Male vs. female rabbits

Updated February 21, 2017

A rabbit can make an excellent pet, but all rabbits are not created equal. One of the most important decisions to make when choosing a pet rabbit is whether to get a male or female. There are some important differences between male and female rabbits that are factors to consider when selecting your new pet.


A female rabbit is called a doe, while a male rabbit is called a buck.

Physical Differences

There are several physical differences between a male and female rabbit. The first is their sexual organs, which are the same as found in any mammal. But male and female rabbits have other physical differences as well. A male rabbit is often smaller than a female of the same breed. Males have more square shaped heads, while a female's most distinctive physical feature is often a dewlap (or fold of skin under the chin), though these can also be present in males.

Behavioural Differences

In general, male rabbits are often more social and friendly. They are naturally curious and typically react better to the presence of other rabbits or animals in the home. Females tend to be more reserved, especially when it comes to their habitats. As they age, female rabbits begin to view their cage or habitat as potential nesting areas. Therefore they can often become protective or even aggressive. However, with proper socialisation and spaying, they can be just as friendly as a male.

Expert Recommendation

Most breeders or rabbit experts recommend a male rabbit as the better pet, primarily because of their behavioural habits.

Pairing Rabbits

If you decide to adopt or purchase more than one pet rabbit, there are a few things to consider. While males and females can be paired with other rabbits of the same gender, it is often better to match a male and a female together. However if you chose to house a rabbit of each gender in the same habitat, it is vitally important to make sure each rabbit is spayed or neutered to prevent breeding.

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About the Author

A lifelong resident of Wisconsin, Amy Rath has been a professional writer since 2007. She served as a reporter for "Community Shoppers" and as a freelance reporter for the "Sun Prairie Star." Rath holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.