As an adoption counselor I am often asked,
“Which breeds are good with children?”
Or people will say, “I have a small apartment, so I want to get one of those miniature rabbits.”
What’s wrong with these statements?
1. The main problem is that there are as many exceptions as there are rabbits who fit the description of a particular breed.
2. A related issue is judging an animal by appearance rather than by personality.
Anyone who has watched a dwarf rabbit dash from the kitchen to the porch by way of the couch, from about 3 AM through mid-morning will understand immediately the small apartment/small
So beware of sentences that begin “Lops are…” or “Angoras are…”. Such generalizations usually act as screens that obscure the particular, individual animal and focus instead on a (usually inaccurate) abstract. And while it is true that we’re all born with personalities, that we (rabbits and humans alike) do not come out of the womb as blank slates, it is not true that there is a gene called “good with children.” Most rabbits, if they are bred intentionally, as opposed to accidentally, are bred for appearance, not personality.
The science of genetics has enabled humans to create a rabbit with a white body and brown ears, nose, feet, and tail, in both large (Californian) and small (Himalayan) sizes but not one who has an innate enjoyment of being grabbed by small sticky hands.
The soul behind the face
Mellow rabbits lounge around any old way, dangling from your arm, in the middle of a busy room.
Irritable rabbits have pinched, crabby facial expressions, just like that nasty bank teller who makes you feel like you’re imposing on her when you
withdraw your money from her bank. As a student of rabbit nature, these are the observations to treasure.
One of the great dangers of breed generalizations is that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. If your dwarf rabbit bites you, oh well, everyone knows they’re irritable, and nothing
can be done about it. More than one dwarf rabbit has ended up at an animal shelter because of behavior that would have been accepted and dealt with in a breed that doesn’t have a reputation for aggressiveness.
Another insidious aspect of stereotyping is it allows entire groups of animals to be categorized
Your rabbit is his very own self and nobody else. The process of getting to know him, and vice-versa, requires no generalizing. In fact, it is a very particular experience, shared by the two of you. His beauty does not reside in whether he has “papers” any more than his love for you is based on your ancestry. Once the blinders of generalization are removed, the world becomes a much more interesting place.
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