Can Rabbits And Dogs Live Together?

Can dogs and rabbits live harmoniously together? Many pet owners dream of a multi-species household with adorable rabbits hopping around and dogs wagging their tails. Yet some wonder if dogs’ hunting instincts make this fantasy impossible. Is bonding possible between prey and predator? With proper training, supervision, and responsible pet ownership, dogs and rabbits can become the best of friends! This 10,000 word guide covers everything you need to know about safely housing dogs and rabbits. Learn breed recommendations, introduction techniques, bonding timelines, play supervision, and more. With patience and compassion, you can facilitate rewarding relationships between your dogs and rabbits that enrich the lives of both species. Read on to make the dream a reality!

Do Dogs And Rabbits Get Along?

With proper introductions and supervision, dogs and rabbits can get along very well. However, some considerations should be made before deciding to house rabbits and dogs together. Dogs have a natural instinct to chase small prey animals like rabbits. Even very friendly dogs may trigger a rabbit's instinct to run away or fight back if approached too quickly. With time and positive training, many dogs can learn to interact safely with rabbits. The specific temperaments of the individual dog and rabbit should be taken into account. Generally, laid back adult dogs that have been trained not to chase are the best companions for rabbits. Puppies and high prey drive dogs are not recommended. With patience and the right personalities, dogs and rabbits can become the best of friends.

Can Rabbits Bond with Dogs?

Yes, rabbits are capable of bonding with dogs when properly introduced. Rabbits are very social animals that thrive when paired with an affectionate companion. Typically, opposite sex pairings tend to get along best. Like any relationship, a rabbit-dog bond takes time to develop through gradual positive interactions. Treats and toys can be used to encourage friendly behaviors between rabbits and dogs. With supervised play times and living in close proximity, rabbits and dogs can form strong bonds. Signs that your rabbit and dog have bonded include mutual grooming, laying together, and playfully interacting. As long as the dog is gentle and respectful of the rabbit's space, forming a close friendship is certainly possible. Monitor all interactions at first to ensure the safety of your pets. Once a bond is established, many dogs become protective companions and loyal friends to their rabbit housemates.

How To Bond Rabbits And Dogs

Bonding rabbits and dogs requires patience, training, and plenty of supervision. Here are some tips for successfully introducing rabbits and dogs:

  • Start with a mellow, rabbit-savvy adult dog. Puppies and high prey drive breeds are not recommended.

  • Allow the pets to meet each other's scent before direct interaction. Switch sleeping blankets between living spaces.

  • Set up a baby gate so the animals can see each other but not interact at first.

  • Keep rabbits in an exercise pen or cage during initial meetings. Dogs should be leashed.

  • Use positive reinforcement training to teach the dog to remain calm around the rabbit. Reward with treats when they lay down near the rabbit's pen.

  • Gradually allow short, supervised play sessions. Provide distraction toys and treats. Separate immediately if either pet seems distressed.

  • Create positive associations between the pets by feeding treats when they interact nicely.

  • Once bonded, allow longer periods of supervised playtime together.

  • Never leave the pets unsupervised until you are 100% sure they get along.

With training, patience and time, rabbits and dogs can become the best of friends! Go at their pace and allow the bond to form naturally.

Introduce The Animals Through a Cage

One effective way to introduce rabbits and dogs is through a cage enclosure. Here are some tips:

  • Obtain a secure metal dog crate or exercise pen for your rabbit. Make sure the dog cannot fit its head through the bars or knock over the enclosure.

  • Set up the rabbit's cage in a common area and allow the dog to approach and investigate while the rabbit is safely confined inside.

  • Encourage calm behavior from the dog through praise and treats. Correct any growling, barking or agitation.

  • Once the dog remains relaxed around the crate, begin supervised play sessions with the rabbit in its cage. Provide chew toys to keep the dog engaged.

  • After multiple calm and relaxed interactions through the barrier, allow short introductions with the rabbit out and the dog leashed. Provide toys and treats to prevent chasing behaviors.

  • If meetings go well when leashed, try short spans of supervised free time together. Watch closely for any signs of distress or agitation.

  • Work gradually up to longer periods of play with positive reinforcement training.

  • Maintain the cage as a safe space for the rabbit to retreat to if overwhelmed by the dog.

Introducing rabbits and dogs through a secure barrier establishes positive associations and teaches dogs to remain calm around these new animals. With time, supervision, and training, many dogs and rabbits can progress to becoming best buddies through cage introductions!

Have Your Rabbit And Dog Bonded?

How can you tell if your rabbit and dog have successfully bonded? Here are some positive signs to look for:

  • Your pets actively seek out each other's company and like to spend time together.

  • Your dog remains calm and gentle with your rabbit. The rabbit shows no signs of fear or aggression toward your dog.

  • Your pets engage in mutual grooming behaviors, nuzzling, or laying together comfortably.

  • Your dog shows protective, friendly behaviors toward the rabbit and vice versa.

  • Play sessions appear enjoyable for both pets. No aggressive behaviors are exhibited.

  • Your pets nap near each other or may share a sleeping space.

  • Your rabbit flops comfortably when your dog is nearby.

  • Your pets happily share treats or toys with no resource guarding.

  • Your rabbit follows your dog around or solicits the dog to play.

  • Your dog respects the rabbit's space when needed.

While each bond is unique, these are some positive markers that indicate your rabbit and dog enjoy each other's companionship. Always supervise interactions, but take these signs as good news! With time, many rabbit-dog pairings can become the closest of animal friends.

Best Dog Breeds for Pet Rabbits

When selecting a canine companion for a pet rabbit, low-prey drive dog breeds are the best choices. Some examples of dog breeds typically compatible with rabbits include:

Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular breeds for rabbit owners. Their gentle, affectionate nature makes them well-suited for properly supervised interactions. Their energy level can be easily adjusted to the rabbit's preferences.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador retrievers are often recommended for multi-pet homes with rabbits. They tend to be very food motivated and eager to please, which aids in training them to get along with rabbits. Their playful yet calm demeanor can mix well with rabbits.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a trustworthy breed that does well with other companion pets. They are extremely affectionate and get along with most animals. Their playful energy makes them fun potential rabbit buddies.


These adaptable small dogs thrive when kept with other pets. Maltese can be gentle, calm housedogs that may enjoy lounging with rabbit friends after proper introductions. Their size makes them less intimidating playmates.


Retired racing greyhounds are couch potatoes by nature. They are typically docile, peaceful, and unlikely to give chase when introduced properly to rabbits. Their shared love of naps makes greyhounds and rabbits often compatible.

With training, supervision, and responsible pet ownership, these breeds have the best temperaments for safely living and bonding with pet rabbits when properly introduced. Always adopt from reputable sources when adding any new dog to a home with rabbits.

Are Golden Retrievers Good with Rabbits?

Golden retrievers are often considered one of the best dog breeds for homes with pet rabbits. Here are some reasons goldens tend to make good rabbit companions:

  • Their gentle temperament and eager-to-please nature makes them highly trainable. Goldens can learn proper interactions with rabbits through positive reinforcement.

  • Goldens were bred as sporting dogs with a soft mouth for retrieving fowl undamaged. This makes them genetically predisposed to having a gentle way of playing.

  • They have an energetic but not overzealous nature. Goldens are happy to run and play but are also content with lounging. This matches well with most rabbits' activity levels.

  • Goldens thrive when kept with other animals. They often form strong social bonds with rabbit companions.

  • Their intelligence aids in training them to respect rabbits and understand boundaries.

  • Goldens rarely exhibit aggressive or overly predatory behavior, making them safer around prey animals.

  • Their affectionate personality leads them to enjoy forming close relationships with rabbits.

Of course, individual personality differences should always be taken into account. With proper supervision and introductions, golden retrievers often make devoted companions for pet rabbits in multi-species homes. Their trainability and gentle nature can make goldens and rabbits very happy housemates.

Do Poodles Get Along with Rabbits?

Poodles are often cited as one of the dog breeds most likely to get along well with pet rabbits. Here are some reasons why poodles and rabbits can make great companions:

  • Poodles are highly intelligent, making them very trainable to properly interact with rabbits using positive reinforcement techniques.

  • They have an eager-to-please temperament that responds well to guidance and boundaries set by owners.

  • Poodles tend to be affectionate, gentle dogs that thrive when kept with other pets. They form close bonds with animal housemates.

  • Their medium energy level meshes well with the relatively calm nature of rabbits.

  • Standard poodles were originally bred as water retrievers. This means they were selected for having a soft mouth, a trait that lends itself well to safe interactions with rabbits.

  • Poodles exhibit versatility when it comes to adapting their energy levels to their surroundings. They can play energetically yet also settle down when needed.

  • Most poodles show little prey drive toward small animals and pets. They do not tend to fixate on chasing.

With proper supervision and training, poodles often become bonded, protective companions of their fellow rabbit housemates. Their innate traits make them a popular choice in homes with multiple pet species.

Do Maltese Get Along with Rabbits?

Here are some reasons Maltese dogs are often compatible with pet rabbits when properly introduced:

  • Maltese were bred as lapdog companions, meaning they thrive in home settings, especially with other pets present.

  • Their small size makes them less intimidating and minimizes risk of accidental injury to rabbits during play.

  • Maltese exhibit an easygoing temperament perfect for multi-pet households. They tend to be patient, eager to please, and affectionate.

  • Maltese have lower exercise requirements, making them a better match for rabbits' more sedentary natures.

  • They show minimal prey drive toward small animals. Instinct to give chase is not very strong.

  • Their adaptable nature allows them to take behavioral cues from rabbit companions.

  • Maltese are highly trainable using positive reinforcement, which facilitates teaching appropriate interactions.

  • Their desire for companionship motivates them to bond with rabbit housemates.

With proper precautions including supervision, training, and gradual introductions, Maltese often become devoted, gentle rabbit companions. Their easygoing nature helps facilitate safe interactions and relationship building.

Do Great Pyrenees Get Along with Rabbits?

Great Pyrenees were historically bred as livestock guardian dogs, so they tend to have a high compatibility with rabbits. Here's why Pyrenees often successfully bond with rabbit companions:

  • Their roots as working guardian dogs give them a high tolerance and protectiveness of other animals in their family.

  • Pyrenees exhibit patience and composure, which helps facilitate good interactions with rabbits.

  • They have low prey drive and are not typically inclined to give chase without provocation.

  • Pyrenees thrive when kept with other domesticated animals. They enjoy having companions.

  • Their laidback temperament matches well with rabbits' lower activity levels.

  • Pyrenees are highly intelligent and respond well to training using rewards and consistency.

  • They aim to please owners and will learn proper behavior around rabbit housemates.

  • Pyrenees bred for livestock guarding have a history of friendliness toward animals they lived with.

With proper supervision and training, Great Pyrenees often become affectionate bonded companions and protectors of pet rabbits. Their guardian history predisposes them to compatibility when responsibly owned.

Do Old English Sheepdogs Get Along with Rabbits?

Old English sheepdogs can make great companions for pet rabbits. Here's why:

  • They have a history as herding dogs, working cooperatively with livestock. This predisposes them to getting along well with other animals.

  • Old English sheepdogs aim to please. They are responsive to training and will learn proper interactions with rabbits.

  • Their energetic but not overzealous nature allows them to play with rabbits while still respecting their space.

  • Old English sheepdogs tend to form strong bonds with family and other household pets.

  • They exhibit enough independence to give rabbits space when needed.

  • Their intelligence aids in training them to act appropriately gentle with rabbits.

  • Old English sheepdogs are not overly prey driven and are less likely to fixate on rabbits as "prey."

  • They thrive in households with multiple animals present and will include rabbits in their social group.

With training, patience during introductions, and supervision, Old English Sheepdogs often successfully integrate into homes with rabbit pets. Their history as cooperative herders contributes to compatibility.

Do Labrador Retrievers Get Along with Rabbits?

Labrador retrievers are frequently cited as one of the best dog breeds for bonding with pet rabbits. Here's why labs and rabbits tend to make great housemates:

  • Labs have an eager-to-please personality that responds extremely well to training using positive reinforcement. This allows them to learn gentle, appropriate behavior around rabbits.

  • They were originally bred to have a "soft mouth" for retrieving downed fowl without damage. This predisposes labs to gentle play with rabbits.

  • Their energetic but not over-the-top nature blends well with rabbits' more medium activity levels.

  • Labs thrive in homes with other companion animals present. They enjoy forming bonded relationships with rabbit housemates.

  • They exhibit little prey drive and are not prone to fixating on or chasing rabbits without provocation.

  • Labs aim to follow their owner's guidance. With time and consistency, they learn proper interactions with rabbits.

  • They are affectionate, loyal dogs that will include rabbit companions as part of their social group when properly introduced.

With responsible ownership, training, supervision, and gradual acclimation, Labrador retrievers often become loving protectors and playmates of pet rabbits. Their traits lend well to forming close bonds.

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