Compact in size but big in personality, the Netherland dwarf rabbit is a true charmer. His adorable looks and spunky attitude seized many hearts and made him one of the most popular pets in the world.
History of The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
The Netherland dwarf rabbit’s roots can be traced back to Holland around the mid-1900s. Five Polish breeders led by Jan Meyering bred Polish and Hermelin rabbit breeds. The Polish bunnies were thought to have origins in Germany or England, whilst the Hermelin came from Germany.
It took the Polish breeders years to create the Netherland dwarf. They had cross-bred these small white rabbits with smaller wild rabbits. Then, they mated them with even larger rabbit breeds to have more variety of colours. In 1940, the Netherland dwarf bunny was standardised in Holland.
Unfortunately, rabbit breeding was halted when World War II came. Only seventeen Netherland dwarf rabbits survived after the war. In 1949, Joyce Taylor, a British rabbit breeder, received nine baby dwarfs with different shades and colours. She co-founded the Netherland Dwarf Club in the same year. The British Rabbit Council recognised the Netherland Dwarf breed in 1950.
Appearance of The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
Netherland dwarf rabbit description
The Netherland dwarf bunny carries the dwarf genes, making them a true dwarf breed. He has a small compact body and a round, large face. His face is short and so are his ears. He possesses huge eyes and short, erect ears. These traits give him a rather youthful look no matter what his age may be.
The Netherland dwarf’s coat is not too long nor too short. When brushed, it gradually reverts to its original position. The British Rabbit Council categorises the breed’s colours into six groups, which are self, shaded, agouti patterned, tan patterned, other varieties, and any other colours.
The Netherland dwarf bunny has a wide variety of coat colours. He has more than twenty coat colour variations. These include white, black, blue, brown, lilac, sable marten, silver marten, smoke pearl marten, seal point, blue point, chocolate point, tortoiseshell, opal, lynx, chinchilla, squirrel, cinnamon, red agouti, fox, otter, orange, fawn, and steel.
Although the Netherland dwarf rabbit has multitudes of colours, there is a distinctive colour pattern found only in this particular breed. Every Netherland dwarf bunny has a white marking on his face and a white band around the forequarter.
Do Netherland dwarf rabbits shed?
The Netherland dwarf sheds minimally throughout the year. However, note that he is a seasonal shedder. Around spring and autumn, expect to see a bit more of fur where your bunny usually passes time.
Are Netherland dwarf rabbits hypoallergenic?
All rabbits are non-hypoallergenic. However, there are a few rabbit breeds that are less likely to trigger allergies. Sadly, Netherland dwarf is not one of them. The rex, mini rex, silver marten, and tan are some of the rabbit breeds that go well with rabbit enthusiasts who have allergies.
How big is a Netherland dwarf bunny?
A young Netherland dwarf rabbit under five months weighs over 0.907. Meanwhile, full-grown Netherland dwarf weighs around 1.134kg and stands no more than 33–50 centimetres. A female Netherland dwarf is often bigger than her male counterpart.
How to take care of a Netherland dwarf rabbit
The Netherland Dwarf bunny breed is keen on cleaning itself thus only minimal grooming is required. Brush him daily to prevent mats and tangles. It lessens the risk of fur block which is caused by ingesting too much hair when self-grooming. Don’t forget to check his coat for parasites too whilst combing through his fur.
Bathing your Netherland dwarf should be avoided. It is a very stressful activity for him and can lead to heart problems. If there is a need to clean his coat, use a damp cloth instead of giving him a full bath. Trim your rabbit’s nails regularly. If this is a challenging task for you, you may ask the vet to do it.
Temperament of The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
Are Netherland dwarf bunnies friendly?
Generally, the Netherland dwarf rabbit is a friendly one, which makes him a good pet. He loves to hop around and play with his own kind. However, he can be quite skittish and timid around people if he is in a new home. By socialising him at an early age, he will warm up to human interaction as he grows older.
With that said, the Netherland dwarf fits well in families with older children. Younger ones tend to be loud and rowdy, which can easily stress the rabbit. Moreover, they might accidentally drop and hurt him during playtime.
Do Netherland dwarf rabbits like to be held?
The Netherland dwarf bunny does not like to be held tightly or scooped up. As a prey animal, he is innately scared of being swooped away by predators. He may struggle to free himself or bite and scratch if he is picked up. Note that his bones are also extremely fragile. Improper handling can result in fractures, dislocation, and spinal trauma.
To have a fruitful interaction with him, you must first approach him slowly. If he is facing away from you, call out his name softly to alert him of your presence. Avoid sudden movements as it can scare him off. Then, sit down and wait for the rabbit to come near you.
A rabbit in a new household tends to be hesitant in approaching his human companions. Never force your rabbit to do so. Instead, repeat doing the process for a few days. When he is already comfortable with his new home and family, he will approach you on his own accord.
Can Netherland dwarf rabbits live together?
The Netherland dwarf is a very sociable animal. He loves nothing more than playing and chasing other rabbits. You should get two or more of them to keep each other company. If a Netherland dwarf lives all by himself, he will easily get bored and depressed.
Two rabbits of the opposite sex cohabitating together should be spayed and neutered. Remember that bunnies are highly reproductive and a female rabbit can produce a litter every month. Same-sex rabbits also need to be spayed or neutered to prevent aggression.
Are Netherland dwarf rabbits nocturnal?
A rabbit is often mistaken to be a nocturnal animal. However, he isn’t, including the Netherland dwarf bunny. A rabbit is a crepuscular animal, which means he stays up at daytime and he is most active during dusk and dawn.
Nutrition For Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
Netherland dwarf rabbits’ diet
Giving your Netherland dwarf a proper and balanced diet is very important as he has a sensitive digestive tract. Provide him with unlimited amounts of freshwater and high-quality hay to ensure that he is well-fed and hydrated.
Twenty-five per cent of his diet should contain pellets, vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens. Rabbit treats must not go over 5 to 10 per cent of his daily diet. If you feed him too much of these foods, he will gain weight, which is a gateway to many health issues in rabbits.
Feeding The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
What should Netherland dwarf rabbits eat?
A baby Netherland dwarf rabbit needs to nurse from his mother during the first three weeks of his life. When he turns four weeks of age, introduce small quantities of alfalfa pellets. As he reaches seven weeks old, weaning will happen. He can now drink water and eat loose alfalfa and pellets.
Once his age is four to seven months, start giving him small amounts of vegetables. Introduce one vegetable at a time and the quantity should only be one tablespoon to avoid upsetting his digestive system. Abrupt changes to his diet may result in diarrhoea and other stomach problems.
Transitioning from feeding on alfalfa to hay should take place when the Netherland dwarf rabbit is seven months old. Alfalfa pellets should also be replaced with timothy pellets since it can make an adult Netherland dwarf gain weight. A full-grown Netherland dwarf bunny needs around 1/8 cup of food per pound of body weight.
Housing The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
Netherland dwarf rabbits cage size
The Netherland dwarf may be small in size, but he needs a spacious cage where he can freely hop around. The recommended minimum cage size is 18 x 24 x 14 inches. However, countless of rabbit owners advise getting a bigger cage, which is 4 x 2 x 2 feet or more in size. This provides plenty of room for your Netherland dwarf to exercise.
Be sure to check the cage’s bottom before buying. Make sure that it has a solid or wire bottom. If the cage’s bottom is made up of wire, it should not exceed ¼ inch between bars. When choosing a location to place the cage, choose one that has shade from direct sunlight since the Netherland Dwarf is prone to heat strokes.
Can Netherland dwarf rabbits live outside?
The Netherland dwarf rabbit can live outside, but it is highly discouraged. Keep in mind that he is a small rabbit breed and a prey species too. Many outdoor hazards will greatly affect his health and cause him stress. If you plan to keep him outside, make sure to provide a secure, enclosed hutch to protect him from the heat and cold. Place ample amounts of hay inside too to help him stay warm.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Health
How long do Netherland dwarf rabbits live?
The average lifespan of a Netherland dwarf bunny is between seven and ten years. If he is well taken care of, he may even live up to over sixteen years. To keep him in optimal health, always be consistent in providing him with his feeding, housing, health, and enrichment needs.
Netherland dwarf rabbit diseases
The Netherland dwarf is a fragile pet rabbit similar to most bunny breeds. Thus, he is prone to a few health issues. Below are the most common illnesses observed in the Netherland dwarf rabbit:
- Respiratory disease
Generally, it is in the rabbit’s nature to hide any weaknesses including health problems. Thus, be vigilant and observe if there are any sudden changes in his usual daily routine and habits. Sudden alterations in his eating, sleeping, and drinking habits, activity levels, and elimination can be a red flag concerning his health.
Keep watch of any changes to his body as well. Discharge coming from his ears, eyes, mouth, nose or rear is a bad sign. Inspect him regularly for sores, lumps, or painful areas too. If your Netherland dwarf bunny is showing these symptoms, bring him to the vet right away.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Cost of Ownership
Where can you buy Netherland dwarf rabbits?
Producing a healthy litter of Netherland dwarf rabbits can be extremely tricky. Because the breed carries a true dwarfism gene, there are many complications during and after birth. The selected breeding stock must be right in size, health, type, and temperament. Reputable breeders know that this is the basic rule in breeding Netherland dwarf rabbits. Thus, you need to buy a Netherland dwarf from a responsible breeder.
Avoid buying from unregistered or backyard breeders. Oftentimes, they value profit more than the well-being of their rabbits. They don’t take into consideration the health and temperament of the rabbits when breeding. Thus, they commonly produce sickly and timid litters and sell them for a low price.
To find a trustworthy breeder, one of the effective ways is to ask referrals from the vet and fellow rabbit enthusiasts. Visiting rabbit shows and inquiring in local breed clubs are great options too.
If you find a breeder, visit the place where they are raising the Netherland dwarfs. Make sure that the litter and the mother rabbit look happy and healthy. Below are other things you need to look for in a breeder:
- They provide you with information about the common health problems of the breed.
- They keep the rabbits’ area clean and well-maintained.
- They will ask you many questions about your experience in raising rabbits.
- They can give you a list of families who bought rabbits from them.
- They provide references and records about rabbit care.
How much is a Netherland dwarf rabbit?
The price of a healthy and well-bred Netherland dwarf rabbit is about £40–£60. His food expenses may cost around £500–£700. Necessities such as food dispensers, travel carriers, grooming equipment, and water bowls and food bowls are approximately £510. Expenses for rabbit housing and proofing can rack up to £350.
The first round of vaccinations and check-ups may require you to pay £50. Vet fees including health checks and vaccinations cost about £50 per year. If you plan to get your Netherland dwarf rabbit insured, it will add approximately £10 to your monthly bills.
- The Netherland dwarf is the smallest breed of rabbits as stated by the American Rabbit Association.
- The Netherland dwarf bunny is the parent breed of the Holland lop. In 1949, Adrian DeCock cross-bred the Netherland dwarf with the French lop to create the Holland Lop.
- The Netherland dwarf rabbit has about twenty-four colour variations. This makes him the most variedly coloured rabbit breed.
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