Dutch Dwarf Rabbit

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Quick Facts

  • The Dutch dwarf rabbit is the smallest breed of domestic rabbit.
  • The reason Dutch dwarf rabbits are so small is because they have dwarf genes. Their size makes them a popular breed of rabbit to keep as pets.
  • Despite their diminutive stature, the Dutch Dwarf Rabbit is one of the most energetic and lively rabbit breeds. They are known for being lively and active.
  • Dutch Dwarf Rabbits make great pets for adults. They form a strong bond with their owners and are known to be affectionate.
  • The Dutch dwarf rabbit was nearly extinct after World War II, with only 17 dwarf rabbits left after the war.

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Summary

There are many reasons why the Dutch Dwarf Rabbit is one of the most popular breeds of domestic rabbit. The Dutch Dwarf Rabbit was bred specifically for its shape, a result of the dwarf gene first discovered in rabbits in the mid-1900's. From its small size to its lively, energetic nature, it's no surprise that this breed has captured the hearts of so many people around the world.

dwarf bunny
One of the most energetic and lively rabbit breeds, the Dutch Dwarf Rabbit is known for being lively and lively.

©Preediwat/Shutterstock.com

Dutch dwarf rabbit scientific name

The Dutch dwarf rabbit is one of 305 registered rabbit breeds that originated in the Netherlands. Its scientific name is Oryctolagus cuniculus . The genus name is of ancient Greek origin, Oryctolagus, consisting of two words: oryktos meaning "to dig out," and lagos meaning "hare." Cuniculus is a Latin word meaning "underground dwelling" or "cave," referring to the holes that rabbits create to hide in.

The Dutch Dwarf Rabbit has a dwarf gene, which gives it its diminutive stature and its name.

Evolution and History of the Dutch Dwarf Rabbit

The Dutch dwarf rabbit belongs to the Lagomorpha and Lagodae family, mainly composed of rabbits and hares.

The rabbit family dates back to the Eocene epoch, 548,000 to 33.7 million years ago, when the oldest known species of lagomorphs arose in North America and Asia. Two rabbit fossils dating back 48 million years and 53 million years ago were unearthed in China and India respectively.

Most members of the family Leporidae diversified in Central Asia during the Late Miocene, 12 to 16 million years ago.

The Dutch dwarf rabbit is the result of breeding the Polish white rabbit Hermelin with a small hare. These rabbits were nearly extinct during World War II, after which only 17 Dutch dwarf rabbits remained. They have been bred again and now, they are a popular breed in many countries.

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Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Appearance

The Dutch Dwarf Rabbit is one of the smallest rabbit breeds. This is due to their dwarf genes. They are also one of the most popular varieties.

These pygmy rabbits have large heads that appear out of proportion to their bodies. They have short legs and a broad forehead. The Dutch dwarf rabbit has a pair of big bulging eyes, a pair of erect ears, and the two ears are close together. Their faces are short. They're not heavy at around 1.1 to 2.5 lbs. Their ears are usually one to three inches long.

The Dutch Dwarf Rabbit is considered exceptionally cute, as its dwarfism makes it look like a bunny all its life.

This rabbit has been bred in a variety of colors including chocolate, tan, tan, orange, himalayan, opal, silver, bobcat, black, red-eyed white, blue-eyed white, sable smoke, black otter, chinchilla , sable, agouti, red agouti, squirrel, blue point, chocolate point, Siamese sable, blue otter, magpie and more!

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit
Due to the dwarf gene, the Dutch dwarf rabbit is one of the smallest rabbit breeds.

© Jeroen Mikkers/Shutterstock.com

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Behavior

Dutch dwarf rabbits are known for their brave behavior, which is one of the main reasons they are such a popular pet rabbit breed. They have very energetic and lively personalities. Their overall temperament is positive. They are known for being affectionate, funny and downright hilarious.

These dwarf rabbits tend to be shy when first introduced into a new home. They are often fearful of new surroundings and new owners, so it is best not to irritate or stress them out by cuddling them too much or becoming overtouched. They deserve their own space and privacy. Over time, they will learn that there is nothing to be afraid of, and they will gradually open up to their new owners.

Dutch Dwarf Rabbits are prone to stress and anxiety. Their core behavior varies from rabbit to rabbit, but they can also be very aggressive, a carryover from their breeding origins. Ironically, this personality trait endears them because it brings out their charm.

Dutch pygmy rabbits are considered smarter than most other rabbits. Since they usually defecate in the same place each time, they can be trained to litter. They also need to be socialized, but overall they make great pets once they get used to you.

Dutch dwarf rabbits are not good pets for young children. Children tend to be rough when they play, and rabbits may bite or scratch them as a result. Larger rabbit breeds are better for them. Dwarf rabbits are ideal for much older children and adults who know how to handle them without stressing them out.

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Just like other rabbit breeds, Dutch Dwarf rabbits are pack animals and should be purchased in pairs. Keep this in mind when considering these feisty rabbits as pets, as two rabbits means double the maintenance costs.

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Diet

Dutch dwarf rabbits are herbivorous like other rabbits. Their diet consists mainly of hay and grass. These rabbits need plenty of timothy hay and fresh, clean water. They also use this hay as bedding and will shit and urinate on it, so they need clean hay every day.

In addition to hay, your dwarf rabbit will eat leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, other vegetables like carrots, and sometimes fruit like apples. They should not feed too much fruit as it contains sugar which can lead to obesity. Fruit can be given occasionally as a snack. Your Dutch dwarf rabbit can also be fed pellets in small quantities.

Here at AZ Animals, we recommend Kaytee Timothy Whole Rabbit Food . Made with Timothy grass, this treat is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to keep your furry friend happy and healthy!

Check out this rabbit food on Chewy or Amazon.

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The amount of food a rabbit needs depends largely on its size as well as how active it is. Dutch dwarf rabbits are very energetic rabbits, so they need to be given a daily diet according to their characteristics. You should consult your veterinarian about how much fluff your pet should be fed.

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Habitat and Population

The Dutch dwarf rabbit was developed as a breed in the Netherlands in the early 1900s. They are the result of decades of selective breeding and are descendants of a Polish rabbit breed called Hermelin bred in Germany. These little white rabbits were crossed with a tiny hare to create the Dutch dwarf rabbit.

The resulting Dutch Dwarf Rabbit was brought to England in 1948 and then to the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. The breed was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1969.

Dutch dwarf rabbits are usually housed in a hutch called a hutch. These little bunnies are also best kept around the house because of their size. They are easily snatched up as prey by larger animals.

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Shelter In Dry Grass
Dutch dwarf rabbits are usually housed in a hutch called a hutch.

©QBR/Shutterstock.com

Breeding and Lifespan of Dutch Dwarf Rabbits

Dutch dwarf rabbits tend to mature faster than larger rabbit breeds. On average, they can start breeding when they are three to four months old. These rabbits can also be bred until they are four years old.

Unlike humans, ovulation in rabbits is not affected by hormonal cycles. Instead, their egg release is triggered by mating. A typical gestation period for a Dutch Dwarf rabbit is 31 to 33 days. They usually give birth to two to four kittens or pups.

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There are many health issues that can affect your Dutch Dwarf Rabbit. Some of these health problems stem from the rabbit's small size.

These rabbits are prone to malocclusion, gastrointestinal stasis, uterine cancer, respiratory problems, myxomatosis, and ear mites. Regular health checks are necessary to ensure your rabbit is not suffering from any of these health problems.

Dutch dwarf rabbits have a long lifespan, longer than larger rabbit breeds. Their average lifespan is 8 to 12 years.

Dutch Dwarf Rabbit Kitten
Dutch dwarf rabbits typically give birth to two to four kittens or pups.

©JayOg/Shutterstock.com

Predators and Threats

Dutch dwarf rabbits are domestic rabbits, so their chances of being predated are usually zero. They have no natural enemies. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible. If you have other pets in your home, especially cats, dogs or ferrets, it is important to socialize these animals so they can coexist peacefully. This may not be difficult with more trainable and sociable animals like dogs and cats, but if you have reptiles like tuataras, then it might not be a good idea to have a pet rabbit.

Additionally, your beloved Dutch dwarf rabbits should be kept indoors to reduce their risk of being hunted by wildlife such as weasels, raccoons and birds.

In addition to natural enemies, your lovely dwarf rabbit is prone to several rabbit diseases such as cancer, respiratory problems, digestive problems and parasites.

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No, the Dutch Dwarf Rabbit is not a kid's pet. This is because young children do not know how to treat these small animals properly. They could drop it and break the rabbit's bones, or they could mishandle it and end up bitten or scratched by the rabbit. Larger rabbit breeds are good enough for younger children.

Dutch dwarf rabbits are herbivores, so they eat plants. They mainly eat timothy hay, other grasses and vegetables such as celery, lettuce and carrots. Rabbit food can also be fed sometimes.

Yes, Dutch dwarf rabbits are very affectionate and loving towards their owners. They tend to be shy at first, but become very friendly once you get used to them. It's important not to overhandle them, as this can stress and aggravate them.

The Dutch Dwarf rabbit has a longer lifespan than other larger breeds of rabbits. Their average lifespan is 8 to 12 years.

Dutch Dwarf rabbits typically cost between $30 and $90, more expensive than most other breeds of rabbit.