Staphylococcus aureus has been recognised as one of the important zoonotic pathogens. However, knowledge about the epidemiology and genetic characteristics of S. aureus in rabbits was limited. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of 281 S. aureus isolated from dead rabbits of nine rabbit farms in Fujian Province, China. All the isolates were characterised by multi-locus sequencing typing, detection of virulence factors and antimicrobial susceptibility test. The results showed that the 281 isolates were grouped into two sequence types, ST121 (13.52%, 38/281) and ST398 (86.48%, 243/281). Surprisingly, the ST121 strains were only recovered from the lung samples from one of the nine rabbit farms studied. In the 281 isolates, the virulence genes of nuc, hla, hlb, clfA, clfB and fnbpA were positive, whereas the sea, seb, tsst, eta and etb genes were negative. Notably, the 38 ST121 isolates carried the pvl gene. All the 281 isolates were methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, and the isolates were susceptible to most of the used antibiotics, except for streptomycin, kanamycin, azithromycin and penicillin, and the resistance rates of which were 23.84%, 19.57%, 16.01% and 11.03%, respectively. This study first described the epidemiology and characteristics of S. aureus in rabbits in Fujian Province, which will help in tracking the evolution of epidemic strains and preventing the rabbit–human transmission events.