Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

One of the most well-known breed of domesticated rabbits is the Netherland Dwarf rabbit.   As its name suggests, it originated from Netherlands and is smaller compared to most rabbit breeds. It has a babyish appearance because of its rounded face.  It weighs only about 500 grams to 1.13 kilograms.  It is not usually used as a source of meat because of its small size, but kept as pet or exhibition animal.  It is quite a very active rabbit and needs ample amount of space for it to move and run around and to also do their exercise.

Netherland Dwarf rabbit cross-bred usually retains most of its original characteristics, this depends on the kind of breed of the rabbit it is crossed-bred with.  The cross-bred rarely retains its babyish appearance, more so, it is usually larger than the purebred.

The Netherland Purebred comes in different colors such as Blue Eyed White, Red Eyed White, Blue, Black, Lilac, Red, Chocolate, Siamese Smoke, Siamese Sable, Opal, Agouti, Cinnamon, Opal, Squirrel, Tan, Fox, Orange, and Fawn.

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Photo: luagh45 |Flickr

Behavior and Temperament

The Netherland Dwarf has basically the same characteristics as the usual pet dog or cat.  Sometimes, it can be panicky and aloof, but generally it is hyperactive and energetic.  Moreover, it requires ample time for supervised exercise and interaction with humans.   It also has a tendency to develop nervousness and even becomes easily stressed if not properly attended to.   When it is being cuddled, the owner should be careful not to drop it as it may cause major injuries due to its very delicate bones.

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It is an excellent pet because it is trainable, silent-type and likes to constantly interact with humans.   It is generally docile, inquisitive and gentle and shows its calm and even temper when being handled by people that it usually interacts with.  It also seeks attention and company of humans at times and play with children and adults alike.

Health and Care

Due to its small size, the Netherland Dwarf is easier to maintain than other bigger rabbits. Just like other rabbit breeds, it needs the proper diet. Unlike other rabbits, it has a very sensitive digestive system.  Thus, a slight change in its diet may cause problems with digestion.  It can be provided with unlimited supply of alfalfa pellets as well as timothy hay.  It can also be provided with small amounts of vegetables especially dark green leafy ones.  It should be noted, though that some vegetables like parsnips and carrots are not advisable to be consumed as these contain high sugar.  Fruits that have low sugar contents such as apples are good for them.  Unlimited supply of water should be provided at all times.

One of the main concerns with this breed is overgrown molars and enamel spurs.  It needs more access to food which it can chew and gnaw to help its teeth grow down.  It must be vaccinated too as it is usually prone to infections from bedding, water, food, cages, flies or fleas.  It should also be dewormed at least twice a year and should be treated with fleas and lice treatment specially designed for rabbits.

It is crucial to decide whether your pet rabbit will stay indoors or outdoors before purchasing one.   Like most types of rabbits, the Netherland Dwarf prefers living outdoors.  If you decide to put the pet in your garden, there should be a hutch ready for it.   The hutch should be roomy and is free from too much exposure to wind and sun.  Make sure the roof is waterproofed and covered in felt.  The wood inside the hutch should be treated to make sure that the water cannot get inside despite heavy rains due to bad weather condition. The cage should also be cleaned daily.

On the other hand, if you decide to let your pet rabbit live indoors, it is wise to choose a plastic indoor cage which looks like a huge hamster cage.  The same care should be observed as to its diet and playtime.  Cables and wires should be well out of the way to avoid any accidents.

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History and Background of the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

The Netherland Dwarf rabbit breed was first developed in the early periods of the 20th century in Netherlands.  It was first imported in 1948 to the United Kingdom.  In the early 1970s and 80s, this type of breed is said to have a fearful and aggressive behavior, but with selective breeding process, the modern breeds of the Netherland Dwarf rabbit became friendly, gentle and less aggressive, yet retained its highly energetic characteristics.

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