Dwarf Hotot Rabbit
Eyes of the FancyFamily: LeporidaeOryctolagus cuniculusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
The Dwarf Hotot rabbit can be quite entertaining, they are charming and playful with people and they love to play with simple toys!
Dwarf Hotot (pronounced "Oh-Toe" or sometimes "Hoe-Toe") Rabbit is also known as the "Eyes of the Fancy". These little rabbits are bound to catch not only the eyes of onlookers, but also their hearts. Though they are mostly all white, the thin band of black fur around their eyes give them a distinct, unique appearance. Their small size adds to their charm and practicality. They require a smaller living area than other rabbits, and are easily held in one's hand.
Their affectionate, playful temperament is another quality that makes the Dwarf Hotot an excellent choice for pet owners.These adorable little creatures are good with children and make wonderful pets. Like any other rabbit breed, individual Dwarf Hotots have individual personalities, and will enjoy their attention in different ways. Most love to be held and petted and some simply enjoy hopping around on their owner's lap, but for the most part this breed enjoys affection and they are quite affectionate in return.
For more information about Rabbits and their care see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Rabbit
Background: Rather than simply being a miniature version of the larger Hotot, the Dwarf Hotot is the product of crossing several breeds with the Hotot. The original Hotot was developed by Baroness Bernard in France in the beginning of the 20th century. The Dwarf Hotot is the product of nearly simultaneous breeding efforts in East and West Germany in the 1970's. These breeders independently bred the same breed, but came together in the late 1970's to cross them.
Breeds used in its development included the Netherland Dwarf and the Blanc de Hotot. The diminuitive size was first created in the 1970s by crossing the Hotot with a black Netherland Dwarf and red-eyed white rabbits. Eventually the two separate lines in Germany were crossed, and other dwarf breeds were introduced to arrive at the current standard.
In 1980, Elizabeth Forstinger of California brought seven rabbits from the West German line to the United States, and began showing them in 1981. The American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club (ADHRC) was organized in 1982. In 1983, the Dwarf Hotot was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). This breed is currently not recognized by the British Rabbit Council (BRC).
Description: The Dwarf Hotot is a very small, compact breed, weighing 2.25-3.5 pounds, but with a maximum of 3 pounds for showing. The head is round with a broad skull, and the neck is not visible. The eyes are round, dark brown, and outlined with a thin band of black fur, giving the illusion that they are wearing mascara. Their heads are rounded with short, upright ears that may or may not touch, and their bodies are of a uniform width with rounded hindquarters. They should appear to have no neck.
The coat is short, dense, and shiny. The coat color is white, except of course for the eye band. Some specimens also have a black spot on the ears or blue spots in the eye band. These rabbits make great pets, but cannot be shown. The average lifespan of a Dwarf Hotot is 7 to 10 years, and the litter size for this breed is 2-4 bunnies.
Color differences: Most Dwarf Hotots that conform to the breed standards are solid white with black around the eyes. However, the ARBA recognizes black and chocolate varieties as well. It is worth noting that when wounded, the white Dwarf Hotot's fur sometimes comes back in black.
Care and Feeding Don't let this rabbit's appetite fool you. It is a small rabbit that only needs about a quarter cup of rabbit pellets per day, but will eat as much as you will give it. It also enjoys occasional treats, such as carrots and rolled oats.
Housing Your Rabbit Since this breed is quite small, it requires a smaller cage than the average rabbit. A 24"x24" cage is sufficient, and an 18"x24" cage is big enough if it is let out to play every day.
Maintenance The Dwarf Hotot requires minimal grooming. The excess fur should be removed weekly, either with a soft bristled brush or damp hand in order to prevent intestinal blockages. Dwarf Hotots are susceptible to intestinal blockages caused by ingesting fur, also known as trichobezoars or hairballs. Signs that a blockage is forming included eating less and having droppings that are strung together. Laxatives are used to treat these blockages. Prevention consists of regularly removing the excess hair so that the rabbit does not ingest it when it grooms itself.
Dwarf Hotots, like other dwarf rabbits, are also susceptible to malocclusion, which is a condition in which the front teeth are directly above the lower teeth, rather than in front of them, as they are in typical healthy rabbits. This condition can cause the rabbit to pull a tooth on its cage or even cause difficulties when eating as the teeth grow longer. Treatment consists of having a veterinarian shorten the teeth every 6 or 8 weeks.
Social Behaviors A compactly built rabbit with a calm demeanor, the Dwarf Hotot is capable of playing independently, and enjoys running back and forth in its cage and playing with toys. It is able to keep themselves entertained much of the day with a simple toy, such as a ping-pong ball or paper towel tube, but it also love receiving attention from it's owner. It should be provided with a toy or two, and let out of its cage to play.
It is a friendly breed that loves spending time with people. In fact, owners should be careful when opening a Dwarf Hotot's cage to make sure it doesn't jump out in its eagerness to spend time with its owner. Make sure and supervise it in order to prevent it from getting into mischief by chewing on chords or other objects. They are easy to train, and many enjoy being carried around or sitting in your lap.
Monika Wegler, "Dwarf Rabbits, A complete Pet Owner's Manual", Barron's, Inc. 1998
Kelsey-Woood, "Dennis, Dwarf Rabbits…as a hobby", T.F.H. Publications, 1993
Roger A. Cota, "Rabbits: Guide to Buying and Caring for Pet Rabbits. Snow Bunnies.", Fancy Publications, 1997
Roger A. Cota, "Dwarf Hotots", Referenced online 2008
"What Is a Dwarf Hotot?", "ADHRC Breeders Listing", ADHRC, Ref. online 2008