Polish Rabbit – information and facts about the Polish Rabbit Breed. Learn more about Polish Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
The Polish rabbit is a small domestic breed that can live up to 5 or six years. Polish is known for being the first small breed recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
Polish Rabbit Facts
While many people think that Polish rabbits came from Poland, as its name suggests, the breed is thought to have originated in England, under the genetic line of the common white hutch rabbit. Indeed, to support that claim, their first recorded exhibition is in England in the year 1884.
When the breed was imported to America in the year 1912, it was described as a small ruby-eyed white rabbit that does not carry the dwarfing gene. In the development stages, the English breeders preferred the leaner, more erect body, and active temperament rabbits. This British version of the Polish amounts to what we label as the American “Britannia Petite”.
Today, the main purpose of the American Polish rabbit is for fancy exhibition as well as pets.
2. Characteristics and Appearance
Polish rabbits are small rabbits. The accepted weights for the breed for 6 months or older are 2 ½ to 3 ½, putting them under the small rabbit breeds category. The ideal weight for the breed is 2 ½ pounds.
One of the most remarkable features of the American Polish is its pair of short ears that touch each other all the way to the tips. The length of a Polish’s head is short, containing its full cheeks and bold, large and expressive eyes. Its body type is petite, compact and round.
When the Polish rabbit breed is viewed from above, there should be a taper from the hindquarters’ widest point to the slightly narrower shoulders. And from the ears’ base up to the highest point over the hips, the topline should curve upwards gradually. A special case for the does is that they may have a small pencil line under their chin.
Moreover, the breed should be fine boned, with remarkably short legs. Its fur is flyback, short, dense, and glossy.
Due to the little size of the breed, a first look at the breed would lead to confusion to a Netherland Dwarf. But after a second look, one will realize that Polish is quite larger and its head is not as well rounded as the Netherland Dwarf. For the record, the size and head are not the only point of differences between the two breeds. One can also take reference from their coating, body type, and colors.
The color of the Polish rabbits also has its own evolution. It was not only until the 1950s when most of the Polish rabbits were white, with either red or blue eyes. The ruby-eyed white is a true albino. The blue-eyed white, on the other hand, is not a true albino as it has the Vienna white gene.
But starting 1950s, rabbit clubs across America recognized the colored Polish breeds. And in the year 1957, the American Rabbit Breeders Association approved the black and chocolate varieties of the breed. Successive developments continued, paving way for the approval of the blue color in the year 1982 and the broken variety in the year 1998.
In the United Kingdom, the National Polish Rabbit Club has a special ruling. They will accept Polish variety for as long as another breed in its standard accepts the color.
The most popular variety during rabbit shows are the REWs, also being the most successful to date. In the Coloreds, the sables dominate.
3. Personality and Traits
While a small size of a rabbit breed does not automatically guarantee that they require smaller cages, the case of the Polish is an exception. It’s quite safe to assume that they take up less space in apartments or hutches compared to other larger breeds. The breeder needs to find a way to avoid a slippery cage bottom, as this could cause hip injuries and splay leg.
Generally, the American Polish rabbits are calm and friendly, most especially the males. Does have the tendency to become territorial if not spayed. Children will have to be closely monitored when handling these rabbits to make sure that they are not inadvertently injured.
The American Polish can also be easily trained, just like the rest of the rabbits. Their training extends from the use of the litter box down to accepting a harness with leash when they are left to go out of their cages. Polishes are not fit for “rabbit-proofing”, wherein a rabbit can just freely roam around a room. This is because it has a tendency to chew on carpets, baseboard, and most notably, electrical cords.
About ¼ to ½ cup of pelleted feed everyday is ideal for the Polish rabbits. However, this depends on how active the rabbit is. In any case, access to unlimited fresh hay or grass is vital in the maintenance of their good health. Other treats, such as fruits and carrots, should be fed sparingly, typically not larger than the tip of the thumb. Other vegetables such as parsley, dandelion greens, and spinach would also be great add-ons, to name a few.
You can check if your rabbit is healthy by assessing its shape. Ideally, it should be well fleshed without being flabby. The way to do this is to run your hand over the rabbit’s back. A proper nutrition is suggested if a firm layer of flesh over the ribs and spine is felt. Otherwise, if the spine is prominent, this suggests undernutrition of the rabbit. In such case, feeding of the rabbit should be increased. Thirdly and lastly, if the spine is not felt, overnutrition might have occurred, suggesting that feeding of the rabbit should be decreased.
American Polish rabbits are not that adoptive to temperature changes. Indeed, they are prone to hairball obstructions and matted coats if not given proper attention. Other health issues that could arise are earmites, respiratory disease, urinary bladder stones, and fractured backs, to name a few.
In the status quo, the American Polish Rabbit Club is taking charge in the development and promotion of the breed that is also called the “Little Aristocrat”.