Rabbits make an ideal pet for most children because their larger size means that they can be handled more roughly without harm befalling them. By the same token, they can, be handled more easily. There is no question of their tameness for rabbits have been bred in captivity for so long that any wildness has long disappeared. They exist in many colours, some with extra short hair (the Rex) and others with long wool (the Angora).
It is advisable to purchase a young rabbit aged a few months, but even a young adult of about a year is a good buy because they live for many years. Healthy animals will take an interest in anyone peering into their hutch, are lively and have a sleek coat.
Avoid animals which huddle in a corner, are dull of eye and are dirty in the region of the vent and tail. Single rabbits will live contentedly by themselves. In fact, even if you have more than one rabbit, each one must have a hutch to itself. Either sex will make an equally good pet. In rabbits, the male is known as a buck and the female as a doe. There is no special name for the young.
The rabbit originated in the Spanish peninsular, spreading into Morocco and Algeria in North Africa and throughout Europe as far as Russia. The Romans knew of the animal but made only half-hearted attempts to domesticate it. Domestication in any real sense did not occur until the middle ages when monks bred the rabbit for food. The first coloured forms were described in the sixteenth century. By the seventeenth, the rabbit was widely esteemed for meat. Fancy breeding (for pets and exhibiting) probably did not begin until the early to mid-nineteenth century but, once it did, rapid progress was made in creating many of the existing breeds.