Rabbits are a popular pet among families and individuals from all over the globe. There are over three hundred rabbit breeds in existence in the world today. That is a whole lot to choose from when considering getting a pet rabbit. Usually, breeds that are cute and petite are a preference for kids and rabbit owners.
Seven pet rabbit breeds that stay cute and small include Mini Rexes, Mini Plush Lops, English Angoras, Britannia Petites, Netherland Dwarves, Lionheads, and Jersey Woollies. These seven breeds of rabbits remain small throughout their lifetime, and if you are thinking of getting a small bunny breed, you can choose from them.
Read on to give you an insight on the rabbit you might just own!
What breed of rabbits stay small?
This is a list of seven rabbits that remain little and cute and will make a wonderful pet and friend.
- Mini Rex
- Mini Plush Lop
- English Angora
- Britannia Petite
- Netherland Dwarf
- Jersey Wooly
Please take note that this list is in no specific order, and some other small rabbit breeds are not mentioned above, an example is the American Fuzzy Lop. The list comprises cute, little rabbits that can easily be found in pet stores and have a whole lot of information out there on how to take care of them.
While some rabbits require special care, the ones mentioned above require mostly the same type of care.
Mini Rex Rabbit
This rabbit breed is one of the most common pet rabbit breeds in Europe and the United States today due to its small size, friendly nature, and its lush fur. It was first created in Florida by Monna Berryhill of Texas, in the year 1984 and was first recognized in 1988 by the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association).
Mini Rex Rabbits are short, with a compact body, rounded back, properly developed shoulders, midsection, and hindquarters with an overall luxuriant appearance. They have straight short legs and a head quite close to their shoulders due to their short neck. Also, they have thick, upright ears with a length of 3.5 inches at most.
The Mini Rex has unique fur from other rabbits. Its underfur is not protected by long guard hairs, and its secondary guard hairs are an equal length with the undercoat. This gives an overall uniform feel when you run your fingers through its fur. The fur is short with 5/8 inch being the standard length, springy, and sleek to the touch. It is also very straight and dense. Luckily, the coat does not need much maintenance. It should only be groomed when necessary to avoid damaging the texture.
Mini Rexes come in various lovely patterns and cool colours including Lilac, Opal, Castor, Himalayan, Blue, Sable, tricolour (White with other colours like Fawn and Blue, Orange and Black, and so on)making them attractive to those who need a cute, small pet.
The Mini Rex rabbit cannot be classified as a dwarf because only rabbits that are under 2.5lbs are categorized as dwarfs by the British Rabbit Council (BRC), and they do not weigh that little, even though they are small. They only made the list of small rabbits due to their size. When fully grown, they can weigh between 3.5 to 4.5 pounds.
The Mini Rex rabbit-like any other rabbit breed suffers from health problems peculiar to rabbits. They are prone to dental problems, snuffles, myxomatosis, head tilt, and the likes. To keep your rabbit safe and healthy, you should provide it with proper care and a hygienic environment in which to live. Mini Rex rabbits have a calm nature and friendly personality, so they make cute, small pets.
Mini Plush Lop Rabbit
The Mini Plush Lop rabbit breed is known for its sweet and docile nature. It is cute and small, weighing between 2 to 4lbs (the British variety) and 4 to 5lbs (the American variety). It was created by Devie D’Anniballe and is a combination of four different breeds. They include the Mini Rex, Netherland Dwarf, Mini Lop, and Holland Lop.
Mini Plush Lop rabbits are a rare and unique rabbit breed having just two qualified breeders with rabbitries strictly for them. They possess three to 4.5-pound ball of soft fur, moult two times in a year, and do not shed too much hair as happens in most rabbits.
Although the Mini Plush Lop rabbit’s fur has this silky, velvety feel that is similar to that of a Mini Rex Rabbit, it is smaller and has floppy ears like the Holland Lop. It is economical to feed the animal due to its small size. These rabbits are also gentle and barely make any noise except for when they are hurt.
The Mini Plush Lop makes an excellent pet with its small size got from the Netherland Dwarf, lush fur got from the Mini Rex, and its lop ears and wide crown from the Mini Lop. They come in a variety of colours because of the combination of different breeds giving potential owners a wide range from which to choose.
They can suffer from the diseases associated with rabbits such as dental problems especially if they are being fed with a diet that lacks fibre. Generally, the Mini Plush Lop rabbit is a perfect choice if you are looking for a cute pet as it has a gentle and calm personality. It will sit in your lap, play around, and also hop about in curiosity, and you will get along with it well.
English Angora Rabbit
The Angora rabbit which is one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbits originated from Ankara, Turkey which is known as Angora historically. They are of two types; the French Angora and the English Angora.
The English Angora rabbits are small and very furry creatures. They have a flat, broad head, short woolly ears, woolly feet, and furry faces. Their coat is thick with a silky texture, and since their entire body is covered in fur, they require frequent grooming to prevent matting and tangling even when they are not shedding. It is best to brush your Angora rabbit regularly using a wire-bristled comb, and you could use a shear to trim and keep its coat short.
Mostly, giving these animals a cut entails shearing their faces and most parts of their body to keep their coat short. However, another option is to leave their ears and feet uncut. This type of cut is called a puppy cut, and it gives them the appearance of a little poodle.
The English Angora rabbits come in different colours, ranging from Chestnut, Chocolate, or Lynx for the Agouti group. The Shaded group includes the Blue Tort, Lilac Tort, Black Tort, or Chocolate Tort. The Show group is known for having a white coat and ruby eyes. The Self group includes Lilac, Blue, Chocolate, or Black. The pointed group all have white wool which features spots on their legs and nose and are either black, grey, or blue spots.
The English Angora rabbit’s major health challenge is the case of wool block. The rabbit might mistakenly inhale some of the furs on its body while grooming itself. Under normal circumstances, the hairs should pass out with its faeces, but sometimes it could get trapped inside its body and start accumulating, leading to a blockage of the digestive tract. This condition could be harmful to rabbits like the English Angora as they have long, thick fur. However, it can be prevented from happening and can be treated when it occurs if the symptoms are observed on time.
English Angora rabbits are even-tempered, and they easily bond with their owners, especially the person who grooms and feeds them often. They are a great pet to have as they play and interact well with humans.
Brittania Petite Rabbit
The Brittania Petite rabbit breed is also called the Polish rabbit in the UK. They are a very small breed, weighing about 2 to 2.5lbs. They have large eyes in a wedge-shaped head, making the eyes look as if they are protruding. Their ears are located on their heads and are short and in an upright position. They also have a full-arch body with their bellies tucked up underneath it. This breed is known for its elegant poise which is a result of its slender, fine-boned body.
The Brittania Petite rabbit has soft, short fur that does not require much grooming to keep it in perfect condition. Although they shed fur a little more than usual, this can be avoided by brushing them with a slicker brush once or twice weekly, during shedding season. They come in colours such as Black Otter, Chestnut agouti, Sable, Black and in broken patterns (White mixed with another colour), Blue-eyed whites, and Red-eyed whites.
This rabbit breed requires proper care and handling. Always provide them with high-quality hay and freshwater. Since they are small, it is recommended that you get an indoor enclosure for your rabbit. This is because it will always be a target for predators because of its small size, no matter how fortified its outdoor cage is.
There are no health problems peculiar to the Brittania Petite rabbit breed. However, rabbit owners should always monitor their rabbits closely and check for symptoms that would indicate a health issue, like reduced appetite, unusual behaviour, decreased stooling, and the like. Overgrown teeth are another thing to watch out for in rabbits as this can lead to dental problems.
The Brittania Petite rabbit is very energetic and curious, so it would not be advisable for people looking for a docile and cuddly rabbit to purchase it. They require space to hop about and a lot of time to bond with their owners. Although they would make wonderful pets, this breed is not recommended for kids or beginner handlers due to their hyperactive nature.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit
This rabbit breed is one of the most popular rabbit breeds in the world, and it originated from the Netherlands. It was brought into the UK in 1948 and into the USA in 1965. The rabbit breed was created by crossing Polish rabbit breeds with small, wild rabbits, thereby producing the Netherland Dwarf rabbit.
They come in a lot of different colours like Blue Tan, Chocolate Himalayan, Tortoiseshell, Chinchilla, Sable Point, etc. Netherland Dwarf rabbits are one of the smallest rabbit breeds in the world today as they weigh between 1.1 to 2.5lbs, making them actual dwarf rabbits.
They have small and round faces, large eyes, short little ears atop their heads, and a compact body that makes them cute. As regards their furs, they have soft, medium-length fur that does not require much maintenance to keep it in a good state. Shedding in these animals is moderate but may be more depending on the season of the year.
Netherland Dwarf rabbits do not need a large enclosure to be happy since they are small. Just enough space for them to move about is okay. Also, it is advisable that you do not keep these animals in an outdoor cage because of their small sizes, as they would be susceptible to predators and harsh weather conditions.
This rabbit breed could suffer from malocclusion, which is a situation in which the mandible and jaw of the rabbit do not grow at the same rate. This means that the upper and lower incisors will grow apart, making chewing difficult. The condition will also impede the wearing down of overgrown teeth and can lead to dental problems. In such a situation, get your rabbit to a vet for treatment and correction.
Although Netherland Dwarf rabbits are energetic and playful, they can also be skittish and shy. You can train them at a young age to socialize and interact with humans by ensuring that they get enough playtime with you. This will help them overcome their skittish tendencies, and you will have a great pet in your company.
Lionhead rabbits have their origin in Belgium and weigh about 2.5 to 3.5lbs when fully grown. They are the product of a cross between a Swiss Fox and a Netherland Dwarf. Lionhead rabbits were brought to the United States in the late nineties. They were accepted into the BRC (British Rabbit Council) in 2002 and accepted into the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) in 2014.
This breed has a wool mane around its head that is similar to that of a lion, hence the name, ‘Lionhead’. Their manes are about 2 inches long and are as a result of genetic mutation during the cross-breeding. They have a small and compact body, ears that are 2-3 inches long and a head-mounted high on their neck.
Lionhead rabbits have soft fur, which should be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting. Their manes come in two forms. A lionhead rabbit could have a single mane which would be thin, light, and feathery. This mane is usually found around its head, chin, ears, and even chest at times. Also, it could have a double mane, which is thicker than the single mane and features wool on both flanks.
Lionhead rabbits come in colours such as Blue, Smoke pearl, Black, Chocolate, Seal, Sable point, Chestnut agouti, Blue-eyed white, and so on. These animals should be fed with quality hay, pellets, vegetables, leafy greens, and rabbit-safe fruits. Fresh water should also be made available for it, and it should be kept in an indoor cage to protect it from the weather and predators. It should be allowed enough playtime outside its hutch, under supervision to help it bond and interact with its owners.
As a rabbit owner, you should always observe your rabbit and monitor its health. The issue of overgrown teeth is there, which is why you should feed your rabbit with enough hay to help wear down its teeth, so they do not grow into its jaws and cause dental problems. Ear mites are another thing to look out for as they can grow inside the ear of your Lionhead rabbit. Symptoms include loss of fur on the ears and unusual scratching of the ear(s). It can also suffer from other rabbit associated diseases like head tilt and digestive issues, hence the need to take proper care of your rabbit and get a veterinarian to check it if you notice anything unusual.
Lionhead rabbits make excellent pets as they love to play and are energetic. They do not mind being carried and petted by their owners.
Jersey Wooly Rabbit
The Jersey Wooly rabbit breed was a result of a cross between the French Angora rabbit and a Netherland Dwarf. It was recognised in 1988 by the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) and is now a favourite pet rabbit in the United States. This rabbit has a compact body, and weighs between 1 to 3 lbs, making it a dwarf rabbit breed. It has a bold, square head and small, erect ears.
Jersey woolly rabbits have a very soft coat, which needs to be brushed a minimum of once a week, to prevent matting and keep it clean during the non-shedding season. It should be brushed more than once when shedding starts. This breed of rabbit has six different colour groups accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. The Self group comprises Chocolate, Blue, Black, Lilac, Blue-eyed white, and Red-eyed white.
The Broken group is made up of White with any other recognised colour. The Agouti group comprises Opal, Chestnut, Squirrel, and Chinchilla colours. The Tan Pattern group comprises Smoke pearl marten, Chocolate silver marten, Sable marten, Blue otter, Black otter, Black silver marten, Lilac silver marten, and Blue silver marten. The Shaded group comprises Seal, Tortoiseshell, Smoke Pearl, Siamese sable, Sable point, and Blue tortoiseshell. The ‘Any Other Variety’ group comprises pointed white blue and pointed white black variety.
The Jersey Wooly rabbit should be kept in an indoor hutch because of its small size to protect it from predators and harsh weather conditions. Although it does not require a large cage, there should be enough room for it to stretch and move freely. The rabbit should be fed with a healthy diet which includes a lot of hay as well as leafy greens, pellets, fruits, and vegetables.
This rabbit breed can suffer from wool block because of its long fur when it is grooming itself. Although the risk is not as high as it is in rabbits like the English Angora, you should still take the necessary precautions. Symptoms such as decreased appetite, reduced droppings, and refusal to move about might indicate wool block. The rabbit should be taken to a vet to get checked immediately. Also, check your pet’s mouth frequently for overgrown teeth as this can cause dental issues which are one of the most common health challenges rabbits face.
The Jersey Wooly rabbit breed is known for its docile, even-tempered, and gentle nature, so it makes for an excellent pet both for first-time pet owners and longtime pet owners. Kids can also play with this rabbit, although you should supervise children so that they do not manhandle the rabbit.
Enough outdoor time should be given to the rabbit to play and bond with its handlers, and rabbit-safe toys should be made available for it to entertain itself as well.
How To Care For A Small Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are lovely, little creatures, and they require proper care and attention to live a healthy and content life. If you are considering acquiring a rabbit as a pet, you should learn the basics of how to take care of it, how to set up its home, how to feed it, how to clean it up, how to ensure it is healthy, how to clean its hutch and so on.
Here are some tips on how to care for your rabbit;
Suitable Home For Your Pet Rabbit
Firstly, after deciding to get a pet rabbit, you should consider preparing a home suitable for it. Since the focus here is small pet rabbits, they would not take up much space so they wouldn’t need a large hutch. An indoor hutch is best for small rabbits. This is because their size makes them prone to predators such as raccoons, coyotes, dogs, and even cats. Also, they need to be sheltered from harsh weather conditions not suitable for them.
The hutch should be big enough for the rabbit to hop about in, stretch, and relax. The bottom of the hutch should be lined with wood, straw, or hay, particularly if it is made of wire. You should also provide a litter box in the hutch for your rabbit to go about its business and litter train the animal while it is still young.
You can get a raised platform of straw to serve as its bedding, and a food dish and water bottle from which it can drink. Mapping out a part, or getting a small box and filling it with shredded papers for your rabbit to burrow in is necessary. Providing this will help to satisfy your rabbit’s wild instincts, and getting some toys would not be a bad idea as your rabbit would love the entertainment.
How And What To Feed Your Pet Rabbit
A bunny’s diet is made up of hay for the most part. It is best to feed your adult rabbit with high-quality hay such as timothy hay, oat hay, and grass hay. Baby bunnies should eat alfalfa hay. Alongside hay, you should give your pet fresh leafy greens and vegetables, fibrous pellets, and fruits that are rabbit-safe which can serve as treats. Fresh water should also be made available to your rabbits at all times.
Cleaning And Grooming Your Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are generally known to be neat and tidy animals as they groom and take care of themselves. All the same, as a rabbit owner, you have a part to play. Always ensure you brush your rabbit’s fur especially during shedding season to remove loose and excess hair. During the non-shedding season, you can brush your rabbit’s fur once a week to maintain a clean coat.
Trim your pet’s nails at intervals as they never stop growing, and if they become too long, they can affect your rabbit’s movement and hurt its feet.
You can also spot clean your pet using a damp cloth or baby wipes if there are stains on its body that won’t go away. Do not bathe your rabbit except it is necessary and make sure that it is done the right way to avoid harming your rabbit.
Cleaning Your Rabbit’s Hutch
Keeping your pet’s hutch clean and sanitised is one way to ensure that your rabbit lives a healthy life. Try to tidy it up daily by emptying its litter box, replacing leftover food, rearranging its bedding, and refilling its water bottle. Clean out and sanitise your the cage weekly or bi-weekly.
You can do this by bringing out everything from the hutch and scrubbing it thoroughly with vinegar and warm water in 50:50 ratio. Also chewed up toys, and wash them, its food dish, litter box, water bottle, and other items in its hutch with hot water mixed with detergent. After cleaning the hutch, leave it to dry and then arrange fresh bedding inside it. Set up its litter box, refill its water bottle, and fill its food dish with fresh hay.
Monitoring Your Rabbit’s Health
Being a prey animal, your pet rabbit will try to hide symptoms of an illness. Hence, you should always watch the animal closely so that you can tell when something is not right with it and get a solution on time.
Also, check your rabbit’s teeth to ensure it is not overgrown so you can save your bunny from dental problems. Also, monitor your rabbit’s bowel movements, and check that its cecotropes are mushy and it is eating them. If your bunny is not passing stool, or its stool is watery and loose, get your vet to check it.
You should also keep an eye on your rabbit’s behaviour. If it is unusually calm and inactive, refuses to interact, has a decreased appetite, and is mostly immobile, this could be a sign of a health problem.
Is It Easier To Keep Cute And Small Pet Rabbits?
There is no real difference apart from the size, between a small rabbit and a rabbit that suggests one is better or easier to keep as a pet than the other. They still require proper care and attention regardless of their sizes. All types of rabbits have their personalities and features, and this should be put into consideration when choosing a pet rabbit.
Small rabbits are generally more active and energetic than large ones, and so, they require more playtime and attention. They also tend to live longer than large breeds with their average lifespan being ten years. Also, they do not require much grooming time as there is little of them to groom, and they have been said to be cleaner since they eat less and therefore poop less.
In conclusion, the main edge small rabbits have over large ones is that they are simply cute and adorable, and they take up less space. If you decide to acquire a pet rabbit, it is really up to you to decide what you want. Just keep in mind that small pet rabbits require as much time and attention as the large ones, and since they are energetic and play a lot, you should be ready to oblige, to keep them happy.