I was recently looking at a (poorly constructed, juvenile) meme quiz, and realized that of all the shapeshifters of folklore, one has entirely vanished from the minds of modern esoteric types. I find this strange, because it's really one of the strongest legends documented in English-speaking lands.
I refer, of course, to the woman/witch who turns herself into a hare. This change, unlike the classical werewolf's, is entirely voluntary. It is apparently best known in parts of England, where the superstition existed up through the twentieth century, though probably only as a quaint story to tell children and the idle rich. (For instance, Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels make repeated references to the grandmother of the half-gypsy keeper, who terrorized the neighborhood in the shape of a white hare until Jasper himself shot her with a silver bullet.)
To meet a hare was, in many parts of England, considered unlucky, despite the fact that hares are the only lagomorphs native to Britain-- rabbits were a rarity imported from the continent, and carefully preserved in warrens. Pikas, the other type of lagomorph known to the Old World, are found in Asia (and, in the New World, in the Rocky mountains), but not in Britain.
The hare as a subject of shapeshifting has some major advantages: hares are relatively common, they move swiftly and silently and usually are seen alone; they make forms in the grass from which they may appear suddenly. They move quickly, and if one had to have the animal's fur for shapeshifting purposes, a hare fur would be easy to conceal about the house. There is a great deal of mythology about them, such as the classical belief that they change gender between their first and third years.
Hares as witches' shapes or familiars were apparently known in all of Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and later in some parts of the [Anglo] United States. These hares are difficult or impossible to catch or shoot, and often accused of lingering threateningly round people's houses, or worse, stealing milk from their cows. Witches that have to travel long distances may take the shape of a hare.
However, as a subject of modern-day shapeshifting fantasy, the hare has two major disadvantages: it's not a predator, and it's considered cute. Cuteness can be forgiven, in for instance the case of werecats and selkies-- but not being a carnivore, let alone a predator, and in fact being prey, seems to have blanked out the modern imagination.
So, if you see a large, long eared rabbit near the house and you run out of milk for your coffee unexpectedly... don't suspect me.
William George Black. "The Hare in Folk-Lore," The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3. (Mar., 1883), pp. 84-90.
Bodil Nildin-Wall; Jan Wall. "The Witch as Hare or the Witch's Hare: Popular Legends and Beliefs in Nordic Tradition." Folklore, Vol. 104, No. 1/2. (1993), pp. 67-76.