattle. They were used to help farmers manage their flocks, and their long, shaggy coats helped protect them from the harsh Scottish weather. The Bearded Collie’s intelligence and trainability made them well-suited for this task, and they were highly valued by farmers.
While the Bearded Collie was bred to herd livestock, they generally have a low prey drive and are good with pet rabbits and other animals. This is likely due to their history of working closely with other animals on the farm.
Additionally, Bearded Collies are known for their calm demeanor and trainability, which makes them a good choice for families looking for a dog that can be trained to behave around their pets. They are often described as gentle and affectionate dogs, which may also contribute to their ability to get along with other animals.
18. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog originated in England in the 18th century. They were initially bred for herding and protecting livestock, particularly sheep (as in its name), but they were also used for driving cattle and guarding the homestead.
Over time, the Old English Sheepdog’s breeding purpose moved towards creating a friendly and affectionate companion dog. Breeders focused on creating a dog with a more gentle temperament, and the breed evolved into the friendly and affectionate pet that we know today.
Due to their calm and patient nature, they make a great choice for families with children and other pets. Their low prey drive, adaptability, and friendly nature make them the perfect choice for families who want a dog that will be a peaceful and loving member of the home.
The Pomeranian was originally bred in the Pomerania region of Europe as a companion dog for royalty. They were highly valued for their small size, fluffy coat, and affectionate personality. Pomeranians were often kept as lap dogs and were popular among the upper class.
Pomeranians generally have a low prey drive, are non-aggressive, and are known to be good with bunnies. This is likely due to their breeding purpose as companion dogs and their small size.
Additionally, they are known for their trainability and love of attention, which makes them a good choice for families with pets. They are playful and affectionate dogs that enjoy spending time with their owners.
20. Border Collie
The Border Collie was originally bred in the Anglo-Scottish border region as a herding dog for sheep. They were used to help farmers manage their flocks, and their herding instincts and agility made them well-suited for this task.
Many are still used as working dogs today, and they are highly valued for their intelligence, trainability, and skill to work independently. However, you’ll also see many Border Collies as companion pets.
So, where does this leave you with this breed and a bunny?
Despite their history as herding dogs, Border Collies generally have a low prey drive and are known to be good with rabbits due to working closely with other animals on the farm. This allowed them to develop a cooperative and friendly nature that makes them well-suited for living with other pets.
Border Collies are very intelligent and enjoy learning new things. Their friendly and cooperative personality also likely contributes to their low prey drive and ability to get along with pet rabbits.
Pugs are known for their playful and affectionate personalities, as well as their loyalty to their families. Originally from China, Pugs were bred as lap dogs for royalty and are now commonly used as family pets.
They are often described as “clowns” due to their playful and mischievous nature. Pugs are generally good with other animals, and their small size makes them a good choice for families with limited space.
Pugs are also known for their love of attention and their tendency to follow their owners around the house. So, if you have a rabbit that also likes to follow you everywhere, this breed will be happy to spend time with your bunny.
Dog Breeds That Will Likely Chase Your Rabbit
It’s essential for you to be aware of dog breeds with higher prey drives, as these breeds are more likely to chase your rabbit. Knowing this information can help you make informed decisions when choosing a pet or introducing a new furry friend to your home.
Terriers are energetic and tenacious, with a strong instinct to hunt small animals. Breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier, Border Terrier, and Rat Terrier could pose a danger to your rabbit.
Some sporting breeds, like Weimaraners and Pointers, may also view rabbits as prey. With these dogs, early socialization with rabbits and consistent training is necessary to help mitigate potential issues. Keep in mind that, even with training, some dogs might not fully overcome their natural instincts to hunt.
Introducing a Dog to a Rabbit
Introducing a dog to a bunny can be a smooth process if done correctly. The first step is to familiarize both animals with each other’s scent. Place a towel or blanket your rabbit sleeps on near your dog’s sleeping area, and do the same for your rabbit with an item that has your dog’s scent.
Choose a neutral environment for their first meeting, like a room where neither animal spends much time. Ensure the rabbit is kept in a safe space, such as a travel cage, to prevent any unpredictable behavior from either animal.
Keep your dog on a leash, and let them observe the rabbit from a distance initially. Gradually shorten the distance between the two while monitoring their behavior closely. Reward your dog for remaining calm and respecting the rabbit’s space.
- Initial meetings should be brief and closely monitored.
- Maintain a controlled environment to ensure the safety of both animals.
- Always reward your dog for positive interactions with the rabbit.
Continue with supervised contact until both the dog and the bunny appear comfortable in each other’s presence. Remember, every animal is unique, and patience is key to building a harmonious relationship between them.
If you’re a rabbit owner and also a dog lover, it’s important to choose a dog breed that is compatible with your furry friend. The breeds I’ve listed above are known for their gentle and friendly nature towards rabbits, making them great choices for families with both pets.
Remember, it’s always important to supervise interactions between dogs and rabbits, regardless of breed. But with proper training and socialization, rabbit-friendly dogs can make wonderful companions for your bunny and family.