Are Border Collies Good With Rabbits?

Are Border Collies Good With Rabbits

A sheepdog, from the border of Scotland and England, the Border Collie is a loyal, smart and compliant hard working a dog.

The Border Collie will do anything you tell them to, without question, though they may occasionally outsmart you.

The Border Collie can also make a great family companion, who will love to snuggle up on the couch with everyone at the end of an extremely active day of play, walkies, and more tasks.

But are Border Collies good with rabbits? This is what we’re going to take a look at in this article, so read on if you want to find out more!

What kind of dog is a Border Collie?

Originally bred to round up sheep all day long, today’s Border Collies still love to herd anything they can get their paws on, and some things they can’t.

The Border Collie is definitely not a hunting dog, though, and is unlikely to chase small animals.

Can a Border Collie be trained to get along with a rabbit?

The Border Collie has always been a highly obedient and intelligent breed of dog. This is a trait that serves them well when rounding up sheep alongside a farmer.

With only the simplest clicks, whistles, and hand gestures from a Border Collie’s handler, the Collie understands precisely what they are being told to do.

Plus, since they aren’t a hunting dog, a Border Collie would never hurt a rabbit, and would certainly be curious and interested in interacting with this small animal.

So, you may be able to train a Border Collie to get along well with a rabbit, especially if the Border Collie is still young.

People have even managed to train hunting dogs to cohabitate with rabbits! So, you will definitely be able to train them to leave each other alone, at least.

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Would a Border Collie hurt a rabbit?

Being bred primarily for herding, the Border Collie’s sense of smell is not quite as strong as with some other dogs, like the Bloodhound or Terrier.

Because of this, it’s unlikely that a Border Collie would ever see a rabbit as prey or want to intentionally hurt a rabbit.

But, being a dog that is still bred to herd, you may find that a Border Collie does try to round up a rabbit if a Collie feels that the rabbit has escaped certain boundaries, like leaving their pen, or getting too close to a fence.

Since a Border Collie’s herding behaviors can include nipping and barking, behaviors which can injure small animals like rabbits severely or startle them to death, herding behaviors are something to keep an eye out against.

Can a Border Collie be left alone with a rabbit?

The Border Collie has no drive to harm a rabbit. At best, the Border Collie and rabbit will adore each other and spend lots of time together, while at worst, they will be indifferent to each other, and will ignore each other.

If you really do have to leave your Border Collie and rabbit alone together, unsupervised, make sure they are both secure. Put your rabbit in their hutch or pen, fully locked, and make sure that your Border Collie is in their crate, too.

Will a Border Collie play with a rabbit?

With no reason to harm a rabbit, your Border Collie is likely to just leave them alone.

But you may find that your Border Collie and rabbit start to play together of their own accord. If you take them outside together, your Border Collie might like to chase your rabbit for fun.

As long as this doesn’t turn into herding, your Border Collie and rabbit can have a lot of fun chasing each other.

They may even like to play tug-of-war together!

How can I make a Border Collie and rabbit get along?

Take the socialization and introduction process as slowly as possible and watch both animals’ body language constantly. Give your rabbit the option of somewhere secure to hide throughout the process, too.

Before you begin introductions, it’s a good idea to take your Border Collie for a walk, to calm them down. Then, when you get home, keep your Border Collie on the leash.

Holding your Border Collie on the leash, pass by your rabbit in their pen or hutch. Do not let them sniff each other at this point, just keep moving.

Then, quickly take your Border Collie away to another room or area. At this point, reward both animals with a treat, to create a positive association. Do this every day for a week or so.

After several days of introducing the animals to each other like this, if you notice that your rabbit is coming over and trying to sniff your Border Collie, you can start to increase the time you let them spend with each other.

But, do not let your Border Collie be the one to approach the rabbit at this point. Always let the rabbit be the one to approach the Border Collie.

If you have noticed that your rabbit seems happy enough and is also secure enough, you can even start to let your Border Collie off the leash around them! Do still supervise them, however, but don’t engage with either animal too much.

If you notice your Border Collie focusing excessively on any of your rabbit’s sudden movements, your Border Collie should be either removed from the area or should go back on the leash around your rabbit until your Collie ignores these movements.

A glance or two is fine from this alert herding dog, but never let your Border Collie stare at the rabbit.

After this, the pair should be fine in the same area together, as long as you are there too, to watch the body language and listen to the sounds of both animals.

So, are Border Collies good with rabbits? 

With careful training, this is possible as long as the rabbit is comfortable with the dog’s presence and the dog is very gentle. Always keep in mind the rabbit’s sensitive nature. 

The Collie would need to be supervised when in the rabbit’s presence.  Eventually, you never know, you might see them snuggle up together on the dog’s bed!

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