The Netherland Dwarf may be one of the smallest rabbit breeds in the world, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with personality. These adorable little bunnies are inquisitive, spirited and friendly, and they’ve got plenty to offer to a loving owner.
But before you welcome a Netherland Dwarf rabbit into your family, you need to be fully aware of exactly what it takes to look after one of these beautiful bunnies. Keep reading to find out how to care for a Netherland Dwarf.
If you want to know more about the origins of the Netherland Dwarf, the hint is in the breed’s name. Developed in Holland at the start of the 20th century, this gorgeous furball was created by crossing Polish and Hermelin rabbits.
The breed almost died out during World War II, but dedicated enthusiasts kept the Netherland Dwarf going, and its popularity soon spread to the UK and the USA.
Today, the breed is well known by rabbit enthusiasts all around the world as a curious, cuddly, and oh-so-cute companion. And although the Netherland Dwarf sometimes has a bit of a reputation for being a little shy and even grumpy, that simply isn’t the case.
If you give your Netherland Dwarf all the care and interaction he needs, you’ll be rewarded with a playful and loving pet.
There’s one crucial question that every potential Netherland Dwarf owner wants to know the answer to: How big do Netherland Dwarf rabbits get?
The ideal adult weight for one of these adorable little bunnies is 2lbs. That’s a pretty small number, so it should give you an idea of just how small these bunnies are.
With his compact body, the Netherland Dwarf also requires careful handling, so he’s not recommended for families with very young children.
Colors/varieties and physical appearance
Though the Netherland Dwarf has a small body, his eyes and head are quite large in comparison. It gives him a gorgeous “baby-like” appearance well into old age and is one of the key factors many people love about the breed. Throw in a unique pair of upright ears, and this is one furry fellow who’s pretty easy to pick out of a crowd.
The wide array of color varieties also enchants fans of the Netherland Dwarf. There are more than 20 colors available, including:
- Siamese sable
- Silver marten
With so many different shades available, you’re spoiled for choice when buying a Netherland Dwarf.
Read more: Top 10 Dwarf Rabbit Breeds That Stay Small
We mentioned above that the Netherland Dwarf sometimes gets a bit of a bad rap in terms of temperament. Because these pint-sized pets can be a little shy and reserved in their nature, this leads some people to believe that they’re not loving or affectionate pets.
Happily, this simply isn’t the case. While the Nethie can certainly be a little skittish or even wild, they can also grow to love spending time with their people.
In fact, these little rabbits are packed with personality. They’re curious, inquisitive, and playful, so don’t be surprised if your bunny has a nose for mischief and adventure. Welcome a Netherland Dwarf into your family, and you can expect to have plenty of entertainment and laughs along the way.
The key is to get your bunny used to being handled and to having plenty of human interaction each day. If you can do that, you’ll be rewarded with a loving and affectionate rabbit that will actively seek out your company.
How long does a Netherland Dwarf rabbit live?
As a rough guide, a healthy bunny will live for approximately 7-10 years. Of course, to give your rabbit the best chance of a long and happy life, it’s important to meet all of their regular health care needs.
Just like any other breed, the Netherland Dwarf can be prone to certain health issues. And as a true dwarf breed, there are a few specific health concerns any prospective owner should be aware of.
- Dental concerns. Dental problems such as malocclusion can be a common issue. If you notice your bunny drooling, struggling to eat his food, or refusing food altogether, this could be the sign of a dental problem, and you’ll need to get him checked out by a veterinarian.
- Respiratory problems. The Nethie’s shorter nose can also be the cause of respiratory problems. In hot or humid weather, this leads to an increased risk of your bunny suffering from heatstroke. You can protect your rabbit by keeping him in a climate-controlled environment that protects him against heat extremes.
- Common health issues. Nethies can also suffer from health issues that can affect all rabbit breeds. These can include GI stasis, ear mites, and a range of other problems, so monitor your bunny closely for signs of anything out of the ordinary.
- Handle with care. One final issue to be aware of is that you’ll need to take extra-special care when handling your Netherland Dwarf. The small size of these bunnies can make them quite fragile, so make sure every member of the family knows the proper way to handle a rabbit.
You can also reduce the risk of health issues affecting your Netherland Dwarf by staying on top of all his regular care requirements. It means you’ll need to:
- Keep them inside. Small breeds like the Netherland Dwarf should live indoors, not outside. It will not only keep your Nethie safe from predators and other threats, but it’ll also help your bunny feel like part of the family.
- Buy a suitable cage. Though Nethies are only small, they are also quite active. As a result, your pet will appreciate having a little extra space in his cage to move around. Make sure the cage you choose is at least four times the size of your rabbit — but the bigger, the better — and that it provides a covered or sheltered enclosure where your bunny can retreat to for some quiet time. A cage that is easy to clean and provides easy access to your pet is also a must.
- Keep their cage clean. An uncleaned cage is not only dirty and smelly, but it’s also extremely unhygienic and can lead to a range of health problems. Make sure you clean and disinfect the cage regularly to keep your Netherland Dwarf in the best possible health.
- Provide plenty of fresh water. Fresh water is a must for every bunny, so make sure your Nethie always has access to a supply of clean water.
- Stay up to date with essential health care. To keep your Nethie in the best possible shape, make sure he’s up to date with parasite control and deworming. Regular brushing will keep his coat looking its best while getting your vet to trim your bunny’s teeth can reduce the risk of dental problems.
- Let them out regularly. Don’t just keep your bunny cooped up in his cage all day long. Let him out as often as possible (but keep him indoors) so that he can get some exercise, explore his surroundings and spend time with you.
- Interact with them as often as possible. Finally, don’t forget that your bunny needs plenty of interaction and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. While your Nethie will love having another rabbit to share his home with, he’ll also thrive when you give him a whole lot of love and attention every day.
The other crucial factor when caring for a Nethie is diet. But what can a Netherland Dwarf rabbit eat?
Fresh hay should make up the vast majority of your rabbit’s diet. It provides the fiber your bunnies need for digestion and also helps maintain proper dental health.
Hay can be supplemented by good-quality pellets and a variety of vegetables. However, fruit should only ever be given to your Nethie as an occasional treat.
Check out this guide to the vegetables and fruits rabbits can eat for more details on how to give your Netherland Dwarf the right diet.
Interesting Facts About Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
Still want to learn more about what it’s like to own a Netherland Dwarf? Let’s look at the answers to a few common questions.
How high can Netherland Dwarf bunnies jump?
Despite their small stature, Nethies have a reputation as being quite capable jumpers. It’s impossible to list an exact height which this breed can jump to as no two bunnies are the same, but a quick look at Google reveals that many owners have been surprised by just how high their Nethies can jump. This fact is worth keeping in mind when shopping for a rabbit cage — the more space your bunny has to move around both horizontally and vertically, the happier he’ll be.
How much is a Netherland Dwarf bunny?
The cost of a Netherland Dwarf varies from one breeder to the next. As a general guide, expect to pay somewhere between $25 and $100.
Can I litter train a Netherland Dwarf?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to train your Netherland Dwarf to go to the toilet in a litter tray. Adult bunnies are easier to train than babies, so check out this guide to litter training your rabbit for more information.
Is the Netherland Dwarf very energetic?
Yes. The Netherland Dwarf has a well-earned reputation as an active and inquisitive breed. Letting your pet out of his cage each day for some indoor exploration is a must, while buying a large cage will also provide extra space to allow your bunny to burn off some excess energy.
Are Netherland Dwarf bunnies good pets?
Yes. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Netherland Dwarf bunnies make wonderful pets.
They’re cute, they enjoy human interaction, and their inquisitive nature means they’ll bring plenty of joy into your life.
Having said that, the Netherland Dwarf isn’t the ideal pet for everyone. Not only do they need to be kept indoors, but they require careful handling to ensure that they don’t suffer serious injury.
But if you’re searching for a gentle and affectionate furry family member — and if you’ve got what it takes to care for a Nethie — you may well fall in love with this popular bunny breed.
No matter which way you look at it, there’s a lot to love about the Netherland Dwarf. Not only does he boast adorable looks, but he’s also a curious and affectionate companion. If you can provide all the regular care and interaction a Nethie needs, this beautiful breed might just make the perfect pet.