biggest thing is check out the breeder, ask tons of questions, and choose from well mannered parents.
are you getting the bunny for your child?
You do know that 3 year old children need to be supervised CONSTANTLY when they have a bunny right? I have a five year old and I still don't trust him completely with the bunnies and he knows how to handle them properly.
I would recommend holland lops, mini lops or flemish giants. I have owned neither, but have seen many very young children with these breeds. (ok, I owned one mini lop years ago)
Be careful with the dwarfs, as some lines can be quite nasty.
Do not choose a running breed.
I second the fact that any child under 7 or 8 years old must not play with the bunny unsupervised, ever.
I have good luck with mini rex rabbits being sweet and nice. My bucks are big babies. I don't have great luck with female rabbits of any breed. Hormonal?? I dunno. But lots of my females are always very angry with me. Bucks...never. My most lovable rabbit is a mini rex buck that was hand raised in the house...but then again... I am his 'mommy'.
I have always heard that polish rabbits are snappy and mean. I have no idea if its true, but that is what i have heard.
Flemish giant might be perfect. Too big for a 3 year old to pick up!
I personally prefer a good tempered mutt but a rex is tops just for the touchable factor and the fur being too short for a child to easily pull handfuls. Big and heavy is good so a child won't be tempted to pick it up.
First off, *ALL* breeds have their gentle and nasty dispositions, so the important thing is to deal with a reputable breeder who culls on dispositon problems. There are, however, a few breeds known to have more nice dispositions than other breeds, such as: Rex rabbits, French Lops and Himalayans. Please bear in mind that the smaller the breed, the nastier they may be simply because it is a "survival trait" for the tiny breeds. This is true in all animals (Shetland ponies, Bantam chickens, etc.). Of course, there are exceptions to everything.
I really love my french and english angoras-when we had the minis/dwarfs, I got scratched by them quite frequently, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the angoras to be more docile and sweet, however with a young child all the hair would be hard for him or her to take care of. Next to the angoras, my favorite is the standard lop-they seem so laid back and easy-going.
As long as you are willing to assume responsibility for the rabbit's care and well-being, I see no reason not to get a rabbit for a family pet. Dutch and Himalayans are well known for being especially docile. I have personal experience with Dutch and can vouch for their overall excellent temperament. They are easy to handle and are generally calm.
For a child's pet, I think I would stay away from the dwarf breeds. A larger rabbit will be able to tolerate more rough-handling, although you should ALWAYS monitor your child with the rabbit.
but it is true that every breed will have it's kinder and harsher elements (kinda hmm... like you have variety in people, cats and dogs of all varieties). sometimes it's predisposition, sometimes its environmental, sometimes it's how they are raised, and sometimes its HUH? where did that anomaly crop up from?
For young children having a family pet is a good idea.
Yes, we used to keep a few rabbits for family use. The last eighteen months has seen many changes, so for a time the only animals we owned were the two cats. I am so happy to be able to have my chickens and rabbits again, and perhaps a couple mini goats once more.
I loved my Flemish,they're definitely DH's favorite, too. And there's a gal with several colors and dozens of kits not far away, so maybe we'd try something other than the silver variety. Jackie, good point too: an adult Flemish would be pretty sturdy and impossible to pick up for awhile.
Huge bonus, our new neighbors don't have dogs either! Oh, how I used to fight to keep my animals safe from my former neighbor's bulldog and doxie.
And no, I'm not quite stupid enough to leave any animal unsupervised with a child.
Jerseys... ooh, maybe. I had a pair of those and they were so sweet. Economical to keep, too. Rex, always wanted one... silver fox look so plush with those coats...
Rabbit shopping: the adult homesteader's candy store. About as bad as ordering chicks.
Hands down, Himalayans are my pick for best breed for kids. My son was 5 or 6 when he first got his Himmies, and they were all sweet as can be. Granted, we have had a couple does get hormonal around the 6 month mark, but breeding them usually fixes that. They are generally very laid back and easy going. They can be found for a reasonable price too.