There’s a lot to love about Jersey Wooly rabbits.
This dwarf breed weighs only 1-3 pounds and is known for its gentle, docile nature, making it a great addition to families or first-time rabbit owners.
These petite balls of wooly fur originating in New Jersey love being cuddled. They are dwarf rabbits that are gentle and love to play.
They have long, attractive, wool-like fur, and cute little ears that stand erect.
If you have never owned a rabbit before, a Jersey Wooly is a great selection for a first pet.
They do have a few special care requirements, however, and need some protection that larger rabbits do not.
In this article, we will tell you all you need to know about the history, appearance, temperament, care, and feeding of Jersey Wooly rabbits, and we will include an FAQ. First, let’s review the essential facts.
Essential Facts About Jersey Wooly Rabbits
Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
Care level, compared to other rabbits: Not a good selection as a pet for preschool children, who may not be able to hold the rabbit. Easily injured by falls and being stepped on. At extra risk from predators of all kinds, including other meat-eating pets.
Temperament: Laid back, easy to show.
Color: A wide range of colors and color patterns, as discussed in detail below.
Lifespan: Usually 7 to 10 years, lives longer than larger rabbits if given appropriate care. Spaying or neutering increases the longevity of Jersey Wooly rabbits.
Adult size: 1 to 3 pounds (0.5 to 1.3 kilograms).
Dietary requirements: Primarily Timothy hay.
Compatible breeds: Gets along well with other dwarf rabbits.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Jersey Wooly Rabbit
Pros of owning a Jersey Wooly Rabbit:
- Small enough to hold in your lap and loves cuddles.
- Trainable. Can be taught to come when you call its name. Constantly curious.
- One of the most popular show rabbits. Children raising rabbits for livestock shows can get lots of advice on raising and showing this rabbit from the National Jersey Wooly Club.
- Long, wooly coat is not hard to maintain.
- Loves being handled if it is socialized to human contact when it is young.
Cons of owning a Jersey Wooly Rabbit
- Too small to be kept outdoors.
- Highly intelligent, needs lots of playtime to keep from being bored. Will chew on its cage if not allowed out for several hours a day.
- Must be handled gently to prevent broken bones. Easily injured if dropped.
- Too small for small children to handle safely.
- Loves to chew. Cannot be allowed to roam in a room with electrical cords on the floor.
History of the Jersey Wooly Rabbit
Jersey Wooly rabbits are the product of a breeding program overseen by New Jersey rabbit breeder Bonnie Seeley.
In the 1970s, Bonnie decided to create a new breed of rabbits that would have a gentle disposition and a wooly coat.
She developed the breed by crossing a French Angora rabbit with a Netherland Dwarf rabbit.
The resulting rabbit had the small size of the Netherland Dwarf combined with the attractive, oblong body shape and easily combed wool of the French Angora.
Seeley first showed the breed at the American Rabbit Breeders Association convention in 1984, and the breed was recognized in 1988. It has become one of the most popular show rabbits.
Today, the Jersey Wooly Rabbit is one of the most widely-exhibited rabbits at local and national shows in the United States
Appearance of the Jersey Wooly Rabbit
Jersey Woolys are small rabbits with compact but oblong bodies and small, erect ears.
As far as size and weight are concerned, the Jersey Wooly Rabbit is considered a dwarf breed.
They typically weigh around 1 to 3 pounds, with a maximum weight of 3.5 pounds for show rabbits.
Their compact body size combined with their unique features makes them an appealing pet to those seeking a smaller rabbit with a distinct look.
Jersey Wooly rabbits come in a variety of colors that may be in either solid or broken patterns. Jersey Wooly colors include:
The Agouti group of colors includes chestnut, chinchilla, opal, and squirrel.
These colors usually have a rich, warm appearance and can be quite striking. Some examples of these colors in Jersey Wooly rabbits are:
- Chestnut: A deep, reddish-brown with ticking throughout the coat.
- Chinchilla: A cool gray with layers of darker and lighter shades, giving a salt-and-pepper look.
- Opal: A lighter gray color with a bluish hue, similar to a blue chinchilla.
- Squirrel: A stunning silver-gray color with a blueish undertone.
Broken-colored Jersey Wooly rabbits feature any recognized variety combined with white.
These lively patterns often resemble splashes of paint or ink blots, making each rabbit a unique piece of art. Some examples of broken colors include:
- Black: A mix of black and white patches.
- Blue: A combination of soft blue-gray and white markings.
- Chestnut: Chestnut color mixed with white sections.
- Lilac: A blend of delicate, pale purple-gray and white areas
The Self group consists of rabbits with a solid, consistent color throughout their bodies.
Jersey Wooly rabbits in this category include black, blue, chocolate, and lilac.
These simple yet elegant colors can be described as:
- Black: A rich, even black color from head to toe.
- Blue: A soft, blue-gray hue that coats the rabbit.
- Chocolate: A warm, medium brown color that is consistent over the body.
- Lilac: A delicate, pale purple-gray color that is uniform across the rabbit.
- Shaded – These rabbits have darker coloration on their heads, ears, feet, and tail. In Jersey Wooly rabbits, the shaded pattern occurs in rabbits that have rarer base colors such as Siamese, tortoise shell, blue tortoise shell, smokey pearl, and sable.
These rabbits have darker fur except on the belly and around the nose. Each hair is a solid color without any banding.
Rabbits with “tan” coats can have a base color of blue otter, black otter, blue silver marten, black silver marten, chocolate silver marten, lilac silver marten, or sable marten.
Any Other Variety (AOV)
Within the AOV category, Jersey Wooly rabbits can be found in pointed white (black or blue).
This rare variety has a primarily white body with black or blue-colored points on the ears, nose, and feet.
There are also Jersey Woolys with white fur on most of their bodies but black ears.
You’ll find that the Jersey Wooly Rabbit has thick, soft fur, which requires regular grooming to prevent matting.
While their wool can sometimes be more manageable than other rabbit breeds, it’s important to upkeep a proper grooming routine for your furry friend.
One of the most distinctive features of a Jersey Wooly Rabbit is its “mug head.”
This term refers to their square, bold head, with short erect ears that only stand a couple of inches tall.
Their large eyes contribute to the baby-faced appearance of these adorable bunnies.
Temperament of the Jersey Wooly Rabbit
Jersey Wooly rabbits are small but highly intelligent. They easily learn their names.
It is not hard to house train them. They enjoy toys more complicated than just the ball and cardboard rolls that amuse some other breeds.
You can train your Jersey Wooly to walk around outside on a leash. Be careful not to force it to walk on concrete or pavement. These can injure its tiny toes.
Let’s explore some key aspects of their personality and temperament:
- Gentle and docile: Jersey Woolies are often referred to as “no-kick bunnies” due to their gentle disposition. They rarely bite or kick, which makes them a great choice for first-time rabbit owners or families with children.
- Affectionate: These rabbits enjoy being around people and will often seek out affection from their owners. With regular handling and care from a young age, they tend to form strong bonds and appreciate being held and stroked.
- Friendly: Jersey Wooly Rabbits are known to be sociable creatures. They get along well with other rabbits, making them a good choice if you’re thinking of introducing multiple rabbits to your home.
- Adaptable: These rabbits can easily adapt to various living situations, including apartment life, which means they’ll feel comfortable in a variety of spaces as long as they have their basic needs met.
To help bring out the best in your Jersey Wooly Rabbit’s temperament, consider the following tips:
- Maintain a clean and comfortable living space for your rabbit. A happy, secure rabbit is more likely to exhibit a friendly and affectionate temperament.
- Provide your rabbit with mental stimulation through toys and playtime to keep them engaged and content.
- Spend time interacting with your rabbit each day to allow them to become familiar with you and deepen the bond between you.
Care for Your Jersey Wooly Rabbit
Jersey Wooly rabbits differ from other breeds in that they need to be kept in crates indoors rather than in hutches outdoors.
A Jersey Wooly does not need a lot of space. A single square foot (about 0.1 square meters) of crate space is enough for a one-pound (500-gram) rabbit.
A good rule of thumb for choosing the crate for your Jersey Wooly is to make sure it has a square foot of space for every pound of body space.
However, you can also give it the same crate you might use for a cat or a small dog.
Your Jersey Wooly needs to get used to nesting inside its crate. It will also go to the potty inside its crate.
If you pick up soft droppings and place them in soft, fresh dry hay inside your rabbit’s crate for a week or two, it will get the idea.
Change the hay inside your rabbit’s crate every day or two to keep dry droppings (the output from the second pass through your rabbit’s digestive tract) from accumulating.
Every Jersey Wooly needs about three hours a day outside its crate. If you take your rabbit outside, keep it on a leash.
This way you can keep it from hopping into danger. It’s better to give your rabbit a dedicated play space in a den or family room.
Let it go in and out of its cage as it wants.
Food and Water
Jersey Wooly rabbits eat about 8 ounces (250 grams) of fresh, dry timothy hay every day.
Don’t try to measure out the hay your rabbit eats. Just make sure it always has a mass of hay about the size of its body ready to eat.
Rabbits need the fiber in timothy hay to keep their constantly-growing teeth worn down so they fit inside their mouths.
They also need fiber from hay to keep them regular. Rabbits lick themselves clean, and the fiber in the hay prevents the accumulation of hairballs in your rabbit’s stomach.
While rabbits can actually be carnivorous in nature, pet rabbits thrive on plant foods.
A crunchy carrot is fine to use as a treat when you are training your rabbit to come when you call it. Keep commercial rabbit food pellets to a minimum.
Make sure your rabbit always has access to fresh water.
Jersey Wooly rabbits have very few health problems if you make sure they always have fresh hay to eat, you change their bedding every day or two, you give them play time outside their cage for a few hours every day, and you protect them from predatory animals and children who do not yet know how to be gentle with them.
You should also be on the lookout for:
- Flystrike. Outdoor rabbits with soiled coats can attract flies. The flies lay eggs in the feces or debris, and the larvae burrow into the rabbit’s skin and fascia. This is not a problem if your rabbit stays clean.
- Malocclusion. Rabbits fed a diet of mostly pellets don’t get enough chewing to keep their teeth worn down so they can close their mouths. This is not a problem if you feed your rabbit mostly hay.
- Aggressiveness. Even dwarf rabbits can become territorial. Pets that have been spayed or neutered do not usually display this behavior.
Breeding Age and Litter Size of Jersey Wooly Rabbit
When it comes to breeding Jersey Wooly rabbits, it is essential to know the suitable age for mating.
Does (female rabbits) reach sexual maturity at around six months, while bucks (male rabbits) can be a bit younger, around 4-5 months
However, it’s best to wait until they are both at least six months old before breeding to ensure their physical and emotional well-being.
As for the number of litters, a Jersey Wooly doe can produce 2-3 litters per year, with each litter consisting of 3-5 kits (baby rabbits).
It’s crucial to give your doe enough time to rest and recover between litters, as back-to-back pregnancies can take a toll on her health.
Jersey Wooly Rabbit Clubs
The National Jersey Wooly Rabbit Club is an organization dedicated to promoting the Jersey Wooly Rabbit breed.
They focus on the development and improvement of these adorable rabbits.
If you are passionate about Jersey Wooly Rabbits, joining a club like this can offer you valuable resources and opportunities to connect with other enthusiasts.
In this club, you can exchange knowledge and share experiences about raising and breeding Jersey Wooly Rabbits.
The club hosts various events, such as the Jersey Wooly Nationals.
Attending these events can help you learn more about the breed and improve your rabbit care skills.
As a member, you will also have access to:
- Educational materials on the breed and rabbit care
- Newsletters and updates about upcoming events and shows
- Networking opportunities with experienced breeders and fellow rabbit enthusiasts
To get the most out of your membership, make sure to participate in the club’s events and take advantage of the available resources.
Joining the National Jersey Wooly Rabbit Club can be an excellent way to expand your knowledge and connect with a supportive community of rabbit lovers.
Jersey Wooly Rabbit as Prey Animals
As prey animals, Jersey Wooly rabbits naturally have instincts and behaviors that help protect them from predators.
In this section, you will learn about these instincts and how they affect your Jersey Wooly’s behavior.
- Hiding: Jersey Wooly rabbits are good at finding hiding spots when they feel threatened. It is essential to provide your rabbit with a safe, enclosed space in your home where they can hide when they need to feel secure.
- Freezing: When faced with danger, prey animals like rabbits tend to freeze in place. This is a natural response that helps them avoid being detected by predators. If you notice your Jersey Wooly freezing, it might mean they are sensing a potential threat nearby.
- Thumping: Your Jersey Wooly may sometimes thump its hind legs on the ground to signal danger, which is another instinctive behavior. If you hear your rabbit thumping, pay attention to its environment and try to identify any causes of stress or fear.
- Speed and Agility: Jersey Wooly rabbits are small and agile creatures, which helps them escape danger. Ensure your rabbit has access to enough space for exercise and playtime, allowing them to maintain their agility and remain healthy.
Understanding these prey animal instincts will help you create a more comfortable and safe environment for your Jersey Wooly rabbit.
Remember, your rabbit relies on you to keep them happy and secure, so be mindful of their needs and do your best to accommodate them.
Popular Bunny Names for Jersey Wooly Rabbits
Here’s a table with popular Jersey Wooly Rabbit names, reflecting their breed characteristics.
The Jersey Wooly Rabbit is known for its small size, soft wooly coat, and gentle nature.
Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and calm personality.
|Boy Bunny Names for Jersey Wooly Rabbits||Girl Bunny Names for Jersey Wooly Rabbits|
These names emphasize the soft wooly coat, small size, and gentle nature of the Jersey Wooly Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.
Also read: Names for Pet Rabbits
Frequently Asked Questions About Jersey Wooly Rabbits
Where can I buy a Jersey Wooly rabbit?
Check the National Jersey Wooly page on Facebook.
How much will a Jersey Wooly rabbit cost?
Jersey Wooly rabbits cost more upfront than most other rabbits.
Breeders will charge US $75 to $250 for a healthy, show-quality rabbit that you could use as breeding stocks.
You should budget another $250 for your rabbit’s
indoor hutch, a protective fence to keep it in just one room in your house, and simple toys (a rubber ball and the cardboard from inside a used roll of paper towels will do).
Rabbits don’t generally need a lot of veterinary care, but when they do, it is expensive. Pet insurance is a good idea.
Rabbits are considered exotic pets, and, in the United States, only Nationwide offers pet health insurance for them.
Are Jersey Wooly rabbits hypoallergenic?
No. There are no hypoallergenic rabbits.
Having an allergy to dog or cat dander, however, does not automatically mean you will be allergic to rabbits.
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