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US Rabbit Industry Profile

Pet Rabbit

Production and Sale of Pet Rabbits

Commercially produced pet rabbits are most often sold through pet stores and are often requested at four weeks of age. Older rabbits are not as desirable, and larger breeds of rabbits are also not as popular with pet stores. There does not appear to be a pet rabbit producer organization in the U.S. The USDA regulates producers breeding pets for wholesale trade and for direct deliveries to pet stores. The number of licensed breeders and dealers in 1999 was listed in Table 3. Commercial pet producers selling to wholesalers, brokers or pet stores are licensed according to the AWA. Producers selling pets directly to owners, without the use of a middleman, do not need to be licensed under the AWA, though this practice is most likely used more frequently by hobby producers.
Rabbits bred by the commercial producer reach the pet store through a number of different routes. Some commercial breeders sell their rabbits directly to pet stores. They arrange for a price and age of rabbit to be delivered, and make the delivery themselves or hire someone else to make the delivery. These delivery people, bunny runners pick up rabbits from a number of sites, fill their vehicle and deliver to a single large store or to a number of smaller stores. A commercial rabbit producer can also use a broker to arrange sales. The broker contacts the pet store, arranges the price and delivery date, then contracts with a wholesaler, bunny-runner or large producer to deliver the rabbits to the pet store.

Pet Rabbit Ownership

The size of the pet rabbit population in 2000 was estimated at 5.28 million by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA). The APPMA survey was conducted nationally and asked respondents numerous questions about the pets that live in their household. The total pet population in the U.S. was 353 million, which included cats, dogs, birds, saltwater fish, freshwater fish, reptiles and small animals. Of the 63.4 million households that owned pets, 5.5 million owned small animals, or a small animal population of 19 million.
Forty percent of households owning small animals owned rabbits (2.2 million households) and the average number of rabbits owned per household was 2.4. Table 4 lists the major pets investigated by APPMA, and Table 5 provides the same information specific to the small animal category.
The pet rabbit community has an active on-line presence. There are numerous pages of owners with pictures of their house-rabbits as well as owners with outdoor rabbits. Pet rabbits and their owners are represented by a number of groups throughout the U.S., including the House Rabbit Society (HRS). The HRS advocates keeping pet rabbits inside and altering rabbits once they reach sexual maturity. Advice about what to feed, how to house, and potential health concerns for pet rabbits are also available on the web.[1]

Texlan Rabbits


  1. USDA

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