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Small Breeds OF RABBITS
For those people who don’t have a great deal of room it’s important to choose a small breed of rabbit that does not grow larger than the room you have available. There are several breeds that have smaller versions of larger rabbits. The Mini-Rex, Mini-Satin, dwarf Hotot and Florida White are few that are smaller versions of the Rex, Satin, Blanc de Hotot and New Zealand, appearing similar but in a smaller body.

When choosing on size be sure to know the breeder you are getting your rabbit from truly has that breed. Often pet stores do not know what the breeds are and some stores are told rabbits are dwarf that are not.

One general indication you can use to tell whether it’s a small breed or just a young rabbit of a larger breed is looking at the ears. The rabbit pictured could be sold as a mini Rex and her owner very disappointed when she grows much bigger. Her ears are well back to her shoulders, a clear indication this is not a mini Rex.

Because purebred breeds stay close to a standard size even if they are slightly overweight to show, it is a wise decision to purchase from a breeder. Small breeds such as the American Fuzzy Lop, Britannia Petite, dwarf Hotot, Mini Rex, Himalayan, Jersey Wooly, polish and Netherland Dwarf all should be under 4 pounds at maturity, with several of these under three pounds.

Slightly larger but up to five pounds are Tans, Havana and Dutch. One thing even more important with small breeds is providing protection from injury and remembering that they can fit into (and out of!) very small places.

My mini-rex bunny Bonita If you build an outdoor cage for your rabbit to spend time outside this is very important as it takes a small spaced wire to keep them safely in their enclosure. Chain link and other fencing that will hold a large breed has holes that small breeds can get right through.

Of course an advantage is they eat less! Two to three ounces of pellets and a handful of hay or grass keeps these little guys in good shape, but like larger rabbits they enjoy treats of other things. Like all rabbits they need wood to chew on to keep their front teeth worn down. Hardwood branches and twigs work but even better is pieces from fruit trees or berry bushes. If you prune older canes from berry bushes don’t throw them away – cut into 6-12 inch pieces and toss them occasionally in with your rabbit!

Smaller breeds are sometimes more active than large breeds but remember each rabbit is an individual! It doesn’t take perfect markings to be a perfect pet so those mismarked animals or the ones that are a few ounces too heavy can still be an ideal pet. Temperament and health are much bigger factors than appearance.

Many of these breeds and others can be found in more detail at www.arba.net as well as at their respective breed organizations.
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