9 Bunny Breeds That Are Too Cute for Words

five adorable bunny breeds illustrated

Treehugger / Catherine Song

Whether you're drawn to their long ears, soft fur, big eyes, or twitchy noses, rabbits are some of the objectively cutest critters on the planet. It's no surprise that more than 1.5 million U.S. households keep them as pets.

The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 50 types of domesticated rabbit, each unique in its size, color, and characteristics. They can be as small as the two-pound Holland lop (arguably the most popular rabbit breed in the world) or as large as the 20-pound Flemish giant.

Here are nine of the cutest breeds in the world.

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American Chinchilla

Grey American chinchilla rabbit sitting on wooden floor
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A spitting image of the Easter Bunny, the American chinchilla is the epitome of a classic rabbit breed and a favorite house pet. It's categorized as a "heavyweight" because it grows to be between nine and 12 pounds. Although stocky, the American chinchilla charms with its large, erect ears and salt-and-pepper coloring.

There are three types of chinchilla rabbits—American, standard, and giant—originally named after the South American long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera), which they closely resemble. Legend has it that the first chinchilla rabbit was bred by accident by a French engineer and rabbit breeder named M.J. Dybowski. Dybowski later became known as Le Bonhomme Chinchilla, once people got a look at the gorgeous silvery-pearl fur of his rabbits.

The ARBA says the American chinchilla has led to more rabbit breeds and varieties worldwide than any other breed of domestic rabbit.

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Angora rabbit lying outside in an enclosure
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Angora rabbits are the source of silky-soft Angora wool. First bred (along with Angora cats and goats) in Turkey, these animals became popular pets among French royalty in the mid-18th century and made their way to the U.S. in the early 1900s. There are nearly a dozen Angora breeds: English, French, giant, satin, German, Chinese, Swiss, Finnish, Korean, and St. Lucian, the former four officially recognized by the ARBA.

Angora rabbits are generally calm and docile in temperament and known for being exceptionally fluffy. They require ample grooming while shedding to keep their long, silky locks in top condition, so be sure you know what you're in for if you choose to keep one of these as a pet. Keeping them groomed is the biggest chore; apart from that, they're fairly low maintenance animals.

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Lionhead rabbit lying on a wooden table outside
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Lionhead rabbits are called so because of their adorable wooly manes. However, unlike the African cats for which they're named, these rabbits are rather diminutive, typically weighing only two to four pounds. They are known to be friendly, friendly, and affectionate as pets.

Originally bred in Belgium, lionheads appeared in the U.S. in the 1990s and didn't became officially recognized as a stand-alone breed until 2014. The newcomers are categorized according to the number of mane genes they possess. Single-maned rabbits have the classic fur around their heads, ears, chins, and sometimes even on their chests and butts. Sadly, many lose their sporadic tufts as they age. Double-maned rabbits, having two copies of the mane gene, have hair that completely encircles their heads. They also have hair on their flanks, often referred to as "skirts."

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Lop-eared rabbit sitting on grass in the sun

While many rabbits have large, erect ears, lops' hearing apparatuses hang low and droopy. It's this defining feature and the breed's sweet, laidback nature that wins over rabbit lovers. The lop family comprises 19 breeds, with the most popular being the American fuzzy lop, mini lop, Holland lop, English lop, and French lop, all of which are known to be excellent pets.

They range in size from the Holland lop, two to three pounds, to the French lop, 10 to 13 pounds. American fuzzy lops, a crossbreed of lops and Angora rabbits, were bred to have both the signature low-hanging ears and fluffy fur. The oldest of the lops, the English lop, was first bred in England in the mid-1800s and became a popular pet of the rich during the Victorian era.

The low-hanging ears may require some extra care, however, as they're prone to debris buildup both inside and out.

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Belgian Hare

Two Belgian hares lying on grass

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Despite the name, Belgian hares are not actually hares but rather domestic rabbits bred to look like wild hares. Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's racehorse," these sleek and slender bunnies, ranging from six to nine pounds in adulthood, have relatively long ears and even longer back feet. They have muscular, elegant builds and range in color from chestnut red to black.

Belgian hares were first bred in Belgium in the early 1700s and were brought to the U.S. during the mid-1800s. Besides their distinctive appearance, they are known for their smarts. They are companionable, although some might be described as skittish because they love to play and crave exercise. They are said to have a nervous personality and may get spooked if not approached properly. Their short, sleek coats don't require much in the way of grooming.

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English Spot

Person petting an English spot in cage

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The English spot stands out for its signature markings. There are the spots that decorate each side of its body but also nose markings resembling butterflies, eye circles, cheek spots, colored ears, and a line of color that follows the spine (called a "herringbone").

These medium-sized bunnies are friendly, inquisitive, spunky, and playful, sometimes exhibiting impressive acrobatics. They are great with older children who know how to handle them properly. Originally bred in England in the mid-19th century, they've been a popular breed in the U.S. since their arrival in 1890.

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Flemish Giant

Side view of Flemish giant rabbit sitting in sand
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The Flemish giant's enormous size doesn't take away from its cuteness. As one of the largest domestic rabbit breeds, this heavyweight can exceed 20 pounds and stretch out as long as 32 inches. Despite this, Flemish giants are gentle and tolerant of humans and other animals. They have dense, glossy fur that rolls back to its original place after being brushed from tail to head. 

There is some controversy among Flemish giant historians about the true origins of this breed, but most contend they date back to the 16th century in Belgium. They have been a popular breed in the U.S. since around 1890. These large bunnies were originally bred for their meat and fur, but thanks to their docile demeanor and insatiable appetites, it became more practical to keep them as pets.

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Calico-colored harlequin rabbit sitting in grass
LadyElizabeth / Getty Images

Harlequin rabbits are a colorful breed with coats that resemble the calico coloration in cats. They are considered one of the best rabbits for pets and were originally bred in France for their varied shades and markings, rather than for their fur or body type. These gentle, playful bunnies are divided into two types: Japanese harlequins, a mix of orange and other colors (such as black, blue, chocolate, or lilac), and Magpie harlequins, which have white instead of orange as their primary color. Harlequin rabbits generally weigh around seven pounds.

They tend to be quite independent and inquisitive. They will explore their surroundings and play on their own. Unfortunately, they have one of the shortest lifespans of pet rabbits, living between 5 and 8 years on average.

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Jersey Wooly

Jersey wooly rabbit sitting on carpet

Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

A cross between the Netherland dwarf rabbit (a small breed of domestic rabbit) and the French Angora, Jersey woolies are another highly recommended house pet, known for their petite size and puffy fur. Its nickname is the "no-kick" rabbit for the fact that it hardly ever gets upset. New Jersey native Bonnie Seeley is credited for popularizing the breed when she introduced it at an American Rabbit Breeders Association convention in 1984.

These small, gentle rabbits have soft, thick, silky fur similar to an Angora's, but it's less prone to matting, which makes the Jersey wooly much easier to care for. They only require brushing once a week, apart from shedding season, when more is needed. These tiny critters weigh around three pounds each and make for adorable, fluffy companions.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How many breeds of domestic rabbit are there?

    The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 50 different breeds of domesticated rabbit.

  • Which are the most common breeds of domestic rabbit?

    Californian and Dutch rabbits, Holland lops, and Jersey woolies are some of the most popular breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

  • Which rabbit breeds stay small?

    Holland lops, Jersey woolies, and lionheads are a few domestic rabbit breeds that stay small.

Why Pets Matter to Treehugger

At Treehugger, we are advocates of animal welfare, including our pets and other domestic animals. The better we understand rabbits, the better we can support and protect their wellbeing. We hope our readers will adopt rescue pets instead of shopping from breeders or pet stores, and will also consider supporting local animal shelters.

View Article Sources
  1. "U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics." American Veterinary Medical Association. 2017-2018.

  2. "Recognized Breeds." American Rabbit Breeders Association.

  3. "American Chinchilla." American Rabbit Breeders Association.