Dutch Rabbit (Size, Color, Temperament, Behavior)

Dutch rabbits, also known as Hollanders or Brabanders, are a popular rabbit breed known for their distinctive color pattern.

With a long history from the 1850s, this breed has become one of the top ten most popular rabbit breeds worldwide.

Dutch rabbits sport unmistakable black and white markings that make them stand out in any show.

They stand up off the ground and look like they are ready to hop at every moment. But if they are properly socialized early in life, they also make great pets.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Dutch rabbits, their origins, their appearance, their temperament, and care, along with the answers to a few frequently asked questions.

First, we will review the essential facts about Dutch rabbits.

Essential Facts About Dutch Rabbits

Dutch rabbits are sometimes called Brabander or Hollander rabbits.

Scientific nameOryctolagus cuniculus domesticus

Care level, compared to other rabbits: Generally easy to care for, but prone to dental problems.

Temperament: Friendly, intelligent, but needs lots of interaction with humans and/or other rabbits to stay calm.

Coat: Glossy, short.

Color: Two-tone, black and white.

Lifespan: 5 to 8 years.

Litter Size: 6 to 8 kits.

Usual adult size: 4.5 pounds (about 2 kilograms).

Dietary requirements: Ensure that the rabbit has an unlimited supply of dry hay, a generous amount of water, and a variety of crisp, green vegetables. It is very important to provide hay and green leafy vegetables every day, with carrots or celery as an occasional treat. Keep commercial rabbit food pellets to less than 10 percent of their diet.

Compatible breeds: Gets along with other small and medium-sized rabbits,

Cage size: Like most other rabbits, Dutch rabbits need cages about 4 times as large as their bodies. A cage or crate with about 3 square feet (0.3 square meter) of floor space, with coated wire for the floor, is adequate.

Dutch rabbits are healthiest and at their most active at temperatures of around 70° to 75° F (around 23° C).

Keep in mind that Dutch rabbits are a lot like cats. They are more active at night than during the day.

History of the Dutch Rabbit

Dutch rabbits are one of the oldest breeds of rabbits in the world. Although they are not dwarf rabbits, they are also one of the smallest.

They have been popular as pets since the middle of the 1800s, and they are a favorite breed for 4-H and other ag shows attended by children.

Despite their name, Dutch rabbits originated in the United Kingdom, not in the Netherlands—or at least most American experts on rabbits think that this breed originated in the UK during the 1830s.

British breeders selected for the two-tone markings that make Dutch rabbits the most easily recognized breed today.

Whether Dutch rabbits first appeared in the UK or in Holland, they are descended from a breed known as the Petit Brabançon, which was popular in Flanders as long ago as the sixteenth century.

The Petit Brabançon was farmed for meat production, but the Dutch rabbits we have today have mostly lived out their lives as pets.

There is some debate about the exact origin of the Dutch Rabbit, with some saying it originated in England in the mid-19th century, while others say it came from the Netherlands and was introduced into England in 1864

Appearance of the Dutch Rabbit

Every Dutch rabbit has a white blaze of fur on its nose. It also has a collar of white fur around its neck.

The fur on its ears and the back two-thirds of its body are usually black, although there are Dutch rabbits that have combinations of white with blue, chocolate, chinchilla, gray, tortoise, and steel fur that you can enter in a show.

Colors that are not accepted for show rabbits but sometimes can occur include white with yellow and white with brown, steel, or pale gray.

Your Dutch rabbit’s fur will be soft, short, and glossy. It rolls back when you stroke it.

Size and Weight

Dutch rabbits are considered a smaller breed, but they are not a dwarf breed.

They have a compact and well-rounded body. Dutch rabbits usually weigh between 3.5 and 5.5 pounds.

Eyes and Ears

You’ll notice your Dutch rabbit has distinctive eyes and ears. Their eyes are covered by their darker fur color, while their ears are short, stocky, and well-furred.

The ears stand erect, contributing to their alert and lively appearance.

Unique Markings

The markings on a Dutch rabbit are what make it stand out from other breeds.

Their darker color covers their ears and stretches down onto their face.

A white wedge-shaped marking extends over the nose and comes to a point at the top of their head. Additionally, their back legs are longer than their front legs.

Temperament of the Dutch Rabbit

Dutch rabbits are active explorers of their world. And they like to start their expeditions when the sun goes down and return to their nests at dawn.

For this reason, you may want to keep your Dutch rabbit indoors. Predators of small animals like rabbits are also active at night.

If your rabbit escapes its run or your backyard at night, it will be hard to find it the next morning.

But if you choose to keep your rabbit indoors, keep in mind that Dutch rabbits are exceedingly playful.

They will seek your attention constantly, even after their humans have to go to bed so they can get up the next morning.

Also, when you first get your rabbit, you need to let it come to you before you start petting and cuddling with it.

Let your rabbit get used to its surroundings before you shower it with physical affection.

Here are some key points about their personality and temperament:

  • Active Breed: Dutch rabbits are energetic and love to play. They’ll keep you on your toes and entertained with their liveliness. Make sure to provide them with toys and ample space to exercise.
  • Low Maintenance: Despite their active nature, Dutch rabbits are relatively low maintenance. They require regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and clean but are otherwise easy to care for. Just ensure they have all the necessities like fresh water, food, and proper shelter.
  • Personality Traits: Dutch bunnies are sociable and good-natured animals that thrive in the company of humans. They’re also known for their intelligence, which makes them a joy to train. These rabbits enjoy being held and cuddled, forming strong bonds with their owners.

Taking Care of Your Dutch Rabbit

Care requirements for rabbits are not difficult, but they are different from what you may expect if you have other kinds of pets.

Here are ten essential rules for taking care of Dutch rabbits.

  1. Always have fresh hay for your rabbit to eat, at least an amount of hay roughly the same size as your rabbit’s body. Rabbits need timothy hay, not alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay has too much calcium in it. It can cause kidney stones. Rabbits should not be fed lawn chippings, leaves, or shredded paper. Don’t use wood shavings of any kind for lining their litter box or hutch.
  2. Fresh liquid water is essential for your Dutch rabbit’s health. Bottles of frozen water can keep your rabbit cool when air conditioning is not possible.
  3. Dutch rabbits are more active than most other breeds. They need a minimum of three hours of playtime every day. You can let them roam around your backyard unsupervised if it is well-fenced (so rabbits can’t dig under the fence) and free of hawks, owls, dogs, cats, raccoons, and other predators.
  4. Dutch rabbits can be taken for a walk on a leash. Because they have delicate toes, don’t make them walk on sidewalks or pavement. Keep your rabbit’s walk on the grass.
  5. A cage for keeping your rabbit indoors should be at least 36 inches (90 cm) long and 24 inches (60 cm) wide, with a clearance of about 15 inches (38 cm) for your rabbit to stretch upward occasionally. Any outdoor hutch for your Dutch rabbit needs to be large enough for it to hop around inside.
  6. Rabbits eat their own soft poops. After a second pass through the rabbit’s digestive tract, waste matter comes out in the form of hard pellets that can be thrown away. To housetrain your rabbit, gather soft poops and place them in your rabbit’s litter box. Your bunny will figure out what to do in about two weeks.
  7. Dutch rabbits shed more than other breeds, but brushing them once a week is enough most of the year. There will be about two weeks a year, one in the spring, and one in the fall, when your rabbit is molting. For these two weeks, it needs to be brushed outdoors every day.
  8. Never give your rabbit a bath unless it is extremely dirty. Whenever possible, remove any troublesome dirt or debris with a warm, damp cloth.
  9. Trim your Dutch rabbit’s nails as needed. Take care not to cut into the “quick” of the nail. A pet groomer or your veterinarian’s assistant can show how to trim your rabbit’s nails if you have never done this before,
  10. Rabbits love the tougher, darker leaves that you may throw away when you’re cooking vegetables or making salads. Just be sure you have not added salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, or salad dressing before you give them to your rabbit!

A Special Note on Dutch Rabbits and Dental Problems

Dutch rabbits are more prone to dental problems than other breeds because they have smaller heads but longer jaws than other breeds.

This leads to a problem called mandibular prognathism, a bulging out of the lower jaw.

The teeth can become misaligned and the jaws may not fit together. This can make it difficult for your rabbit to chew.

Your veterinarian can alter your rabbit’s teeth to relieve some of the symptoms caused by mandibular prognathism.

The most important thing you can do is to be sure your rabbit always has access to as much dry, fresh, clean timothy hay as it wants, and you take your pet to the vet for regular checkups.

Vet visits are easier on the budget if you maintain pet health insurance. In the US, because rabbits are considered exotic pets, only Nationwide offers pet insurance for them.

Watch Out for Obesity

Dutch rabbits, like any other rabbits, can gain weight if they eat too much, leading to obesity.

To prevent this, you should:

  • Monitor their diet and avoid overfeeding.
  • Offer a variety of healthy vegetables and keep treats to a minimum.
  • Provide opportunities for exercise, such as a playpen or indoor rabbit-safe areas.

Eye Care

Your rabbit’s eye health is crucial. Watch for:

  • Discharge or excessive tearing: These could be signs of eye infections or other issues. Contact a veterinarian if you notice these symptoms.
  • Keep their living area clean: This helps prevent eye issues due to dust or bacteria buildup.

Popular Bunny Names for Dutch Rabbits

Here’s a table with popular Dutch Rabbit names, reflecting their breed characteristics.

The Dutch Rabbit is known for its medium size, distinct two-tone color pattern, and friendly personality.

Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and lively nature.

Boy Bunny Names for Dutch RabbitsGirl Bunny Names for Dutch Rabbits

These names emphasize the distinctive two-tone pattern, medium size, and friendly temperament of the Dutch Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.

Also read: Unique Names for Pet Rabbits

Frequently Asked Questions About Dutch Rabbits

Where can I buy a Dutch rabbit?

The best place to buy a Dutch rabbit is with a breeder. Check out the Dutch Rabbit Breeders page of Rabbit Breeders US.
You can also visit the breeders page of the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

How much will a Dutch rabbit cost?

The main factor in the cost of a Dutch rabbit is how far it will have to be shipped after you buy it.

Most Dutch rabbits cost between US $30 and $100.

Do Dutch rabbits like being held?

All rabbits are skittish about being held, at least while they are still getting to know their human family.

Sometimes, scared rabbits scratch, kick, and bite. Always face your rabbit when you are picking it up. Speak to it before touching it. This way, your bunny will not be afraid of you.

Also, even though Dutch rabbits scamper around at high speed, approach them slowly.

Think about the ways that a predator would approach your rabbit, and then do the opposite!

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