The Dutch rabbit is the childhood pet you always wished you had, but didn’t know it.
Dutch rabbits are some of the funniest, cuddliest, and lovable rabbits in the entire universe. They make for awesome companions, they’re not very demanding, and they will brighten your days.
Whether you want a Dutch rabbit for the company or to take part in rabbit contests, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, you’ll find all sorts of useful information. You’ll learn how to distinguish Dutch rabbits from other breeds, how to take care of them, facts about their personality, as well as a few trivia.
This article ends with detailed factors to consider before you decide to purchase a Dutch rabbit, to make sure you make the best decision for your family.
Dutch rabbits have very clear white markings, and so people can tell them apart with ease. These white marks are located:
- On the cheeks
- On the blaze
- Around the neck
- On the saddle
- On the undercut
- On the hind feet
That said, Dutch rabbits come in colours galore. Other distinctive marks are:
- Normal length fur
- Soft under-layer
- Fly-back fur that brushes contrary to the growth direction
- Upright ears
- Compact, round body
Different sources indicate several intervals for the dutch rabbit lifespan. The explanation is probably because Dutch rabbits can live anywhere from five to fifteen years, depending on how happy they are, how friendly the environment is, and if they develop certain illnesses.
If you plan to get a Dutch rabbit, its average probable lifespan will be around eight years.
Size & Weight
Dutch rabbits are small, although they aren’t the dwarf type. Some specimens are smaller, averaging 3.5 pounds, especially females, while some males can get as heavy as 5.5 pounds.
Dutch rabbits come in seven different colours that are officially certified.
Keep in mind that your rabbit has to have the specific white marks to be recognized as Dutch.
These colours are:
- Black Dutch is dense, dark and glossy, but gains a slate blue shade next to the skin. These bunnies have blue-grey eyes.
- Blue Dutch is a uniform, dark shade of blue, with a shiny coat. These bunnies have blue-grey eyes.
- Chinchilla Dutch is pearl white with black ticks and a black band. Their bellies are white on the surface but have a slate blue under-shade, and their tails are black with white top hairs. These bunnies have dark brown or blue-grey eyes, with black-laced ears.
- Chocolate Dutch look exactly like dark chocolate and have shiny coats. Their eyes can either be dark-brown entirely, but they can also have a ruby shade.
- Gray Dutch have several shades that blend on their coat. The base is slate blue, the next layer is medium tan, and the band is charcoal brown. All these colours combine to create a freckled agouti pattern, with blackguards. The eyes should be dark brown.
- Steel Dutch are black but have cream hair tips. These bunnies have a slate blue undercolour, and can also have crotch marks. Their eyes should be dark brown.
- Tortoise Dutch is an interesting shade, with an orange coat that combined with the bunny’s smoky-blue rump. The rabbits’ eyes should be dark brown.
One Dutch rabbit mamma can have six or seven pups in her litter, although some does get up to twelve kits. Usually, Dutch does have about five litters each year because they gestate for an average of 30 days.
The typical Dutch rabbit baby is very cute and fluffy. It will be born with closed eyes and won’t open them for the first week or two.
These babies are gentle, smart, and caring. A Dutch baby rabbit is a perfect gift for your child because these rabbits love to be cuddled, they are friendly, and enjoy lots of attention.
The care and health of your Dutch rabbit are interrelated concepts. If you want a healthy rabbit, you need to take care of it because this care prevents most types of health issues. If your bunny does get sick, you need to provide different care measures. Let’s review these below:
General Care Advice
Taking care of your Dutch rabbit starts with healthy food and a safe environment, filled with lots of affection. If you get these things right, you will have a happy, healthy Dutch rabbit.
These rabbits enjoy eating:
- Clean, fresh hay from grass such as oat, timothy or orchard if you have a healthy adult Dutch rabbit
- Alfalfa hay for young kits, ill adult rabbits, or nursing does because this type of hay is jam-packed with calories and protein
- Leafy greens and vegetables in a proportion of about 30%, where hay should be 70%
- Clean, fresh water
- You can offer snacks and treats from pieces of fruit, like berries
- A wide, roomy cage
- A litter box
- Clean, fresh bedding
- Food and water in appropriate dishes
- A few places to run and hide
- Several toys
If you have plenty of room in your house, you don’t need to keep your Dutch bunny locked into a cage. You can set out an entire room for it, provided you rabbit-proof it first, and accommodate it with an exercise pen, plus a few makeshift “burrows” for the rabbit to hide.
Here’s how to keep your Dutch rabbit’s home clean and tidy:
- Clean the spots and spills daily
- Do a general weekly cleaning
- Kill pathogens with a monthly deep-scrub
Dutch rabbits, like all their peers, thrive on attention and live in groups. That’s why you need to consider adopting another rabbit or two to keep yours company.
Here are some tips to make sure cohabitation runs smoothly:
- Don’t adopt another bunny until you’re sure it gets along with your rabbit
- If you don’t want to increase your family of rabbits, adopt a same-sex rabbit as your own
- If you want a different sex rabbit, you can spay or neuter your pair. The good news is that spayed or neuter bunnies live longer lives because they aren’t prone to developing reproductive cancers anymore
How do I keep my rabbit happy?
- Happy rabbits, just like happy people, have longer lifespans and a better quality of life. You can show your bunny how much you love it by:
- Petting it
- Inventing games
- Simply making it a part of your life
Start taking care of your rabbit’s health by providing good hygiene. Grooming is an important practice that includes:
- Trimming your bunny’s nails
- Brushing your rabbit’s fur a few times each week
- Checking your Dutch bunny’s mouth and ears once per week to make sure it has clean orifices with a normal look
Pro tip: Dutch rabbits don’t require baths or showers.
If your bunny has escaped into the garden and came home covered in mud, you might decide to wash him, but you shouldn’t submerge it into the water completely. 1.5 inches of water in a bowl is more than enough for Dutch rabbits.
Pro tip: Don’t rub your bunny in a towel to dry it.
Rabbits should be wrapped into a towel and dry-patted until their coats get dry. You should use gentle movements and make sure the rabbit is warm.
What illnesses are Dutch rabbits prone to?
Dutch rabbits are smaller and, therefore, more at-risk for the common illnesses that affect rabbits. Depending on the genetic material and some environmental factors, your Dutch rabbit can develop:
- Gastrointestinal stasis if your rabbit is stressed, doesn’t get a lot of exercises or has a low-fibre diet
- Malocclusion can be genetic because your rabbit is born with misaligned upper and lower teeth or because you don’t feed him tough enough, fibrous foods
- Mites are caused by an unclean cage
- Respiratory problems caused by two main bacteria, Bordetella broniseptica, and Staphylococcus spp. Dirty environment, overcrowding, extreme temperature changes, and poor husbandry are a few of the causes that cause respiratory issues in rabbits
- Uterine cancer is common for over 60% of female rabbits older than 3. Spaying your female rabbit decreases the risk of her developing uterine cancer
How can you prevent these issues?
- Keep the temperature in your bunny’s room under 21ᵒC
- Reduce the humidity in your bunny’s room
- Keep your rabbit’s cage clean
- Feed your rabbit tough, fibre-packed foods and don’t overdo it with mushy veggies or fruit
- Provide plenty of opportunities for your rabbit to exercise
- Notice any differences in your rabbit’s behaviour and get in touch with your vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary, including diarrhoea, apathy or lack of appetite
Dutch Rabbit Temperament & Personality
Dutch rabbits have a very pleasant personality, although there are exceptions to this rule. Generally speaking, these rabbits are very sociable and fun, as well as smart.
If you want to adopt a new Dutch rabbit into your family, discuss his temperament with his breeder or former owner. You can also ask for some time alone with the rabbit to see how you kick it off.
Tips and tricks for successful friendships:
- Rabbits are prey animals, so they’re easily scared. You need to make them trust you, so don’t act in any way that resembles a predator’s behaviour in the wild.
- Don’t pet them or pick them up the second you see them, but rather let them adjust to you and the environment.
- Make time to notice how the rabbit acts, what it likes, and what it doesn’t.
- Don’t make a lot of noise or fast, sudden movements around the rabbit. Move slowly and confidently.
- Allow the bunny to come to you first.
If you want to learn some trivia about the Dutch rabbit breed, you’ve come to the right section. Here are a few facts to satisfy your curiosity:
- American Rabbit Breeders Association, formerly known as the National Pet Stock Association, has recognized this breed since 1910.
- The 1915 book called Standard of Perfection for Rabbits, Cavies, Mice, Rats, and Skunksdeveloped by the NPSA in 1915 has a nice section about Dutch rabbits with a cute picture and plenty of details.
- It’s not yet clear what the Dutch rabbit’s country of origin is. In a book called Domestic Rabbits and Their Histories, Bob D. Whitman underlines that the Dutch rabbits come either from England or from the Belgium Brabancon breed.
- Dutch rabbits have been known under this name since 1835.
- Their first official description appears in 1865, in a book called Manuals for the Many.
- The US Dutch rabbit breed club has the slogan, “You can’t beat the Dutch.”
- There aren’t many pure rabbit breeds with blue eyes, but Dutch rabbits are one of them.
In Conclusion – Should I Get a Dutch Rabbit?
Now that you’re here, you know a lot of facts about Dutch rabbits, how to take care of them, and even some historical tidbits.
But the question remains: is a Dutch rabbit a good addition to your family?
Consider who you’re buying the rabbit for because it will only live for around eight years, though some specimens can have just five short years of life. If you’re buying the rabbit for your child or for someone else who will get extremely attached to the bunny, you need to prepare them beforehand.
Dutch rabbits are the best breed to own because they’re easy to train, especially potty-train. These bunnies will astound you with your wits and pleasant temperaments, they’re friendly and love to be hugged.
Rabbits have an ingrained instinct to run from predators. Sudden movements and noise scare them. As a defence mechanism, they quickly get into shock, and long-term stress weakens their immune system, increasing their risk for all sorts of illnesses. You can’t rough-house with them either because their bones are frail and can break easily. If you have young, energetic children, you need to chaperon their interaction with the Dutch rabbit.
Your other pets
Dutch rabbits are friendly enough and thrive in groups of their peers. However, if you already have a cat or a dog, you need to take their temperament into account too. If you think their energetic or aggressive behaviour will scare off the rabbit, it’s best to reconsider your choice.
Dutch rabbits need your time. You’ll need to dedicate a couple of hours every day for spot cleaning, grooming, and play, or otherwise, your bunny will start feeling lonely or depressed.
Your rabbit needs more than a cage, water, and hay. You need to include other things in your budget, such as general and emergency veterinary care, pet insurance, toys, and exercise pen.