Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
  • USES: Pet, show
  • WEIGHT: 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg) max., senior bucks and does
  • BODY TYPE: Compact
  • FUR TYPE: Rollback; soft, dense, with gloss


Agouti Varieties— chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, opal, squirrel

Self Varieties — black, blue, chocolate, lilac, blue-eyed white, rubyeyed white

Shaded Varieties — sable point, Siamese sable, Siamese smoke pearl, tortoiseshell

Tan Pattern Varieties — otter, sable marten, silver marten, smoke pearl marten; black, blue, chocolate, and lilac tan

Any Other Variety — broken: any recognized breed variety in conjunction with white; fawn, Himalayan, orange, steel

ITS BIG BRIGHT EYES, dwarfish stature, and cute look belie the Netherland Dwarf’s sometimes spunky attitude. Individual rabbits may occasionally use their teeth to settle disagreements. Nevertheless, its endearing appearance and kaleidoscope of colors may explain why it’s one of the three most popular exhibitor breeds in North America.

With a maximum allowable show weight of 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg), it ties with the Britannia Petite as the smallest of the ARBA breeds. Size aside, the Dwarf and the Petite look nothing alike, largely because the Dwarf is a compact, round-headed rabbit with furry, erect, 2-inch-long (5 cm) ears. The Petite, with its long, slender front legs and its fullarch profile, looks like a small hare.

Progenitors of Netherland Dwarfs, so-called Hermelin Rabbits, were first developed in Germany early in the 20th century. German and Dutch breeders settled on a standard in 1940, but World War II nearly destroyed the breed, reducing it to fewer than two dozen specimens. Eventually, British, American, and Canadian breeders helped restore and refine the breed.