American staffordshire terrier with little rabbit sitting on its back

Is It Possible? Are Dogs Scared Of Rabbits?

6 mins |

Dogs are scared of lots of things. Things like thunder, larger animals, and so on. So, although it might be weird to think about, are dogs scared of rabbits too?

No, in general, dogs are not scared of rabbits. It is possible they can become briefly startled by them or a dog might have an intense fear in general. Other than that, dogs won’t be scared of rabbits.

What Are Some Reasons Dogs Get Scared?

A Samoyed that's a little scared of a hissing kitten.
Hopefully, these two will get along someday.

Lots of things scare dogs. One of the biggest is when their owners are away too long. This is separation anxiety, which can cause dogs to be destructive.

Another big reason is loud sounds. Fireworks, gunshots, car doors slamming, motorcycles running, all of these and more can set your dog off.

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Are Dogs Scared Of Rabbits?

In general, dogs are not scared of rabbits. Still, sometimes situations happen where rabbits scare dogs. For example, maybe you’re walking your dog through the park, and a rabbit bursts out of the bushes. This might scare your dog for a moment, especially if they’re not used to this sort of thing.

Also, every dog is a little different. You may get one of the few dogs that end up being scared of rabbits for one reason or another.

Are Rabbits Scared Of Dogs?

Rabbits, on the other hand, are completely scared of dogs. Dogs are a predator species while rabbits are a prey species. A dog’s instinct is to chase while a rabbit’s instinct is to run. Unless handled carefully, they just don’t get along. It’s even possible for your rabbit to die of fright!

How Compatible Are Rabbits And Dogs?

Unfortunately for pet owners, rabbits and dogs aren’t very compatible. It is possible to have both living in the same household, but it takes a lot of steps to get there (which will be described shortly). In general, though, rabbits and dogs just don’t get along, in part because rabbits are scared of dogs.

What Are Some Dog Breeds That Get Along With Rabbits?

If you want to own both rabbits and dogs, the following are some dog breeds that will do better than others:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Maltese
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Japanese Chin
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Basset Hound
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pug
  • Bulldog

Unfortunately, Samoyeds don’t make this list. That doesn’t mean it can’t work out, just that it’s less likely to. Whatever breed you decide to go with though, you’ll have to follow certain steps to give their meeting the best chance of success.

How To Introduce Dogs And Rabbits To Each Other

A dog and a baby bunny nose to nose on a bed.
Will these two get along? We sure hope so.

Want your rabbits to stop being scared of your dogs? Well, there are many steps to successfully introducing them: doing it in a neutral space, keeping the rabbit secure, keeping the dog secure, getting help, introducing them to one another slowly, slowly removing solid barriers, monitoring, doing this only for a short time, and repeating until both the dog and rabbit are comfortable.

Let’s start with doing the introductions in a neutral space.

1. Introduce Your Dog And Rabbit In A Neutral Space

A closed room is a good choice. Avoid anywhere your dog normally sleeps or treats as a space that’s theirs. Do the same for anywhere that your rabbit claims as its own.

2. Keep The Rabbit Secure

Bring your rabbit into the room in their cage. This won’t necessarily make your rabbit any less scared of your dog, but it does give you control over where they go. It also makes it easy to remove them if you need to.

3. Keep The Dog Secure

Your dog should be on a leash with someone holding it. This will keep them from lunging at the rabbit or letting their curiosity get the best of them.

4. Get Help

It’s always better to do these kinds of introductions with a friend or family member. We recommend having this set up beforehand. Make sure everyone knows their role and what the plan is.

5. Introduce Your Dog And Rabbit Slowly

If you can, already have your rabbit in its cage in the room. Then, bring your dog in and let it investigate.

6. Let The Rabbit Out Of Its Cage

If step 5 has gone well, it might be time to let the rabbit out of its cage. When doing this, make sure to secure your dog so it can’t get at your rabbit.

7. Monitor Your Dog And Rabbit

Keep an eye on both of your pets throughout this whole process. Especially do this during steps 5 and 6 though.

8. Cut The Meeting Short

Don’t let these introductions go on for more than 10 minutes. You only want to give your pets enough time to see and feel each other out. Anything more can cause the situation to escalate negatively.

9. Repeat Until Both Your Dog And Rabbit Are Comfortable

Even after a successful first introduction, that doesn’t mean your dog and rabbit are ready to roam free together in your home. You’ll need to do at least several more introductions, slowly increasing the length of time for each, until they’re ready for that stage. Use your best judgment here for when it’s time to move to the next step.

10. Let Them Roam Free

If everything has gone well and continues to go well, it’s time to let your dog and rabbit meet each other outside of the neutral space. At this point, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them. Make sure everything’s okay before letting them do this without you or someone else monitoring them.

What Do I Do If The Introduction Process Doesn’t Work?

Sometimes, pets don’t get along. No one wants to give a pet back, but you’ll have to keep your dog and rabbit separate if things don’t go well.

How To Train Dogs To Get Along With Rabbits

Aside from the introduction process, the best thing you can do is to get your dog into an obedience training class. This will make any introductions to another pet go well because your dog will obey you throughout the introductions.

In Conclusion

So, when it comes to whether or not dogs are scared of rabbits, the answer is not at all. There are always exceptions, but not usually.

What have your experiences been like with dogs and other pets though? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!