(Closed) We want a dog, but we have a rabbit

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
1354 posts
Bumble bee

I think breed is more important than age. You’ll need to find a breed with a low prey drive. So a terrier would be a no go, but a retriever would probably be okay.

Post # 3
3966 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

calijess :  Our golden retriever labrador was fantastic with our other pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, and even rats!).  We adopted him as a puppy when I was little and adopted the other pets afterward.  My parents don’t trust their current golden retriever with the rabbits, but it definitely is possible to get a dog that is gentle with them.  I personally would choose a puppy over a rescue so that you can raise the puppy to be gentle with the rabbit (supervise their interactions of course), but our dog was great with other pets as an adult so it definitely depends on the dog.

Post # 4
7884 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

We adopted our dog from the humane society at 3 so he was out of the puppy stage. He is older now but he loves our Guinea pigs! I really think it depends on the temperment of the dog though as far as being friendly to smaller animals.

Post # 5
3484 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Breed is the most important factor here. There are tons of dogs who get along with their rabbit siblings, even dogs who should be hunting them. But to be on the safe side, personally I would get a puppy from a non sporting group. That can still be from the shelter. What kind of dog are you thinking of?

ETA – any dog could surprise you here. A gun dog could fall in love with your rabbit or a poodle could decide to kill it. You never know. So maybe just have a back up plan here. If they don’t get along what will you do? Can the dog go in the backyard when rabbit is out? Baby gates to keep them separate? Do stay away from any breed that has words like “retriever” to be safe.

Post # 6
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

calijess :  Maybe it would be helpful to visit your local shelter(s) during a not-too-busy time and chat to the staff there about their recommendations for your situation. They often do some fairly intense behavioural analysis for the dogs in their care, so it’s likely they could recommend not only a dog with a breed that is generally known to be good with other small animals, but a specific dog with a great temperament. I agree that it would be lovely if you could adopt a dog from a shelter… Good luck!

Post # 7
693 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

calijess :  i would look into a cockapoo. we have one and he is the cutest, gentlest, sweetest thing with our bunny. we have 3 other dogs, and i won’t even let them into the same room when the bunny is out playing but the cockapoo… she isn’t afraid of him and he just hangs out near her and will gently sniff her. 

we got the bunny after the cockapoo was an adult dog, so the breed is DEFINTIELY more important than the age. 

Post # 8
590 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017 - Nepal

I think bringing a puppy into the house and taking the breed into consideration will help. We have chickens and got a black lab as a puppy a few years ago. They are bird dogs. He doesn’t pay attention to them at all.

Post # 9
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I adopted a dog after I’d had my two rabbits for a while. I looked at rescues and found a 6 month old puppy who was described as “good with all animals, even our rats.” 

The best thing to do is get a dog that is being fostered with small animals so you know their personality already. With new puppies, it’s hard to know how they are going to be. Also, they can be quite rowdy for rabbits.

FYI I still keep them separated. The rabbits are in a large pen (about 10′ x 10′). The dog sleeps in the same room, but he can’t get to them. I don’t think he would do anything, but you really never know. 

He loves them and is very protective of them. If they thump, he runs over, and if our cat gets near them, he’s right there supervising. He helps me feed them everyday and gets treats and pets when they do. They are his siblings and it helps that he kind of grew up with them, but it took a lot of training to establish these boundaries.

I hope that helps, good luck!

Post # 10
1865 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

If you get a puppy, be prepared to be supervising and setting boundaries for a couple years.  If you adopt a shelter dog, ask to do a trial introduction at home to see how the dog reacts.  Choose a breed with low prey drive.  I have two spaniels and a cat.  The spaniels have a moderately strong prey drive.  One of my spaniels tried to go after my cat when she was a puppy, but I kept her on a leash with me and taught her that my cat was not a prey animal.  They now are trustworthy together and have been good friends for 8 years.  However, my dog will kill wild squirrels and rabbits in the yard.  The dog needs to know that the rabbit is a family member and to leave it alone.  This will be easier to do if you find a breed that doesnt have an impulse to go after the rabbit at all, but I would still put forth a lot of effort to reinforce that through training.

Post # 11
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I second what pps are saying about prey drive. I would stay away from terriers and beagles, even if you do get them as a puppy. (ILs thought they would be fine and well…) I have a golden retreiver and IMO they are one of the best dogs you can get. The breed naturally wants to make you happy so training is a breeze. They will be able to sense the bunny is something you care and love , and they will follow suit. My golden loves my parents cats, he just wants to be friends with everyone.  I doubt I’ll ever own another breed. Labs are also wonderful but usually a bit more hyperactive. You cant go wrong with either. get a doodle if hair and shedding is an issue.

Post # 12
8662 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

calijess :  we rescued a 7 month old dog and he gets along just fine with our bearded dragon! He’s a lab/shepard mix and we were just VERY cautious with their first interaction. Even a year later we still don’t let them hang out unsupervised, but the dog understands that the dragon is his big brother and not to eat him lol. 

ETA: my adorable little boys! (not sure why they are sideways though..)

Post # 13
374 posts
Helper bee

A puppy and a rescue aren’t mutually exclusive. Shelters often have puppies, as do breed specific rescues. You juts have to be patient and keep an eye out. I got my dog as a puppy 7+ years ago from our local German Shepherd rescue. She’s a shep/lab mix. Although she’s 80 lbs, our cats run the house because she was raised with cats. She’s also great with little dogs because when she was a puppy I also had two rescued Pekingese. 

Post # 14
1 posts

HoneysHoney :  I have a rottweiler, and he loves all kinds of small animals. We brought home two abused 1.5 months old kittens two weeks ago, and he is absolutely the best “babysitter”. I think it is more about how you train the dog than what the breeds they are 🙂


Post # 15
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

Not to offend anyone else on here, but I am a huge advocate for adopting vs going through breeders, so here’s my two cents:

There are a lot of misconceptions about shelters – that they don’t have puppies, dont have small breeds, only have ‘defective’ dogs, etc – but that’s simply not the case. A lot of them have ‘matchmaking’ programs in place, so if you’re up front with a shelter about the fact that you’ll need a calmer dog because of your rabbit, they’ll be able to help you find a dog that fits. 

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