Netherland Dwarf

The Netherland Dwarf is a popular breed of domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) originating in the Netherlands. Smaller than most rabbit breeds, Netherland Dwarf rabbits weigh 500 g to 1.6 kg (1.1 lbs to 3.5 lbs) and are usually kept as pets or exhibition animals. They are not typically used as sources of meat or fur because of their small size.(3 in.)

Most rabbits sold in rabbit shows are Netherland Dwarfs, Netherland Dwarf-derived breeds (often referred to simply as dwarf breeds), or Netherland Dwarf crosses. Their popularity as pets stems from their babyish appearance and their smaller cage space requirement compared to larger rabbit breeds. A lot of people also use Netherland Dwarfs for showing.
The Netherland Dwarf breed was first produced in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. Small Polish rabbits were bred with smaller wild rabbits;[1] after several generations the resulting animal was a very small domestic rabbit available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Netherland Dwarfs were first imported into the United Kingdom in 1948.[1] In the 1960s and 1970s the United States imported its first Netherland Dwarf rabbits. The breed was accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders' Association in 1969 using a modification of the British standard.[1]

Early dwarfs, even into the 1970s and 1980s, had fearful and sometimes aggressive temperaments. This was a result of breeders selecting wild breeding animals for their size. The first dwarf rabbits behaved more like these wild rabbits than domestic animals and were not good pets. However, through generations of selective breeding, the modern Netherland Dwarf has become a gentle, friendly pet rabbit, though it still retains a more energetic disposition than larger breeds.

Netherland Dwarfs' heads and eyes are disproportionately large with respect to their bodies, and their ears are tiny and carried high on the head. Additionally, their faces are rounded and shortened. These features, a part of the animals' dwarfism, cause them to look infantile even into adulthood.
1½ year old red-eyed-white (REW) Netherland Dwarf.

Dwarf crosses frequently retain some of these characteristics, depending on the breed the dwarf is crossed with. However, crosses rarely look as babyish as the purebred dwarfs and are usually somewhat larger.

Purebred Netherland Dwarfs come in a wide variety of colors, including Himalayan, Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Smoke Pearl, Sable Point, Tortoiseshell, Chestnut, Siamese Sable, Opal, Lynx, Squirrel, Chinchilla, Otter, Tan, Silver Marten, Sable Marten, Smoke Pearl Marten, Orange, Fawn, Steel, Broken, Blue-Eyed White and Ruby Eyed White.[1] Other colors (including mismarks) exist in non-show-quality Netherland Dwarfs and in dwarf mongrel rabbits.

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