The petite Netherland Dwarf has a sweet, baby face, and they never quite look like they grow up. They’ve become one of the most popular breeds to be kept as a pet or shown, though they have a bit of a skittish nature. If you’ve the patience and gentleness to win a Netherland Dwarf over, you’ll have a charming kit for life.
Rabbits have unique and dynamic personalities and can form close, loving bonds with their owners. Many can be trained to use a litterbox, will come when you call their name, and may even enjoy learning a couple of tricks. Coupled with the fact that they’re quiet, require relatively little space, and are very low odor, it’s not hard to see why rabbits have become the third most popular pet in the United States and Great Britain.
There are a few important things to consider before choosing a rabbit as a pet. Rabbits will require your time and attention. They’re very social, curious, and playful animals and will live a sad life if kept confined to a cage with little interaction. They will need space and opportunity to exercise and explore, and you’ll need to make sure the space has been rabbit-proofed against nibbling and gnawing. A rabbit is a long-term commitment with many living more than 10 years – sadly, with their popularity on the rise, the number of rabbits abandoned to shelters and rescues has also risen. They’ll require occasional veterinary care, and in some countries it’s required that they be vaccinated.
Rabbits are a poor choice as a pet for young children. They may be soft and cute, but rabbits are easily stressed and frightened around loud noises and activity. Many rabbits do not enjoy being held or cuddled and may bite or kick to get away, and rabbits can easily be seriously injured in such a struggle.
Appearance / health:
The Netherland Dwarf is a very small rabbit weighing little more than 2 pounds. The body is short, compact, and very round. The Netherland Dwarf’s head is disproportionately large and round, with a shortened face. Their eyes are also quite large and round and their ears are short, thick, and upright.
The coat of the Netherland Dwarf is short, thick, and soft. They come in a broad variety of colors including white-with-red eyes, white-with-blue-eyes, black, onyx, blue, chinchilla, steel, chestnut, orange, tan, fawn, lynx, sable, merle, Himalayan, otter, and silver and sable marten.
Like other small mammals, the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit can be susceptible to colds and viral infections. Exposure to draft, sudden changes in temperature and stress can lower the rabbit’s resistance to sickness. Rabbits are also vulnerable to conjunctivitis (a bacterial infection of the eyelids caused by smoke, dust, and fumes) and ear mites. Intestinal ailments like coccidiosis (parasites propagated by unsanitary conditions), bloat, and hairball obstructions are also common in rabbits.
Behavior / temperament:
The Netherland Dwarf Rabbit may be timid by nature, but with gentleness, patience, and handling from an early age, they can become sociable and friendly. They have a tendency towards skittishness, and can be described as a bit high-strung. They’re also very active, energetic, and intelligent and require plenty of time and space to exercise.
Rabbits are social animals, and are happiest when kept in pairs or trios. Rabbits may bond very closely to one another, forming a near-inseparable “bonded pair”. Non-bonded rabbits should have their own cage and should be carefully supervised until they get to know one another. A rabbit kept singly will need lots of time and attention from their human caretaker, though human companionship can never fully substitute for the interaction they have with each other. Ideally a single rabbit will be allowed plenty of free access to its owner, whether that’s cuddling on the couch or following them around the kitchen.
Rabbits are generally playful and curious and you may find that a free-roaming bunny will greet your guests at the door. They tend to get along well with other household pets, though some cats and dogs have a high prey instinct and may act aggressively towards the rabbit. Some rabbits are quite intelligent and enjoy learning tricks, and many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. Rabbits also love to chew and dig, and it’s especially important for their dental health that they have something appropriate to gnaw on. It’s also important that anything they shouldn’t gnaw on be kept from their reach!
Rabbits may spray to mark their territory, though this behavior can be significantly reduced or eliminated by spaying or neutering. Spaying or neutering can also result in a calmer temperament and fewer behavioral issues.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbits are best kept indoors to protect them from extreme temperatures, predators, and other outdoor dangers. They should be allowed to roam and exercise, preferably where they can get sunlight and fresh air. Extension hutches, exercise pens or lawn enclosures are recommended for safe outdoor exposure.
If kept in a cage, the enclosure should be at least five times the size of the rabbit with plenty of room to stretch and stand upright. Wire mesh flooring should be avoided because it can cause pain and injury to a rabbit’s feet. A hide-away box or sleeping quarters should be provided as a quiet place for a rabbit to retreat to feel safe and for sleep. Baby toys and interesting items should also be available for entertainment. Another option is housing your rabbit in a play-pen or puppy-pen.
Many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. The best litters are non-toxic (rabbits may try to nibble on their litter) and dust free. Recycled paper litters or pellets, citrus-based litters, compressed wood pellets, aspen shavings, newspaper (ensure the ink is non-toxic), and hay are all appropriate. Avoid clumping litters as they can clump inside the digestive tract if eaten, and never use wood shavings from pine or cedar.
Rabbits may also be allowed to roam inside the house as long as the areas where they are free to explore are “rabbit-proofed” for safety. Rabbits allowed to roam at all times should still have a hutch to which they can return for sleeping and a feeling of safety.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbits are herbivorous and their diet will mainly consist of hay, pellets, and vegetables. Hay is very important for both digestive health and dental health. Grass hays such as timothy, orchard, and oat hay can be fed in unlimited quantities, but alfalfa is high in calories and should only be provided occasionally. Fresh pellets should also be made available daily – choose a pellet high in fiber and avoid mixes that include other foods like corn, seeds, or dried fruit.
Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet. Dark, leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, spring greens, and some spinach should make up approximately 75% of the fresh food given to your rabbit daily, with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, and summer squash making up the other 25%. Fruits and starchy vegetables should be limited in the diet, but make great treats! Make sure that all fresh foods are washed thoroughly, and uneaten fresh foods should be removed at the end of the day.
Fresh water should always be available, either from a sipper bottle or in a stable water bowl.
Lovable, cuddleable size, sociable animal, tolerant personalities, wonderful pet
high strung rabbit, young children, skittish, fearful, timid rabbit, shy animal
prey animal, huge eyes, smallest rabbit breed, litter tray
They're cute, but they're not very friendly
I've owned a few Netherland dwarfs over the years, but the most memorable was Baxter. Baxter was an adorable, little grey bunny, and I thought we were going to be the best of friends, hitting it off and cuddling immediately. I also thought that I could breed him with my lops, which would make really cute babies. Baxter dashed all of my hopes and dreams and was the most antisocial rabbit I've ever owned. I could never pick him up without being bitten. And, he did mate with my lop, but then proceeded to attack and injure her after he was done. The cuts were so bad I had to take her to the vet, and then keep them separated. In short, Baxter was really cute, but he was a jerk to everyone he came into contact with..
From xtrrmin8 Mar 21 2019 1:29AM
A rabbit favorite!
Dandelion greens are especially a favorite of rabbits and often you can find some of it growing wild in your own yard and kids especially love hunting for the plats so they can hand the treat to the rabbits themselves. It is good for the rabbits to eat greens in addition to their feed..
From EllieB 498 days ago
Dwarf Rabbit: A Little Too High-Strung for Me
Along with my Lionhead rabbits and my huge Rex rabbit that I have owned in my life, I also owned a Dwarf rabbit. He was brown and looked almost like the many wild rabbits that you see running through grass fields in the spring. Through my experience, I would not be surprised if he was a wild rabbit.
My Dwarf rabbit was VERY high-strung. He was certainly the least friendly pet I have ever owned. He would spend part of his day kicking the sides of his cage or throwing his food bowl around in a fury. He was impossible to hold and would nip at my fingers. As far as hygiene and maintenance, it was minimal because he had short hair that needed no brushing but his nails did need to be cut regularly. For this task, a vet trip was needed because he was too crazy for just myself to manage.
My two friends also owned a Dwarf rabbit similar to my own and although theirs was slightly friendlier and didn’t bite, he was also very high-strung and very destructive in his cage, throwing his food dish, kicking out his bedding, and slamming himself against the side of the cage. Both of our rabbits were also serious chewers. All rabbits have the chewing urge and should always be carefully monitored when out of the cage, but with my other rabbits, they didn’t go looking for things to chew such as wires and the molding. With my Dwarf and my friends’ Dwarf rabbit as well, they both searched for things to chew and places to run and burrow into to stay away from you and everything else. I am assuming it went along with how easily agitated their personalities were.
I do not recommend Dwarf rabbits for younger children. I am sure that not all Dwarf rabbits are the same, just as any breed always has its exceptions, but in my experience, I would be wary of bringing one into your home unless you know the kind of rabbit you are getting and the kind of rabbit that you are looking to get. Don’t just see a cutie in a cage and take him or her home. Play with your potential new pet and make sure he or she is the best match for you..
From KelseyRose92 Aug 23 2015 6:34PM