Netherland Dwarf Rabbit (Size, Color, Temperament, Behavior)

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are impossibly cute. They are tiny. In fact, they are the world’s smallest breed of rabbit.

Weighing only 1.1 to 2.5 pounds, these tiny bundles of joy have quickly gained popularity among pet enthusiasts worldwide.

Their neotenic appearance, which means they retain babyish features even when fully grown, adds to their charm, making them ideal companions for those who love small and cute pets.

They are beautiful animals with fun personalities, but they aren’t for everyone.

Essential Facts About Netherland Rabbits

Size when fully grown: Just 1.5 to 2.5 pounds (around a kilogram, or a little less). These rabbits stand 5 to 6 inches (127 to 152 mm tall), not counting their ears, which can add another 2 to 2-1/2 inches (50 to 64 mm) to their height.

Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years (much longer than larger rabbits).

Health issues: Respiratory issues, because of their short noses. Fractured and broken bones due to roughhousing children, being dropped, or trying to escape by twisting their hind legs when held too tight.

Comes in over 20 colors (See the Appearance section below).

Diet: Mostly timothy hay or high-fiber pellets containing timothy hay, with some dark leafy greens and carrots. Important not to feed Netherland Dwarf rabbit sweets or high-carb treats of any kind.

Housing: Sensitive to both heat and cold, so it needs a 24-inch by 36-inch by 15-inch (60 cm by 90 by 38 cm) enclosure where it can stay indoors with see-through sides for good ventilation. Needs pads on the floor because it can injure its toes if it has to walk on bare wire. It needs an enclosed outdoor rabbit run for protection from predators.

Also read: Why Do Netherland Dwarf Rabbits Bite?

History of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

As you might imagine, the Netherland Dwarf rabbit originated in the Netherlands.

In the early 1900s, five Dutch breeders began crossing the smallest wild rabbits they could find with Polish rabbits, which, despite their name, originated in England.

One key factor behind the small and unique appearance of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit is the dwarfing gene, which gives the breed its name. Many small rabbit breeds carry this gene, but some, like the Polish and Britannia Petite, do not.

The new breed was accepted by the rabbit breeders association in the Netherlands in 1940, but World War II prevented any further showings, and the breed nearly died out.

In 1948, some of the surviving Netherland Dutch rabbits arrived in the United Kingdom.

They were brought to the United States and recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1969.

They have been very popular in the United States ever since.

Rabbit fans like Netherland Dwarfs because they are so easy to house.

They need a rabbit run for several hours of playtime every day, but this can be indoors or, if protected on all sides and above, in the backyard.

Appearance of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Netherland Dwarf rabbits aren’t just very small. They have unusually compact bodies, even for their size.

The head is round. Both the head and eyes are large in relation to the rest of the body. They have a short face and short, wedge-like, erect ears.

The coat of a Netherland Dwarf rabbit is short and soft. These rabbits come in a tremendous variety of colors, including black, blue, lilac, white, chocolate, fox, sable marten, tortoiseshell, chestnut, agouti, Siamese sable, Siamese smoke pearl, Himalayan, sable point, fawn, opal, otter, squirrel, chinchilla, tan, orange, smoke pearl marten, and silver marten.

The size and appearance of Netherland Dwarfs make them highly desirable as pets. They are not, however, suited for meat or fur production.

Distinctive Features

Netherland Dwarf rabbits have several distinct features that set them apart from other rabbit breeds.

Their large head is in proportion with their small, round body, creating an overall cute and attractive appearance.

Their short, rounded ears are another defining characteristic, standing erect on top of their head.

Additionally, they have a small, flat nose that resembles that of a baby rabbit, further adding to their adorable look.

Temperament and Behavior of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Netherland Dwarf rabbits have a reputation for being fussy and antisocial, the females more than the males.

The truth is that Netherland Dwarf rabbits are extremely vulnerable to predatory animals, and they are naturally cautious around predators and children who do not know how to avoid causing them harm.

Here’s what you can expect from their temperament and personality:

  • Active: Netherland Dwarf rabbits are highly energetic, requiring more exercise than most rabbits. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and engaging in playtime with their owners. Make sure to provide them with plenty of space and toys to keep them entertained.
  • Affectionate: These rabbits can form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy being petted and cuddled. They appreciate spending time with their human family members and can become quite loving when properly socialized.
  • Skittish: Due to their small size, Netherland Dwarf rabbits can be more easily frightened or startled than larger breeds. It’s important to approach them gently and calmly to help them feel safe and secure in your presence.
  • Playful: The energetic nature of this breed means they enjoy various play activities, such as running through tunnels, jumping over obstacles, or climbing up and down ramps. Providing a variety of toys and play equipment will keep your Netherland Dwarf rabbit engaged and happy.
  • Aggressive: While they are generally friendly and affectionate, some Netherland Dwarf rabbits may display aggressive behaviors, such as nipping or territorial actions. Consistent, gentle handling and training can help to curb these tendencies and ensure a balanced personality.

You can have a happy, fun relationship with your Netherland Dwarf rabbit if you take the time to introduce it to a variety of activities when it is young.

Take it out of its cage and let it play on the floor. Face it, move toward it slowly, and gently stroke it between the ears.

Coming up on a rabbit from behind or above, quickly, and from behind is what a predator would do. This makes a small rabbit very anxious.

Avoid picking up a rabbit to hold it unless you have spent several weeks playing with it on its terms.

Keep in mind that rabbits have to chew (more on that in the next section) and love to explore, so make sure they don’t chew on your furniture or upholstery, and don’t explore areas of your home where larger pets rule.

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Pros

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are beautiful. You can admire them for hours.

You can enter your Netherland Dwarf rabbit in shows. Chances are that you won’t have to travel very far to find a rabbit show that accepts Netherand Dwarfs.

Netherland Dwarfs are easy to train. They only take about a week to learn to use a litter box, and you can train them to come when you call their name.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits take up very little space. Do you live in a studio apartment? You could keep a Netherland Dwarf as a pet. Unlike most other breeds, Netherland Dwarfs can be happy spending all of their time indoors, as long as they can use a play space for several hours a day.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are low-maintenance. They seldom get sick, they love toys as simple as the cardboard cylinder inside a roll of paper towels, and they never need a bath.

Netherland Dwarfs are playful and active. Your Netherland Dwarf rabbit can be a constant source of entertainment for everyone in your home.

Netherland Dwarfs form strong emotional bonds to their owners. They will be happy to let you pet and groom them. They will be attached to the person who feeds them for life.

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Cons

Netherland Dwarf rabbits need several hours a day of exposure to humans as soon as they are weaned (if not before). Otherwise, they will be afraid of their owners the same way they are afraid of larger animals.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits can become depressed if they are left alone for too long. They need constant companionship, either from another Netherland Dwarf rabbit, or from you.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits naturally love to dig and chew. They will dig a hole in your sofa and chew through electrical cords if left unsupervised.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are naturally nervous around larger animals. This includes cats and dogs that they have not known since they were kits (young bunnies). They have a very short survival time around pet snakes.

Netherland Dwarfs are easily injured by rough handling. Children must be old enough to know how to treat their rabbit gently before they are ready for a Netherland Dwarf.

Still interested in owning a Netherland Dwarf? Then read on. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know.

Taking Care of Your Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Proper handling prevents injuries in dwarf rabbits.

Make sure your children never play rough with their rabbit. Tiny bones are easily broken, and the rabbit may bite in self-defense.

Don’t restrain your Netherland Dwarf’s legs when picking it up. It if twists to escape, the stress can fracture its spine.

Pet your rabbit while it is on the floor. Don’t take it into your lap, although it is OK to let it lie down beside you.

The right diet keeps your Netherland Dwarf rabbit healthy.

All rabbits need a mostly hay, strictly vegan, high-fiber diet.

Their unique digestive process (they eat their own poops, but just the soft ones, not the hard ones) extracts protein and creates fat that other animals cannot obtain from grass.

You should give your bunny mostly hay or rabbit pellets made from hay. Timothy hay is always better than alfalfa, because it has the right amount of calcium and protein for your rabbit’s kidney health.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits also need dark-green, orange, and yellow vegetables, along with tiny amounts of fruit and berries. They need an unlimited supply of water.

If you follow these rules, you won’t have to deal with the two most common problems in the breed, malocclusion of the teeth (growing too long for the jaws to close) and gastrointestinal stasis, the accumulation of undigested food at the pit of the stomach.

A Special Health Concern of Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are more susceptible than other breeds to respiratory infections.

Rabbits can transmit Pasteurella, also known as snuffles, by drinking from the same water source. Always isolate any rabbit that shows a milky nasal discharge.

Untreated, this condition can also cause a tilting head as it spreads to the Eustachian tubes. Your vet can prescribe appropriate treatments.

Popular Bunny Names for Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

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

The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit is known for its very small size, short ears, and lively personality.

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

Boy Bunny Names for Netherland Dwarf RabbitsBoy Bunny Names for Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

These names emphasize the very small size, short ears, and lively temperament of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.

Also read: Pet Rabbits Names

Frequently Asked Questions About Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

Where can I buy a Netherland Dwarf rabbit?

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are often available in pet shops and sometimes available from animal rescue shelters.
You will get the happiest, healthiest, best-adjusted Netherland Dwarf rabbits from breeders.
Consult the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Near Me page of Rabbit Breeders US for contact information.

How much will a Netherland Dwarf rabbit cost?

Expect to pay US $50 for a healthy, recently weaned Netherland Dwarf bunny, up to $150 if the rabbit has been spayed or neutered. Show rabbits can cost several hundred dollars

Where can I find more information about Netherland Dwarf rabbits?

If you are planning to enter your Netherland Dwarf rabbit in a show, be sure to consult the American Rabbit Breeders Association Standard of Perfection for the breed.

If you join the American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club, also known as the ANDRC, they will give you a full-color guidebook to the breed, plus tips for raising show-quality rabbits.

They also publish a quarterly journal called Dwarf Digest that is packed with tips and information about raising and showing Netherland Dwarfs.

Are Netherland Dwarf rabbits hard to take care of?

Netherland Dwarf rabbits require some special care, but they are not exceptionally hard to take care of.

You need to provide them with a habitat that allows for a lot of energy since they tend to be high-energy animals.

Their enclosure should be at least 18×24 inches, but ideally 8 square feet or more. Additionally, it’s vital to be patient with them due to their timid nature, as mentioned earlier.

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