Rabbit breed profile: The Netherland Dwarf

Tiny rabbits with huge hearts and even bigger personalities: If you're interested in a rabbit that's the epitome of rabitude packed into an adorable tiny package, than the Netherland Dwarf might be the right breed for you. These spirited little rabbits are most popular for their compact size, but their spunky personalities are a trait that sets them apart from most other rabbit breeds. Sometimes labeled as being aggressive or grumpy, Netherland Dwarfs attitudes are often misunderstood. Many of these tiny terrors also have a sweet side, and almost no one would argue that they are one of the cutest rabbit breeds out there.

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

Breed History:
Netherland Dwarf rabbits first made an appearance in the US in 1965, and quickly gained in popularity. Despite their name, the Netherland Dwarf breed originated in Holland. Their ancestors where the Polish rabbit, a small breed developed in the 1880's, and the Hermelin, a breed created from Polish rabbits in Germany. Netherland Dwarf rabbits where bred originally from Hermelin rabbits in Holland. Jan Meyering and associates worked extensively with the breed so that by 1940, they came in a huge array of colors and where recognizable as a distinct new breed. The breed almost went extinct during World War II, when reporitdly only 17 Netherland Dwarf rabbits survived the war. However, offspring of the 17 survivors where exported into England after the war where they where able to gain a new foothold. They where recognized by the British Rabbit Council as a breed in 1950, and from there 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 lbs. 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. Netherland Dwarfs 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. These rabbits can be lively and very playful, so often times 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.

On average, well cared for fixed domestic rabbits kept indoors as pets live between 7 - 12 years. This is, in general, true of Netherland Dwarfs. 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.

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 too.

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