Can Dachshunds Live With Rabbits?

You’ve probably heard tales or seen videos of unlikely animal friends, including a dachshund being best pals with a rabbit, and wondered whether your dog and bunny could achieve the same level of friendship.

So, can dachshunds live with rabbits? Unfortunately, dachshunds and rabbits don’t make suitable companions due to the breed’s strong hunting desire and prey drive. Cases of dogs getting along with rabbits or other small pets are extremely rare, more so with dachshunds.

However, with careful planning and training, it is possible to get dachshunds and rabbits to coexist with one another, which we’ll be going over below.

dachshunds with a rabbit

Why It’s A Bad Idea For A Dachshund To Live With Rabbits

Dachshunds have a high prey drive as they were originally bred as hunting dogs.

Standard dachshunds were created to chase badgers out of their dens, while miniature dachshunds were bred to hunt rabbits.

As a result, these dogs will naturally chase and attempt to kill small animals like rabbits.

Even if your dachshund wasn’t bred specifically for this purpose, the instinct is still very much instilled and is likely to awaken when they see a rabbit or other prey animal.

Rabbits and dachshunds are not adequate companions for this reason, and adding a rabbit into a household with this breed can put your small pet at serious risk.

Can You Train A Dachshund To Get Along With A Rabbit?

Although it’s possible to train a dachshund to get along with a rabbit, it still doesn’t completely eradicate the risks of keeping these two animals together.

You need to remain vigilant when introducing your rabbit and dachshund, making sure to never leave them unattended.

Training your dachshund to get along with your rabbit is easier when they are still relatively young, especially if you owned your rabbit before your dog.

It’s also important to note that the personality of your dachshund plays a role in effectively teaching them to tolerate small animals.

Every dog is different, and some dachshunds have a lower or stronger prey drive than others.

If your dachshund’s temperament is more akin to the former, it will be considerably easier to train to coexist with your rabbit.

How Do You Introduce A Dachshund To A Rabbit?

Dachshund with a baby bunny

Ideally, your dachshund should already be obedient before you introduce them to your rabbit. They should understand that you’re in charge and know when to listen to you.

While it’s a little easier to introduce your dachshund to your rabbit when they are still young, it can actually be more challenging if your dog is a puppy.

Puppies are still discovering the world and learning new things, so they will often test the boundaries to see what they can and can’t get away with.

This can be problematic when introducing them to your rabbit as they may be unable to follow commands or recognize the difference between good and bad actions.

In addition, playful, nippy puppy behavior could seriously harm your rabbit. Make sure you’re quick to intervene if the introduction doesn’t go as planned.

With these things in mind, here are a few ways you can teach your dachshund to tolerate being around your rabbit to help prevent their hunting instincts from kicking in.

Consult Your Vet

Before your dachshund and rabbit become acquainted, talk to your vet or a dog trainer for insight and advice. It’s not only your dog you need to think about, you also need to consider your rabbit’s welfare and safety.

As rabbits are prey animals, they are naturally afraid of dogs and other large creatures. The worst thing you want is your rabbit becoming overly stressed and frightened whenever they’re in your dachshund’s presence.

Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of the introduction before proceeding. Unfortunately, in most cases, dachshunds struggle to coexist peacefully with rabbits.

Switch Scents

Offer your dachshund something with your rabbit’s smell on before they meet, ideally a few weeks or a couple of weeks beforehand.

This can help your dog grow accustomed to your rabbit’s scent before the meeting, hopefully making the process go a lot smoother.

Exercise Your Dachshund

Take your dachshund on a walk before you let them meet your rabbit for the first few introductions.

That way, your dog will be tired and calm, helping prevent excess energy and excitement. They are also more likely to listen to you and your commands.

Keep Your Rabbit In Their Cage

This is especially important for the first few introductions. Keeping your rabbit in their cage or in an enclosed pen will stop your dachshund from gaining access to your small pet if the situation takes a turn for the worst.

You’ll have full control of the scenario, allowing you to jump in if necessary and prevent your rabbit from getting into harm’s way.

Keep Your Dachshund Leashed

Until your dachshund is calm around your rabbit and you’re certain they won’t act aggressively, always keep your dog on a leash when the pair meet.

This will allow you to have a handle on your dachshund, stopping them from reaching or hurting your rabbit.

Let Your Dachshund Sniff Your Rabbit’s Cage

Once you’re ready to introduce your dachshund to your rabbit, guide them into the room where your rabbit’s cage or pen is. Bring your dog to your rabbit’s cage to investigate and sniff the surroundings.

If your dachshund is calm or pays your rabbit no attention, reward them with praise and a tasty treat.

Positive reinforcement is key as you want to teach your dog that being relaxed around your rabbit is good behavior.

Alternatively, if your dachshund is aggressive, boisterous, or attempts to lunge/paw at your rabbit’s cage, firmly say “no” and walk them away. Repeat this step as necessary.

It can take days, weeks, months, or even longer for a dachshund to tolerate being around rabbits. In some cases, it can never happen.

Use Commands

While your dachshund is in your rabbit’s presence, command your dog to “sit” or “lay down” so you know they’re still listening to you and not getting overruled by their prey drive.

Take Your Rabbit Out And Hold Them

If your dachshund is responding well to training and the introduction, take your rabbit out of their cage and hold them while standing up.

This is easier if a friend or family member holds your small pet so you can focus on controlling your dachshund.

Slowly approach the person holding your rabbit with your dog on a leash, making sure to offer praise and a reward if your dachshund remains calm.

If your dachshund jumps up or acts aggressively, firmly say “no” and guide them towards the door.

Repeat until your dog begins to relax around your rabbit, then let them approach your rabbit while the person holding them is sitting down.

Follow the aforementioned steps until your dachshund is calm in your rabbit’s presence.

Next, ask the person holding your rabbit to sit or crouch on the floor with your small pet. Very, very slowly walk your dachshund over.

Again, if you notice any lunging/aggression, respond with a firm “no” and step towards the door with your dog.

Place Your Rabbit On The Floor

If the previous steps have gone well, place your rabbit on the floor without holding them.

Slowly approach them with your dachshund, making sure to pay close attention to their reaction. If there is even a hint of hostility, don’t hesitate to move your dog away.

A relaxed or indifferent reaction to your rabbit should be rewarded with praise and a treat to reinforce desirable behavior.

Any biting, jumping, chasing, etc, should be reprimanded with a stern “no” and by walking away.

Remove Your Dachshund’s Leash

When you’re satisfied by your dachshund’s behavior around your rabbit and you’re certain the process has gone well, you can remove your dog’s leash.

Getting to this point can take a long time, often weeks or months. In some dachshunds, they may never be able to meet rabbits without a leash.

For at least the first few months, it’s best to only let your dachshund meet your rabbit while the latter is inside a cage or pen.

You should only take off your dog’s leash if you’re sure your rabbit will be safe.

Additionally, even if your dachshund is seemingly tolerant of your rabbit while unconstrained, you should never leave them unsupervised.

As mentioned earlier, dachshunds have a strong prey drive and could severely wound or kill your rabbit in seconds if given the chance.

Don’t take any risks and only allow your dachshund and rabbit to meet when you’re in the same room and able to intervene if necessary.

What Other Pets Are Better Matched With Dachshunds?

Sadly, small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, etc, aren’t the best companions for dachshunds, but that doesn’t mean all pets are off-limits.

Alongside other small dog breeds, cats can coexist peacefully with dachshunds.

Cats are a similar size to dachshunds, making them less likely to trigger their prey drives. In most cases, these two animals will get along fine in the same household.

However, it’s still important to teach your dachshund how to appropriately behave around your cat and vice versa.

Teaching dogs and cats to live with one another is easier when both parties are still young, but that’s not to say it can’t be done with older canines and felines.

Make sure you introduce your dachshund to your cat in a neutral space and set up a baby gate or barrier so your cat can leave if they feel threatened or scared.

While dachshunds can be taught to live with rabbits, it’s a long and challenging process. More often than not, these dogs can never coexist in the same household.

That said, your dachshund’s personality and obedience play a large role in the outcome of the introduction.

Calm, well-trained, and laidback dachshunds are more likely to get along with rabbits than those who are disobedient or with significantly strong prey drives.

Always supervise your dog when introducing them to your rabbit and don’t hesitate to cut the meeting short if things get a little heated.

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