Many rabbits unfortunately become abandoned or homeless through no fault of their own every year due to the owner's inability to care for the rabbit properly, or a change in the owner's circumstances and these rabbits end up in rescue shelters.
Rabbits will usually have a health check on arrival at the rescue shelter and be treated for any ailments that they may have been suffering from to ensure the rabbit is healthy before being offered for rehoming. Often the rabbit's temperament will also have been assessed to ensure its suitability as a pet. This means that any new owner is assured of being offered a rabbit of good temperament and health, although there may be little or nothing known about the rabbit's exact age, history or parents.
Rescue Shelters also usually provide ongoing support for owners of rabbits rehomed by them so can be a great source of advice should any concerns arise after offering a home to one of their rabbits.
Depending on the rescue shelter, any potential owner may be required to complete a series of forms, be interviewed or even receive a home visit to assess their suitability as a potential rabbit owner. The rescue shelter's primary concern is to ensure the correct placement of the rabbits in their care with a suitable new owner able and committed to caring for the rabbit properly.
Rescue shelters often have baby and adult rabbits for rehoming and is considered by many to be best place to look for a pet rabbit and it can be very satisfying to be giving a homeless rabbit a bright future.
Private, Hobbyist and Show Rabbit Breeders
Private or hobbyist rabbit owners may breed their pet rabbits and many owners of show rabbits also breed their rabbits with the aim of producing future show winners, enhancing breeds and developing new breeds of rabbits but don't breed their rabbits on a commercial scale.
Most private, hobbyist or show rabbit breeders carefully plan their litters with the aim of producing robust, healthy rabbits of good temperament. Private, hobbyist or show rabbit breeders also regularly handle their young rabbits and so any rabbits they sell are usually confident about being handled. There is also have the opportunity to see the parents and know the exact date of birth of the rabbit it is intended to purchase.
Breeders of show rabbits will have pure bred rabbits and will have aimed to produce rabbits that are of good size and a good example of the rabbit breed in accordance with the breed show standard, often with the intention of keeping some of the young rabbits themselves for showing and selling the surplus rabbits that they don't keep. If looking for a good example of a particular breed or sure of a purebred rabbit of a particular breed, perhaps with the hope of showing it at rabbit shows in the future, then a breeder of show rabbits is the best place to buy a rabbit.
Private and hobbyist breeders often advertise rabbits for sale on the internet, in local papers, pet shops or vets and are the best place to buy a rabbit for those particularly looking for a baby rabbit raised in a home enviroment and wanting knowledge of their age and history. Show rabbit breeders can usually be located by contacting a relevant rabbit club and are the best place to buy a rabbit for those looking for a purebred rabbit of a particular breed or those who might want to consider showing their rabbit in the future.
Many pets shops sell rabbits and this is often where many people buy their first pet rabbit. Although some pet shops may acquire their rabbits from private breeders, the majority obtain their rabbits from commercial breeders to ensure a constant supply. Rabbits supplied by commercial breeders are usually the result of mass breeding programmes aimed at quantity rather than quality and bred purely for profit. The rabbits may not have been handled any great deal before arriving at the pet shop and often no information regarding their date of birth, parents, etc is given to the pet shop.
Some pet shops will quarantine new rabbits received for a period of time to ensure they are healthy, and some may have staff handle them to ensure the have good temperatments, before offering them for sale in their shop but some shops will simply offer the rabbits for sale as soon as they arrive not having done any assessment of the health or temperament of the rabbits.
Pet shops are often the first place people think of when looking to buy a rabbit and the most convenient. They may offer a wider range of different colours and breeds than are available in a rescue shelter or offered by a private, hobbyist or show breeder.