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Netherland Dwarf Rabbits – The Basics

The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is one of the smallest rabbit breeds that the ARBA recognizes. 

In the 1880’s Dutch rabbit litters in England were observed to have some mutations. They had small, short bodies and were white with red eyes. Those rabbits were sent to Germany, where the first breed standard for Netherland Dwarf was created.  The standard for Netherland Dwarfs was similar to the American Rabbit Breeders Association standard for Netherland Dwarfs today. The white Netherland Dwarfs were bred selectively with with rabbits to create more color patterns. The colors, however, did not stick and after a few generations the Netherland Dwarfs were again white with red eyes. The breed was called Hermelin and stayed till the 1930’s. Dutch breed Jan Meyering began experimenting and within a decade she and friends brought forth many colors. They first brought the Netherland Dwarfs to the U.S. in 1965. Since that time, breeders have continued to perfect the Netherland Dwarf breed.

The physical description of the Netherland Dwarf is a short body. The shoulders are the same as the hindquarters. They have short legs and a large round head close to the body. The ears are around two inches, covered with hair, and close to the head. The ideal weight for this breed is two pounds or less. Sometimes Netherland Dwarf’s , used as pets, weight a little more but ideally they should stay under three pounds. The personality of a Netherland Dwarf is docile; the does tend to be more passive, while the bucks are can be more aggressive if they feel they are in danger. The Netherland Dwarfs, in general, are calmer then other breeds such as the Dutch.  On a final note, Netherland Dwarfs make great pets as they can be litter box trained.