Dutch Rabbits – All You Need To Know

There are a lot of Dutch rabbit breeds. But when people talk about the Dutch Rabbit, they usually mean the Brabender or Hollander. You’ll recognize it immediately from its unique colour pattern. What else is there to know about this popular pet breed? Get the facts here.

Years ago, when people thought of pet rabbits, the Dutch Rabbit or Hollander was the image that came to mind. A medium-sized rabbit breed with a distinctive dark-and-white pattern, this was once the most popular of pet breeds.

Although new breeds, particularly dwarf breeds, have eclipsed the Hollander in popularity, it remains among the top ten best-loved pet breeds.

The History of the Dutch Rabbit Breed

Did you know that the Dutch Rabbit isn’t a Dutch breed? It’s true. Unlike the Holland Lop or the Netherland Dwarf (an unrelated breed sometimes called a Dwarf Dutch Rabbit), this breed has its roots in England and Belgium.

In the 1830s, traders brought several different types of meat rabbits from Belgium to England. One of these breeds came from the county of Brabant, which before the Belgian Revolution in 1830, had been part of the Netherlands. 

The Petit Brabançon breed contributed the unique markings by which we know the Dutch Rabbit today. English breeders liked these markings and selected for them.

Today, these rabbits are kept mainly as pets. The breed carries over the coloured and white markings from the Petit Brabançon, though other types of rabbits have also contributed to the breed we know today.

How Big is This Bunny?

Dutch Rabbits are small to medium-sized. Adults weigh in at between 3.5 pounds (1.58 kilograms) and 5.5 pounds (2.48 kilograms). That’s a bit smaller than a small house cat.

What Do Dutch Rabbits Look Like?

These rabbits have a small, rounded body, back, and head. Their ears are short, wide, and furry.

They have a short, glossy coat, which comes in a variety of colours, but always the same “Dutch” pattern of coloured ears and cheeks, a white blaze down the middle of the face, white markings across the neck, back, and shoulders, and black or coloured hindquarters.

Recognized colours include:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Chinchilla (agouti)
  • Chocolate brown
  • Gray (Brown grey)
  • Steel 
  • Tortoiseshell

This breed is recognized by both the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the British Rabbit Council.

What is a Dutch Rabbit’s Personality Like?

It’s not just a Dutch bunny’s good looks that make it so popular as a pet. Although every individual has its personality, Dutch Rabbits, as a group tend to be:

  • Gentle
  • Calm
  • Easygoing
  • Good-natured
  • Affectionate
  • Sociable
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Easy to train

In short, the perfect combination of traits for family pets.

Dutch Rabbits: Life Span

The lifespan of a Dutch bunny is average: between six and nine years.

How to Care For Your Dutch Rabbit

If you open your home to a Dutch Rabbit, you’ll find it to be not only a good-natured friend but a fairly low-maintenance one, as well. With proper care, your bunny can be a part of your family for many years.

Still, all rabbits need specific types of care when it comes to feeding, grooming, and housing.

What Do Dutch Rabbits Eat?

In the wild, rabbits eat mostly grasses, flowers, and leafy weeds. Pet rabbits do best on a diet that mimics this. To this end, experts recommend:

  • A diet that is 70% hay at minimum
  • Alternately, give your rabbit its weight in the hay to eat every day
  • Pellets should make up no more than 30% of your rabbits’ diet
  • Give your rabbits treats in moderation, that is, no more than 10% of their daily intake

Also, your pets will love it if you supplement their diet with rabbit safe vegetables and fruits. Just be sparing with the fruit. Bunnies love fruit, but it’s very high in sugar, which isn’t good for any of us.

Introduce vegetables, fruits and other foods slowly, and one at a time. This will help your rabbit’s delicate digestive system adequate time to adapt to the change.

How Do You Groom a Dutch Rabbit?

Owners of Dutch Rabbits are lucky. The Dutch bunny’s lustrous, glossy coat is also short, which means less chance of mats and tangles. In general, grooming your Dutch rabbit is pretty easy.

Grooming is one way that rabbits bond with one another. You can also use grooming to bond with your rabbit. Most rabbits, for example, love to be brushed with a soft brush. Starting a grooming session that way will make it pleasant for both of you.

Your rabbit grooming routine should include these daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Once a Day

You should visit with your rabbit at least once a day. During your visits, take the time to:

  • Look for anything out of the ordinary, including injuries, diarrhoea, and appetite loss
  • Be aware of signs of flystrike, especially in the summer
  • Examine for a dirty bottom

Once a Week

Once a week, do a more serious Rabbit M.O.T. Look for:

  • Impacted scent glands on the bottom or the sides of the face
  • Wax or discharge from the ears
  • Discharge or foreign objects in the eyes
  • Fleas, ticks, and other parasites

Once a Month

Clip your bunny’s nails once a month with a rabbit-safe nail trimmer.

For more detailed information about rabbit grooming, check out our rabbit grooming guide.

How Should I House My Dutch Rabbit?

With as much space as possible!

Dutch rabbits are an energetic breed. This means that they need plenty of exercise. Also, they’re very intelligent, which means that they need plenty of activity, interaction, and stimuli to stave off boredom. 

Start with a spacious hutch. For one rabbit, you’ll need, at minimum, enough room for your rabbit to:

  • Stand up on its hind legs without touching the ceiling with its ears
  • Hop three times in a row from end to end
  • Lie down and stretch out without touching the walls

If you have more than one rabbit — and you should — double that.

Now that you have living space sorted, every bunny needs a safe place to exercise, and that means a run.

A hutch with an attached run can provide your bunny with all-day access to both living and exercise space.  

Dutch Treat

This English breed with a Continental name is a lively, sociable, energetic companion. It’s an excellent choice for a family pet, and easy to care for, too.

Do you have a Dutch Rabbit? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

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One Response

  1. I have a dutch rabbit and it is my first dutch rabbit. I have had holland lops, rexes, netherland and polish dwarfs, french lops and angoras. Hands down the dutch rabbit has been the worst rabbit I have ever had. It bites, scratches and destroys. It beats up the other bunny we have and no matter what we try they the dutch will not bond. I am really confused. It has a great set up for the rabbit. It lives in a large space and has access to humans for the better part of the day. It seems curious about us but when we try to engage with it, it bites and scratches and thumps. At night time if it is running around free it will jump on the bed and scratch your face up or bite your toes. What am I doing wrong. My spouse and I have so many rabbits and never have we had one be so mean and unable to bond with. We are beside ourselves in what to do with this bunny.

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