Dogs are known for being “man’s best friend,” but the story of Rue the rabbit and Chloe the beagle shows that dogs can be friends with anyone!
Despite their natural differences, this adorable odd couple walked together, snuggled together, and even ate lettuce together. It didn’t matter that one was a rabbit and one was a dog– these two best friends didn’t let a little thing like species get in their way.
Dog and Rabbit Compatibility
It might seem strange for a dog and a rabbit to live together happily– but dogs are pack animals, and they regularly accept different species as part of their pack. Rabbits are also a communal species and do better with a friend. Typically that friend is also a rabbit, but not in this case!
How Common Is It For Dogs And Rabbits To Live Together?
Lots of people successfully keep dogs and rabbits together. The most important thing is making sure that their personalities mesh. If you have a dog with high prey drive or a nervous rabbit prone to running away (which could trigger a predatorial response), they might not live well together.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have both! It just means that you’ll have to rotate their playtimes and keep them apart.
Will A Dog Harm A Rabbit?
Some dogs have high prey drives and don’t react well to rabbits– they will follow their instincts and try to hunt them. These include many hounds, especially sighthounds. And while some beagles will get along with rabbits, the breed was originally created to hunt them; that’s one of the reasons this story is so remarkable!
Dog Breeds That Get Along With Rabbits
For the best chance of successfully keeping a dog and a rabbit together, breeds with a low prey drive are best. Some of these breeds include:
- Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers: Retrievers are often very friendly and gentle around small animals, and are great at a behavior called “soft mouth” or “bite inhibition,” which helps to ensure they won’t be too rough with little critters, or kids!
- Boxers: Boxers are often very protective of their smaller friends! If you introduce them carefully, boxers and bunnies can get along very well.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs: These mountain dogs were bred to be livestock guardians, and aren’t known to chase or actively hunt animals that don’t present a threat.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: These small, gentle spaniels are just the right size to get along with a rabbit.
- Maltese: While Maltese terriers are technically terriers, they don’t have a high prey drive and are known for being gentle cuddle bugs.
Mixed Breeds: When you adopt a dog from a shelter, they usually do temperament tests to see how they do with small animals! If you adopt a shelter pup, you can ask their caretakers how they think the dog might do around rabbits.