Dutch Rabbits were once the most popular bunny breed in the world, and they’ve maintained a position in the top 10 most popular breeds to the modern day. Considered a small to medium breed, the Dutch fell out of favor for a while when dwarf rabbits were developed. Today, they’re still a solid family pet or companion for anyone who wants a curious, affectionate, and quiet furry roommate.
Small to medium
Jersey Wooly, Hollander, Lionhead, Mini Lop
Beginner or experienced rabbit owners
Sweet, affectionate, friendly, playful
Despite its name, the Dutch Rabbit was bred in England after being imported from Belgium. Genetically, the Dutch Rabbit is closest to an extinct French breed called the Petit Brabançon, which showed similar markings if you check out some old paintings of them. Today, the Dutch Rabbit is available in a riot of colors including blue, chocolate, black, chinchilla, tortoise, and more.
Dutch Rabbit Breed Characteristics
How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?
Dutch Rabbits are some of the most widespread in the world, so they’re typically inexpensive. Adopting an older bunny from a rescue organization could save you some money, though there’s typically still a small adoption fee, typically $15 to $30 or so.
Getting a bunny from a breeder will run you a bit more, with low estimates hovering around $30 up to as much as $70 to $90. Remember that this is just the initial cost to get your Dutch Rabbit and doesn’t include the cost of veterinary appointments, vaccinations, or any supplies.
You should always make sure you budget for everything you’ll need to care for your new Dutch Rabbit, as there can be some unexpected costs. Overall, though, rabbits are cheaper to feed than dogs.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Dutch Rabbit
Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets? 👪
Absolutely. Dutch Rabbits are a great pet for nearly any household. That said, we must mention that they require some caution and supervision with children. Bunnies are fragile creatures that can be easily hurt or startled, so we recommend adult supervision for kids handling a Dutch Rabbit.
Dutch Rabbits also make great companions for people who don’t or can’t have a dog, or perhaps apartment dwellers looking for a quiet furry bundle of joy to call their own. They can be a social commitment if you’re only getting one, which is why we suggest getting a pair if it’s feasible for you. Pairs keep each other happy when you’re away, which is great if you work long hours. If you have a lot of time and attention to give them, however, just one Dutch Rabbit can work out fine too.
Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?
Like most bunnies, the Dutch Rabbit gets along best with other rabbits. As prey animals, they do poorly with cats and dogs, but they’ve been known to tolerate some smaller dogs. Introducing a rabbit to your other pets must be a slow process to avoid any stress between the two.
Things to Know When Owning a Dutch Rabbit:
Food & Diet Requirements 🥕
Dutch Rabbits prefer to subsist on hay and grass like most rabbits, but pellet food and fresh greens are always a good idea in moderation too. Like people, bunnies do best with a balanced diet. On average you want their diet to be around 70–80% fresh hay or grass like alfalfa or timothy, 10–20% leafy greens, and only about 10% pellets. Like other breeds, the Dutch Rabbit may become disinterested in hay if you feed them too many pellets and not enough hay.
Habitat & Hutch Requirements 🏠
Like any other indoor animal, a Dutch Rabbit needs a private hutch or cage to sleep, relax, and retreat to when they feel overwhelmed. Roughly 3’ by 3’ should be plenty of space considering they’re small bunnies, but pairs will need more space.
Dutch Rabbits litter train fairly easily, so if yours is trained, you can feel free to add some comfortable bedding and a litter box in the corner of the cage or hutch. Avoid cages with wire bottoms, as those can hurt your rabbit’s feet. If possible, a cage with a removable tray is a great option to easily clean out the cage periodically.
As far as bedding material, shredded paper, wood shavings, cardboard, or loose hay are all viable choices. These help insulate your rabbit’s cage and keep them comfortable, plus they help discourage destructive chewing on the edges or wires of the cage.
Lastly, your bunny might get bored, so give them some favorite toys to play with when they’re in their cage or hutch. Pairs tend to keep themselves busier playing and grooming, but toys are really never a bad idea for any rabbit habitat.
Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐇
Dutch Rabbits are an active breed that needs around 4 hours to hop around, explore, and play each day. Like most bunnies, they need ample socialization and time to roam, or else they can become depressed or anxious. Lots of people adopt pairs of rabbits so they can play and sleep together, which is ideal if you have the means. If not, you’ll just have to expect more one-on-one time with your rabbit to keep them happy and healthy.
As far as sleep, a Dutch Rabbit needs about 6 to 8 hours a day, though individual preferences may vary. Bunnies tend to be crepuscular, meaning they’re most active during the twilight and dawn hours, so it’s normal for your rabbit to appear to have more than one ‘waking period’ of time.
Dutch Rabbits are bright and easily trained, but it takes some patience. Young rabbits are easily distracted and can’t pay attention for very long at a time, so you’ll want to use very short training sessions with simple goals. For instance, rewarding your bunny to come to the sound of their name. Develop a consistent routine and only ever use positive reinforcement for good behavior.
Short, regular sessions at around the same time of day will help your Dutch Rabbit learn more quickly and reinforce the things they learn. Aim for two or three short sessions at around 5 minutes each per day, but don’t overdo it if your rabbit isn’t interested—take it at their pace.
As prey animals, the Dutch Rabbit is easily startled and prone to flights of fear or anxiety. That means that raising your voice or punishing your rabbit for bad behavior won’t work and will only make your bunny distrusting and fearful of you.
Dutch Rabbits are fastidious critters, much like cats, which makes them pretty low maintenance. They also don’t have a super-long coat compared to other rabbit breeds, which cuts down on shedding. One session with a soft brush should be enough to keep their coat presentable, and you should always keep an eye on their nails too. Trim them every 3 or 4 weeks down to a manageable length, or you may consider visiting a pet groomer if you’re uncomfortable with doing it yourself.
Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥
On average, a Dutch Rabbit can live between 5 to 10 years, with the oldest living to 15 years. It’s important to keep an eye out for abnormal symptoms in your bunny, as they can signify a wide range of common conditions, serious and minor alike. Check some of those out below.
Male vs Female
Male Dutch Rabbits are larger than females, who have a more diminutive dwarf-like size. Males are also noticeably more playful and active than females, who tend to be more loving and relaxed.
The 3 Little-Known Facts About the Dutch Rabbit
1. They Have Several Names
The Dutch Rabbit has also been known as the Hollander rabbit and Brabander rabbit, both monikers that come from places in the modern Netherlands.
2. Dutch Rabbits Can Run Up to 35 Miles Per Hour!
That may not measure up to the Black-Tailed Jackrabbit that can reach 45 miles per hour, but this humble house bunny is surprisingly speedy when they want to be. Bunnies normally run a lot when they’re very excited or scared.
3. Dutch Rabbits Are Known by Their Face Markings
Even if you didn’t know it was a specific breed, you’ve likely seen the Dutch Rabbit before. They’re known by their face and body markings, which vary in color but stay roughly the same shape on many individual bunnies.
Dutch Rabbits are one of the most popular bunnies in the world for a reason: they’re gentle, affectionate, playful, and relatively low-maintenance pets. They take some special care for families with kids, but otherwise, provide endless hours of zany antics and cuddles.
Featured Image Credit: Volha Suhakova, Shutterstock