Netherland Dwarf Rabbits

Learn more about the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Breed. Discover cool facts, pictures, resources and find information about caring for Netherland Dwarf Rabbits.

This rabbit breed information page is part of our rabbit breeds article series.

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Resource Links: Free Rabbit Breeders Newsletter | Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Breed Info | Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Information and History | Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Care | Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Resources

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Breed Info

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit BreedRecognized colors: Many.

Size: 2 – 2 ½ pounds

National Specialty Club:

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Breed Photo Credit:

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Information and History

Netherland Dwarfs are often compared to Holland Lops, for reasons that are easy to understand.  These are the only two breeds with compact body type that are posed with their heads off high off the table.  One is the littlest rabbit; the other is the littlest lop.  They both should be broad, medium-heavyset bunnies with short ears and bodies.  People who raise one breed often seem to raise the other also.  But the proper type of a Holland Lop and the proper type of a Netherland Dwarf are just not quite the same.  A top-notch Holland, at least traditionally, is a lot more blocky in shape.   It has a massive “mug shaped” head.  In terms of body, the Holland standard calls for the topline to extend straight out form the shoulders to the hips, bringing to mind an image of dice with the corners knocked off.  The Dwarf is different.  It should be round, round, round.  A ball head set atop a ball body: that’s a Netherland Dwarf.

At least, that’s a top-quality Netherland Dwarf.  This breed is so widely raised that quality ranges greatly.  Some purebred Netherland Dwarfs are long and lanky, indistinguishable from poorer quality Polish or perhaps even Britannia Petites.  Also the term “dwarf” is often used by the public for any very small rabbit, regardless of its lineage.  Babies are sold in pet stores as “Netherland Dwarfs” that are really of mixed or unknown heritage.  So if you’d like to get into this breed as a show animal, be sure that the bunnies you purchase have full pedigrees and look as much as possible like the winners on, the website of the American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club.

Of course, not every pedigreed Netherland Dwarf will be of show quality.  The correct type is created in part by the dwarfing gene.  Rabbits that carry one copy of the gene will be round and small.  Rabbits that don’t have two normal genes instead of a normal and a dwarf gene will be larger with longer ears.  These aren’t much good for show, but can sometimes be used as breeders.  Rabbits that get two copies of dwarfism are very small and have a digestive disorder, so they seldom live past a few days.  When you breed two show quality Netherland Dwarfs together, they can produce all three types.

Prior to the mid 1900’s, the dwarfing gene was unknown in rabbits.  A breeder in Holland bred Polish rabbits to a local wild one, and eventually developed unusually small bunnies with unusually large heads and short ears.  The entire rabbit world hurried to get its hands on this new breed.  It was recognized by the ARBA in 1969, and several other dwarf breeds have sprung up since.  The Netherland Dwarf remains one of the most widely raised rabbit breeds in the United States.

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Care

Here is a list of resources to help you care for your netherland dwarf rabbits…

Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Resources

Here is a listing of netherland dwarf rabbit resources to help you out with your rabbit project…

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