The miniature rabbit breeds are so adorable and innocent that they can attract the attention of anyone towards them. The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is one such breed. It is considered as the smallest breed of rabbits. This dwarf rabbit is a little pack of happiness for rabbit lovers recognized by ARBA and BRC.
History of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits breed is a miniature breed that originated from Netherland, somewhere in the early 20th century. The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is often confused with Polish rabbits, which are the actual descendants of this dwarf breed.
In the early 20th century, small Polish rabbits were bred with small wild rabbits. After several attempts and generations, a dwarf breed of very small size was produced. This breed originated from Netherland and was called Netherland Dwarf rabbit. The Netherlands accepted this breed in 1940.
After WWII, only 17 rabbits of this new breed survived. This breed was first exported in 1948 to the UK and in 1950, the British Rabbits Council BRC accepted this breed. In 1965, after 15 years, the first Netherland Dwarf rabbit was exported to the USA. The American Rabbits Breeders Association ARBA recognized this breed in 1969.
Later on, the Netherland Dwarf Rabbits became the ancestors of many small breeds like Holland Lop and Mini Rex. The Netherland Dwarf rabbits were bred with some large rabbit breeds to get smaller breeds.
Physical Characteristics of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
Size & Weight
The Netherland Dwarf is a breed of very small-sized rabbits weighing not more than 1.5 to 2.5 pounds.
The cute little Netherland Dwarf rabbits give birth to a litter having 3 to 5 kits.
The life expectancy of Netherland Dwarf rabbits is 10 to 12 years.
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits are the smallest rabbits with a compact body and fragile bones. They have a small, rounded face, with large eyes and small erect ears of about 2.5 inches length. The head is large that looks inappropriate with the small body.
They have a well-rounded body that is broad equally from the front and back. Due to their small size, the Netherland Dwarf rabbits look like a kit even in their adulthood.
Fur and Coat
The coat of the Netherland Dwarf rabbits is made of small-sized fur that remains close to the body. This short fur or coat is very easy to groom. This breed looks different from other small rabbit breeds as it does not have any specific markings or patterns on their fur.
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits appear with lots of colors, all recognized by ARBA such as Cinnamon, Lynx, Chinchilla, Ruby Eyed White, Blue Eyed White, Black, Fawn, Hotot, Himalayan, Blue, Mantle, Chocolate, Lilac, Red, Broken, Butterfly, Lilac Otter, Siamese Smoke, Tortoiseshell, Agouti, Red Agouti Seal point, Blue Point, Chocolate Point, Opal, Squirrel, Tan, Marten Smoke, Black Otter, Chocolate Otter, and Harlequin.
This huge variety of colors makes this breed famous in the world of rabbits.
Personality and Temperament of Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
Having wild ancestors, the rabbits of the first generation of Netherland Dwarf breed were very wild, skittish, and aggressive. They were thought to be harmful to the owners and holders and were not considered as good pets.
The breeders focused on selective breeding to eliminate the wildness and aggression from this breed and got successful in getting a sweet and gentle breed with a strong body.
Now, Netherland Dwarf rabbits are the friendly and gentle breed that can be kept as good pets at home. They become friends and tie strong bonds with owners after spending some time with them. They like to play on the floor and don’t like to be picked up, especially by children. Children should be properly trained to handle this breed so as to save it from any serious injury.
They like a quiet and stable environment. They like to interact with human beings who treat them with care. They are sharp and trainable for using litter boxes as they like to live in a hygienic and clean place.
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits are highly active, energetic, and playful and can also easily get stressed and nervous.
Health Issues of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits generally enjoy good health and have no specific diseases. The common problems of other rabbit breeds like Malocclusion and uterine cancer in the does are also common in this breed.
They are also prone to some viral diseases like Viral hemorrhagic disease and Myxomatosis. The Netherland Dwarf rabbits need proper vaccination to stay protected from these viral diseases.
Nutrition of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits must be fed with unlimited hay, a small number of vegetables, fruits, green leaves, a little number of pellets, and lots of clean and fresh water.
The pellets must be fed according to the weight of the breed. 1/8th cup per pound. 3/4th of a cup or 1 cup of vegetables and leafy greens can be given to a rabbit with 2 to 2.5 pounds weight.
For the newborns till the young ones of age 4 months, loose alfalfa and alfalfa pellets are recommended by expert vets. between 4 to 7 months, small amounts of organic vegetables can be introduced to this breed.
When the rabbit grows from 7 months to 1 year, shift it from alfalfa products to hay and add some fruits in the diet as well. It will help in its growth and will also take care of its growing teeth.
Care of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is a small and delicate breed that needs similar care like any other breed of rabbits.
The cage of the Netherland Dwarf rabbits should be wide enough to provide them room to play and move easily. A cage measuring 14x18x24 inches is suggested for a Netherland Dwarf breed. Keep the cage clean and do not keep it in direct sunlight. The owner of such a small rabbit breed should keep this miniature inside the house, whether in a cage or open.
Take your Netherland Dwarf rabbit to a vet for regular checkups and vaccines for diseases like Viral hemorrhagic disease and Myxomatosis. Also protect this little dwarf from parasites, mites, worms, and fleas with the help of a vet’s instructions.
You don’t need to worry about the grooming of this breed as the Netherland Dwarf rabbit is a self-grooming breed. It only needs a little help in getting rid of excessive fur when it goes through shedding. A small and soft brush can make this task easier.
Keep a regular check on their nails and teeth. Never wash your rabbit as it can make the rabbit stressed and can lead to cardiac arrest. The spots on the fur can be easily cleaned with a piece of cloth dipped in warm water.
The Netherland Dwarf is an adorable miniature breed of rabbits that is trainable but takes time to get affectionate with family. It is a delicate breed and needs a lot of attention and care to stay healthy and active. If you can guarantee to fulfill the basic needs of this breed, then this breed is a good choice for you and your family.