Everything You Need to Know About the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

Posted by Katherine Ripley
Rhiannon Boyle/Flickr

The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is a tiny bundle of energy.

The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is the smallest breed of rabbit. Their cute, babyish appearance makes them very popular pets. Their small size is actually due to a dwarf gene, which was first discovered in rabbits in the mid-1900s. A breeder in Holland was the first to use this gene to create very small rabbits.

A Netherland Dwarf of perfect size and proportions, a "true dwarf," has one copy of the dwarf gene. Two true Netherland Dwarf rabbits who breed together can produce offspring with no copies of the gene, one copy of the gene, or two copies of the gene. If the offspring do not get the gene at all, they will not be small enough to be shown professionally. If the offspring get two copies of the gene, they will be born too small to live longer than a few days.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are extremely active and energetic, requiring more exercise than most rabbits. They tend to be skittish, but with repeated exposure to humans can learn to enjoy interactive play.

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General Appearance

A Netherland Dwarf rabbit will look like a furry ball with a ball-shaped head on top. They maintain an infantile appearance throughout their entire lives.


The Netherland Dwarf rabbit has a round, compact body, with a pronounced curve in its spine. It has medium heavy-set build on its frame, but the true dwarfs weigh in at only 2 to 2.5 pounds.


Because of its dwarfism, the head of a Netherland Dwarf is large in proportion to its body. It has a round face, large eyes, and short upright ears.


The Netherland Dwarf rabbit breed comes in a wide variety of colors. Its fur is short and soft.


The Netherland Dwarf rabbit is known to be particularly skittish. They are prone to becoming aggressive more quickly than other breeds, so they are not recommended for children. With repeated human interaction early in their lives, they can become great pets for adults.

Body photo: Corinne Benavides/Flickr

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Everything You Need to Know About the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit