The Netherland dwarf rabbit is a miniature rabbit that weighs around 2.5 pounds. This cute dwarf bunny originated from the Netherlands and is a popular rabbit breed in many households. This article takes an in-depth look at their history, size, and color variety. It also talks about Netherland dwarf rabbits’ care, diet, personality, housing, health, and lifespan.
As previously mentioned, the Netherland dwarf rabbit originated from the Netherlands in the 20th century. They are a product of continuous selective breeding between dwarf polish bunnies and miniature wild rabbits. The Netherland dwarf was later introduced in the United Kingdom in 1948 and between the 1960s and 1970s in the United States.
Netherland Dwarf rabbits have a body length of between 19 to 23 cm or 7 to 9’’. Their shoulder height is around 12 to 15 cm or 5 to 6’’. They averagely weigh around 1 kg or 2.5 pounds and have tiny ears that are around 5 to 6 cm or 2.5’’ lengthwise.
This particular dwarf rabbit breed comes in various color varieties such as white, black, blue, red, chocolate, orange, opal, lilac, and a blend of various colors.
The Netherland dwarf rabbit is a fairly easy-to-maintain breed. Just like any other rabbit, constantly supply them with a healthy diet. Also, ensure that their habitat is clean and they’re properly groomed.
Brush their fur using a soft comb and trim their nails regularly. In terms of health, rabbits are prone to flea, mite, and parasite infestation that causes viral diseases. Hence it’s pivotal to take your bunny for annual checkups if you want to keep them healthy and also increase their lifespan.
Netherland dwarf rabbits’ teeth need to be kept in check. Quite often overgrown teeth lead to malocclusion which prevents bunnies from chewing properly. Thus it’s essential to provide them with a diet that consists of hay and pellets. Additionally, if possible, try pairing your pets or providing them with toys that provide mental stimulation.
Their diet should comprise fresh hay, pellets, vegetables, and clean water. However, what your pets feed on totally depends on their age. For instance, when your Netherland dwarf gives birth, wait until the kittens are 4 weeks old before you start to feed them small amounts of pellets.
Normally Netherland dwarfs’ kittens completely wean off their mother’s milk at around seven weeks. At this stage, their digestive system is able to withstand a fully balanced diet that strictly consists of alfalfa hay and pellets.
When they’re around four months old, you can introduce small amounts of fresh vegetables. Some of them include beet tops, carrots, Bell peppers, kale, parsley, and broccoli, in addition to their normal diet of hay and pellets. At around seven to 12 months old, introduce your rabbits to grass hay such as brome or oat hay. Not only are these rich in fiber and nutrients but they also help trim down your bunny’s teeth. Lastly, add fruits such as oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, melons, or berries to their diet. However, you should do so sparingly.
Netherland Dwarf rabbit is often skittish by nature. On the other hand, they’re quite active and playful. However, professional breeders are able to improve their personality, to that of a docile and friendly bunny through selective breeding.
The lifespan of Netherland dwarfs is averagely 8 to 12 years. However, keeping your pet healthy, entails the prevention or treatment of common ailments. Some of the health issues that are common not just for Netherland dwarfs but other bunnies include parasite infestation, overgrown teeth, and gastrointestinal and respiratory tract disorders. It’s pivotal therefore to take them to the vet for annual checkups.
Netherland dwarf bunnies need spacious and comfortable housing. Below are some of the essential factors you need to consider when it comes to this dwarf breed hutch or cage.
Despite their small size, Netherlands dwarfs also need plenty of living space. An ideal cage or hutch is one that measures 18x24x14 inches. A proper rabbit hutch is essentially supposed to be at least four times their length.
A Netherland dwarf rabbits cage should also be spacious enough to incorporate a feeder, water bottle as well as a litter box. Not to mention their favorite toys too. In essence, the right cage or hutch for your bunny is crucial for their comfort and general well-being.
Cage or hutch type
Another factor to consider is whether your rabbits’ housing is intended for indoors or outdoors. An indoor Netherland dwarf cage/hutch should be large enough, the larger the better. It should also have a front door that allows your bunnies to hop in and out as they please. On the other hand, besides comfort, an outdoor rabbit cage or hutch should essentially be able to withstand extreme weather conditions.
Additionally, an ideal outdoor Netherland dwarf housing is one that protects your bunnies from any backyard predators. Not to mention it should be able to provide your pets with enough exercise, access to sunshine, and fresh air.
Regardless of whether your bunny housing is meant for indoors or outdoors, the more levels it has the better. This provides your dwarf rabbit with enough climbing and hoping space, thus keeping them engaged.
Design and materials used
Something else to consider is the type of material used in a bunny’s cage. Do you want housing made from plastic, wood, or metal? Another thing to factor in is the cage design. Choose one that’s more accessible for you when it comes to cleaning it.
The other thing to consider is the hutch or cage floor. Most hutches or cages have wire floors for easier cleaning. This tends to give bunnies sore hocks since rabbits have sensitive feet. Therefore, it’s wise to cover part of the surface with wood or cardboard. This essentially provides a solid area for your pet to comfortably stand or sit on.
An indoor rabbit hutch or cage should be strategically placed in a quiet bunny-proofed room. Their housing should also be somewhere that’s easily accessible where you can monitor their movements. On the other hand, set their outdoor housing in a place where they’re less likely to suffer from heatstroke. Additionally, in summer try to hang frozen water bottles around their cage to try to keep the temperature cool. Lastly, also ensure that you provide your Netherland dwarfs with a continuous supply of drinking water when the weather is hot.
Hygiene is essential for the overall well-being of your Netherland dwarf rabbit. First and foremost, if your housing has a solid floor, you’ll need to litter train your bunny. Also, use straw or hay as beddings and clean their droppings daily to maintain cleanliness. Once per week thoroughly wash their cage using soap and water. Start off by cleaning their beddings, then using vinegar and hot water, wipe off stubborn urine or poop stains.