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Rabbit - Netherland Dwarf Breed Profile

Other Names
On average the Netherland Dwarf rabbit can live to 7 years or more. 
Early dwarfs were difficult to breed, probably due to the small size of the doe, but this has been overcome and the dwarf now breeds freely. The ideal age for the female Netherland Dwarf rabbit to start breeding is between 5 to 6 months of age. The first litter must be born before the female is one year old. The reason for this is that after this age the pelvic bones fuse and she would not be able to give birth naturally. They should have no more litters after the age of three years. 
Average Litter Size
The Polish rabbit has on average litters between 2-4, they have been known to produce up to 6. 
Gestation Period
The gestation period is between 28-31 days. On average they give birth at 30-32 days. 
General Physical Description
Netherland Dwarfs are very small rabbits weighing no more than 0.9kgs. Their bodies and faces are round and their ears are very short – no more than 5cms long. Their eyes are big and bright. 
The Netherland Dwarf rabbit weighs, on average, no more than 0.9kgs. 
The mainstay of a rabbit’s diet should be large unlimited amounts of fresh hay, fresh fruit and vegetables, a well-balanced dry rabbit mix and plenty of clean water. Rabbits have quite delicate stomachs so when feeding fresh fruits and vegetables make sure they are added to the diet one vegetable at a time and eliminate specific varieties if they cause diarrhoea. An earthenware bowl is the best type of feeding dish to use, as they are harder to knock over than the plastic ones, also they not chewable. A water bottle fixed to the outside of the cage, with the water tube going into the cage, ensures a fresh water supply is available. 
For an outdoor rabbit the ideal home is a wooden hutch made of a heavy wood with a waterproof roof, and raised off the ground. If the rabbit is going to live indoors then a wooden hutch can also be used or a cage. The cage would have a plastic or wire base with a wire lid fixed to the base. All rabbits must have an adequate exercise area, whether it is an outside run or an enclosed area in the house. Wood shavings should be used for the floor of the hutch or cage. Fine sawdust can cause eye irritations so this should be avoided. Bedding material should be provided especially in cold and wet weather for the outdoor rabbit. The best thing to use is straw on top of a layer of the wood shavings in the sleeping compartment. The rabbit home should be cleaned out weekly and any old food removed. If it is necessary to wash the home then only use a cleaner specifically designed for cleaning rabbit hutches. An earthenware food bowl and a drinking bottle will also be required to feed and water the rabbit. 
Suitability For Children
The breed is noted for its bad temper but if the parents are good natured, chances are the young will be as well as temperament is largely inherited. Because of their size and temperament, they do not make ideal pets for smaller children.< 
Character & Temperament
This small rabbit can be quite bad tempered, so if this is your choice of rabbit make sure that you get to see the parents, and handle them if possible. 
Sleeping Habits
Rabbits are most active in the morning and at night; they generally sleep during the day. 
Toys & Exercise
Rabbits need things to climb on, crawl through, dig and chew. It is possible to provide plenty to entertain this rabbit with using household items, such as toilet roll tubes and boxes. Several boxes can be put together with holes in them so the rabbit can go from box to box, just like being in a warren. Ramps can also be put against the boxes so the rabbit can climb up; they like to have a lookout post. 
Types of Coat
Short haired 
This breed comes in a variety of colours, including white, black, blue, Siamese sable, smoke pearl, seal point, opal, tan and chinchilla. 
Rabbits can become trained to learn their name. They are more intelligent than guinea pigs and hamsters. They can even be litter trained. 
Show Characteristics
The ideal shape of the dwarf is a round ball. The head should be as round as possible and as wide as it is long. The ears should be a maximum of 5cms in length and carried erect, round at the tips and well furred. The eyes should be as round as possible and the body short and cobby. 
Country of Origin

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