One of the cutest rabbit breeds, the Sussex rabbit has traditional teddy-bear features, a rich golden color, and a sweet, docile personality that’s ideal for young children. Because of its good nature, the Sussex rabbit is a popular option for beginner and experienced keepers alike.
Up to 7 lbs
Dutch, Himalayan, California, Thrianta
Beginners, families, children
Sweet, friendly, patient
The Sussex rabbit arose from breeding Lilac and Californian rabbits in the 1980s. They’re known for red, cream, or golden coats that perfectly complement their teddy-bear looks. They’re also friendly and affectionate, which makes them ideal pet rabbits for families with children. Sussex rabbits are often kept as pets rather than for meat or fiber.
Sussex Rabbit Characteristics
How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?
Sussex rabbits are somewhat rare, but they’re not that much more expensive than other rabbit breeds. From a breeder, you can get a Sussex rabbit for around $25. Some show rabbits with good bloodlines could be as much as $100. You may find rabbits for free from accidental litters, though you’d be getting a rabbit with possible health or behavioral problems.
When you find a breeder, make sure they’re reputable. Ask about the parents, tour the facility if possible, and find out about health checks. You could also ask the breeder about how the rabbit is currently kept and for care recommendations.
Another option is to look for Sussex rabbits at shelters or rescues. Keep in mind that these rabbits are rare, so you may not find many available for adoption.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Sussex Rabbit
Sussex rabbits are prized for the combination of their temperaments and looks. They tend to be cuddly and affectionate, especially with children, unlike some other rabbit breeds.
Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets? 👪
Sussex rabbits seem to enjoy being family pets, so they’re ideal for people who want an actual pet rabbit and not a show rabbit or production rabbit. They like to interact with people and play, though it’s important that children learn how to interact with a rabbit safely to avoid injuries. Never leave young children with a rabbit unsupervised. That said, the Sussex rabbit’s affectionate nature means it requires a little more attention than other rabbits and can get depressed if those needs are not met.
Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?
Rabbits like the Sussex can get along with other pets, including other rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. This depends more on the temperament of the other animal than the rabbit, however. While the Sussex may enjoy playing with these pets, dogs and cats may try to chase the rabbit. It’s important to introduce slowly and carefully supervised interactions to ensure that the rabbit is safe. If you’re unsure, it’s better to let these pets see each other behind barriers.
Things to Know When Owning a Sussex Rabbit:
Thinking about a Sussex rabbit? Here’s what you need to know:
Food & Diet Requirements 🥕
A Sussex rabbit’s diet should consist primarily of Timothy hay to give it fiber and nutrients. Chewing on hay will also help it maintain its teeth, which never stop growing. Commercial rabbit kibble or pellets can supplement the diet to ensure your rabbit gets proper nutrition, but you should only need about ¼ cup a day. Most rabbits will overeat, so be careful with portion control to avoid obesity.
For treats, you can give your rabbit leafy vegetables like kale and basil. Other healthy choices include carrot slices, apple slices, collard greens, and banana slices. Be careful not to feed these treats too often as it could disrupt the natural balance of your rabbit’s diet.
Habitat & Hutch Requirements 🏠
Sussex rabbits should be kept indoors rather than in an outdoor hutch. They thrive as pets more than livestock, especially with extreme weather conditions. They can also get depressed if they’re outside without human interaction.
There are plenty of options for indoor hutches, but the biggest concern is size. Your hutch should be at least 2 feet high and 6 feet wide so your rabbit can move comfortably, hop around, and lie down. Avoid hutches with wire bottoms that can hurt your rabbit’s feet.
For bedding, you should provide three inches of bedding made of straw, shredded paper, or shredded cardboard. Avoid bedding like sawdust or cedar or pine shavings, which can be hazardous to your rabbit’s health. You will also need hiding places, especially if your rabbit is in high-traffic areas of your home. You can use a simple cardboard box or a commercial hide for small mammals.
Finally, get a litter box for your hutch. It’s best to train your rabbit to use the litter box at a young age. The litter box can be lined with hay (rather than cat litter), and should be spot cleaned each day. Change out the litter completely once a week.
Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐇
Sussex rabbits need daily exercise for at least two hours a day. You will need to let your rabbit out to play—with supervision—in a rabbit-proofed room. Make sure electrical cords, toxic foods, and other hazards are moved or blocked while your rabbit is out.
Many people stop training at litter box training, but rabbits can learn all kinds of tricks. They even compete in obedience and agility courses! Because the Sussex rabbit is so eager to please, it’s often easier to train it to perform tricks with encouragement and treats. This is a good way to spend time with the rabbit and bond.
Rabbits need to be groomed like any other pet. Regular brushing will keep your rabbit’s coat soft and shiny, preventing the formation of mats that can cause skin irritation or infection. You will also need to brush your rabbit more frequently during shedding periods. Your rabbit will also need its ears cleaned and its nails trimmed every week or so.
Generally, rabbits are good at grooming themselves, so you shouldn’t be bathing them at all. If your rabbit is especially dirty, you can spot clean with a damp towel or deodorize by sprinkling cornstarch on your rabbit’s coat and combing it out.
Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥
Rabbits are generally healthy, especially if you care for them well, but they will need regular vet care like any pet. It will also need vaccinations to protect against myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease, as well as common pest infestations like ticks and fleas.
There are several conditions that can affect rabbits as well, including upper respiratory infections (snuffles), parasites, dental disease, gastrointestinal stasis, uterine problems, and pododermatitis. Regular vet visits can catch these conditions early and ensure a more positive outcome.
Male vs Female
It’s generally recommended to get a male rabbit for first-time rabbit owners, as they can be calmer and less territorial. That said, rabbits have distinct personalities, so it’s difficult to say that one sex is better than the other. Either way, your rabbit should be spayed or neutered to prevent hormone-related behavioral problems and certain health conditions of the reproductive organs.
3 Little-Known Facts About Sussex Rabbits
1. Sussex Rabbits Are Known as Labradors
Because Sussex rabbits are quite dog-like, friendly, and affectionate, they’re often compared to Labrador Retrievers—particularly as a pet for families.
2. They’re Teddy Bears with a Personality to Match
The golden color and big, soulful eyes make the Sussex rabbit resemble a teddy bear, but they also have a teddy-bear personality and enjoy cuddling with their owners.
3. They’re a New Breed
Rabbits have been domesticated since the 5th century, but the Sussex rabbit is a newer breed that was created by crossing two popular rabbit breeds: the Lilac and the Californian.
If you’re looking for a beautiful and friendly rabbit, the Sussex is a great choice. Designed to be a cuddly pet, the Sussex rabbit enjoys its human companions, aims to please, and makes a loyal companion for families and rabbit keepers alike.
- See also: Swiss Fox Rabbit
Featured Image Credit: Alan Fraser Images, Shutterstock