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Male vs Female Rabbits: What’s the Difference? (Pros & Cons)

Nicole Cosgrove

There are benefits to knowing the difference between male and female rabbits. When you know the sex of your rabbit, you can then learn about the advantages and disadvantages, as well as certain characteristics they will display, so you can care for them effectively and understand what they are going through.

A rabbit that hasn’t been spayed or neutered will act differently than one that has, and it is recommended you have them de-sexed, unless of course, you are a breeder. Once your rabbit has been spayed or neutered, you will still be able to tell the difference in personalities between the two sexes, but their overall personality will be more relaxed and calmer.

Male Rabbits

A male rabbit is called a buck and tends to be more easy-going and laidback compared to a female rabbit. Once you neuter your rabbit, he will be less destructive, and neutering is not as expensive as spaying. Physically, the only way to tell if you have a male rabbit is by his two oblong testicles, which don’t descend until he is 12 weeks old.

Male French Lop rabbit
Image: Lottie, Wikimedia

When the male is unneutered, he will thump his foot or run around another rabbit as a sign of wanting to mate. Males may mark their territory by spraying urine and may mount objects such as cushions, other rabbits, and toys. Even after you neuter your male rabbit, he may continue to honk or grunt, which is a sign of wanting to mate, and he will be protective if another female rabbit is present.

Pros
  • Less destructive
  • Neutering is cheaper
  • Easy-going
  • Calmer
Cons
  • Will spray if not neutered
  • Mount objects
  • Protective of other females

Female Rabbits

Featured image for the article on mixing male and female rabbits together.

A female is called a doe, and they can be territorial and may growl or lunge at you if you are in their space, though they typically won’t bite. If a female mounts a male rabbit, she is displaying dominance. On the downside, females can be more territorial and like to dig holes because this is what they do in the wild. Getting your female spayed will decrease the chance of her developing uterine cancer and reduce the chance of becoming destructive, but she will always want to be the rabbit in charge of the household.

Females will also grunt or honk as a sign of wanting to mate and may continue to do this even after begin spayed. The genitals on a female will appear v-shaped and protrude slightly. Otherwise, there are no physical differences between male and female rabbits.

If you don’t spay your rabbit, she may try to escape or attempt to burrow in your carpets and may display a false pregnancy. A few signs of false pregnancy include nest building and pulling her own fur out to create a lining in the nest. Does will reach maturity earlier than bucks, which occur around one year of age, though it can be sooner depending on the size of the rabbit.

Pros
  • When spayed, she will be less destructive
  • Reaches maturity sooner
Cons
  • Territorial
  • Displays dominance
  • False pregnancies
  • Risk of uterine cancer if not spayed
  • Prefers to be in charge

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Conclusion

It can be challenging to tell a female from a male rabbit, but you can always ask your veterinarian, a local breeder, or a rabbit sanctuary for assistance. Knowing the difference between males and females will help you understand your rabbit better and allow you to care for them effectively.

Rabbits are happiest when in pairs that have been together for a long time, such as from the same litter or an animal sanctuary. Otherwise, if you bring together two older bucks, they may not get along. Make sure that if you place a male and female together, they are spayed and neutered to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.


Featured Image Credit: LNbjors, Nataliia Melnychuk, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.