- COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
- YEAR RECOGNIZED: 1914
- USES: Pet, show
- WEIGHT: 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg), max., senior bucks and does
- BODY TYPE: Compact
- FUR TYPE: Flyback; ARBA Commercial Normal Fur Standard; short, dense, and fine with glossy luster
- COLORS: Black, blue, chocolate, blue-eyed white, ruby-eyed white, broken (white with markings in any accepted Polish breed color)
EARLY POLISH RABBITS WERE WHITE, but the modern breed exhibits a broad array of colors, one of the characteristics that makes it one of the most popular breeds in North America.
The Polish is a rabbit bantamweight, with show specimens allowed to weigh no more than 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg). They can be confused with Netherland Dwarfs, as both have small, compact bodies and relatively short ears. Unlike Dwarf ears, however, Polish ears should touch throughout their length, and the head of a Dwarf tends to be proportionately larger and rounder than that of a Polish.
Polish Rabbits are probably not from Poland, any more than New Zealands are from their namesake nation. Early records of the Polish Rabbit come from England, where it was shown as early as 1884. Prussian Rabbits, shown in England in 1858, appear from their description to have been very much like the Polish, giving rise to the theory that the Polish breed rabbits may have first originated in Germany. It is just as likely — perhaps more likely — that the Polish Rabbit’s progenitors may well have been what the British once called “common hutch rabbits,” with white fur. Careful selective breeding of livestock, including rabbits, is a relatively new phenomenon, but by the late 1800s, the British were highly invested in it.
The breed reached the United States from England in 1912 and was recognized by the fledgling National Pet Stock Association in 1914.