As one of the oldest rabbit breeds in the world, the Dutch Rabbit has gone through bouts of immense popularity. In fact, for a good long while, the Dutch Rabbit was the rabbit breed to get if you wanted a rabbit as a pet.
It isn’t as popular as it once was there, but you can still find them kicking around pet stores around the world.
Let’s take a little look at this breed in a bit more depth.
Before we dive into the actual specifics of this breed, we do want to point out that the Dutch Rabbit is known by a few other names. So, if you see it named as one of these, then that is still a Dutch Rabbit and all of this information applies to these as well:
The Origins of the Breed
It is worth noting that the Dutch Rabbit was not actually created in the Netherlands. It actually has roots in the Netherlands, but the bulk of the breeding work took place in England.
A couple of centuries ago, rabbit meat was eaten a lot in England. So much so that there simply was not enough breeding going on in the country to feed everybody that wanted to eat rabbit… and since there were quite a few rabbits in England at the time, this is saying something!
As a result, a lot of rabbits were imported from overseas. Some of these rabbits were imported from Brabant. The rabbit breed that was coming on over to England at least once per week was the Petit Brabancon.
This rabbit breed no longer exists, sadly. However, this rabbit, with very similar markings, was developed into the Dutch Rabbit that we know and love today.
It is worth noting that the original purpose of the Dutch Rabbit was to be a meat rabbit. However, it tends not to be consumed as meat nowadays. This is because we have far better meat breeds than this.
Far better. Luckily for the Dutch Rabbit, there was no chance of it dying out. It is an older breed (first springing up in the 19th Century), and it is a fantastic pet. Not to mention the fact that the popularity of the breed has meant that it has a ton of shows throughout the year.
Basically, the Dutch Rabbit is not a breed that is going to be disappearing any time soon.
The Appearance of the Rabbit
The Dutch Rabbit is a pretty small rabbit. It is a surprise that it became so popular as a meat breed, to be honest.
It is quite a compact rabbit. The ears are short. The head is very round. It has long back legs. The coat is short too, which means that it isn’t good as a fur rabbit at all. Luckily, it is also a ridiculously easy rabbit breed to look after due to this smaller coat.
The thing with the Dutch Rabbit is that it has been around for a ridiculously long time. It has had a lot of breeding take place. This means that it is available in a lot of different colors. Although, the markings do not change between the various colors.
This is just a small smattering of the colors you can get the Dutch Rabbit in.
Dutch Rabbit Colors
Do bear in mind that unless you go to a specialist breeder, it is pretty much ‘luck of the draw’ when it comes to what colors to get from your local pet store. The following are all the recognized variety of Dutch rabbit colors:
- Gold or Yellow (depending on the country)
Although, of course, you should probably be going to a reputable breeder for a lot more reasons than just the Dutch rabbit color. You tend to get a healthier rabbit than that.
For show purposes, each of these rabbits will be judged in a separate category. So, you wouldn’t see a Blue Dutch Rabbit facing off against a Gold Dutch Rabbit.
Dutch Rabbit Size
As a small rabbit breed, the Dutch rabbit size is small, adults 6 months of age and over, weighing between 3.5 (1,58kg) and 5.5 lbs (2,48kg), with 4.5 (2,04kg) being the ideal weight as per the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
Dutch Rabbit Lifespan
You can expect the Dutch rabbit to live somewhere between 6 and 8 years. It is not that unusual for some to live up to 10 years old.
Since there are not any real health issues related to this breed of rabbit, it is likely that your rabbit will live on the upper end of the spectrum.
So, if you want a rabbit that is able to live for many, many years, then the Dutch bunny may be the perfect breed for you.
The Purpose of the Dutch Rabbit
As we said before; this is a rabbit that was initially raised for meat. We aren’t quite sure why the English wanted to raise this rabbit for meat as opposed to the other breeds they had coming in, but they did.
We are sure that they managed to get a bit of fur out of it, but that isn’t the main purpose of this rabbit. In fact, it makes a terrible fur rabbit.
The rabbit nowadays is purely for shows and as pets. If you go to any rabbit show, then you are pretty much guaranteed to see a Dutch Rabbit competition at some point. This rabbit is so popular.
Dutch Rabbit as a Pet
One of the reasons as to why the Dutch Rabbit makes such a brilliant pet is because it is one of the calmest and most docile rabbit breeds you are ever going to have the pleasure of owning.
This seems to apply ‘across the board’ too. This is part of the reason why they, and dwarf rabbits, tend to be kept in pet stores. They are tremendous as family pets.
Of course, do remember that rabbits do need their ‘alone time’ too. Just like you need alone time. This means that you shouldn’t be interacting with your Dutch rabbit constantly.
If you do, then there is a pretty good chance that it will make the rabbit less-keen to be around you. In fact, when you first pick up your Dutch Rabbit, do bear in mind that it is not going to instantly love you.
They are prey animals. This means that it may take a few weeks to warm up to you. However, as long as you regularly interact with the rabbit (but not too much), then it is going to eventually love you. We promise of that!
Dutch Rabbit Care Tips
Looking after the Dutch Rabbit is pretty simple. This is why it is one of the most popular pet rabbit breeds.
Take the fur of the Dutch Rabbit, for instance, it has incredibly short fur. It barely takes any looking after.
In fact, you probably need to give it a brush no more than once per week. However, things are a little bit different in the Spring months.
This is when the Dutch rabbit molts, and that means you need to be brushing them daily. If you are not brushing them daily, then there is a good chance that they could start to swallow their loose hair. This can cause impactions in their stomach and it could kill them.
Other than this, make sure that you give your rabbit plenty of space to run around. Sure, this may be one of the smaller rabbit breeds, but it still needs a decent amount of space to run around in.
Remember; in the wild, rabbits would be constantly running around over large stretches of land. This means that while you would probably be fine keeping the rabbit outdoors, this is a breed that thrives well indoors.
Keep it out of the cage and allow it to simply explore your home and it is going to have a ton of fun.
In our opinion, you should be trying to keep the rabbit with another rabbit, preferably from the same breed. Remember; rabbits are incredibly sociable animals.
This means that they do best when they are regularly interacted with. Sure, there are not any real issues with keeping a rabbit solo, but you would need to be interacting with it a LOT if you do this, otherwise, the rabbit will start to get lonely.
In terms of diet, as with all rabbits, your Dutch rabbit should have a diet that is majority hay. In fact, 70% – 80% of their diet should be hay. Only high quality hay for rabbits.
Do not make the mistake that rabbit owners tend to do and that is to give them a lot of rabbit pellets and fruits and vegetables. Do not do that. Only 20-30% of their diet should be about this.
Always make sure that they have access to hay. This will help them to grind their teeth down, and that can combat a plethora of health issues.
While we are on the subject of health issues, we should point out that there are no known health issues with the Dutch Rabbit.
Well, nothing that you wouldn’t see in any other rabbit breeds. This means that there is nothing special you need to look out for.
Just make sure that you feed your rabbit well and give it plenty of space to run around, and it is going to be fine. Of course, if you do spot any issues, even if they are minor, then take your rabbit to the vet.
It will help to ensure that any issues are dealt with far, far quickly before they become too much of a problem!
We promise you, if you end up with a Dutch Rabbit, then this is going to be a fantastic rabbit for you to own!
It is going to give you a lot of happy rabbit ownership for years and years.