By Megan Noes, Spot Magazine.
Size: Small (3.5 - 5.5 lbs.)
Grooming needs: Fairly Minimal
Environment: Rabbit-proofed room, exercise pen or a large cage
Temperament: Friendly, Easy Going, Intelligent
Life Expectancy: ~ 8 yrs.
The Dutch rabbit is one of the oldest domesticated breeds and has a contested origin. It may be from the Netherlands or England in the mid-19th century. This breed is also known as the Hollander or Brabander.
Dutch rabbits are small but are not a dwarf breed. Their body, head and ears are compact and rounded. They have powerful back legs, which are longer than the front legs. Dutch have a short, soft coat and a characteristic color pattern. They have a white base color with six officially recognized different combinations including Black, Chinchilla, and Chocolate. The colors are distinct on the body with a white blaze up the face, white paws and – when seen from the side – a distinctive white triangle running from the shoulder to the front paws.
Dutch rabbits are known to be both friendly and intelligent and are a favorite of the pet rabbit world. In the past, they have often been the choice of pet stores. This quite sociable bunny can be very energetic and become bored without plenty of stimulation. Pet parents can have a lot of fun with interchangeable toys, from digging platforms, to cardboard boxes and puzzle toys to simple toys like paper towel rolls! Dutch are known to be easily trained, including for litter box use.
Common Health Problems
Rabbits’ teeth continually grow so they need to be regularly offered apple wood or other chew items to keep them even. The Dutch breed are prone to the same health issues as other types of rabbits, such as, GI stasis, respiratory disease, tooth misalignment, mites, and, in unspayed females, uterine cancer. Spaying or neutering your rabbit will not only help them live longer, healthier lives but will also help control the rabbit overpopulation issue. A dietary note is that though pellets play an important role in daily nutrition, a primarily pellet-based diet is like feeding a child cake every day. Hay should be the main source of food and prevent GI stasis (bacterial buildup and bloating.) Rabbits also enjoy many fruits and vegetables, including basil and carrot tops, just in limited amounts.
Rabbits are social animals that need exercise, a nice habitat, and grooming. A rabbit parent should be prepared to spend time every day interacting with and caring for their bunny. Rabbits do well in pairs, just remember to always spay or neuter before mixing genders even as young as 3 months. Bunnies need a minimum of three hours out of their enclosure daily. Wild rabbits would get about three miles of exercise each day. Keeping your rabbit as a house pet, as opposed to living in an outdoor hutch, can make it a lot easier for him/her to stretch their legs, jump, run and spend time with their people. Rabbits can be litter box trained, but you may from time to time be vacuuming some pellets off the ground.
The rabbit(s) will need a litter box, places to sleep and hide, food and water, toys, and things to chew in a spacious area. The food and water should not be near the litter box. Like cats, rabbits self-groom, but still need their nails trimmed regularly and their coat brushed if it’s long. Rabbits rarely require baths.
Above all, a rabbit’s best match is a loving home where they will be cared for their entire lives. Many rabbits find themselves in rescues and shelters as pet guardians may not initially consider the long-term commitment and time involved in their care.
This little guy is a Dutch bunny who is about seven weeks old and being fostered in the Eugene area. He is the sole survivor of a pair found in someone’s yard without their mama. A petite little bun, he is growing fast and looking for his forever home! For more information, contact MJ's Bunny Barn at 541-908-3252