Rabbit Breed Profile: The Netherland Dwarf

Updated on July 22, 2019
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I am a lifelong animal lover and have a Bachelors of Science degree in biology.

The Netherland Dwarf: Huge Heart and Personality

Netherland Dwarf rabbits have huge hearts and even bigger personalities. If you're interested in a rabbit that's the epitome of rabbitude packed into an adorably tiny package, then the Netherland Dwarf might just be the right breed for you!

These spirited little rabbits are most well known for their compact size, but their spunky personalities are a trait that sets them apart from most other rabbit breeds. Sometimes labeled as aggressive or grumpy, Netherland Dwarfs attitudes are often misunderstood. Many of these tiny terrors also have a sweet side, and almost no one would disagree with the statement that they are one of the cutest rabbit breeds out there.

Zeus (RIP) was my blue Netherland Dwarf.
Zeus (RIP) was my blue Netherland Dwarf.

Breed History

Netherland Dwarf rabbits first made an appearance in the United States in 1965, and from that point they quickly gained in popularity. As their name suggests, the breed originated in the Netherlands.

Their ancestors where the Polish rabbit, a small breed developed in the 1880s; and the Hermelin, a breed created from Polish rabbits in Germany. Netherland Dwarf rabbits were bred originally from Hermelin rabbits in the Netherlands. Jan Meyering and associates worked extensively with the breed so that by 1940, they came in a huge array of colors and were recognized as a distinct new breed.

The breed almost went extinct during World War II, when reportedly only 17 members of the breed survived the war. However, offspring of the 17 survivors were exported into England after the war where they were able to gain a new foothold.

They were recognized by the British Rabbit Council as a breed in 1950, and from there they were eventually exported to many other countries. Today, the Netherland Dwarf is the most popular breed of rabbits throughout the world. Their small size and adorable, baby-like appearance makes them the most popular breed of rabbits to keep as pets.


Netherland Dwarf rabbits are small, normally between 1 and 3.5 pounds. They have large heads and eyes and small, compact bodies. Their faces are rounded and short with small ears that are carried high on the head.

They come in a wide verity of colors, including black, blue, Himalayan, lilac, chocolate, sable point, smoke pearl, tortoiseshell, Siamese sable, opal, chestnut, squirrel, chinchilla, otter, tan, lynx, silver marten, sable marten, smoke pearl marten, fawn, orange, steel, broken, blue-eyed white, and ruby-eyed white.


Netherland Dwarf rabbits have a reputation of having poor temperaments—of being skittish, grumpy, and wild. However, many breeders and pet lovers admire the breed for their spunky attitudes. They can be lively and very playful, and they appreciate a large cage or pen to play in despite their small size. They are, in general, more active than most larger breeds of rabbits and if kept in a cage should be given plenty of opportunities to explore and play outside of their cage.

Selective breeding aimed at improving the temperament of the breed means that many Netherland Dwarf rabbits are docile, curious, and friendly. They often enjoy human companionship and can be litter box trained like cats. Most of the time, their "wild" side should not be viewed as a bad thing but as something that helps make them unique. Their spunky personalities make them fun and entertaining companions.

Health Issues

On average, well cared for fixed domestic rabbits kept indoors as pets live between seven to 12 years. This is, in general, true for Netherland Dwarfs, as well.

Being a dwarf breed, there are a few issues you should look out for. Because of their altered, rounded, facial shape Netherland Dwarf rabbits can be prone to developing dental issues. Look out for common symptoms of teeth troubles such as drooling, dropping food, and food refusal. Extra care should be taken around these rabbits because of their small size. Make sure to teach any children in the home the importance of properly handling these tiny pets. Please make sure to fully research these adorable rabbits before bringing one into your home. Many of the most common rabbit health problems can be reduced or even eliminated simply by caring for your rabbit properly.

Final Thoughts

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are adorably little rabbits who can make amazing pets for the right owners. They are energetic and captivating companions. Remember before you bring any new pet into your home to make sure you do your research and prepare properly. Rabbits are adorable but they are also a lifetime commitment. Do your research to set yourself up for success, and you should have many happy years with your furry friend to look forward to.


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    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      Love my Netherland dwarf rabbit , he's so naughty but with a face like his how can you not forgive him . I inherited him from my granddaughter so he's my great grandson

      Love him to bits.

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      I have the cutest lion head mix that's very fluffy what do you recommend

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      Should i breed my mini lop with my nether land dwarf?

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Make sure to remember that rabbits, especially Netherland Dwarf bunnies have extremely fragile bones. You have to know how to handle them properly so that when you are holding them they don't kick out, fall, or jump off of you because they have extremely strong legs and if they kick too hard or fall from a tall place they can brake their legs. So be careful and do your research!

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      Krishika rajanikanth 

      6 months ago

      I have two neyherland dwarfs and they are soooòoooooo cute

      I have Cookies and Fuzzy

      Both girls white blue eyed

    • profile image


      24 months ago

      Do netherland bunnies let them self grab when there loose in the house

    • profile image


      2 years ago


    • profile image

      fabio flabergast 

      2 years ago

      its beatiful

    • profile image

      5 years ago



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