When my little girl wanted a pet rabbit, she insisted on the smallest rabbit I could find.
While I knew she meant a baby rabbit, I began to wonder if there are rabbit breeds that stay small for their whole life.
A quick internet search confirmed that the smallest rabbit breed on the planet is actually the Columbia Basin Pygmy.
However, this is not a commercially available rabbit as it is nearly extinct and only found in the Oregon zoo.
Looking for the smallest commercially available rabbit breed revealed that the winner was the Netherlands Dwarf rabbit. This rabbit is the smallest rabbit breed found for the pet trade in the world. It is readily available and reasonably affordable too.
Out of curiosity, I also looked into the next five runners-up as I was wondering if I would find a Netherlands Dwarf rabbit in the United States.
These were the other smallest rabbits in the world that you can keep as a pet.
The Top Five Smallest Rabbit Breeds You Can Buy
I made a shortlist of candidates that my daughter may approve of, and these were the top five smallest rabbit breeds that I could potentially buy for her.
|Netherlands Dwarf Rabbit
|1 to 2½
|Jersey Wooly Rabbit
|2 to 3
|Britannia Petite Rabbit
|2 to 3
|Dwarf Lionhead Rabbit
|Dwarf Lop Rabbit
|4½ to 6½
Dwarf Lop Rabbit (Fifth Smallest Rabbit Breed)
Size: 4½ to 6½ Pounds
While also not the smallest, the Dwarf Lop or Mini Lop is probably one of the cutest small rabbit breeds around.
With their long droopy ears, they have a dreamy appearance that is quite attractive.
The Dwarf Lop was created by a Dutch breeder, Adriann de Cock, in the 1950s.
By breeding two rabbit species, the French Lop and the Netherlands Dwarf, de Cock hoped to create a French Mini Lop, but this didn’t happen right away.
Dwarf Lops are playful and love being around children and other pets.
Care should be taken to properly socialize them with your other pets, but Dwarf Lops are quite happy to socialize with your pet chickens, hamsters, and other small pets.
Build and Diseases
The Dwarf Lop may weigh between 4½ and 6½ pounds, depending on the bloodlines. Show rabbits tend to be even smaller and can even weigh in at 2 pounds.
The overall build of the Dwarf Lop is rounded, and the head is small with floppy ears. Dwarf Lops have thick, short bodies, and their broad ears hang next to their heads in a wilted manner.
The Dwarf Lop comes in many amazing colors (with exciting names too) such as seal-point, sooty fawn, Siamese smoke, agouti, and sable marten.
There are many other color variations too.
While the Dwarf Lop is a healthy rabbit that isn’t prone to diseases, it can develop dental issues that may require regular dentistry.
The Dwarf Lop as a Pet
The Dwarf Lop makes an ideal pet, being energetic enough but polite and intelligent enough to train them.
With gentle handling, you can teach and train your Dwarf Lop.
Dwarf Lionhead Rabbit (Fourth Smallest Rabbit Breed)
Size: 3¾ Pounds
By far one of the cutest rabbit breeds is the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit.
With the mane gene, these little rabbits grow a lush mane of lion-like hair around their neck with shorter fluffy hair on their body.
Additionally, they have the lion tawny coloring that makes them look like little lion-rabbits.
At no more than 3¾ pounds when fully grown, the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit is a small rabbit breed worth considering.
However, it’s not the smallest rabbit breed I could buy for my daughter.
The Dwarf Lionhead rabbit began in France and Belgium.
To achieve the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit, breeders crossed a Netherland Dwarf with a Swiss Fox, resulting in the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit.
In the 1990s, the Dwarf Lionhead began to show in the U.S.
The British Rabbit Council (BRC) recognized the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit in 2002, with American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) acknowledging the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit in the U.S. in 2014.
The tortoise and ruby-eyed white varieties were first recognized, and they excelled at show classes with the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit creating a name for small rabbit breeds.
Being friendly and playful endears this small rabbit breed to their fur parents.
Dwarf Lionhead rabbits are intelligent and can learn tricks.
Build and Diseases
Dwarf Lionhead rabbits are sturdy in build, and they are resilient enough to handle with moderate care.
That said, it is not ideal to have Dwarf Lionhead rabbits handled roughly.
Common diseases that dwarf rabbits with long fur like the Dwarf Lionhead suffer from will influence your rabbit’s quality of life.
Malocclusions also lead to issues with dental health. Additionally, the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit is known to de-shed itself by eating the extra fur from their bodies.
This can lead to digestive issues.
The Dwarf Lionhead Rabbit as a Pet
While the Dwarf Lionhead rabbit requires a fair amount of grooming, their social natures and cute faces make for great friends and pets.
Also read: Can I Shave My Lionhead Rabbit?
Britannia Petite Rabbit (Third Smallest Rabbit Breed)
Size: 2 Pounds
The Britannia Petite, as the name suggests, is native to England. At around two pounds in weight, the Britannia Petite is a really petite rabbit breed.
They even compete with the Netherlands Dwarf and the Jersey Wooly rabbit.
However, the Britannia Petite lose out in size as the Netherlands Dwarf rabbit breed is known to produce adult rabbits that are a mere one pound in weight.
The Britannia Petite came about as a natural evolution in the 1800s in Britain and was finally exported to the U.S. in the 1900s.
It was officially recognized as a breed by ARBA in 1977 for the REW coloration.
This combination of red-eyed white was and still is the most recognizable Britannia Petite.
The Britannia Petite is a very energetic rabbit, and they love being active.
This made them a real consideration when I was looking for the smallest rabbit for my daughter.
I could imagine her romping around with an energetic rabbit in the backyard.
Since they are curious rabbits, the Britannia Petite needs a thoroughly rabbit-proofed home.
Given their small size and need to be active, these rabbits are always getting into trouble and escaping cages that aren’t properly closed.
Build and Diseases
These athletic rabbits are not known for any specific diseases or health challenges other than overgrown teeth, and they are easy to care for.
The Britannia Petite as a Pet
Britannia Petites make excellent pets. What’s more, they are really cheap too, and you can expect to pay as little as $10 from a local breeder, or you can adopt one from a shelter.
One downside of the Britannia Petite is that they aren’t eager to be trained.
Like little ADHD packages bouncing around, these rabbits can’t be bothered to pay attention and learn. It will take some patience and skill to teach basic rabbit tricks to them.
Jersey Wooly Rabbit (Runner Up)
Size: 2 to 3 Pounds
Almost weighing in as the smallest rabbit breed is the Jersey Wooly rabbit.
The breed is known for adult rabbits that weigh as little as 2 to 3 pounds.
The Jersey Wooly rabbit was bred in the 1970s by Bonnie Seely, who bred a French Angora with a Netherlands Dwarf rabbit.
This crossbreed resulted in a wooly-haired dwarf breed that became known as the Jersey Wooly rabbit.
ARBA first considered this small breed fluffy bunny in 1984, but the breed was only officially recognized in 1988.
The Jersey Wooly rabbit has a docile temperament, and they make excellent pets.
Being affectionate, they are ideal for families and socializing well with other pets.
Jersey Wooly rabbits are playful when they feel calm, and they bond well with their owner and one other bonded rabbit.
Build and Diseases
The Jersey Wooly rabbit has an oblong body shape, reminiscent of their French Angora ancestors, just dwarfed.
With small ears and eyes and a round face, the Jersey Wooly rabbit has a toy look to them.
There are many colors and shades available in the Jersey Wooly breed, including blue tort, black, gray, chocolate, chestnut, and Siamese sable.
Jersey Wooly rabbits have the same health issues as other dwarf breeds. For starters, their rounded small heads often struggle to accommodate all their teeth, and malocclusions are a constant worry.
The Jersey Wooly Rabbit as a Pet
Since the Jersey Wooly rabbit is rarely aggressive, they are suitable to keep as pets when you have young children.
However, take care to show your children how to correctly pick up the rabbit to prevent your Jersey Wooly from panicking.
I really liked the look of the Jersey Wooly rabbit. They are super easy to care for, requiring only weekly brushing as part of their care routine.
However, they didn’t meet my requirement as the smallest rabbit I could buy.
Netherlands Dwarf Rabbit (Winner – Smallest Rabbit Breed)
Size: 1 to 2½ Pounds
The Netherlands Dwarf as it’s commonly known reaches a weight of 1 to 2½ pounds when mature.
Their small bodies are cute and super cuddly.
Netherland Dwarfs have large eyes, a short neck, and small upright ears. Their coats range in color and pattern, and they are popular show rabbits.
Recognized by ARBA, the Netherlands Dwarf has loads of personality too.
The Netherlands Dwarf was bred in the 1900s when a small rabbit breed known as the Polish rabbit was crossed with a small wild rabbit breed in the Netherlands.
The resulting rabbit was known as the Netherlands Dwarf rabbit.
Sociability and Personality
If you teach your children correctly about handling rabbits, the Netherlands Dwarf will be an ideal pet, but they are small and sensitive so they can scare easily.
Build and Diseases
The Netherlands Dwarf, as with many dwarf rabbit breeds, has a smaller head and shortened face.
This can cause some health issues that are peculiar to the breed.
Your Netherlands Dwarf may have dental occlusions, where they will require the services of a dentist to help ensure they can eat with comfort.
The Netherlands Dwarf can also suffer from respiratory issues as they have shortened and often twisted nasal passages.
This can lead to complications and make them more susceptible to pneumonia.
The Netherlands Dwarf as a Pet
The Netherlands Dwarf makes an ideal pet as they are relatively low maintenance. They don’t require frequent grooming, unlike some long-haired rabbits.
Their coat stays glossy and neat with a weekly brush.
With a curious nature, the Netherlands Dwarf shows a deep interest in its owners and makes for great pets.
They are reasonably priced too at $35 to $120 per rabbit, depending on the bloodline.
I think you can guess which small breed I decided on for my little girl. I chose a Netherlands Dwarf for my daughter as a pet.
Luckily, due to their popularity, the Netherlands Dwarf rabbit isn’t hard to find.
Also read: Are Rabbits Good Pets for Seniors?
The Smallest Rabbit Breed FAQs
What breed of rabbits stays small?
There are several small breed rabbits available for purchase.
The Mini Lop, Dwarf Lionhead rabbit, Netherland Dwarf, and the Jersey Wooly are all examples of small rabbits.
What is the smallest rabbit breed you can buy?
The Netherlands Dwarf rabbit is an example of small size rabbit that has persisted and now enjoys international renown.
This rabbit breed is known for being the smallest rabbit breed you can purchase.
How much do dwarf bunnies cost?
Small size rabbits have their own prices based on breed and size. You can expect to pay around $15 to $75 for a standard dwarf size rabbit.
This price increases based on the rabbit’s level of training and bloodlines.
How long do dwarf bunnies live?
Dwarf bunnies can be more costly than regular rabbits, and this influences whether they are worth the cost is given their life expectancy.
On average, dwarf rabbits live for 8 to 10 years.
The Final Word
So I decided to go for the Netherlands Dwarf rabbit because it was ticking all my daughter’s boxes.
This little rabbit would always look like a baby rabbit, and it weighed in at just a little over one pound, making it ideal.
When choosing your miniature or small breed rabbit, be sure to keep their health challenges and grooming requirements in mind.
I found the perfect little black Netherlands Dwarf rabbit for my daughter. This cute little bun is slowly starting to run our roost, but we don’t care at all.
What small bunny would you purchase? Finding the right size small or dwarf rabbit is binkie-worthy, so enjoy shopping for that perfect little rabbit.
Other articles you may also like: