Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit!
The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus is one of the most popular show rabbits. Many people who love rabbits breed and buy these guys simply for the love of showing them. At our pet store, we almost always had one or two baby Netherland Dwarfs available and they always went out the door quickly. I, of course, loved them! Rabbits are one of my favorite pets and I never passed up a chance to hold one of these little guys!
The first thing about these rabbits that pops out to many people is the dwarf part. These are very small rabbits! Even at full-grown size they only reach 2 or 2.5 pounds. This is part of their initial appeal for many people. They are cute as babies and they stay super cute as adults, as well! In general the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit is a friendly rabbit and easy to tame. One of the downsides is that they can get rather testy once they reach breeding age. So unless you plan to breed, it is a good idea to have your rabbit spayed or neutered to avoid negative behaviors. You can do this anytime after 4 months of age.
The Netherland Dwarf Rabbits are believed to have been bred form the British Polish Rabbit breeds. They were developed in Europe, mostly likely being first recognized in Holland. This is where the Netherland part of their name comes from. In Europe the Netherland Dwarfs are also called European Poles. In 1969 the United States decided to recognize them as a breed and they are now shown all over the states.
These rabbits look very similar to the the Polish Dwarf Rabbits. However, they are smaller than them. They are the smallest known rabbits! They have short and dense fur with short ears which stand straight up. As I said before they only reach 2 to 2.5 pounds and are popular show rabbits as well as pets. There are also 36 different color variations of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit! Only 24 of these are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, however. Just to give you an idea, these colors include blue, chocolate, silver marten, lynx, opal, black, otter, fawn, tan, steel, lilac, and white. The white rabbits can have either red eyes or blue eyes!
To care for a Netherland Dwarf just follow the recommended Standard of Care. They require pretty much the same attention and care as most other rabbits. Keep them in a rabbit-friendly environment, which can be an indoor enclosure or an outdoor hutch. If outdoors, make sure it does not get too cold or too hot and that you provide protection from the elements. If indoors, make sure they have a large enough cage to get some exercise or that you let them out on a regular basis to roam. Clean their cage out once or twice a week and provide them with fresh water and food.
Rabbits need three main things in their diets: grass hays, cecotropes, and green foods. Purchasing a commercial pellet food can work fine in providing them with their grass hays. Cecotropes are actually their droppings! Their bodies produce a certain type of dropping which contains microorganisms to help break down their food. So you do not have to provide them with that part of their diet, they do it all by themselves! Green foods should be offered regularly and can include kale, cabbage, romaine lettuce, broccoli, mustard greens, and many others. You may also provide them with occasional supplements or treats, but these should be on a limited basis.
Are you looking for a show rabbit? If so, the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit may be a perfect choice!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.