How to Care for a Dwarf or Mini Rabbit

Dwarf rabbits are tremendous cute. The smallest breeds max out at round two kilos, whereas the bigger mini breeds can attain round 4 kilos. They’re a sort of pet that actually stays tiny eternally.

Usually, dwarf rabbit care is identical as it’s for bigger rabbits. There are some widespread well being considerations with mini rabbits that you simply need to look out for, together with dental issues and overheating. Additionally they are typically extra lively than bigger breeds of rabbits.

This text will go over a few of the delicate variations you may count on from dwarf rabbit possession versus their bigger counterparts. In the event you’ve by no means cared for a rabbit earlier than, I extremely advocate trying out my total care information which might be utilized to all rabbit breeds.

Essential: This put up accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. As an affiliate to Amazon, Small Pet Choose, and Chewy.com, I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.

Is dwarf rabbit care any totally different than for bigger rabbits?

For probably the most half, dwarf and mini rabbits don’t require considerably totally different care than medium and enormous breeds. You continue to feed them the identical varieties of meals, be certain that they’ve loads of house to train, and provides them numerous consideration.

The primary variations in dwarf rabbit care embrace:

  • The quantity that you simply feed your rabbit. It’s very straightforward to by chance give your rabbit an excessive amount of, inflicting weight problems and GI points.
  • Conduct expectations. Dwarf rabbits are typically way more lively and just a little extra assertive than bigger rabbits.
  • Well being points. Dwarf and mini rabbits are considerably extra more likely to expertise dental points, and develop heat-related sicknesses extra simply.
Graph: What to feed your rabbit? 80% hay, 15% leafy greens, 4% pellets, 1% treats
A wholesome rabbit food regimen is made up of primarily grass based mostly hay with some leafy greens and a small quantity of pellets. Treats ought to solely be given in very small quantity.

Watch out how a lot you feed your dwarf or mini rabbit

As you may count on, dwarf and mini rabbits must be fed a smaller quantity than different rabbits. The truth is that many individuals feed their rabbits an excessive amount of whatever the rabbit’s dimension. Usually, rabbits ought to by no means be given a complete bowl filled with pellets. 

Typically, a full-grown small rabbit (lower than 4 kilos) solely wants about ⅛ cup of pellets per day (that’s 2 tablespoons). 

In any other case, you need to be certain that your rabbit has fixed entry to timothy hay (orchard hay and oat hay are additionally good for rabbits), and so they get a small handful of contemporary leafy greens every single day (about 1 cup of greens).

Treats, together with store-bought treats, contemporary fruit, and contemporary greens (carrots too), must be given in very small quantities. Keep away from giving these to your rabbit on an on a regular basis foundation so that you don’t feed them an excessive amount of.

rabbit playpen
I at all times advocate utilizing a pet train pen to your rabbit’s enclosure. This offers your rabbit lots of house and it’s rather a lot simpler to wash.

How a lot house do mini rabbits want?

Chances are you’ll assume that as a result of mini rabbits are so small, they want rather a lot much less house. Nonetheless, that’s often not the case. Total, small rabbits are typically extra energetic and lively than bigger breeds, so giving them house to zoom round is important for serving to them keep wholesome.

Identical to with average-sized rabbit breeds, I like to recommend utilizing a pet playpen to your dwarf rabbit’s habitat. Cages which can be bought and marketed as ‘rabbit cages’ are typically a lot too small, even for dwarf rabbits, so I don’t advocate them.

The primary distinction for small rabbits is that you could often present extra vertical house. Smaller bunnies are likely to hop up on prime of platforms, couches, cat towers, cardboard packing containers, or something they will attain. In the event you don’t have fairly as giant an area to present your mini rabbit, you may play with vertical house to verify your rabbit will get sufficient playtime and train.

Your dwarf rabbit may also want time outdoors of the enclosure to zoom round, discover, and get some actual train. The extra time you can provide your rabbit outdoors of an enclosure, the higher. It’s even changing into extra widespread to maintain rabbits as free-roam pets (much like cats and canines). You simply want to verify your rabbit is litter-trained and your property is bunny-proofed first.

exercising rabbit
Rabbits want at the least 3-4 hours of train time every single day.

Behavioral expectations for mini rabbits

All rabbits are people with their very own distinctive personalities. You gained’t be capable of choose this based mostly solely in your rabbit’s dimension. Nonetheless, it’s way more widespread for small rabbits to be extra hyper and energetic than bigger rabbits even after they attain maturity and lose their ‘child vitality.’

Some behavioral variations you may count on from dwarf rabbits embrace:

  • Typically, they’re extra lively. It might appear as if they’ve extra anxious vitality or they’re simply extra lively all through the day.
  • Mini rabbits breathe a bit sooner. Since these rabbits are so tiny, it might appear as if they’re overexerting themselves as a result of their respiratory is inflicting their physique to shake. Nonetheless, most often, that is regular for small rabbits.
  • Small rabbits are extra assertive and aggressive. These rabbits will likely be extra more likely to do what they need and discover a solution to go wherever they need to go. Dwarf rabbits additionally are likely to set their boundaries extra firmly, prepared to let you know when they’re sad or don’t need to be touched or picked up.
  • Mini rabbits are extra possible to make use of their tooth as a substitute of their claws as a protection. Rabbit bites are extra damaging than their claws, so that is one thing you have to be conscious of, particularly if in case you have a considerably aggressive rabbit.

What this implies for you is that you’ll want to be ready for you rabbit to be just a little troublemaker. You’ll must be very thorough when rabbit proofing your property, to maintain the little bunny from chewing and digging issues they shouldn’t (study extra about rabbit proofing).

You additionally need to be sure you spend just a few hours every single day giving your rabbit time to train and socialize. In the event you can provide them just a few hours within the morning, and some hours within the night (when rabbits are most lively) that might be superb. Deal with them as a companion animal, to allow them to roam round, discover and work together with you and the household as a lot as they need.

Dwarf rabbits are often unhealthy pets for youngsters

As a result of smaller rabbits are typically extra lively and assertive of their boundaries, they’re additionally not nice pets for youngsters. The prospect of harm for each the rabbit and the kid is just too nice for me to advocate this match most often.

Since small rabbits are typically faster to claim themselves by biting or swiping with their claws, there’s a actual threat {that a} baby may very well be harm by a rabbit in the event that they chase the bunny or attempt to contact or decide up the bunny.

Alternatively, rabbits, particularly small rabbits, have delicate bone buildings. If they’re held incorrectly or hugged too tightly, they will simply be injured by an overeager baby.

Frequent well being issues for dwarf and mini rabbits

Dwarf rabbits can have any of the identical well being issues that have an effect on different breeds of rabbits. Specifically, it’s essential to concentrate on GI Stasis. That is when a rabbit’s digestive system slows down or stops. It’s probably lethal however is treatable if you happen to catch the signs on time. In case your rabbit ever stops consuming or pooping for greater than 10 hours, they require emergency care.

The next two varieties of sicknesses can have an effect on all varieties of rabbits as properly, however they are typically extra widespread amongst dwarf rabbits as a consequence of their distinctive anatomy.

Rabbit breeds with short ears
Some small rabbit breeds have brief ears. The breeds embrace Britannia Petite, Dwarf Hotot, Polish, Netherland Dwarf, and Jersey Wooly rabbits.

1. Dwarf rabbits can overheat extra simply than different rabbits

One of many most important ways in which rabbits assist keep their physique temperature and forestall overheating is thru their ears. The veins that run alongside the floor of their ears permit for a simple switch of warmth (enjoyable truth: that is additionally why elephants have massive ears). 

Many dwarf rabbit breeds have comparatively smaller ears than bigger breeds. Netherland Dwarfs and Dwarf Hotots, particularly, have brief ears. Which means that their potential to chill themselves down on scorching days is considerably restricted. 

All rabbits run the danger of warmth stroke in temperatures above 80ºF, however you’ll need to be much more cautious with dwarf rabbits. Ensure that to maintain your rabbit in a cool place and monitor them for any indicators of warmth stroke. Signs embrace:

  • Not consuming
  • Low vitality or confused motion
  • Panting or drooling
  • Very quick respiratory
  • Head thrown again or up
  • Crimson or highly regarded ears
  • Shaking or trembling

Study extra about warmth stroke in rabbits and find out how to preserve your rabbit cool

changing eating habits in rabbits
If a rabbit’s consuming habits change, resembling dropping pellets from their mouth as they’re making an attempt to eat, that may be a signal of sickness or overgrown tooth.

2. Dwarf rabbits usually tend to have dental issues

Many dwarf and mini rabbit breeds have been bred to have shorter faces. In comparison with different, bigger rabbit breeds, many mini rabbits appear to be they’ve squished faces. Whereas this doesn’t are likely to trigger respiratory issues, because it does in some canine breeds, it does incessantly trigger dental points with rabbits.

The issue with the shorter rabbit skulls is that typically the rabbit’s tooth don’t line up accurately. You see, rabbits have tooth that continue to grow (sort of like fingernails). They put on their tooth down by consuming their tough, fiber-heavy food regimen. Nonetheless, if the tooth don’t grind towards one another accurately, they will find yourself overgrown, inflicting a myriad of dental points that require veterinary care.

Not all dwarf rabbits expertise this, but it surely’s widespread sufficient that you simply’ll need to preserve an eye fixed out for issues together with your rabbit’s tooth. Ensure that to take your rabbit in for annual vet checkups, and look ahead to indicators that your rabbit isn’t consuming accurately. For instance, they continually drop meals out of their mouth whereas making an attempt to eat, or they drool.

How lengthy do dwarf and mini rabbits stay?

Most mini rabbits can stay a median of 8 to 12 years. In fact, this is determined by the standard of care the rabbit receives (together with food regimen, train, and socialization), and luck of genetics. Some rabbits are merely extra vulnerable to well being issues than others as a consequence of no fault of your personal.

the smallest rabbit breeds
The Netherland Dwarf and Britannia Petite are sometimes regarded as the smallest breeds. Nonetheless, Jersey Wooly, Dwarf Hotot, Lionhead, Polish, and Himalayan rabbits can even weigh below 3 kilos as adults.

Acknowledged breeds of dwarf rabbits

There are at present 11 breeds of rabbits acknowledged by the American Rabbit Breeders Affiliation that keep below 5 kilos whilst grownup rabbits. These breeds embrace:

  • American Fuzzy Lop
  • Britannia Petite
  • Dwarf Hotot
  • Himalayan
  • Holland Lop
  • Jersey wooly
  • Lionhead
  • Mini Rex
  • Mini Satin
  • Netherland Dwarf
  • Polish

Don’t neglect, you don’t want a purebred rabbit. I come throughout so many dwarf and mini rabbits of unknown pedigree on a regular basis after I work with rescue rabbits. You should definitely examine together with your native animal shelters to see what rabbits can be found.


  1. Brown, Susan DVM. “Small Animal Diet.” Home Rabbit Society. Jun. 10, 2012. rabbit.org/small-animal-nutrition.
  2. “Heatstroke in Rabbits.” PDSA, www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/rabbits/rabbit-heatstroke.
  3. Somjen, Kim, DVM. “Rabbit tooth malocclusion – detection and therapy.” Bell Mead Animal Hospital, Feb. 3, 2016, www.bellemeadanimalhospital.com/weblog/rabbit-teeth-malocclusion-detection-and-treatment.

Ideas and Tips Publication

If you’re new to caring for rabbits, take a look at the Bunny Girl bimonthly e-newsletter. Proper after you join, you’ll obtain a FREE pdf rabbit care guidebook. I put collectively a information that goes over all of the fundamentals of rabbit care so you might have it multi functional place. Then you’ll obtain suggestions and methods about rabbit care straight to your inbox in order that you understand you’ll be taking wonderful care of your new rabbit.

Beneficial Merchandise and Manufacturers

Essential: These are Affiliate hyperlinks. As an affiliate to Amazon, Small Pet Choose, and Chewy.com, I could obtain a small fee from qualifying purchases.

The 2 manufacturers that I exploit when shopping for meals for my rabbit are Oxbow and Small Pet Choose. These each have prime quality rabbit merchandise and are firms that care concerning the well being of our small animals. If you’re buying something from Small Pet Choose use the code BUNNYLADY at checkout to get 15% off your first order.

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