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Breed Specifics, Feeding & Care

Netherland Dwarfs are one of the smallest breeds of domestic rabbits in existence. They were originally created by crossing Polish rabbits to small wild rabbits which produced small offspring in a wide variety of colours. They were first imported into the UK in 1948.


What To Look For

BODY: compact & short, well-rounded, with deep, wide shoulders which are equal to the width of the hindquarter. Topline of shoulder is to be deep and carried through to hindquarter which is equally as well-rounded. Legs are to be short & have medium to medium-heavy bone density.

HEAD: large, balanced and in proportion to body size, fully rounded, set high on the shoulders, with no break shown in curvature of the face from base of ears, around to nose.

EARS: well-proportioned and balanced, short, erect, & well-set, erect but not necessarily touching, rounded tips, well-furred, strong and of good thickness, ideally being 2” (5cm) long.

EYES: round, bold, and bright; color is to match each variety.

TAIL: straight and evenly well-furred

FUR: soft, dense, healthy, with lots shine

COLOR: Fur and Eye color to match each variety

CONDITION: firm and healthy

RECOGNIZED COLORS: shown in groups of varieties

Netherland Dwarf Standard per BRC

SELF - black, blue, chocolate, lilac, blue eyed white, red eyed white

SHADED - sable point, siamese sable, siamese smoked pearl, tort, blue tort

AGOUTI - chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, opal, squirrel

TAN - otter – black, blue, chocolate, & lilac, sable martin, silver marten, smoke pearl marten, tans – black, blue, chocolate, & lilac

OTHER-  broken, himalayan, orange, steel​


Your rabbit’s diet should consist mainly of hay. Some sources indicate a proportion of 70% hay and 30% pellets, while other sources go up to 90% hay.

The difference comes from the rabbit’s age. Younger bunnies need more protein because they’re growing, so they need to eat more pellets. Older bunnies need more fibre, and so they should eat up to 90% hay. Besides, consider that rabbits eat only grass and plants in the wild.


Rabbits prefer these types of hay:

Alfalfa hay (baby rabbits), Brome hay, Oat hay, Orchardgrass hay, Timothy hay.

Combination of all the above

Make sure the hay is fresh, with no mould on it.

You can also feed your rabbit alfalfa if he’s still a baby. Don’t give him alfalfa every day, though, because this is legume-type hay, and remember that adult rabbits need grass hay, which is more fibrous.


Maximum 30% Pellets

Your rabbit needs pellets for its high-protein content, but choose only quality pellets, which are rich in fibre, and remember that:

• A dwarf adult rabbit needs 0.12 cups of pellets per day.

• A medium-sized or large adult bunny requires just 0.25 cups of pellets per day.

Choose pellets such as:

Timothy pellets for adults

Alfalfa pellets for bunnies under 12 months

Avoid pellets with:

Dried corn, Nuts, Seeds


1-2 Cups of Vegetables

Mix two or three of the vegetables from the list below to give your bunny. Dwarf rabbits can eat a cup of these veggies per day tops, while medium-sized and large adult bunnies can eat up to two cups of them daily:

Alfalfa sprouts, Arugula, Basil, Bell peppers, Bok choy, Boston bibb lettuce, Brussels sprouts, Butter lettuce, Carrot tops, Cilantro, Clover sprouts, Cucumber, Dill, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Green leaf lettuce, Mint, Okra leaves, Oregano, Parsley, Radicchio, Radish sprouts, Radish tops, Red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Watercress, Wheatgrass, Zucchini

You can also give your bunny some of the vegetables and flowers below occasionally – maximum two times weekly:

Broccoli, Calendula, Carrots, Chamomile, Chard, Clover, Collard greens, Dandelion greens, Daylily, Dianthus, English daisy, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Kale, Marigold, Nasturtiu, Pansy, Rose, Spinach

1-2 Servings of Fruit per Week

The fruit serving your bunny needs is 1.5 tablespoons/ 5 pounds of body weight. You can feed your rabbit the following types of fruit:

 Banana,  Blackberries, Blueberries, Cranberries, Grapes, Melon, Nectarine, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plum, Raspberries, Seedless apple, Seedless cherries, Strawberries, Watermelon


Rabbits cannot eat the foods below:

Beans, Beet, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chocolate, Corn-based foods, Crackers, Iceberg lettuce, Legumes, Mustard greens, Nuts, Pasta, Peas, Potatoes, Rhubarb, Seeds, Sugar-packed cereal, Turnip greens, Yoghurt

Do Rabbits Eat Their Own Poop?

Eating Poop

Yes, rabbits eat their poop.

But rabbit poop is different than human poop because it comes in two types:

Hard, round and brown faeces

Soft and dark faeces called cecotropes

Rabbits will eat these cecotropes to metabolise fully all the nutrients they require.

Here’s the thing. Rabbits are foraging herbivores, meaning they eat grass and plants. However, fibres aren’t easy to digest, and so the intestines cannot extract all the nutrients from the grass during the first go.

That’s why rabbits have developed a process called coprophagy, which literally means eating faeces. This process is basically giving their intestines a second chance of extracting all nutrients from the grass, which is why it’s also called hindgut fermentation.


Plenty of Water

Your rabbit should also have an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water to drink from whenever he chooses to. Although rabbits stay hydrated mainly from the hay they eat all day, they still need unrestricted access to water.

Change the water in the container every day and clean the container twice per week.

In Conclusion

Your rabbit’s diet should consist mostly of hay, with some pellets and a few pieces of vegetables, plus unrestricted access to water.

Remember that when you first give your rabbit veggies and fruit, you should introduce them gradually, meaning one piece of fruit every three days. This method allows you to notice any signs of allergies and to tell your vet exactly which fruit or veggie you suspect of having caused the allergic response.

Baby rabbits don’t need fruit and veggies. Besides, mushy foods like vegetables and fruit can cause severe diarrhoea and dehydration in baby rabbits, so remember to avoid these foods.

Also remember not to give your bunny any kind of human treats, and to spot-clean the cage if your rabbit has dropped food on it.


Taking Bunny Home

We recommend that when you get him/her home you leave them alone in their new cage/hutch for at least a few hours alone to get used to its new space. The first few days are the most important as your new family member is getting to know you and all the sights and smells around it. Let him/her out to explore and sit quietly and when they are ready they will come and say hello. The worst thing for a rabbit is loud sudden noises so a calm environment is important because rabbits are easily stressed. Gentle handling is also important, give your bunny a clap and some reassurance before lifting him. All this will lead to a happy friendly new family member.


Rabbits are very social creatures and in the wild, they live in large family groups. Most pet shops recommend homing in pairs so that they have the social companionship they need. Although that is not necessarily true because it is possible for them to get the companionship they need from you and your family and any other pets you have in your home (from personal experience). When alone they do bond to you more than they would if paired with another rabbit. This does take time and effort from you and your family, but it is very rewarding. 

A rabbit takes time to trust both humans and other pets, but when they do, these relationships are just as rewarding for your rabbit as they are for you. Plus, the more time you reserve for socializing and handling your rabbit, the easier it will be when you take it to see the vet or when you need to give it medications. As your rabbit becomes accustomed to being picked up, these stressful trips will become so much easier for both your rabbit and you. Rabbits are prey animals and being picked up is a very stressful thing for them. But with time and care (and a few favorite treats), rabbits learn to tolerate being picked up and even enjoy being cuddled. Learn how to safely pick up your rabbit and then teach any children how to pick up their new friend so that they don’t scare it and cause it to bite, struggle, or scratch them. 


 Rabbits most of all like routine, from the cleaning out of their cages and litter trays, to meal times and play time, and right up to bedtime. So I would recommend making a schedule of the jobs that need to be done and sticking to it. Rabbits really don’t like change and can get quite put out when you alter their routine. They know when you are late with their salad, and they will let you know as well, you can be sure of that. But a routine will help you remain on top of the daily jobs of feeding and cleaning them. It would also help make sure things won’t become overwhelming.


Keeping Bunny healthy is so important, 

- feeding the correct amount of food, rabbits do easily become overweight which isn't good for them. 

- exercise is important for keeping them at a healthy weight and also joint care.

- Gut Health - one of the biggest problems with rabbits is GI statis so I once a week give my rabbits Pro C  which is a pro biotic for keeping all the good bacteria in the tummy.

- vitamins, although not completely necessary because they will get  everything they need from their food but I do give my rabbits some vitamin drops in their water.( Beaphar rabbit vitamin)

Care Check List

A quick guide for what to look for when caring for your rabbit.

Daily - Check eyes and nose for any excess moisture or discharge. 

Catching discharge early could mean treating something before it becomes serious. Discharge means a vet visit.

Watch food intake and bunny outputs - 

Any change in diet in your bun could mean your rabbit is not feeling well. Check with your vet if there are any changes in your rabbits habbits. Watch that poops are well formed. Healthy poops are a consistent size and are dry when squashed.

Weekly - Check your rabbits ears for any debris or build up. Gently look into your rabbits ears, look for any crust or build up. Do not stick anything into your rabbits ears. The top part can be cleaned with a cotton pad but closer down the ear should be cleaned by a vet or professional groomer.

Comb and Groom Fur - This varies depending on time of year and breed of rabbit. The more fur they have the more they will need groomed. Getting rid of excess fur means your rabbit will ingest less when grooming themselves.

Monthly - Check especially if your rabbit has contact with any other rabbits for fur mites. The look like little black spots the size of a pin head. You can also pick up mites from dusty hay which will make your rabbit look like they have dandruff.

Keeping a note of your rabbits weight is always a good idea, loosing general condition and weight is a sign of illness and should be taken to your vet.

Annually - Always take your rabbit for a annual vet check and vaccinations.​

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