One of the first questions anyone asks before bringing home a pet is how long the pet will live. Will your grandchildren be caring for your pet, as they might with a tortoise? Or is it likely you’ll be saying goodbye all too soon? 

The lifespan of a pet rabbit can vary, but on the average, a rabbit has a similar lifespan to a cat or dog. That is, with proper care and feeding, a pet rabbit may live between eight and 12 years.

That figure is an average. The oldest rabbit on record lived to be 18 years old. Most rabbits, however, don’t live that long.

  • Pet rabbits typically live between 8 and 12 years.
  • Some breeds live longer than others.
  • To live a long, happy life, all rabbits need a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, companionship, and good veterinary care.

Your rabbit’s size and breed can play a role in longevity. Even more important factors include food, exercise, companionship, housing, and veterinary care.

Do Some Rabbit Breeds Live Longer Than Others?

Yes.

As with a lot of animals, large breeds have a shorter lifespan than smaller breeds. The Flemish Giant, for example, has an average life span of between five and seven years. 

Two Rabbits / Zwei Kaninchen
“Two Rabbits / Zwei Kaninchen” by Robobobobo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Some long-lived house rabbit breeds include:

  • Netherland Dwarf (ten to 12years)
  • Angora (seven to 12 years)
  • Holland Lop (seven to 12 years)
  • Lionhead (seven to 10 years)

Some breeds with a shorter lifespan include:

  • Dutch (five to eight years)
  • Checkered Giant (five to eight years)
  • Polish Rabbit (five to six years)
  • Britannia (five to eight years)

Also, mixed-breed rabbits often avoid some of the genetic problems that purebreds sometimes face.

What Role Does Diet Play in Rabbit Longevity?

Proper food is one of the most important determinants of your rabbit’s lifespan. 

The Best Foods for Bunny Longevity

In the wild, rabbits eat primarily grass and hay. A high-fibre, low fat, low carbohydrate diet gives a bunny all of the nutrients they need and keeps their digestive system moving.

Rabbit
“Rabbit” by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pet rabbits need to eat a diet that is ideally between 80 and 90 percent hay. Supplement hay with rabbit safe vegetables and leaves and the occasional treat.

Rabbits love pellets because they’re easy to eat and they taste good. But too many pellets can lead to an overweight bunny. It’s common for rabbits who are used to too many pellets to turn up their noses at hay. But there are ways you can help to turn that around.

  • Gradually reduce pellets and increase the amount of hay on offer
  • Add edible flowers and herbs to the hay
  • Make hay part of your rabbit’s play time

In addition to hay, make sure your bunny has access to plenty of fresh water at all times.

Lifestyle and Longevity

Like all of us, rabbits need a lifestyle that engages mind and body. And everyone needs a friend.

Everybunny Needs a Good Home

Cramped quarters aren’t just uncomfortable. They can lead to stress. And for rabbits, who are already nervous by nature, added stress can cause problems like:

And more.

Make sure your rabbits have plenty of room. The RWAF recommends a hutch that is, at minimum, six feet long by two feet high by two feet deep, per rabbit

Your bunny needs to be able to hop three times from end to end and to be able to stand up on hind legs without touching the roof with his or her ears.

A Hutch is Not Enough

It really isn’t!

A hutch is your rabbit’s living space. But your rabbit also needs a place to exercise and play, preferably outdoors. Give your rabbit daily access to their exercise space. Ideally, they should be able to visit their run whenever they like.

Rabbit
“Rabbit” by sonstroem is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Our made-in-Britain rabbit hutches are built to work with our rabbit runs to provide all-day access to fresh air, the outdoors, and exercise.

Of course, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can also build your own rabbit palace and grounds. You can also build elaborate play structures, like in the video below.

Nobunny Likes to Be Alone

In the wild, rabbits live in large groups. You might not have space for an entire tribe, but a pair of rabbits is almost always happier than a single bunny living all alone.

Rabbits / Kaninchen
“Rabbits / Kaninchen” by Robobobobo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you do have a solo rabbit, make sure that they’re part of the family. If your rabbit lives indoors, place their enclosure in an area where people gather regularly. Outdoor rabbit enclosures should be near your house, where you and your bunnies can see each other.

Proper food is one of the most important determinants of your rabbit’s lifespan.  Click To Tweet

Make time to visit with your rabbits every day. This is especially important for a single bun.

An Active Mind Means a Healthy Rabbit

Boredom can be torment for anyone. For rabbits, it can lead to stress and behavioural problems, too.

Cute bunny rabbit
“Cute bunny rabbit” by Kristoffer Trolle is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In addition to food, water, and exercise, rabbits need mental stimulation. Provide your rabbit with an assortment of toys and boredom busters. Switch them up regularly. 

You can even make bunny toys yourself, from things you probably already have at home.

Health Care for Rabbit Longevity

Just like you and me, your rabbit needs adequate health care to live its best, longest life.

Veterinary Care

Start by finding a rabbit-savvy vet before you need one. Not all vets treat rabbits, so it’s best to know where you can go for regular care, as well as in case of an emergency. The RWAF’s list of rabbit vets in the UK is a good place to start.

Rabbit in Research for Animal Testing
“Rabbit in Research for Animal Testing” by www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In Britain, both indoor and outdoor rabbits can receive vaccinations for Myxomatosis, Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease 1 and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease 2. Vaccinations and subsequent booster jabs can keep your rabbits safe from these potentially devastating diseases.

Also, regular checkups can allow your vet to spot developing problems that you might miss.

Teeth

You might have noticed that rabbits love to chew. They’ll chew almost anything in their reach, whether it’s good for them or not.

One reason for this is that their teeth never stop growing. They need to keep those teeth ground down. Dental problems in a rabbit are not only painful. They can also lead to other kinds of health problems, including:

And more.

A diet rich in hay can help keep your rabbit’s teeth healthy. Also make sure they have plenty of rabbit-safe chew toys available.

Spay and Neuter

Spaying and neutering your rabbits not only helps to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It can also protect your bunnies from certain cancers and other ailments.

Long Life and Good Rabbit Health

No one lives forever, and that includes our rabbits. The fact is, some rabbits live longer than others. But there are things you can do to help your pet rabbit live as long and happy a life as possible.

Give your pet rabbit a spacious, weather-safe home. Make sure he or she has access to high-quality food, fresh water on demand, and lots and lots of feeding hay. Establish a relationship with a rabbit-savvy vet and vaccinate on schedule.

Your rabbit’s health and longevity are in your hands.

Do you have any tips for a long, happy rabbit life? Drop it in the comments!

SHARE ON

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Air sickness bags in the back pocket of an airline seat
Rabbits

Can Rabbits Vomit? Your Essential Guide To Rabbit Digestion

Can rabbits vomit? The question may sound strange, but the truth is, rabbits cannot vomit, and that can present special challenges for your bunny. Rabbit owners should be aware that, in addition to being incapable of vomiting, rabbits have a digestive system that is very different from ours. Here’s what that means, for you and for your pet rabbit.

Read More Now »

Want Awesome Rabbit Articles Just Like This Every Week?

Plus special offers, Discounts & News?