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How Many Pet Rabbits Are There in the US? Statistics to Know in 2022

Oliver Jones

This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Rabbits are one of the most popular pets in the United States, and it’s no shock why. Little bunnies are downright adorable and can be easily purchased at breeders, animal shelters, and pet stores. Who wouldn’t want an adorable bunny to call their own? Surprisingly, many people don’t want pet rabbits after the initial purchase.

Rabbits are often purchased on a whim and quickly abandoned because they are a big commitment. Just like any other pet, like a dog or a cat, rabbits require a lot of care and attention and should not be given as gifts.

To show just how serious of a problem rabbit gifting is in the United States, keep reading. This article tells you 11 key statistics to know in 2022 about pet rabbits. Although some of these statistics are sobering and show a dark side to rabbit ownership, most are enlightening and can help you decide if a rabbit is right for you.

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The 11 Pet Rabbits in the US Statistics

  1. The rabbit is the third most popular pet in the US.
  2. Only a little more than 1% of US households own rabbits as pets.
  3. There are likely over 3,000,000 pet rabbits in the US.
  4. The Mini Rex is the most popular pet bunny in the States.
  5. The Netherland Dwarf is the second most popular pet bunny in the US.
  6. Owning rabbits as pets are about 3 times more popular in the UK.
  7. There are 3 times more pet rabbits in the US than UK.
  8. Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet in the US.
  9. Around 80% of rabbits bought for Easter die or are abandoned within the first year of ownership.
  10. 81% of rabbits bought for Easter are never neutered.
  11. Adopting a rabbit from a shelter saves two lives.

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Pet Rabbits in the US

1. The rabbit is the third most popular pet in the US.

(BCSPCA)

The only two pets that are more popular than rabbits are dogs and cats, not including fish. Even though rabbits are the third most popular pet out of all animals, they are the most popular exotic pet in the nation.

In fact, nearly 50% of all small animals owned as pets are rabbits. This makes rabbits more popular than guinea pigs, mice, gerbils, and other small pets.


2. Only a little more than 1% of US households own rabbits as pets.

(AVMA)

Even though rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States, it is estimated that only about 1% of US households own rabbits as pets. This comes out to about 1,500,000 households claiming rabbits as their pet of choice. To put that in perspective, over half of Americans own at least one pet.

hands holding a rabbit
Image Credit: Pixabay

3. There are likely over 3,000,000 pet rabbits in the US.

(AVMA)

Most experts believe that there are over 3 million pet rabbits in the United States. To some, this number is low. Some experts predict that there are as many as 7 million pet rabbits in the United States.

The reason that there is such a wide estimate is that it is difficult to know exactly how many there are in the nation. For one thing, rabbits reproduce so quickly. Secondly, some people never take their rabbit to visit vets. Lastly, rabbits are bought and given away so quickly that the amount is constantly in flux.


4. The Mini Rex is the most popular pet bunny in the States.

(ARBA)

Based on a number of different rabbit conventions, the Mini Rex is the most popular pet rabbit in the States. This fact is taken from ARBA conventions around the nation over many years, including Wichita, Indianapolis, San Diego, Louisville, Grand Rapids, and Fort Worth.


5. The Netherland Dwarf is the second most popular pet bunny in the US.

(ARBA)

After the Mini Rex, the Netherland Dwarf is the second most popular pet bunny in the US. Only occasionally, the Mini Rex is beaten out by the Netherland Dwarf as the most popular pet bunny at certain ARBA conventions, but the Mini Rex still reigns supreme overall.

netherland dwarf rabbit
Image Credit: RATT_ANARACH, Shutterstock

Pet Rabbits in the US vs. UK

6. Owning rabbits as pets are about 3 times more popular in the UK.

(PDSA)

Interestingly, rabbits seemed to be about three times more popular as pets in the UK than in the United States. That’s because about 3% of UK households own rabbits as pets, whereas only about 1% of US households do the same.


7. There are 3 times more pet rabbits in the US than UK.

(PDSA)

Even though rabbits are more popular as pets in the UK, there are still more pet rabbits in the US than the UK. Whereas there are at least 3 million pet rabbits in the US, there are only about 1,200,000 rabbits in the UK. This difference in numbers is largely due to the fact that there are way fewer people in the UK than in the US.

an eastern cottontail rabbit
Image Credit: 6ixmanningphotography, Shutterstock

Pet Rabbit Survival in the US

8. Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet in the US.

(ASPCA)

Because rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States, it makes sense that they are the third most abandoned pet as well.

Many abandoned rabbits are released into the wild, which is incredibly dangerous and almost always results in the rabbits dying. Other rabbits are donated to shelters.


9. Around 80% of rabbits bought for Easter die or are abandoned within the first year of ownership.

(National Geographic)

The most popular time of year to buy rabbits is during Easter. Often, rabbits are gifted from the Easter Bunny as pets. Unfortunately, most parents have no idea just how much work rabbits take, which cause about 80% of rabbits that are bought for Easter to either die or be abandoned within the first year of ownership.

easter rabbit
Image Credit: geralt, Pixabay

10. 81% of rabbits bought for Easter are never neutered.

(National Geographic)

Even more scary is the fact that about 81% of rabbits that are dropped off at shelters have never been neutered. Although this might not sound like a big deal, it means that most rabbits are not neutered.

For rabbits that are given to shelters, not being neutered is not a big deal. The same cannot be said of rabbits that are released into the wild. Because so many rabbits released to shelters are unneutered, it’s safe to assume that the same is true for rabbits released to the wild.

Unfortunately, unneutered rabbits released in the wild are a huge problem for both rabbits and the community at large. Unneutered rabbits that are released into the wild can reproduce before dying, which ends up leading to more death and overpopulation of the species.


11. Adopting a rabbit from a shelter saves two lives.

(House Rabbit Society)

Adopting a rabbit from a shelter ends up saving two lives. Obviously, it saves the rabbit from the shelter, but it also saves the hypothetical rabbit that would be purchased from a breeder. Given how many rabbits are neglected, this is a major reason to purchase a rabbit from a shelter.

silver marten rabbit
Image Credit: Sergio Moreno P, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Rabbits in the US

Are rabbits popular pets in the US?

Rabbits are popular pets in the US. Not including fish, rabbits are the third most popular pet in the US. Dogs and cats are the only two pets more popular than rabbits.

(BCSPCA)

How long do rabbits live in captivity?

Rabbits are long term commitments because they often live to be between 8 and 12 years old in captivity. Some domesticated rabbits have even been known to live 15 years with proper care.

(Pets WebMD)

English Lop rabbit
Image Credit: Napa Chaichanasiri, Shutterstock

Can pet rabbits be released in the wild?

No. Pet rabbits cannot be released into the wild. Domesticated rabbits do not have the experience and skills to survive on their own. They must be cared for by humans since they cannot survive by themselves. In most areas, it is illegal to release a domesticated rabbit into the wild.

(House Rabbit Society)

How can I rescue a rabbit?

Adopt, don’t shop, for rabbits. Rescuing a rabbit can help you save two rabbits instead of one. The easiest way to rescue a rabbit is to contact shelters near you or to visit your local Humane Society to get in contact with rescue groups.

Mini Rex Rabbit standing in grass
Image Credit: Mandz11, Pixabay

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Conclusion: Pet Rabbit Statistics in the US

Once again, rabbits are one of the most popular pets in the United States, but many never get the good life they are promised. From unethical breeders to parents who don’t know what they’re getting into, many rabbits end up getting the short end of the carrot because of irresponsible humans.

Because of these worrisome statistics, it’s important that you carefully consider the pros and cons of getting the rabbit before purchase. That way, you know that you have the means and ability to care for the creature before purchasing it.

If you decide that a rabbit is right for you, remember to adopt the creature instead of buying it. Because there are already so many rabbits abandoned, adopt your cute bunny to save two lives.


Featured Image Credit: A Britton, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.