Whether you're an avid animal lover or have kids who want every pet under the sun, you might find yourself with multiple species under one roof.
Many households have multiple pets that are not natural companions, like dogs and cats. But when it comes to the highly affectionate and loving Shih Tzu, will this little lion dog get along with your pet rabbit?
Generally, Shih Tzu are good with rabbits and other small animals. However, they also possess an instinctual prey drive and love to chase things, including small animals.
And since rabbits are aware they are generally the prey, they may become easily frightened and stressed by a dog's attention, even when playful.
So, if you plan to have a Shih Tzu and a rabbit, plan on extensive training and introduce your pets properly.
Plus, you may also want to consider a larger breed rabbit. This can help decrease the likelihood of your dog hurting your bunny accidentally.
If you take the time to train your dog and introduce them to your rabbit, a Shih Tzu might be perfectly willing to accept the long-eared addition to the family.
First, however, it's critical to recognize that Shih Tzu does have a reasonably strong prey drive despite their affectionate nature.
Primarily, they love to chase things, from toys to small animals.
What your pup would do with the rabbit once they caught up with it could be a bit unpredictable, depending on your Shih Tzu's disposition.
Therefore, don't assume that your rabbit is safe just because Shih Tzu are smaller dogs.
You still need to go through the proper steps to introduce your dog to your rabbit.
Once you've gone through the necessary prep work, you're one step closer to a doggy-rabbit friendship. However, a few precautions are still worth noting.
For example, your pup might sometimes recognize your pet bunny as a friend and simply want to play.
The problem is that overly eager dogs can unintentionally end up hurting a small rabbit when trying to play. Plus, your rabbit won't understand your dog's intentions are innocent and can become extremely nervous.
However, since your Shih Tzu isn't a large dog, choosing a larger rabbit can help even things out a bit.
Believe it or not, some rabbits could even be bigger than your dog.
Still, many larger rabbits tend to be more docile and less skittish than their smaller counterparts.
Therefore, check out the specifics and decide which one measures up the best for your Shih Tzu.
Here are five breeds of rabbits that tend to be on the larger side and make wonderful pets.
You can find Flemish Giant rabbits weighing 13 pounds and higher, making it one of the largest rabbit breeds. Many even exceed 20 pounds, yet this breed is considered a "gentle giant" thanks to its overall docile nature.
Although not recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), the British Rabbit Council recognizes these bunnies. They can cost you between $300 and $500, but this rabbit will likely be larger than your Shih Tzu, potentially weighing 25 pounds and reaching three feet long.
With its precious floppy ears, the French Lop is the only lop-eared bunny among the giant breeds. They weigh roughly 11 pounds and are a friendly breed that loves to cuddle. So if you plan to have a Shih Tzu and a French Lop, be prepared to dole out lots of love to your fur babies.
This bunny is one of only a few breeds initially developed in the United States. Giant Chinchilla rabbits weigh about 13 to 14 pounds at full maturity, typically maxing out around 16 pounds. They're also a gentle breed that make excellent pets.
These rabbits are typically about 11 pounds and up, and they usually are a good match for homes with children. They're gentle, although they don't require constant attention, which could be a good balance for the overly affectionate Shih Tzu.
However, these bunnies are very active and love to run, so pairing them up with a pup that likes to chase may not be the best match. But, it all comes down to how you handle your dog and rabbit interactions.
Once you've become the proud parent of a Shih Tzu and a rabbit and introduced them properly, it's still wise to be diligent.
So, even if your furry friends get along swimmingly, keep these tips in mind to ensure continued success:
The most vital thing to remember if you plan to get a rabbit is that Shih Tzu have a high prey drive.
Also, there are never any guarantees when it comes to dogs and rabbits, so always be hyper-aware and vigilant when your pets are around each other.