The Netherland Dwarf is among the very smallest rabbit breeds and has a compact, rounded appearance. They are timid, lively, active and love climbing.
The Netherland Dwarf was developed in the Netherlands in the 1930s from white Polish(UK) and a selected strain of wild rabbits. A breed standard was established in 1940, with a maximum weight of 1.5kg and allowing all known colours. Initially Netherland Dwarfs were almost always natural wild (agouti) grey in colour but further development of the breed produced black, steel grey and sable colours. Almost every known colour has since been achieved through cross-breeding. The Netherland Dwarf was introduced to Britain during the 1940s and to the United States in the late 1960s and has become one of the most popular breeds in the world. Most rabbits sold in pet shops are Netherland Dwarfs or Netherland Dwarf cross-breeds.
The Netherland Dwarf is among the very smallest breeds with a typical weight range of 700g-1.2kg (1½-2½lbs)
The Netherland Dwarf has a compact, rounded appearance. The body is short and broad with rounded quarters and short legs. The head is short, broad and rounded with a very curved profile and small upright ears about 5cm (2in) long.
The Netherland Dwarf has short, soft hair.
White (red or blue-eyed), Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Siamese Sable, Siamese Smoke Pearl, Sable Point, Tortoiseshell, Agouti, Chestnut, Opal, Lynx, Chinchilla, Squirrel, Tan, Fox, Sable Marten, Smoke Pearl Marten, Silver Marten, Otter, Orange, Fawn, Steel, Himalayan, Broken Pattern
Netherland Dwarfs are timid and lively. Gentleness and understanding are needed to win their trust and bring out the best in their personality. They are very active and playful, love climbing and can be quite mischievous. Despite their small size, they need plenty of space as they love to run around and can jump surprisingly high.
Netherland Dwarfs are not suitable with children. They tend to be easily frightened and may become aggressive.
The Netherland Dwarf has a reputation for being nervous and aggressive. Derived from the extremely lively Polish(UK) and wild rabbits, early Netherland Dwarfs were fairly 'wild' as temperament is largely inherited. Breeding stock were selected on the basis of Dwarf characteristics and temperament remained poor during development of the breed. As the breed became established, many breeders placed a greater emphasis on temperament and the Netherland Dwarf has become somewhat calmer and better-natured. Males tend to be more aggressive than females.
Netherland Dwarfs are prone to dental disease, a potentially fatal condition that is often inherited.
Choose a rabbit with a good temperament and a low risk of hereditary teeth problems, from a reputable breeder or rescue centre.