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The Netherland Dwarf rabbit breed is one of the most popular small rabbit breeds and is recognized by both the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and British Rabbit Council (BRC). Originating in the Netherlands in the early 1900s, these tiny rabbits were bred down in size from larger breeds to create a new “dwarf” variety. Despite their petite stature, Netherland Dwarfs have big personalities and can make excellent pets. 

Netherland Dwarfs typically weigh between 1.1-2.5 lbs. as adults. They have compact, rounded bodies with relatively short ears and legs compared to some other breeds of rabbit. Their flatter face and round eyes make for a baby rabbit look. Their small size makes them easy to handle and fit well in small homes or apartments. These rabbits come in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns, from solid to broken marked.

One of the standout features of the Netherland Dwarf is their lively and playful temperament. They are active and energetic, and require lots of enrichment and exercise. Dwarf rabbits tend to be curious, confident explorers and quick learners. They enjoy human interaction and can be trained to use a litter box. With proper care and handling, Netherland Dwarfs make sweet, affectionate companion pets. Their compact size also makes them a good choice for children under adult supervision.

For those seeking a small pet with a big personality, the Netherland Dwarf is an excellent choice. Their miniaturized stature combined with an outgoing and playful temperament makes them one of the most endearing rabbit breeds. They thrive on human companionship and are sure to provide years of affection and entertainment.

History & Breed Origin

The creation of the Netherland Dwarf can be attributed to the efforts of Dutch rabbit breeders who sought to develop a small-sized rabbit with distinctive characteristics. The breeding process involved crossing various small breeds, including the Polish rabbit and the Petit Brabançon (the origin of the Dutch rabbit), with the aim of producing a compact rabbit with a rounded body, short ears, and a broad head.

The breakthrough in breeding for size and appearance came in the 1940s when Jan Meyering, a Dutch rabbit enthusiast, along with some associates succeeded in selectively breeding rabbits that met the desired standards. Meyering’s work laid the foundation for what would become the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit breed.

Official Recognition

In 1947, the Netherland Dwarf was officially recognized by the Dutch Rabbit Club, marking a significant milestone in its development as a distinct breed. The small size and charming features of the Netherland Dwarf quickly captured the hearts of rabbit enthusiasts, leading to its introduction to other countries around the world. And on October 13th, 1949 the Netherland Dwarf Club was formed in Britain by Joyce Taylor. It was only one year later that Netherland Dwarfs were recognized by the British Rabbit Council (BRC) in early 1950.

Throughout the following decades, dedicated breeders continued to refine and improve the Netherland Dwarf, focusing on maintaining its compact size while enhancing its coat colors and patterns. Selective breeding efforts resulted in a wide variety of color variations, including solid colors, shaded varieties, and marked patterns, further enhancing the appeal of the breed.

Coming to the USA

The United States imported the first Netherland dwarfs in the 1960s. The breed was officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1969 using a modification of a British standard.

Today, the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit is recognized by rabbit breed standards organizations worldwide. It remains one of the most popular rabbit breeds among enthusiasts and pet owners alike, prized for its compact size, friendly disposition, and charming personality.

Appearance and Size

The Netherland Dwarf is one of the smallest rabbit breeds, typically weighing between 1.1 and 2.5 pounds as adults. Despite their tiny size, they have a stocky, compact body with a rounded head, large eyes, and short, upright ears.

Their body shape is short and cobby, with short legs, a broad head, and thick shoulders. The eyes on Netherland Dwarfs are large, round, and prominent. And their ears are very short and erect, adding to their rounded appearance from the front. This neotonic appearance (appearing infantile throughout is due to the dwarf gene present in Netherland Dwarf rabbits. While commonly confused with Polish rabbits, who share many similar appearance characteristics, Netherland Dwarf rabbits have shorter ears that typically as under 2.5 inches in length.

Their fur is thick and rollback, meaning it grows away from the body rather than lying flat. The rollback fur gives the Netherland Dwarf a full plush look. The fur is soft, glossy, and dense. Desired coat length is between 1/2 inch and 1 1/4 inches.  

The small stature of the Netherland Dwarf makes it an appealing pet for many, as their tiny size allows them to be comfortably housed indoors. But they still pack all the charm and personality of a larger rabbit into their pint-sized bodies!

Color Varieties 

Netherland Dwarf rabbits come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Some of the most common coat colors include:

Agouti – Fur with black tips and brown/fawn bands. This is the wild rabbit coloring.

  • Chestnut: Rich reddish-brown fur with darker shading on the back.
  • Opal: Pale bluish-gray fur with a pearl-like sheen.
  • Chinchilla: Grayish fur with a pearl-like sheen, often with darker coloration on the ears, feet, and tail.
  • Lynx: Lilac and Fawn mingled fur with darker points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.

Self – A solid coat color.

  • Ruby-Eyed White – REW: Pure white fur with red or pink eyes.
  • Blue-Eyed White – BEW: Pure white fur with blue eyes.
  • Black: Solid black fur, often with a glossy sheen.
  • Blue: Solid blue-gray fur, sometimes with a bluish tint.
  • Chocolate: Solid brown fur, resembling the color of milk chocolate.
  • Lilac: Pale purple-gray fur, resembling the color of a lilac flower.

Shaded – The surface of each hair is dark, with a lighter under color. Creates an appearance of shading.

  • Siamese Sable: Dark brown fur with a lighter underbelly, similar to Siamese cat coloring.
  • Siamese Smoke Pearl: Pale grayish-brown fur with a smoky appearance.
  • Siamese Sable Point: Dark brown fur with lighter points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.
  • Tortoiseshell – Mixed patches of colors like red, black, blue, and fawn.
    • Tortoiseshell Black: Black fur with patches of red, blue, and fawn.
    • Tortoiseshell Blue: Blue fur with patches of cream and fawn.
    • Tortoiseshell Chocolate: Chocolate fur with patches of cream and fawn.
    • Tortoiseshell Lilac: Lilac fur with patches of cream and fawn.

Tan pattern – Black and tan coloring like a Rottweiler dog.

  • Black Otter: Black fur with tan markings on the belly, chest, chin, and inner legs.
  • Blue Otter: Blue fur with tan markings on the belly, chest, chin, and inner legs.
  • Chocolate Otter: Chocolate fur with tan markings on the belly, chest, chin, and inner legs.
  • Lilac Otter: Lilac fur with tan markings on the belly, chest, chin, and inner legs.
  • Black Marten: Black fur with distinct tan markings around the eyes, on the cheeks, underside, and inner legs.
  • Blue Marten: Blue fur with distinct tan markings around the eyes, on the cheeks, underside, and inner legs.
  • Chocolate Marten: Chocolate fur with distinct tan markings around the eyes, on the cheeks, underside, and inner legs.
  • Lilac Marten: Lilac fur with distinct tan markings around the eyes, on the cheeks, underside, and inner legs.
  • Smoke Pearl Marten: Pale grayish-brown fur with a smoky appearance.
  • Sable Marten: Dark brown fur with lighter points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.
  • Pointed white – White body with colored extremities like the nose, ears, feet, and tail.

Some rare or unique color varieties include:

  • Himalayan – White body with dark extremities, like the Siamese cat pattern.
    • Himalayan Black: White fur with dark points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.
    • Himalayan Blue: White fur with blue-gray points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.
    • Himalayan Chocolate: White fur with chocolate-brown points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.
    • Himalayan Lilac: White fur with pale purple-gray points on the ears, nose, feet, and tail.
  • Chinchilla – Pearl grey coloring with white-tipped guard hairs. Gives a sparkly appearance.
  • Silver Marten – Jet black fur with silver guard hairs and markings. Very striking.
  • Steel – Charcoal grey fur produced by the steel gene.
  • Squirrel: Warm brown fur with subtle shading, resembling a squirrel’s coat.
  • Tan: Black fur with tan markings on belly, chest, and inner legs.
  • Broken: Coat pattern with irregular patches of two or more colors.
  • Orange: Vibrant reddish-orange fur, solid in color.
  • Fawn: Light sandy brown fur, soft and muted in appearance.
  • Merle – Marbled patches of color mixed with white.

There are many other possible color combinations and patterns. Proper breeders carefully select rabbits to produce unique and attractive color varieties that may not be listed above.

Temperament and Personality 

The Netherland Dwarf is known for having a gentle, easygoing personality. They are typically docile, friendly, and gentle in nature. Many owners describe them as sweethearts who crave affection from their humans.

While Netherland Dwarfs are not usually aggressive, if they are not properly socialized from a young age, they can be skittish around humans or unfamiliar environments. With frequent, gentle handling from a young age, they become quite comfortable being picked up and held.

These petite rabbits get along well with respectful, gentle children. As long as the child is supervised and taught to be calm and gentle, Netherland Dwarfs enjoy the attention and play. However, it is important that they are handled carefully as their small stature makes their bone structure more fragile. If they are handled poorly and dropped from even a low height they could sustain massive injuries.

Netherland Dwarfs generally coexist peacefully with other rabbits and pets. They are social animals that can live in bonded pairs or groups when properly introduced. Having a companion rabbit helps satisfy their instinctual need for companionship. Pairs and groups must be monitored for any signs of discord or aggression, which are rare in this breed. But overall, their affectionate nature allows them to live happily with other rabbits.

With their sweet, laidback personalities, Netherland Dwarf rabbits can make delightful, affectionate pets for individuals and families who are gentle and patient with them. Their compact size but big personalities add joy and entertainment to any home.

Care and Feeding  

The Netherland Dwarf is a small rabbit with relatively simple care requirements. However, there are some important factors to consider when it comes to properly caring for and feeding this breed.

Diet and Nutritional Needs

  • Netherland Dwarfs should be fed a diet comprised primarily of fresh, grass hay – timothy or orchard hay are best. Fresh hay should be available at all times.
  • Limited amounts of fresh vegetables can also be offered. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce are good choices. Vegetables should be introduced slowly and one at a time to monitor for any digestive upset. 
  • Pellets are also an important part of the diet, providing balanced nutrition. Choose a pellet formulated specifically for dwarf rabbit breeds. Feed approximately 1/4 cup per 4 lbs. body weight daily.
  • Treats like fruits and carrots should be given sparingly, as Netherland Dwarfs have a tendency to easily gain weight.  
  • Always provide fresh, clean water in a sipper bottle or heavy ceramic bowl.

Products we recommend for starting (Chewy)

Exercise Requirements

  • Netherland Dwarfs are active little rabbits that need daily exercise and playtime. At minimum, they should be allowed 1-2 hours per day of supervised run time in a rabbit-proof space. More is better.
  • Safe exercise options include letting them run around on carpets, tiles, or hardwood floors. Elevated ramps and tunnels also provide mental stimulation. Take care to protect flooring and baseboards.
  • Netherland Dwarfs love to play! Provide safe chew toys for mental stimulation. Cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes, and untreated wicker balls are good options. Rotate toys to keep things interesting.

Products we recommend for starting

Housing 

– As indoor rabbits, Netherland Dwarfs should live inside the home in a roomy enclosure. The minimum recommended size is 4′ x 2′ for dwarf breeds. Many owners opt for multi-level enclosures.

– Wire flooring should be avoided. Instead, line the cage with absorbent litter or bedding. Paper-based litters are recommended over aromatic wood shavings. Spot clean daily and change completely weekly.  

– Netherland Dwarfs are social and may live happily in bonded pairs. Make sure both rabbits are spayed/neutered before attempting to bond them.

Products we recommend for starting

Grooming

  • With their short, sleek coat, Netherland Dwarfs require minimal grooming. Brush weekly using a soft brush to remove loose hair. Trim nails as needed.
  • Check inside ears weekly and clean gently with cotton balls as needed. Look for signs of ear mites.
  • Clean the anal area as needed to prevent soiling. Check for signs of wet tail or other health issues.
  • Look for signs of overgrown teeth and have them trimmed by a veterinarian if needed. Teeth should meet properly in the front.

Products we recommend for starting


With the proper diet, housing, exercise, and grooming your Netherland Dwarf will be a happy, healthy companion for years to come! Always consult an exotic vet for health questions.

Spaying and Neutering

Considerations Before Spaying or Neutering:

Before scheduling a spay or neuter surgery for your Netherland Dwarf rabbit, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable veterinarian who has experience working with rabbits. They can provide guidance on the appropriate age for the procedure, potential risks and complications, and post-operative care.

After surgery, it’s crucial to monitor your rabbit closely for any signs of discomfort or complications, such as excessive bleeding, swelling, or loss of appetite. Provide a quiet and comfortable recovery space for your rabbit and follow your veterinarian’s instructions for post-operative care, including pain management and wound care.

Spaying Female Netherland Dwarf Rabbits:

Spaying, also known as ovariohysterectomy, involves the removal of a female rabbit’s uterus and ovaries. This procedure is commonly recommended for female Netherland Dwarf rabbits to prevent reproductive issues such as uterine cancer, ovarian cysts, and potentially life-threatening conditions like pyometra, a uterine infection.

In addition to preventing reproductive health problems, spaying can also help manage behavioral issues such as territorial aggression and reduce the risk of unwanted litters if the rabbit accidentally mates with a male rabbit. Female rabbits can be spayed as early as four to six months of age, although it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best timing for the procedure.

Neutering Male Netherland Dwarf Rabbits:

Neutering, or castration, involves the removal of a male rabbit’s testes. This procedure is recommended for male Netherland Dwarf rabbits to prevent reproductive-related behaviors such as urine spraying, mounting, and aggression. Neutering can also reduce the risk of testicular cancer and other reproductive health issues.

Male rabbits can be neutered as early as three to four months of age, although the timing may vary depending on the individual rabbit’s development and overall health. Neutering male rabbits at a young age can help prevent the establishment of territorial behaviors and reduce the likelihood of urine spraying, which can be challenging to manage in intact males.

Health and Common Issues 

Netherland Dwarf rabbits generally have a lifespan of 8-10 years when properly cared for. All breeds of rabbits can face some health issues without proper steps and care.

Some common health issues rabbits can face:

Gastrointestinal Stasis:

Gastrointestinal stasis, also known as “GI stasis,” is a common and potentially life-threatening condition in rabbits, including Netherland Dwarfs. It occurs when the digestive system slows down or stops functioning, leading to a buildup of gas and toxins in the intestines. Symptoms may include decreased appetite, lethargy, a decrease in fecal output, and a hunched posture. Providing a balanced diet, encouraging exercise, and monitoring your rabbit’s overall health can help reduce the risk of GI stasis.

Heat Stroke:

Netherland Dwarf rabbits like all rabbits are sensitive to high temperatures and can quickly succumb to heat stroke if exposed to extreme heat and humidity. Symptoms of heat stroke may include rapid breathing, lethargy, and weakness. Providing access to a cool, shaded area, plenty of fresh water, and avoiding exposure to direct sunlight during hot weather can help prevent heat stroke in Netherland Dwarf rabbits.

Ear Mites:

Ear Mites are a parasite that nests in a rabbit’s ears and can cause the inside of their ear to appear crusty and inflamed. Symptoms can also include scratching or chewing on their ears, shaking their head, drooping ears, or holding their ears against their back. If caught early they are easily treatable, but if not ear mites can lead to a bacterial infection. You can get drops from your vet to use in your rabbit’s ears to help treat ear mites.

Snuffles:

Your rabbit can get a cold just like you but for them is actually a dangerous disease. Snuffles is a upper respiratory infection that affects mostly your rabbit’s nose with sometimes eyes and ears. Symptoms to snuffles can include sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, difficulty breathing, drooling, lost of appetite, lack of energy, and matted fur on their front paws. (Matted front paws is an early sign. It happens when a rabbits cleans their face with their paws. It removes the evidence from their face and transfers it to their paws) If you notice any of these symptoms bring your rabbit to the vet as soon as possible. With immediate attention they should recover just fine.

Sore hocks:

A sore hock or bumblefoot (medically known as ulcerative pododermatitis) in rabbits is a condition where the skin around a rabbit’s hocks grows ulcers and can get infected. Main causes of sore hocks are rough flooring, obesity, overgrown nails, dirty cages, or damp environments. In some breeds it’s more common for them to get sore hocks due to their fur or size. Thankfully Netherland Dwarf rabbits are not know to get sore hocks as long as they do not stand on rough or wire cage flooring for extended periods of time, their enclosure is kept clean, and they get regular exercise.

Some key health issues specific to Netherland Dwarf rabbits can include:

Dental Problems:

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are prone to dental issues, including malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) and overgrowth of the incisors and molars. These problems can lead to difficulty eating, weight loss, and oral infections. Providing a diet high in fiber, such as hay and fresh vegetables, and regular dental check-ups can help prevent and manage dental issues in Netherland Dwarf rabbits.

Respiratory Infections:

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are susceptible to respiratory infections due to their smaller mouth and shorter nose. Infection can happen if they are housed in damp or poorly ventilated environments. Symptoms may include sneezing, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing. Maintaining a clean living environment, avoiding exposure to drafts, and providing proper ventilation can help prevent respiratory infections in Netherland Dwarf rabbits.

Obesity:

Due to their small size, Netherland Dwarf rabbits are prone to obesity if not provided with a balanced diet and sufficient exercise. Obesity can lead to a range of health issues, including arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Feeding a diet high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, providing opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation, and monitoring your rabbit’s weight can help prevent obesity in Netherland Dwarf rabbits.

Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped because of their small size. Be sure children only handle rabbits with supervision.

Regular vet checkups will ensure that you catch any health problems before them become too serious. You should also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder. (Check out our marketplace to see listing today) If you are breeding Netherland Dwarfs, you should ensure you actively track their health history to track and prevent any health problems before they become serious. Everbreed has health tracking built into our software so you can run your rabbitry all in one place.

Spaying or neutering Netherland Dwarfs is recommended between 4-6 months old. This prevents reproductive cancers later in life, and can reduce territorial behaviors. Females especially benefit from spaying as it largely eliminates the risk of uterine cancer. Discuss the ideal timing with your rabbit-savvy veterinarian.

Breeding Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

Lots of genes influence a rabbit’s size but specifically for Netherland dwarf rabbits it’s of course the Dwarf gene, which is dominant. Because genes come in pairs the opposite gene for size would be a Normal gene, which is recessive.

True Dwarf vs False Dwarf

Rabbits with the a Normal and Dwarf gene (D/d) are called True Dwarfs. Where as rabbits with matching normal genes are False Dwarf rabbits (d/d).

True Dwarfs match the desired standards of perfection for dwarf breeds. For Netherland Dwarf rabbits it means they are short, round, and compact. Their ears and legs are also short.

False Dwarfs though bigger then True Dwarfs, will not be large for Netherland Dwarf Rabbits. The ears, and legs will be longer, with the body being longer and gangly.

Problems With Breeding True Dwarfs

Breeding two True Dwarfs together is always fatal for some of the birthed rabbits. Since the Dwarf gene is dominant some of the rabbits will be born with two of them (D/D). These are otherwise known as a “Peanuts” which are excessively tiny, and normally stillborn.

If you decide to breed two True Dwarfs together you’ll most likely end up with:

25% “Peanuts” (D/D): These rabbits typically live 1-3 days post birth if not stillborn.
50% True Dwarfs (D/d): These are the ideal combination of Dwarf gene alleles for future breeding.
25% False Dwarfs (d/d): Consider keeping a false dwarf doe (female) as a brood doe. This will guarantee that all her offspring posses the Normal gene. The bucks (male) will most likely be sold as pets.

As a result, breeders typically breed a True Dwarf buck to a False Dwarf doe. This can result in more false dwarfs, but avoids birthing Peanuts. In this case you’ll end up with:

50% True Dwarfs (D/d)
50% False Dwarfs (d/d)

Showing Netherland Dwarfs

Most breeders plan to show their Netherland Dwarfs in various rabbit shows or sell them as pets. If pursuing a show route, breeders will want to register with ARBA and show a pedigree of at least four generations. Previously breeders had to track these details and plan their future litters on paper or in excel, however many breeders now have moved to web and mobile apps like Everbreed to ensure they have full tracking of their breeders, litters, and pedigrees. Likewise, breeders may want to purchase ARBA’s standards of perfection to understand the criteria for their show rabbit’s evaluation.

How to Breed (High-level overview)

When it comes times to breed your rabbits it’s best for them to have solid ground. If you have a cage with a wire bottom it can catch their toenails or feet which could lead to serious injury when they start to get rowdy.

If you only have a wire bottom cage you should place a temporary wooded floor down that will be removed after breeding is finished. Be sure to also remove any feeders or water bowl to give them more room. Be sure to ALWAYS place the doe into the buck’s cage. Does can be very territorial and may act aggressively towards the buck if you try to breed in her cage.

The two rabbits will start to chase , and smell each other, the buck will stomp his foot repeatedly. The buck will then mount the doe. If the doe is receptive she’ll lay on her stomach and lift her hind. If not and she ends up becoming aggressive, remove her carefully as soon as possible.

Time from breeding to kindling (giving birth) is about 30 days. If your rabbit hasn’t given birth by day 32, your veterinarian should induce labor to not result in a dead litter.

A few indicators in the mean time your doe might be pregnant include:
  • You can feel babies when you palpate her belly (After 2 weeks)
    • If not, take to your vet and they’ll be able to tell after 12 days
  • Your doe has gained weight
    • Always weight your doe before breeding to compare 2 weeks later
  • She starts to nest within a week before kindling

False pregnancy, where the doe will show signs of pregnancy, but is not actually pregnant is common in rabbits.

Add a Nest Box

Nest boxes should be added about 28 days after breeding. If they are added too early, they can become contaminated and pose risks to the newborns. Your doe will start to pull hay and fur from her body to build a nest days before kindling. It’s possible your doe will give birth in the late evening when you are not around. Be sure to giving them plenty of space so they won’t feel nervous or stressed.

If a doe is unable to nurse all the kits (newborns) effectively, kits may be fostered by removing them from the nest box within the first 3 days and giving them to a doe of about the same age with a smaller litter. If the fostered kits are mixed with the doe’s own kits and covered with hair of the doe, they are generally accepted. Moving the larger kits instead of the smaller kits to the new litter increases the chance of survival. Does nurse only once or twice daily, and kits nurse for less than 3 minutes at a time. So don’t be concerned if you see your doe away from her newborns in the nest box. Kits are weaned around 4 to 5 weeks of age.

Kits start to open their eyes after about 10 days and you may see them hoping out of the nest box after 2 weeks.

For a deeper guide in breeding rabbits check our article here!

Track everything from breeding to finances with Everbreed!

How to Choose a Netherland Dwarf

Choosing the right Netherland Dwarf rabbit from a reputable breeder is key to having a happy, hoppy, healthy bunny. Here’s what you need to know:

What to Look for in a Breeder

  • A responsible, ethical breeder who is knowledgeable about the breed and its care. Avoid pet stores or backyard breeders.
  • Clean facilities with adequate space for rabbits. No overcrowding or dirty conditions.
  • Healthy, energetic rabbits with bright eyes, no discharge, and clean fur. Signs of illness or poor care are red flags.
  • Pedigreed rabbits with papers from ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association). This ensures purebred dwarfs.
  • Willingness to show parents and entire facility. Good breeders are transparent.
  • Provides health guarantee, cares about proper homes, and takes rabbits back if needed. 

Find Netherland Dwarf Rabbit listing on our Marketplace

Questions to Ask the Breeder

It’s important to get the background on a breeder you are considering purchasing a rabbit from to understand their approach to breeding rabbits. This helps you to ensure they are ethically breeding, have experience, and are following good breeding practices – all resulting in a happier, healthier bunny. Some suggested questions to speak with the breeder about:

General questions to ask a breeder

  • How long have you been breeding Netherland dwarfs specifically? Look for several years of dwarf rabbit experience.
  • Do you belong to any rabbit breeding associations? ARBA membership is ideal. (or BRC if in the UK)
  • What diet do you feed the rabbits? Should be a quality pellet and hay based diet.
  • What is the temperament of the parents like? Look for answers indicating a gentle, friendly personality.
  • What genetic or health issues should I be aware of? A responsible breeder will discuss potential concerns.
  • Can I contact you if I have questions after taking the rabbit home? A good breeder provides support.

Evaluating Health and Temperament

While visiting the breeder, you have the opportunity to evaluate the health and temperament of their rabbits, litters, and your potential rabbit(s). Some recommended checks to take while visiting:

  • Visit several times to interact with the rabbit. Temperament can vary from day to day. 
  • Check eyes, nose, teeth, fur, nails, and body condition. Look for signs of illness, injury, or poor care.
  • Observe movement. Rabbits should be lively, alert, and active without limping or trembling.
  • Handle the dwarf rabbit extensively. A friendly personality is very important for pets.
  • Inspect living conditions. Rabbits should have clean housing, quality food, and adequate space.
  • Review parent pedigrees and health records if available. This provides insight into potential issues. If the breeder is using Everbreed, they should be able to provide a digital pedigree or PDF view.
    Everbreed Health Tracking: https://everbreed.com/health-tracker/
    Everbreed Pedigree Management: https://everbreed.com/rabbit-pedigrees/


With patience and care, you can find a wonderful Netherland Dwarf rabbit from an ethical, responsible breeder. The ideal rabbit will be healthy, well-socialized, and have a great personality.

Bringing Home your Netherland Dwarf

Bringing home a new Netherland Dwarf rabbit can be an exciting experience! Here are some tips for a smooth transition:

Preparing the Home

Before your new rabbit arrives, you’ll want to rabbit-proof your home. Look for and eliminate potential hazards like exposed electrical wires, toxic plants, and small spaces where your rabbit could get stuck. Designate an area for your bunny’s enclosure with enough room for a litter box, food, water bowl, toys, and a place to sleep. Line the area with absorbent litter or bedding. Be sure to always have lots of healthy hay, veggies, and pellets on hand.

Introducing the New Rabbit 

When you bring your Netherland Dwarf home, allow it to sniff and explore its new environment. Sit nearby and speak softly to help it feel at ease. Resist the urge to immediately hold or cuddle your new rabbit, as this can be frightening. Let your bunny approach you first. Offer treats to build positive associations. Be patient, as bonding takes time. Introduce new sights, sounds, and smells gradually to avoid overwhelming your rabbit.

Bonding with Your Rabbit

Make time every day dedicated just to interacting with your Netherland Dwarf. Sit on the floor and let it explore you and smell your scent. Offer toys for playing together. Hand feed treats and leafy greens to establish trust. Gently pet its head, cheeks, ears, and back once your rabbit feels comfortable. As your new companion gets settled in, it will begin to seek you out for affection and playtime. Consistency, respect, and positive reinforcement will strengthen your lifelong bond!

Training and Handling Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are intelligent, social animals that enjoy interacting with their owners. With time and patience, they can be trained to use a litter box, learn tricks, and become comfortable with grooming routines like nail trimming.

Litter Training

Litter training a Netherland Dwarf is possible, though it requires persistence. Follow these tips for best results:

  • Get a corner litter box with low sides so your bunny can easily hop in and out. Fill with rabbit-safe litter like Carefresh or Small Pet Select.
  • Place the litter box in the corner of their enclosure where they most often go potty. This helps them associate that spot with relieving themselves. 
  • When you see them use the litter box, praise and give a treat reward. This reinforces the behavior.
  • If accidents happen, without scolding gently place the droppings into the litter box. The scent will remind them what the box is for.
  • Be patient and consistent. Litter training takes time for rabbits to learn. With daily practice most will become reliably trained.

Teaching Tricks

Netherland Dwarfs are smart and enjoy mental stimulation. With clicker training and positive reinforcement, they can master fun tricks like:

  • Spinning in a circle
  • Standing up on hind legs 
  • Going through a hoop
  • Jumping over low obstacles
  • Coming when called
  • Navigating obstacle courses

Start by luring your bunny with a treat, then marking and rewarding desired behaviors. Build up slowly in small training sessions of just a few minutes. Track progress with a training journal.

Nail Trimming

It’s important to regularly trim your Netherland Dwarf’s nails, which grow quickly and can cause pain or injury if too long. Here are tips for a stress-free trimming:

  • Use pet-safe clippers designed for small animals. Trim just the clear tip of the nail.
  • Go slowly and only trim a little at a time. Pause often to give treats.
  • Wrap your bunny in a towel like a burrito to keep them still and calm.
  • Distract with leafy greens or have a helper offer treats while you clip.
  • Introduce nail trims early and make them a frequent, positive routine.

With time and positive reinforcement, you can train your Netherland Dwarf rabbit to enjoy interacting with you through daily handling, exercise, and grooming. This creates a lasting bond and trust.

Frequently Asked Questions

Netherland Dwarfs should be fed a diet of unlimited timothy hay, 1/4 cup of pellets, and 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables per 4 lbs. of body weight. Avoid feeding fruit due to the high sugar content. Good vegetable choices include romaine lettuce, kale, broccoli, carrots, and parsley. 

Netherland Dwarfs are small but active rabbits that need adequate space to hop and play. The minimum enclosure size is 4′ x 2′ for a single rabbit. Bigger is always better when it comes to enclosures. Wild rabbits run multiple miles every day so a large play space with tunnels and toys gives your rabbits lots of opportunity to expel their energy.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits can be good pets for children, but supervision is essential to ensure gentle handling and positive interactions. Teach children to handle rabbits carefully, respect their boundaries, and provide a safe and enriching environment for both the rabbit and the family. With proper guidance and supervision, Netherland Dwarf rabbits can make wonderful companions for children. They can be skittish, so move slowly and avoid loud noises or rough play.

Start by putting litter boxes in the corners of the enclosure where the rabbit goes most often. Place a handful of hay in the box to encourage use. Clean soiled areas with vinegar and reward with a treat when your bunny uses the box. Be patient and consistent, accidents will happen at first. Eventually most rabbits can be fully or partially litter trained with time.

Some concerns to watch for include dental issues like overgrown teeth, gastrointestinal stasis, ear mites, Pastuerella, and improper tooth alignment. Finding an exotic vet you trust is important. Regular at home care like nail trims can prevent issues. Know the signs of illness and act fast if you notice anything abnormal.

Spend time with your rabbit daily. Sit at their level, hand feed treats, or engage in gentle petting once trust is built. Let your rabbit come to you and go at their pace when being handled. Avoid picking up or chasing unnecessarily. Patience, treats, and respect will lead to a wonderful bond over time.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits typically prefer to keep all four paws on the ground. However with time and trust they can learn to tolerate being picked up. Just be careful starting out as some rabbits might try to nip your hands if they feel fearful.

Netherland Dwarfs are typically friendly, and gentle. Many owners describe them are affectionate pets who love gentle head strokes and care. With good care they will not see you as an intimidating presence and show their true warmness.

Rabbits in general are not fond of being held, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build trust with your Netherland Dwarf to get there. The best way to start is by letting them come to you rather then constantly approaching for cuddles. Coaxing with a healthy treat can help in forming a bond.

Like most domestic rabbits, healthy Netherland Dwarfs can live between 7 to 10 years. Factors like fellow rabbits, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and unrestricted access to space can help them live a long life.

All rabbits are different, but Netherland Dwarf rabbits are typically know as easygoing. But despite their small size they still require the same amount of dwelling and exercise space as regular sized rabbits. One thing to note is if not properly socialized from a young age they can become skittish around people. Netherland Dwarf rabbits will make very affectionate pets if given proper attention and care.

You can start to bond with your Netherland Dwarf rabbit by sitting on the floor and letting them come to you. Bringing yourself closer to their level helps you not seem like scary giant. You can also coax them with a healthy treat. A large way to build a bond is by establishing a daily routine. Routine is really healthy for rabbits to help them feel relaxed and come to trust you. Bonding takes time, but is a rewarding process to build trust and connection with your Netherland Dwarf.

Many rabbit breeds can be great pets for homes with children, but before committing you should make sure your child is ready to help with the responsibility. Rabbits are often expected to be easy pets, however they require much more care then most parents believe. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a great addition to your home. When looking at getting a rabbit, always do your research, and let your child know the level of care rabbits require.

The Netherland Dwarf is one of the smallest rabbit breeds, typically weighing between 1.1 and 2.5 pounds as adults. Despite their tiny size, they have a stocky, compact body with a rounded head, large eyes, and short, upright ears.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits should be fed a diet of primarily fresh, green timothy hay. Limited amounts of fresh vegetables introduced slowly, one at a time. Pellets formulated specifically for dwarf breeds are an important to balanced nutrition. Lastly, treats like fruits and carrots should be given sparingly, as Netherland Dwarfs have a tendency to easily gain weight.


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