Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

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Netherland dwarf rabbits or (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a very popular breed of domestic rabbit which is smaller than most rabbit breeds and is a popular choice for pet and show rabbits due to their small size and many varieties. The Netherland dwarf weighs between 500g to 1.6 kg and is about 3 inches long.

Netherland dwarf derived breeds or Netherland crosses have given rise to many dwarf bunny varieties that are recognized and demanded in many countries across the world. The popularity of Netherland dwarfs as pets stems from the fact that these require less cage space and have a small and babyish appearance.

The Netherland dwarfs were first produced in Netherland in around 1950s by breeding small Polish rabbits with smaller wild rabbits. After a few generations dwarfish domestic rabbit could be produced in a wide variety. The very early generations of Netherlands dwarf rabbits showed extreme temperaments due to their genealogy from the wild varieties from which they were derived. The wild varieties were chosen for their relatively smaller sizes. However, years of domestication and selective breeding have made them extremely docile, friendly and good-natured.

The Netherland dwarf rabbits have disproportionately large eyes and heads as compared to the size of their bodies. The ears of Netherland Dwarfs are small and are carried high on head unlike the dwarf lop rabbits. These rabbits are essentially round and compact in shape and have a babyish appearance.

netherland dwarf rabbits

Pure breed of Netherland Dwarf rabbits are available in a variety of colors that include black, blue, Himalayan, lilac, chocolate, tortoiseshell, opal, lynx, fawn, steel, butterfly, chinchilla, lynx, sable point, smoke pearl, otter, silver marten, tan, orange and squirrel.

Several other varieties of rabbits show shaded colors or mismarks in non-show quality Netherland Dwarf rabbits or mongrel rabbits.

As pets the Netherland dwarf rabbits are getting more and more popular with time. These rabbits show the basic behavioral characteristics as shown by dogs and cats. They are friendly, playful, understand territory and can be litter trained. These dwarf rabbits seek and enjoy human companionship and get along well with kids and other pets. The Netherland dwarfs generally do not need much food and a very small amount of food is enough for their sustenance. However, the food quantities must be adjusted to suit individual needs and avoid obesity or malnutrition.

When two true Netherland dwarfs rabbits are bred the offspring essentially hire the lethal genetic combination and is known to struggle with its life for first three months. These offsprings called ‘peanuts’ die after their early struggle. The reasons of death are known but it is speculated that the main cause for death might be underdeveloped digestive tracts. Peanuts can be distinguished from non-peanuts as they have bulbous head and pinched hindquarters.

To avoid the birth of peanuts it is common practice to breed a true dwarf male rabbit with good quality false dwarf female rabbit. This combination results in good quality offsprings and better varieties of Netherland dwarfs. If a false dwarf is produced it is used in further breeding and true dwarfs are sold as pet or show rabbits.