Small, cute and docile, this bunny makes the ideal pet for both adults and children. Here’s everything you need to know about the Netherland Dwarf rabbit – one of the most popular pet and show breeds.
The Netherland Dwarf is one of the smallest pet rabbit breeds. Normally weighing between 500g and 1.6kg, they have compact, round bodies, short necks and large heads in proportion to their size. They have short, erect ears and big, round, bright eyes. Their soft, short-haired coat comes in a variety of colours – from white to lilac and tortoiseshell – and makes them easy to groom.
Netherland Dwarf rabbits were bred in the early 1900s in the Netherlands from the white Polish rabbit and wild rabbits. They were introduced in the UK in the late 1940s.
Once reputed to be skittish and bad-tempered, Netherland Dwarf rabbits today are mostly calm and docile as a result of selective breeding. With frequent handling, they will seek out human contact and enjoy companionship.
Despite their small size, these rabbits are quite active. They need space in their house or a separate run so they can have plenty of exercise. Items like boxes and tubes will keep them amused and on the move.
Netherland Dwarfs don’t need a high level of sugar or protein, or a large bowl full of food. They prefer a dry rabbit mix with lots of fresh hay, as well as fresh starchy vegetables. Too much lettuce or cabbage can give them diarrhoea.
On average, Netherland Dwarf rabbits live for about seven years. They can suffer from the same health problems as most domestic rabbits such as overgrown teeth, flystrike, mites, lice, fleas, diarrhoea and infections.