When assessing the qualities of rabbits as pets always look to the individual but consider the breed. Research and if size is a factor go with a purebred breeder for a predictable size based on breed.
Generally speaking there are some breeds that can be active (English Spots) while others are somewhat quieter (Giant Chinchillas). There are sizes from 2-3 pounds to upwards of 16 pounds. Have an appropriate sized cage, feeding and watering equipment, carrier and other equipment needed to care for your pet.
Generally speaking when looking for a pet rabbit you aren’t interested necessarily in showing or breeding. If you are then you will need a little better quality rabbit than one that is “just” a pet, which can be imperfect.
Examples of the “imperfect” rabbits that can be great pets include solid colored English Spots, mismarked Dutch or Tans, Rex that aren’t quite the minimum weight, any breed with a toenail that broke that is discolored, stray white hairs or a spot on the body or a missing nose spot on a broken. In rabbit terms broken doesn’t refer to something wrong with the rabbit but rather to the “pinto spotted” color. A broken rabbit that is “heavy” (more colored than white) or “lightly” (more white, not enough color) can also be a great pet.
This leaves the selection factor wide open. When looking for a pet rabbit, however, look deeper. Check the teeth to make sure they meet evenly without overlapping either way. This saves you from many less than pleasant dental issues later on. Check ears to make sure they are clean and eyes and nose should be clear of drainage. Start out with a healthy pet! Ask to have your pet tattooed. Many breeders will do this for nothing. You might put “PET” in the right ear (preventing registration which isn’t possible for rabbits that don’t meet the standard anyway) and letters or numbers in the left one. This is quick, relatively painless and is a permanent way to identify your rabbit. If you put 5 rabbits on a table it’s easy to lose track of which one is which but if one has tattoo markings you know beyond a doubt which is yours.
Look for a friendly temperament and one that is suited to your temperament. If you want a lap bunny get one that is naturally quiet rather than trying to make a squirmy one fit. That squirmy one might be ideal for the person who wants a more active rabbit! Many “almost show quality” rabbits have already been handled in preparation for showing and can be a reasonable cost to purchase.
Once you have selected a healthy rabbit, it’s tattooed and ready to come home you should have the home ready. Give the rabbit a few days just hanging out in the cage to relax and get used to all the changes.
Assessing the qualities of rabbits as pets isn’t difficult if you know what you want and stick to that description. You will be much happier and so will your new rabbit!