Are you looking for a pet rabbit small enough to hold in your hand?
Consider the Polish rabbit, a dwarf rabbit that can become the perfect pet for people who live in apartments.
One distinctive feature is their compact size, weighing less than 3.5 lbs. They have a uniquely short heads with full cheeks, large eyes, and short ears that touch each other from base to tip.
Polish rabbits can live out their lives happily without ever going outside—as long as they have access to an indoor playspace of about 100 square feet (10 square meters) for two or three hours every day.
Polish rabbits are playful, intelligent, and easy to train. But they have some special needs that other kinds of rabbits do not.
We will tell you everything you need to keep your Polish rabbit happy and healthy in this article.
Essential Facts About Polish Rabbits
Pronunciation: This “Polish” is pronounced with a long o (like the o in Polish), referring to the country, not with a short o (like the o in polish, referring to a substance for making things shiny).
Best as: Pet, show rabbit.
Colors: White with red eyes, white with blue eyes, brown, chocolate, black, and white with a broken pattern.
Adult height: 4 to 5 inches (100 to 125 mm).
Adult weight: 2 to 3.5 pounds (900 to 1600 grams).
Number of kits per litter: 2 to 4 kits.
Temperament: Active, playful, intelligent, and trainable if kept in a protected environment. Enjoys being petted, will sit in your lap with training.
Best toys: Rabbit tunnels, hay balls, braided seagrass toys.
Longevity: 5 to 6 years if used for breeding, 8 to 10 years if spayed or neutered.
Diet: Mostly timothy hay or high-fiber rabbit pellets. Some leafy greens, carrots, and berries.
Housing: Best in a hutch elevated off the floor, but OK in the same crate you use for a dog or a cat.
Health problems: Fractured bones when dropped, attacks by aggressive pets or wild animals. Needs gentle handling and protection from predators.
The Polish rabbit is not a dwarf rabbit, so it does not have the breathing problems that brachycephalic (short-nosed) dwarf rabbits can get. It has longer ears and a longer body than a dwarf rabbit like a Netherland Lop.
History of the Polish Rabbit
Despite its name, the Polish rabbit most likely originated in England and not Poland.
The exact origins of this rabbit breed remain unknown. The American Polish Rabbit Club says that they were probably bred from wild rabbits, Himalayans, and an older Dutch breed in the early 1800s in Belgium.
Polish rabbits first appeared in Belgium as a popular meat breed, with their meat considered a delicacy. By the 1900s, this rabbit breed was already well-established throughout Europe, especially in Belgium.
They were mentioned in English publications before 1860, and seventeen Polish rabbits were entered in a competition in Hull, England, in 1884.
These rabbits became very popular in England as “hutch rabbits.”
Even though they are quite small, they became popular as meat rabbits, because their meat was considered a delicacy.
Polish rabbits were first brought to the United States in 1912. These white rabbits with red eyes were not popular in the US.
But by 1938, Samuel Rice of Saugus, Massachusetts, introduced a white Polish rabbit with blue eyes (it was also recognized by ARBA in 1938).
During the 1950s, rabbit breeders introduced black and chocolate Polish rabbits. In 1977, Elois Liebman introduced an entirely blue Polish rabbit.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognized it as a variety of Polish rabbit in 1982. Polish rabbits with a broken patterns have been exhibited since 1998.
Polish rabbits have been a popular small rabbit breed in the US for decades. However, this breed is unknown outside the US.
The breed known as Polish in the United Kingdom is known as the Britannia Petite in the USA.
Appearance of the Polish Rabbit
Have you ever watched a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat? If you have, then chances are that you have seen a Polish rabbit.
Size and Weight
Polish Rabbits are small in size compared to other rabbit breeds. They typically weigh between 2-3 pounds when fully grown.
This makes them an excellent option for people who want a compact rabbit that’s easy to manage.
Their small size also contributes to their unique, regal appearance.
Head and Facial Features
Polish Rabbits have a distinct head shape that sets them apart from other breeds.
Their head is short and round, with full cheeks, giving them a charming and charismatic look.
Their ears are short and stand upright, creating a well-balanced and elegant profile. Eye color varies depending on the breed’s coat color, with some Polish Rabbits featuring bold blue eyes, while others have intense ruby-eyed white eyes.
Coat Colors and Patterns
There is a delightful range of colors found in the coats of Polish Rabbits, making them quite diverse in appearance.
Some common coat colors include:
- Black: A rich, deep black with a glossy finish.
- Chocolate: A warm, luxurious chocolate brown.
- Blue: A soft, subtle blue-gray hue.
- White: Two variations of white exist in Polish Rabbits – blue-eyed white and ruby-eyed white.
- Broken: This pattern features any of the above colors mixed with white, creating a unique and eye-catching combination.
In conclusion, Polish Rabbits are coveted for their striking appearance, diverse coat colors, and elegant features.
Their small size and charming looks make them a popular choice for rabbit enthusiasts, and they are known for their regal air, often referred to as the “Little Aristocrat” of rabbit breeds.
Temperament of the Polish Rabbit
Polish rabbits love attention, and after they get to know you, they are happy to let you pick them up.
Let’s take a closer look at some of their personality traits:
- Friendly: Polish Rabbits enjoy the company of their human friends and often seek affection. They love to be cuddled and petted, making them great pets for those who appreciate a close bond with their furry companions.
- Docile: You’ll find that these rabbits are usually calm and not aggressive in nature. This makes them perfect for families with young children or individuals who are new to keeping rabbits as pets.
- Intelligent: While Polish Rabbits may not be the smartest among all rabbit breeds, they still possess an impressive level of intelligence. You can teach them tricks and games, providing mental stimulation and keeping them entertained.
They enjoy cuddles. They will sit in your lap if they are handled gently.
What does it mean to treat a Polish rabbit gently?
- Make sure your rabbit can see you as you approach it. Predators approach rabbits from above or behind. This provokes an instinctive fear reaction that you can avoid.
- Support your rabbit under its belly when you pick it up. Let its weight rest on your hand. Never pick up a rabbit by its ears, legs, or tail.
- Leave your rabbit alone if it hisses, grunts, or snorts at you. Lunging at you with its head up and its ears back is a sign it feels threatened. On the other hand, if your rabbit does a binky jump, twisting its legs to get up to you, or it just flops down on its side, or it licks you, it wants to be held.
Don’t crowd your Polish rabbit. Respect its personal space. It is instinctively cautious around larger animals, including humans, that can injure it.
Taking Care of Your Polish Rabbit
Polish rabbits are indoor pets. It is not safe to keep them outdoors. They can quickly succumb to predators, even if you make provisions for their safety.
Forgetting to close the door to the cage just once can result in the demise of your Polish rabbit in just minutes.
Your Polish rabbit’s indoor home should be made of stainless steel, with a straw, wood, or plastic floor.
Walking on wire can injure your rabbit’s toes. A cage with enough space for your rabbit to stretch out, just 18 inches by 24 inches (45 cm by 60 cm) is sufficient,
The floor of your rabbit cage should be covered with bedding.
Horse bedding works well. You need to spot-clean the bedding every day, removing hard poops and areas soaked with urine.
The bedding should be changed about every 3 or 4 days and the base of the cage should be sanitized with a mixture of water, salt, and vinegar.
Line the box with straw instead of kitty litter, and replace the straw twice a week. Clean the box with water and vinegar every time you throw out old straw.
Polish rabbits suffer during extremes of heat or cold.
They are prone to heat exhaustion at temperatures above 85° F (29° C), and they can suffer from hypothermia when temperatures fall below freezing, especially if they do not have protection from wind and rain.
If you do not have air conditioning, place a bottle of frozen water in the cage with each rabbit to keep them cool
Polish rabbits need companionship for several hours a day.
If you do not provide them with another rabbit, they will bond to the human that feeds them. Remember, reproductively intact male-female pairs can produce up to three litters of bunnies every year.
Polish rabbits need to eat mostly fresh, dry timothy hay.. Never give your rabbit hay that smells moldy or musty.
Your rabbit needs an amount of hay approximately the same size as its body every day.
You can also give your rabbit about half a cup (50 grams) of chopped kale, spinach, or the tops of carrots or radishes, along with an occasional carrot, berry, or piece of pineapple or papaya.
Make sure your Polish rabbit has access to fresh, clean water 24/7.
Never feed your rabbit lawn clippings, since they can contain pesticide residue as well as mites and ticks.
Combing your Polish rabbit’s coat once a week is enough to cut down on shedding most of the year.
For the week in the spring and week in the fall when your Polish rabbit is molting a new coat, you may need to groom it twice a week.
Health Concerns for Polish Rabbits
The most common health issues for Polish rabbits are injuries.
These small pets are easily injured by other animals and by young children who drop them or play rough with them.
If you can protect your Polish rabbit from injury, then the biggest concerns are:
- Malocclusion, teeth that grow into the upper lip and face. Rabbit teeth grow throughout their lives. When rabbits do not get enough chewing from fiber in their diets, their teeth can grow too long. Veterinary treatment will be necessary to save the life of the rabbit.
- Gastric stasis, the accumulation of hair and undigested food at the base of the stomach. This condition causes potentially fatal constipation. Giving your rabbit hay on demand prevents the problem.
- Warbles, tissue damage from bot fly larvae eating the flesh of the rabbit. Making sure your rabbit does not go outside when bot flies are in the area prevents the infection.
You can get pet health insurance for your rabbit through Nationwide in the USA.
Popular Bunny Names for Polish Rabbit
Here’s a table with popular Polish Rabbit names, reflecting their breed characteristics.
The Polish Rabbit is known for its small size, short ears, and friendly temperament.
They often have sleek and shiny fur that can be in various colors, including black, blue, chocolate, and white. Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and sociable nature.
|Boy Bunny Names for Polish Rabbit
|Girl Bunny Names for Polish Rabbit
|Jett (for black ones)
|Ebony (for black ones)
|Sky (for blue ones)
|Sapphire (for blue ones)
|Truffle (for chocolate ones)
|Mocha (for chocolate ones)
|Snowball (for white ones)
|Pearl (for white ones)
These names emphasize the small size, short ears, sleek and shiny fur, and friendly temperament of the Polish Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.
Also read: Pet Rabbits Names
Frequently Asked Questions About Polish Rabbits
Where can I find a Polish rabbit?
Visit the Polish Rabbit Breeders Near Me page of the Rabbit Breeders Directory.
You will generally have a better experience if you get your Polish rabbit from a breeder rather than an animal rescue shelter or a pet shop.
How much will my Polish rabbit cost?
Expect to pay US $20 to $50 for a pet, but up to several hundred dollars for a show rabbit.
Can I give my Polish rabbits alfalfa pellets?
Alfalfa is acceptable for growing young rabbits, but it has too much calcium (which can cause kidney stones) for adult rabbits.
Are they considered dwarf rabbits?
While Polish rabbits are small in size and have a compact, round physique, they are not classified as dwarf rabbits.
However, due to their appearance, they are sometimes mistaken for Netherlands dwarf rabbits.
Other articles you may also like: