Netherland Dwarf breeds

Rabbit breeds derived from breeding larger rabbits with the Netherland dwarf are known as dwarf breeds. Most smaller breeds, like the Mini-Rex, the Jersey Wooly, and the Holland lop, are results of such breedings. Generally dwarf breeds are slightly larger than the typical Netherland dwarf, not growing larger than 4 to 5 lb (1.8 to 2.3 kg). Most have shortened faces compared to larger rabbits, and some even preserve the rounded head, large eyes, or small ears of the Netherland dwarf.These features make them look little.

Most dwarf breeds are intended to bring a specialized characteristic, such as a specific fur type, into a smaller rabbit. Mini-Rex were created through the breeding of dwarfs with Rex rabbits, a fur breed with a short, plush coat, and retain both the dwarf's size and the Rex fur. Jersey Woolies are a dwarf version of the Angora rabbit, a wool-producing breed. Lop-eared rabbit breeds, interbred with dwarfs, were used to create Holland Lop. Despite its name, the Mini Lop is not a dwarf breed.
When two "true dwarfs" (both buck and doe) are bred, the genetic pattern which makes them "true dwarfs" (Dwdw) ensures that a percentage of their offspring will inherent the lethal genetic combination DwDw. These offspring, often called "peanuts" by rabbit breeders, are destined to struggle with life for up to three weeks, and then to die. Reasons behind the death are unknown, but it is believed that peanuts have underdeveloped digestive tracts. The condition is 100% fatal, despite claims of some peanuts living to adulthood. Many ethical breeders humanely euthanize peanuts upon finding them soon after birth. Peanuts are easily distinguished from non-peanuts; they have extremely pinched hindquarters, a bulbous head, and their ears are often set further back than normal (sometimes almost onto the neck).

If two true dwarfs are bred, the statistical result will be 25% fatal 25% false, and 50% true. The actual numbers of true/false/peanuts in a real litter varies. "False Dwarfs" tend to have longer bodies, longer/larger ears, longer faces, and are often heavier than the 2.5 pound maximum weight for showing. While false dwarfs do not make good show rabbits, does from a good background are vital to a breeder's program. They have the same "good genes" as a true dwarf and are capable mothers, often having larger and more successful litters than true dwarfs. False dwarfs are easily judged for quality as the traits are generally the same, only bigger. Ear thickness/shape, fullness of hindquarter, topline, and other traits are the same.

It is common practice amongst Netherland Dwarf breeders to breed a proven show quality true dwarf buck to a quality false dwarf doe. This eliminates the chance of peanuts and yields quality offspring. The chances of false dwarfs is higher, but those offspring generally go toward breeding (some false dwarf bucks have proven themselves valuable to a breeding program) or are sold as pets.

Article Source: