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Do Dwarf Rabbit Breeds Need Special Care?

When it comes to rabbit breeds, there is a huge selection from adorable Mini Lops to massive Flemish Giants. But more and more people are choosing to open their hearts and homes to a dwarf rabbit. In fact, the Netherland Dwarf is one of, if not the most popular breed in the world today.

Many people refer to their small rabbits as dwarfs and you will often find people saying they have a ‘Dwarf Lop’ or ‘Dwarf Lionhead’. However, to be an official “dwarf” breed a rabbit must carry half of the dwarf gene. The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes only two true dwarf breeds – the Dwarf Hotot (about 3lb) and the Netherland Dwarf (about 2.5lb).

But regardless of whether your bun is an official dwarf or just a very small version of another breed, there is always the question of whether caring for a dwarf bun is any different than for other breeds.

So, do dwarf rabbit breeds need special care?

The answer to that is not really. There are a few things to keep in mind with dwarf breeds, but generally their care is the same as any other rabbit.

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Dwarf rabbits can often be tighter and more difficult to handle than larger breeds. And, while there are always exceptions to the rule, in general they really do need *more* space and exercise than a larger rabbit.
  • Because of their apparently small size, pygmy rabbits are very similar prey to cats and dogs, particularly dogs such as terriers that are bred to hunt and kill rats, mice, and even rabbits. It may be best to consider choosing a larger rabbit if you have a dog or cat at home.
  • Although not a proven scientific fact, many dwarf owners feel that their dwarf bunnies have a more sensitive digestive system. While this may or may not be the case with your dwarf bunnies, you should be very careful about the amount of food you feed your bunny. Dwarfs are tiny creatures (2-3 kg) and can become overweight very quickly. A serving of ‘treat’ food ie: apple for a dwarf bun would be about a teaspoon!
  • If your cage has wire on the bottom, be sure to make sure your dwarf bunting’s feet are not so short that they can slip through the wire. Change the wire to a smaller hole or put something solid over it, like newspaper or cardboard. As with any rabbit, wire bottom cages need some of the floor to be covered with solid material so that bunnies can rest their feet.
  • Holland Dwarfs are much more prone to dental problems due to their small, compact head shape and short jaw. This may mean a visit to the vet every month to have your poodle’s teeth trimmed, which could be costly.

There is no doubt that dwarf rabbits and specifically the Dutch Dwarf, are very cute. However, as with any rabbit, it is not a low maintenance pet and it is a 10-12 year commitment to get one.

Make sure you’re really ready to add a dwarf bun to your household before you fall in love with this cute little face and take him home.

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