The Sussex rabbit breed is well known for its “teddy bear” features. Out of all the rabbit breeds out there, it is arguably one of the most adorable. This rabbit has a cream or golden-colored coat, which resembles the color of a traditional teddy bear.
It is also relatively docile and the right size for most families. Even though it is a newer breed, it has become rather popular over the last few years. The breed has developed a large fan base and is widely considered one of the best pet rabbits.
Quick Facts about the Sussex Rabbit
|Species Name:||Sussex Rabbit|
|Temperament:||Docile and Friendly|
|Color:||Red or Golden|
|Diet:||Hay, pellets, veggies, fruits|
|Minimum Cage Size:||About 2′ by 6′|
Sussex Rabbit Overview
The Sussex Rabbit is the result of crossbreeding a Lilac and Californian rabbit. This crossbreeding took place decades ago in the 1980s, with the breed being quite well established since then.
This rabbit is most well-known for their red or golden coat, which gives them the same coloration as a teddy bear. They are often called the teddy-bear rabbit for this reason. This rabbit acts like you’d imagine a teddy bear to act as well – affectionate and friendly. They make lovely pets for this reason. They are often considered to be one of the best pet rabbits around.
However, because this is a newer breed, it is also quite rarer than most other rabbit breeds out there. It can be challenging to find one, and there may be waiting lists as well. But many people consider the wait to be well worth it when they bring this cuddly rabbit home.
Because of their docile nature, these rabbits also excel as show rabbits. They were popular as show rabbits before they became well-known as pets.
- See also: Swiss Fox Rabbit
How Much Do Sussex Rabbits Cost?
Like most rabbit breeds, the Sussex rabbit is relatively inexpensive when you compare it to other pets. The average rabbit cost about $25 if you purchase from a breeder. You may be able to find one for free if you choose a backyard breeder.
However, this is not recommended, as pregnant rabbits and kits need particular care to thrive and remain healthy. The only way to ensure that your rabbit has been taken care of before you adopt it is to choose a qualified breeder.
Ask to see where the rabbit and mom were kept. Inquire about the breeder’s experience and ask how they recommend taking care of the rabbit after bringing it home. If you’re purchasing a rabbit from that breeder, you have every right to inquire about its care before you bring it home.
Occasionally, you’ll find a Sussex rabbit that costs over $100. Typically, this is because the rabbit was bred to be a show rabbit, which often causes them to be more expensive. Show rabbits have to conform to particular standards. When a rabbit that shows these standards well is bred, they can cost quite a bit of money.
However, if you’re looking for a pet, there is no reason to purchase an expensive rabbit or worry about its confirmation.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
These rabbits are renowned for their docile temperament and affectionate personalities. They are much cuddlier than most rabbit breeds out there, making them perfect family pets for those that want an affectionate, laidback rabbit. For this reason, they are considered one of the best breeds with families for children.
They will actively pay attention to the children and enjoy being pet – which is usually what children want to do with a rabbit. If the children are taught how to interact with the rabbit appropriately, they can make excellent pets and are very accepting.
Because these rabbits are rather people-oriented, they do require a bit more attention than other rabbits. This means you will have to spend time each day with your rabbit, which can be difficult if you are already busy.
These rabbits have been described as similar to dogs when it comes to their personality. They can be quite playful and curious, so rabbit-proofing your house is necessary. They can be quite docile and calm most of the time, but many have a mischievous streak.
The Sussex rabbit is also quite intelligent and is easy to train. They learn to use a litter box very quickly and can even be taught to do tricks. Because of their people-pleasing nature, they usually do what they are asked with ease.
Appearance & Varieties
All of the Sussex rabbits will have soft and dense fur. While their fur is relatively thick, it is also short. For this reason, these rabbits need minimum grooming. They won’t need their hair cut or brushed much, as you don’t have to worry about mats or anything of that sort.
However, they will need their coat quickly brushed through about once a week. This helps keep the coat clean and removes loose hair, which these rabbits will lose year-round.
During molting seasons, the rabbit will shed more than usual. You will likely have to bump up your brushing sessions to once a day during these periods, as you don’t want your rabbit consuming too much loose fur.
When a rabbit grooms themselves, they often consume at least some of the loose hairs in their coat. If they consume too much, it can create a blockage, which can be deadly. For this reason, grooming your rabbit as much as needed is essential to the pet’s health. It could be life or death.
These rabbits can come in two different colors. The gold color is the one that resembles a teddy bear most closely, so it is also the one that is the most sought after. This color includes a bit of chocolate shading, so it is a little darker.
They also come in a cream coloration, which is much lighter. The shading on these rabbits is closer to a pink-cream than a brown, so they look less like teddy bears.
How to Take Care of a Sussex Rabbit
Indoor vs. Outdoor Hutch
You should generally plan to keep your Sussex rabbit indoors. While these rabbits can survive in an outdoor hutch, they are a bit too small to do so and thrive. They are a bit sensitive to extreme weather conditions and are the perfect size for many predators. They also thrive on human interaction, which they won’t get if they spend most of their time outside.
Even if the rabbit’s outdoor hutch is entirely safe, rabbits are known to have heart attacks from fear. Therefore, even if a predator tries to get to her, it may not end very well for the rabbit. Keeping your pet outside may also cause her to become less friendly since she won’t be around people as much.
There are many indoor cages for rabbits that you can choose from. The most crucial factor is size. You should aim for the width to be at least 2 feet, which should be enough for your rabbit to lay down in. The length should be 6 feet to allow for hopping room. The height should be tall enough for your rabbit to stand up without bonking her head on the ceiling.
The hutch should not have a wire bottom, as this can seriously injure your rabbit’s feet. Instead, you’ll need something solid like wood or metal. Most rabbit hutches are made to this specification, but it is important enough to double-check.
You should cover the floor of your pet’s cage with about three inches of bedding. There are many materials you can use for this. The most important thing is to ensure the bedding is safe for your rabbit. Therefore, you should not use sawdust to make your rabbit dirty and cause skin irritation. Cedar and pine shavings should be avoided as well, as these can cause your rabbit to develop respiratory and liver issues.
The best beddings are straw and shredded cardboard or paper.
Provide Hiding Places
Like all rabbits, this species loves to hide, so a hiding place is necessary. There are many hiding boxes you can purchase commercially, though you can make one out of a cardboard box as well.
Usually, one hiding place is fine. If you have enough room, though, two hiding places are a good option. Your rabbit should always have one close by.
Include a Litter Box
Because Sussex rabbits are easy to train, you should plan to provide your rabbit with a litter box. This will make clean up much easier for you and keep the rabbit healthier in the long-run.
Instead of cat litter, you should use hay as the substrate in the litter box. Spot-clean this once a day and change it completely every few days as needed. Place the litter box in the corner your rabbit seems to use to urinate, or just place it into a random corner if you don’t know where your rabbit would prefer just yet.
You should never use cat litter in your rabbit’s litter box, as it can cause serious health problems. Your rabbit will likely eat it, which can cause blockages.
Do Sussex Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?
These rabbits are typically very docile with other pets and don’t bother them. Your main concern is going to be how the other pets treat the rabbit. Most dogs will see rabbits as prey animals, even if the dog is very tiny. Most rabbits will see dogs as predators. Even if the dog never actually hurts the rabbit, a chase encounter can cause serious harm to the bunny.
Therefore, you should keep the rabbit away from any predatory animals.
These rabbits do fine in the same room as other rodents, like hamsters. However, they should not be left unattended with other animals while both are wandering freely.
What to Feed Your Sussex Rabbit
Your rabbit should be provided with plenty of hay. The majority of their diet should be made up of hay. Not only is hay nutritious, but it also helps wear your rabbit’s teeth down. Your rabbit’s teeth never stop growing. If they are not kept worn down, they can grow through your rabbit’s face or cheeks, which can cause all sorts of problems.
Your rabbit should be provided with an endless supply of hay.
To ensure your rabbit meets all their nutritional needs, you should also provide a small amount of rabbit kibble. It should be plain and nutritionally complete. Still, you should only provide your rabbit with a small amount, usually around ¼ cup a day. Many rabbits will overeat kibble if given a chance and become overweight.
Fresh fruits and veggies should also be provided as treats. Look for leafy veggies, like kale, basil, and collard greens. These contain the most nutrients for your rabbit and should be given more than other types of veggies.
Of course, your rabbit should also be given an unlimited amount of freshwater. Use a sipper bottle, as it won’t tip over and potentially get your rabbit wet.
Keeping Your Sussex Rabbit Healthy
To thrive, your rabbit needs regular, daily exercise. You should ensure that your rabbit gets at least two hours of exercise a day. This means they will need to be let out of their cage, which will require supervision. You should also rabbit-proof the room or rooms that you allow your rabbit in.
This means hiding or covering electrical cords and preventing your rabbit from eating things they shouldn’t. If they can reach it, they will chew on it.
Rabbits tend to hide their health problems, so visiting the vet at the first sign of trouble is essential. If you are not planning on breeding your rabbit, you should get them spayed or neutered. This can prevent specific health problems and behavioral issues.
Breeding Sussex rabbits is similar to breeding any other type of rabbit. This breed does not have any particular breeding difficulties or anything of that sort.
Once a doe is pregnant, she will likely need to be moved to a larger hutch, as it will need to have enough room for the babies. She should always have a supply of hay, as she may begin to eat more to support the babies. Her hay should not be restricted.
If your rabbit is housed near other rabbits, she should be removed somewhere more private. You should preferably put her somewhere quiet so that she does not get stressed. Stressed does eat their babies, so everything you can to keep her stress levels as low as possible. Don’t put her near a TV or anywhere else where there might be loud noises regularly.
Once the kits are born, it is best to examine them within 24 hours. Some does are more stressed by this than others, so keep an eye on the female as you examine the babies.
You should remove any dead kits from the nesting box. Be careful not to remove “chilled” newborns. These kits may appear dead, but they have a low body temperature. Most kits that are caught out of the nesting box will become chilled before they die, so be careful not to remove kits that are still alive accidentally.
The kits can be removed from their mother at 8 weeks. Most does will finish nursing their kits around 5-6 weeks. If the mother starts to resist nursing, you can remove the kits from the cage. Male and female kits should be separated at eight months as well.
Are Sussex Rabbits Suitable for You?
These rabbits are great for families. They’re friendly and relatively easy to take care of. They are adorable and often called “teddy bear” rabbits because of their coloration. As long as the children are correctly taught how to handle rabbits, they are a good fit for most families due to their docile nature.
However, because these rabbits are very people-oriented, they need a bit more attention than other rabbits. You should only adopt one if you have the time to give them the attention they need.
Featured image credit: Alan Fraser Images, Shutterstock