If you suffer from pet allergies, you need to do a ton of research before you bring any new animal into your home. The last thing you want is to get a new pet you love only to have terrible allergies flare up whenever you’re around them.
With that in mind, is it possible to get a hypoallergenic rabbit? The truth is that every rabbit can cause allergic flare-ups, but some spread less dander than others. So, are there hypoallergenic rabbits? That all depends on how you define “hypoallergenic.” We’ll break down everything you need to know here so you can make an informed decision before you bring a pet rabbit into your home.
What Causes Rabbit Allergies?
Like all pet allergies, rabbit allergies come from a protein found in their dander (dead skin cells) and saliva. While you might think you can avoid pet allergies by keeping your rabbit from licking you, that’s simply not how it works.
When a rabbit grooms themselves, they spread the dander to their fur, and when they shed, that dander ends up all over your home. As you stir up the hairs, they can enter your airways, and when that happens, it can cause an allergic reaction.
So, while it’s true that the pet hair isn’t what’s causing the pet allergies, there’s dander all over that pet hair that will cause a flare-up if you’re allergic.
What Does “Hypoallergenic” Mean?
It’s important to note that all pets have dander. This means there’s no such thing as a pet that won’t cause pet allergies—only pets that are less likely to cause pet allergies.
With that in mind, there are some rabbits that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. These rabbits tend to have shorter coats, shed less, and create less dander than other breeds. They can still cause allergic flare-ups, but they’re less likely to do so than other rabbit breeds.
The 6 Hypoallergenic Rabbit Breeds
While any rabbit breed can cause allergies, these six are less likely to cause a reaction than other rabbit breeds out there. We’ve highlighted each breed and a little about them for you here:
1. The Mini Rex Rabbit
The Rex Rabbit is the most popular pet rabbit breed out there, and with a size of about 3 to 4.5 pounds, they’re among the smallest too. They shed less than other rabbit breeds, but they still shed. They’re gentle and friendly, making great companions for individuals and families alike.
2. The Tan Rabbit
The Tan rabbit has a relatively longer coat than other rabbit breeds in this list, but because they shed less, they require less maintenance and don’t cause as many pet allergies. And because the hair is a bit longer, even the little hair they shed is less likely to make it into your airways and cause a problem.
3. New Zealand White Rabbit
The New Zealand rabbit is larger than most hypoallergenic rabbits, but they’re commercial rabbits through and through. They have short fur shed heavily. This means it takes an experienced handler to work with them, and even with the most experienced handler, they still might not be a great choice with kids or other adults.
4. Silver Fox Rabbit
While the Silver Fox rabbit is generally a commercial rabbit, unlike many other commercial rabbits, they possess a gentle and friendly temperament that makes them a great pet. They’re another long-haired rabbit breed that made our list. They need occasional brushing to prevent matting.
5. California Rabbit
While the California Rabbit is a sweet and loving rabbit breed that doesn’t cause too many allergy problems throughout most of the year, they cause major concerns with people with allergies twice a year when they switch coats. They have dense and relatively coarse haircoat.
During these times, you’ll need someone to bathe them and brush them out thoroughly to get through the process as quickly as possible.
6. Silver Marten
While the Silver Marten rabbit breed is less likely to cause allergies, they still shed. To help with this, you can brush their soft and shiny coat once a week, which may alleviate the risk of allergy flare-ups, but won’t eliminate the problem altogether.
If you suffer from severe pet allergies, there might not be a rabbit out there that’s a good fit for you. If you can, you’ll want to set up a test run before you get one for yourself. That way, you don’t bring one home only to find out that they can’t stay.
Every rabbit has the potential to cause allergic reactions, and if you’re suffering from pet allergies, we recommend speaking to both a vet and your medical doctor to figure out what you can do and if bringing a pet rabbit into your home is a good idea.
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Featured Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukdee, Shutterstock