Are There Rabbits That Stay Small? (15 Dwarf Breeds)

For centuries, rabbits have charmed humans as endearing and lively companion pets. But did you know there are entire breeds of rabbits that stay petite and tiny their whole lives? Welcome to the wonderful world of dwarf rabbits! These miniature fluff balls weigh just 1-3 pounds fully grown, compared to the many large rabbit breeds topping out above 15 pounds. Dwarf rabbit breeds possess special genes that result in permanent pint-sized proportions. In this article, you’ll discover 15 lovable breeds of tiny rabbits along with tips for properly caring for these little sweethearts. From tiny Netherland Dwarfs to fuzzy Jersey Woolies, read on to learn all about rabbits that stay small!

What Is The Average Size And Weight of a Rabbit?

The average size and weight of a rabbit depends on the breed. Rabbits come in a wide variety of sizes, from the tiny Netherland Dwarf at around 1-2 lbs, to the giant Flemish Giant at over 20 lbs.

The most common pet rabbit breeds like the Holland Lop and Mini Rex tend to range from 3-5 lbs as adults. Larger rabbit breeds like the New Zealand can reach 10-12 lbs. Here's an overview of the average size of some popular rabbit breeds:

  • Netherland Dwarf – 1-2.5 lbs
  • Holland Lop – 3-5 lbs
  • Mini Rex – 3.5-4.5 lbs
  • Mini Lop – 4-7 lbs
  • Lionhead – 3-4 lbs
  • Polish – 2.5-3.5 lbs
  • English Spot – 5-7 lbs
  • Mini Satin – 4-5 lbs
  • French Lop – 9-11 lbs
  • New Zealand – 10-12 lbs
  • Flemish Giant – Over 20 lbs

The dwarf breeds like Netherland Dwarfs and Polish stay under 3.5 lbs, while medium sized rabbits range from 4-7 lbs typically. The giant breeds like Flemish Giants can weigh over 20 lbs.

When looking at height, most rabbits when fully grown tend to range from 9-12 inches tall when sitting upright. Larger breeds can be up to 15 inches tall.

Tracking your rabbit's weight on a scale is important to monitor their health and make sure they are growing properly. Sudden weight loss or gain may indicate an underlying issue that needs veterinary attention.

How Quickly Do Rabbits Grow to Full Size?

Rabbits reach full adult size anywhere from 6-12 months old depending on the breed.

  • Smaller breeds like Netherland Dwarfs and Dutch reach adult size around 6 months old.

  • Medium sized rabbits like Holland Lops and Mini Rex finish growing around 8-9 months old.

  • Larger breeds like New Zealands can take up to a full year to reach their maximum adult weight and size.

During the rapid growth phase from 2-6 months old, you may see your rabbit putting on up to a pound or more per month. Their growth will start to level off as they near their full adult dimensions.

You can track your rabbit's growth on a scale from 8 weeks old through adulthood. Keeping notes on weight gain can help you identify if your rabbit is growing properly or if there are any issues.

Monitor your rabbit's portions if weight gain seems excessive. Free choice pellets and unlimited hay contribute to rapid growth that puts stress on developing joints and bones. Follow your vet's advice for proper feeding amounts.

While giant breeds like Flemish Giants can take up to 18 months to reach full maturity, they will be at or near their adult size around 12 months old.

With proper care and diet, your rabbit can live a long healthy life at their ideal weight after reaching full size between 6-12 months old depending on genetics.

Difference Between a Small Rabbit and a Dwarf Rabbit

There are some key differences between a small rabbit and a true dwarf rabbit breed:

  • Size – A dwarf rabbit breed will stay permanently small, under 3.5 lbs as an adult. A small rabbit is just smaller than average but not necessarily a dwarf breed.

  • Genetics – Dwarf breeds carry a genetic mutation that results in a smaller skeletal structure and body size. Regular small rabbits do not have this genetic dwarfism.

  • Breed – Dwarf rabbits belong to specific breeds like Netherland Dwarfs and Polish that are known for their tiny size. Small rabbits can be any breed that happens to be on the smaller end of the spectrum.

  • Proportions – Dwarf rabbits tend to have a compact, rounded body shape and head compared to small rabbits with more elongated proportions.

  • Lifespan – Some dwarf rabbit breeds tend to have shorter average lifespans around 5-7 years due to genetic predispositions. Small rabbits have more varied lifespans based on breed.

  • Health – Severe dwarfism can result in dental malocclusion, mobility issues, and fragile bones in some rabbits. Less extreme dwarfism just results in a petite stature without major health impacts.

So in summary, dwarf rabbit breeds stay tiny due to genetic dwarfism that gives them distinct features and an exceptionally small size under 3.5 lbs. Small rabbits are simply on the smaller end of average without dwarfism genetics.

Which Rabbit Breeds Carry the Dwarf Gene?

Here are some of the most common domestic rabbit breeds that carry the genetic mutation for dwarfism, resulting in a permanently small bunny:

  • Netherland Dwarf – The most popular dwarf breed, weighing just 1-2.5 lbs as tiny, compact adults. Comes in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns.

  • Holland Lop – With long, floppy ears, the Holland Lop is an adorable dwarf lop-eared rabbit weighing 3-4 lbs.

  • Mini Rex – A miniaturized version of the Rex rabbit with lush, plush fur and a weight of 3.5-4.5 lbs.

  • American Fuzzy Lop – The Fuzzy Lop has a dwarf size of 3-4 lbs with a woolly angora-type coat.

  • Jersey Wooly – Weighing just 2-3 lbs, the Jersey Wooly has a signature look with its curly wool coat.

  • Mini Satin – A true dwarf breed with shiny, silky fur and an ideal weight around 3.5-4.5 lbs.

  • Britannia Petite – An English spotting pattern on a tiny 2.5-3.5 lb dwarf rabbit body.

  • Dwarf Hotot – The tiniest Hotot breed with the signature eye rings, weighing just over 2 lbs fully grown.

  • Lionhead – Can have a dwarf variety, with signature long fur around the head.

  • Polish – Tiny, delicate build with striking markings, full grown under 3.5 lbs.

With proper care, these dwarf rabbit breeds thrive as tiny but robust companion pets. Their compact size but big personalities make them popular for indoor living.

Can Two Dwarf Rabbits Breed?

Yes, two rabbits that carry the dwarf gene are able to breed together. However, some considerations regarding dwarf rabbit breeding include:

  • Offspring may not be viable or healthy if both parents have severe dwarfism. Mismatched genetics can result in complications.

  • Kits from dwarf parents will also carry the dwarf gene and remain small in size.

  • Breeding two dwarfs often results in smaller litter sizes of 1-3 kits rather than 4-6.

  • Careful screening for genetic issues like malocclusion is recommended before breeding dwarf rabbits.

  • Avoid breeding true dwarf breeds with non-dwarf breeds to prevent unhealthy mixed genetics.

  • Litter death rates are sometimes higher with two dwarf rabbit parents.

With responsible planning and health testing, dwarf rabbits can successfully be bred while minimizing risks. Partnering a dwarf with a slightly larger rabbit breed often has better outcomes.

Working with an experienced rabbit breeder is advisable to make informed choices if interested in breeding dwarfs. The delicate nature of their genetics requires extra care and consideration.

Breeds of Rabbit That Stay Small

Here is an overview of some of the smallest domestic rabbit breeds that stay tiny and have maximum adult weights under 4 pounds:

Netherland Dwarf – The quintessential miniature rabbit breed, weighing just 1-2.5 lbs when fully grown. Globular body shape with short, upright ears.

Jersey Wooly – An adorable fluffy breed with curly wool fur, weighing 2-3 lbs.

Britannia Petite – Distinguished by British Spot markings on a tiny 2.5-3.5 lb frame.

Polish – Delicate bone structure with lively, inquisitive personalities weighing under 3.5 lbs.

American Fuzzy Lop – Lop ears and a fluffy angora coat on these 3-4 lb dwarf bunnies.

Holland Lop – Famous lop ears drape down either side of these 3-5 lb dwarf rabbits.

Himalayan – Though not technically a dwarf breed, the Himalayan weighs under 4 lbs with signature markings.

Mini Rex – Plush, velvety fur on these gentle 3.5-4.5 lb rabbits with upright ears.

Netherland Dwarf rabbits are by far the most popular dwarf breed kept as pets and shown by rabbit enthusiasts around the world. Their tiny size but bold personalities make them delightful companions. With proper care and handling, dwarf rabbits thrive living indoors.

Do Small Rabbits Need a Hutch?

Small rabbit breeds do not necessarily require a hutch, but they do need ample space to move around. Some tips for housing small rabbits:

  • A large dog crate or puppy pen provides enough room for a compact dwarf rabbit.

  • Baby gates can block off rabbit-safe areas inside the home rather than using a cage.

  • Exercise pens give small rabbits more opportunities for movement with supervision.

  • Multi-level habitats utilize vertical space for climbing and exploring.

  • Custom built or store-bought indoor rabbit condos offer cozy spaces to rest and play.

Any housing situation should allow the rabbit at least 3-4 hop lengths of room to move around. Litter boxes, hideouts, toys, and chew sticks enrich the environment.

Monitor your small rabbit closely if allowing free range of a room or the home to prevent chewing of inappropriate items. Dwarf rabbits enjoy interacting with their owners as companion pets. With dedication, a hutch is not required for a house rabbit to thrive!

Do Small Rabbits Eat Less Food?

Small rabbit breeds do require less overall food compared to larger rabbits, but they still need unlimited access to hay along with a measured amount of pellets and veggies. Guidelines for feeding small rabbits include:

  • Provide a constant supply of fresh timothy or other grass hay. Hay should make up the majority of the diet.

  • 1/8 cup of pellets per day is typically sufficient for an adult dwarf rabbit weighing under 3 lbs.

  • 1-2 cups of chopped veggies can be offered daily. Leafy greens, carrots, and broccoli are good choices.

  • Smaller breeds only need a tablespoon or two of fruit 2-3 times per week as a treat.

  • Fresh clean water must always be available in a tip-proof bowl.

  • Scatter feeding hay encourages natural grazing behavior.

  • Use a small ceramic food dish suited to the rabbit's size.

Monitor your dwarf rabbit's body condition and adjust portions if needed. Though small, they are still inclined to overeat if given the chance. An obese rabbit is at risk for many health complications. Establishing a proper feeding routine while they are young helps maintain a healthy size.

Can Small and Large Rabbits Live Together?

It's possible for small and large rabbit breeds to live together, but certain precautions should be taken:

  • Only bond rabbits of dramatically different sizes if one is neutered to avoid unwanted mating.

  • Provide separate housing areas where the small rabbit can retreat if bullied.

  • Feed the rabbits together but monitor to ensure the larger does not steal food.

  • Ensure the enclosure has smooth ramps a dwarf can traverse to access all levels.

  • Supervise play sessions closely to prevent injuries from roughhousing.

  • Bond the rabbits at an early age so the size differential seems normal.

  • Check for signs of stress in the smaller rabbit like lack of appetite or injuries.

  • Provide hideouts and tunnels the dwarf can access but the larger cannot.

With proper introductions, spayed/neutered status, and precautions, rabbits with a substantial size difference can potentially live harmoniously. However, housing similarly sized rabbits together tends to be easier and less risky.

Are Small Rabbits Better Pets Than Large Rabbits?

Some reasons small rabbit breeds can make excellent pets include:

  • Easier to pick up and handle due to light weight. Less risk of back strain for the owner.

  • Take up less space in the home compared to a giant breed.

  • Eat less food overall, making care more affordable.

  • Fun to watch their tiny antics and energetic movements.

  • Easy to provide adequate exercise space inside for a small rabbit.

  • Dwarf breeds have longer average lifespans of 8-12 years.

However, larger rabbits have benefits too:

  • Typically calmer, less skittish personalities.

  • Easier to litter train due to bigger bladder capacity.

  • Enjoy being cuddled and held close to your body.

  • Often very mellow and sedate if space requirements are met.

  • Adaptable to being around children due to greater size.

The ideal rabbit is more about personality and proper care than size alone. Some small breeds tend to be feistier as well. Consider activity level, lifespan, interactions, and housing to select the perfect rabbit!


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