To prove yourintelligence, you took tests in school, but how do you know if your rabbit issmart? Is it in how well they respond to commands, how trainable they are, orsomething else entirely?
Rabbits are incredibly intelligent animals. They havethe ability to see cues and react, address and overcome problems, and evenmemorize some things. They are trainable as well, much like other commonhousehold pets are.
While every rabbit isdifferent, these animals are far from dumb. You may wonder, though, are theysmarter than dogs or cats? Which rabbit breed is the most intelligent? Read on,as we’ll answer those questions and more.
- 1 How Smart Are Rabbits?
- 2 Which Breed of Rabbit Is Smartest?
- 3 Are Domesticated Rabbits Smarter Than Wild Ones?
- 4 Are Rabbits Smarter Than Dogs or Cats?
- 5 Are Rabbits Trainable?
- 6 Are There Toys to Make Your Rabbit Smarter?
- 7 Is Your Rabbit at Risk of Jumping out a Window or a Ledge?
- 8 Conclusion
How Smart Are Rabbits?
As we discussed in theintro, rabbits are intelligent animals, but just how smart are they? For one,they have the ability to adjust to your routine and notice if something isdifferent. If you’re sick, you oversleep, or you change your schedule, yourrabbit will react to it. That means they’re capable of understanding changes.
They can learn commandsand phrases much like a dog would, too. Bunnies even grow to associate meaningwith some words, such as maybe “treat” or “love.” They’re trainable and canobey, but they’re not blank slates. Rabbits have their own personalities andthus might not always listen to you. Sometimes rabbits can be self-serving anddo what they want. That alone is a testament to their intelligence, as they canrecognize their own needs and interests and then pursue them, at least to adegree.
According to Universityof Miami environmental biologist Dana Krempels, Ph.D, rabbits are quite brainy.“Their intelligence is very different from other species…but is just asadaptive and just as elegant,” she said. For a time, Krempels had 16 rabbitsshe cared for, studying them and their degree of intelligence.
Rabbits may have cutefaces, cuddly bodies, and smooshy tails, but they’re so much more than justtheir looks. They’ve got brains, too!
Which Breed of Rabbit Is Smartest?
While you might select arabbit based on its cuteness or temperament, there doesn’t appear to be any onebunny species that’s more intelligent than any others. That means if youalready have a rabbit, it doesn’t matter what breed it is. He or she isprobably already quite smart or has the potential to be. You just have to spendsome time with them and work on it.
If you’re thinking aboutadding a bunny to your family, you don’t have to limit your search based onparameters like intelligence, either.
Are Domesticated Rabbits Smarter Than Wild Ones?
Once again, we’d like toreiterate that the intelligence of rabbits varies from one bunny to another.That said, we’d have to give this one to domesticated rabbits. These animalsare intelligent by necessity.
Rabbits are small tomid-sized animals, making them the perfect prey for bigger creatures. To avoidthose predators, rabbits have to be adept at running and have a good sense ofdirection. They also have to know how to make hiding places, such as their deepburrows. On top of that, they must possess the memory to know where theirburrows are and how to get back to them. More still, they must be good atknowing how to catch food and bring it back to the burrow. That’s probablysomething they learn from their parents.
Domesticated rabbitsdon’t have the same troubles as their wild ancestors. They have an enclosure,so there’s no need to search for shelter. They’re provided fresh food andwater, so they don’t have to forage, either. There are no predators around, soa rabbit can just relax and enjoy themselves and their life.
In terms of survivalintelligence, it’s wild rabbits over domesticated ones all the way. Could thesewild creatures be tamed or trained though like domesticated rabbits? That’shard to say.
Are Rabbits Smarter Than Dogs or Cats?
While rabbit owners maybelieve the opposite, dogs are regarded to be smarter than rabbits. It’s notjust that dogs are more trainable, but it goes back to the survival instinctsand intelligence of predators. Dogs are larger animals, thus wild dogs may preyon wild rabbits. While it’s the prey’s job to outthink dangerous situations,the predator has to track down their prey and find ways to outmaneuver thesmaller creatures.
There may also be a scientificcorrelation between brain size and intelligence. If that’s true, then dogswould be smarter for certain.
What about cats? Dogshave been proven to be more intelligent than cats. Again, the bigger braincomes into play, as does the sociability of canines. If dogs are smarter thanrabbits and also smarter than cats, it would reason to assume that dogs are atthe top of the intelligence totem pole. Next would be cats, and then rabbits.
Admittedly, there is asomewhat tighter debate about whether cats or rabbits are the more intelligentanimal. Some people even believe the smarts between the two is comparable.
Are Rabbits Trainable?
What if your rabbit isn’tquite as bright as you wished it was? There is some basic training you can do,but don’t expect your bunny to learn a full list of commands like a dog would.Start with the basics. It’s important to train your bunny on how to use alitter box, for instance. You can also teach them their name. If they respondto it and come running, then you’ll know you’ve trained them.
Like with any pet,training your rabbit is very rarely an overnight process. You must dedicateweeks, sometimes months of your time before a rabbit will fully master acommand. If you’re willing to put the time in, your rabbit could be trained forlife.
Being able to train yourrabbit to use a litter box will save you time and energy. You may be able to golonger between enclosure cleanings. You also won’t waste so much litter. Sinceyour bunny makes waste in one spot, you can just throw that out and move on.
Teaching your rabbit somevocal commands will increase your bond. It’s also cool to be able to show somepeople who think rabbits are dumb just how smart these creatures can be.
Are There Toys to Make Your Rabbit Smarter?
If you haven’t yettrained your rabbit but want to, we still recommend verbal training above allelse. Be sure to reward them with treats for a job well done.
You can also use toys to augment your bunny training. This logic snack board is available on Amazon for not that much. There are seven lids total. Put a treat in one or two of the cubbies and then let your rabbit figure out which hole houses the treat. This will get their brain working.
An activity toy for rabbits is another fun training option. It’s a little more expensive, butyour rabbit can have hours of fun playing with the ropes, putting shapes backinto the right holes, and moving, shaking, and pulling the wooden blocks.
Is Your Rabbit at Risk of Jumping out a Window or a Ledge?
While rabbits are quitesmart, at the end of the day, they’re still an animal. That means they won’tact with the full range of intelligence that us humans possess. If you were toput your rabbit in a dangerous situation, such as being near an open window orledge, then it’s hard to say what will happen.
Rabbits will not likelyjump off these ledges in a suicidal or reckless manner, but they coulddefinitely slip and fall. That’s why it’s always recommended you keep yourrabbit in its enclosure. If you let the bunny out for some exercise, then youmust supervise it the entire time.
Your bunny will notnaturally gravitate to a window or ledge on its own. They’re smart, but notsmart enough to open a closed window or a door latch. The only way they couldrealistically get in those risky situations in the first place would be ifsomeone put them there.
Rabbits are indeed smartanimals, with no one breed being more intelligent than others. Wild rabbits,thanks to their survival instincts, are likely smarter than domesticatedbunnies, but they’re less trainable.
Even though you can trainyour rabbit to learn their own names as well as how to use a litter box, they’restill not smarter than dogs. Some people think the intelligence of a rabbitisn’t that much different than the smarts of a cat, which could be true. Afterall, there’s proof that brain size plays a role in intelligence, and the brainsof these two animals are close in size.
At the end of the day,you love your bunny for more than its smarts, but for its looks, personality,and how much joy they bring you. Still, if you were curious about how smartyour bunny may be, now you have a good idea!