Dutch rabbits are perhaps the most recognizable breed of rabbits there is. Their unmistakable markings and color patterns make them quite popular in rabbit organizations and industries.
Get to know more about this endearing breed, and you will understand why many people are fascinated with the Dutch Rabbit!
What Is A Dutch Rabbit?
The Dutch Rabbit, also known as the Branbander or Hollander by some, is a breed with distinct color patterns that are easy to recognize. It was one of the most popular breeds before dwarf rabbits were developed, and this lessened the demand for Dutch rabbits in the market.
They have a scientific name of Oryctolagus cuniculus, and this particular breed doesn’t precisely have a known origin. However, many believe that they came from the Netherlands or in England. In 1910, both the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the British Rabbit Council recognized this breed as a part of their official list.
The Dutch Rabbit belongs to the groups of the breeds first recognized by the National Pet Stock Association. The organization was established in 1910 before changing it into the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1952.
The breed standard for the Dutch Rabbit involves a compact and round body, defined markings, and a blaze on its face. As of today, there are seven official varieties of this breed.
One of the reasons why this breed is popular among pet owners is due their recognizable appearance. No matter what color, the Dutch Rabbit has a white blaze along its face and a white collar that reaches the back of their bodies.
They belong to the small breed group. Their fur is also average in length with a soft undercoat and a longer guard fur, making them soft and fluffy to touch. Another distinct feature these rabbits have is their pointed upright ears.
The Dutch Rabbit comes in various colors, but the black version is the most prominent one in the world. This also affects the color of their eyes in combination with their fur. The colors of the Dutch Rabbits are as follows:
The black color serves as the standard for the Dutch rabbit breed. It tends to be glossy, dense, and runs deep towards the skin. The blue undercoat intensifies the color, which makes it almost jet-black.
The gray Dutch is the only one of this breed to have an agouti pattern. Their fur shows a blend of distinct band colors. They usually have a slate blue base color, then a medium tan shade, followed by a charcoal brown before finishing with a light tan band color.
They have black guard hairs as well as black lacing around the ears. Their eyes also look narrower than the others.
The color of their belly is cream or white, which extends from the legs up to the stomach and undercut. However, some of them can be disqualified if there is no significant ring color covering the colored part of the body. Another reason can be the lack of slate blue undercolor in the portion of their belly.
Blue Dutch rabbits have a dark blue color that blends well into the blue undercoat near the skin. They may look quite similar to the black Dutch Rabbit, but you can see the distinction with the color of their eyes.
The collar fur of the Chinchilla Dutch rabbit mostly appears to be pearl white. Their faded appearance comes from the blend of their white coat and blue undercoat. The color of the top of their tails can look like a scattered black fur with hints of white. Their ears also have a tinge of black on the edges.
Like the black version of the breed, the chocolate Dutch has a solid dark chocolate brown color that appears very glossy and dense. The color runs down to their skin and sometimes even blends into a bluish-dove color of the undercoat.
The steel Dutch Rabbit looks almost the same as the black Dutch. The only difference this color has is the off-white discoloration of some of the hair tips. This fault is a result of genetic mutation.
Their undercoat color is slate blue that starts deep within the skin. In some cases, they may have crotch marks, but that is acceptable. The only disqualifications this Dutch rabbit can have are when they have a ring pattern on the back and upper sides and a white fur under its tail.
The tortoise Dutch mostly appear orange with a fuse of smoky blue shading on the rump down to the haunches. Their fur gradually blends into a dark cream color as it approaches the skin. The color of their heads tends to be darker, especially in the whisker bed, and goes lighter in the ears and jaw.
The underside of their tail also has a smoky blue shade. The disqualifications mainly focus on the absence of shadings.
Another color that the Dutch rabbits can possible have is lilac, but this is still in considerations whether it should be an official variant or not.
For Dutch rabbits, their markings are an essential part of their distinction. Some can even be disqualified from the class if they lack or have specific attributes such as discoloration, fur length, and more. These markings also separate one color from another to prevent confusion.
The cheeks of a Dutch rabbit should be rounded. Hooked cheeks can be considered a fault when it meets the neckline and gets pulled into the throat and mouth. It is also unacceptable when the cheeks are in a higher position, either near the eye circles or above where the whisker bed is.
The blaze refers to the white marking located on the Rabbit’s face. It should always be a specific wedge shape that does not exceed a medium width. It should cover the beard bed, the nose and the narrow part through the ears. They are also ideal for the hairline.
The neck marking refers to the color of the Dutch Rabbit’s collar. It should be almost pure white and has a wedge shape similar to the blaze. A dirty neck (fur discoloration) is considered as a fault but not entirely a disqualification.
The saddle is the part where the white fur meets the colored part of the body. It should start along the shoulders and cover the rest of the lower body, creating a circle shape around.
The undercut marking is located under the Rabbit’s body that serves as a connection to the saddle. It should be located close to the back of the forelegs and create a circle around the body. One disqualification in this category is when the color reaches the elbow joint of the foreleg.
The stop markings have to be well-rounded on the hind feet. There must be a white color in the toes covering almost one-third (1/3) of the foot’s length before the colored fur begins. When the toes are completely colored, it is considered a disqualification.
Size and Weight
The right size for Dutch rabbits ranges between 3.5 to 5.5 pounds. They are regarded as the smallest rabbit breed, but not small enough to be considered a dwarf.
At the age of 6 months, they can grow pretty quickly. According to the American Dutch Rabbit Club, their body weight can also get to 1.63 kilograms when they become adults.
This is only the average, and they can still vary in size depending on their eating habits.
The average life expectancy of Dutch rabbits is about 5 to 8 years. Some can even live for as long as ten years. With this in mind, it is still necessary to consider that the lifespan of a rabbit still depends on their lifestyle, diet, and existing complications.
Dutch rabbits are possibly the most loved pet rabbit globally due to their intelligent nature and friendliness. They are generally easygoing, friendly, and energetic, so you will have a great time playing with them. However, they do not all have the same attitudes. Some can be as charming as they can be, while some can be wild and unapproachable.
You can also observe how they act and react to certain situations first before deciding on adding them to your family. Never touch them without making them feel secure because they can attack if they feel threatened. Don’t force them to socialize upon introduction, and give them some time to adjust before allowing any family member or yourself to play with them.
They also have a personality, so take your time to learn what they like and don’t like so you will know how to interact with them. Avoid making rapid movements around them and try to make them feel safe in your presence.
Dutch rabbits require a balanced diet to maintain their healthy figure and energetic nature. It is necessary to feed them a combination of vegetables, fruits, hay, and pellets. These will help in their digestion process while providing the body with essential nutrients.
Hay should be a staple in a rabbit’s diet. It includes orchard grass, oat hay, brome, and timothy. You can also mix them up, and your bunnies will appreciate it well. These grasses can sometimes come with molds or dust, so make sure to check them first before putting them into the feeder.
When feeding them pellets, make sure to give them small quantities. An adult Dutch rabbit should consume only one-quarter of a cup of pellets each day. Anything more than this can result in obesity and other diet-related complications. Also, observe their size and weight often to see if you are overfeeding them or not.
Veggies provide many vitamins and minerals, making this a good diet choice for your bunnies. Most green vegetables are safe for them, but there are still some that you should be careful of in adding to their meals.
- Bell peppers
- Bok Choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Carrot tops
- Okra leaves
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
Fruits can be served as a treat or as desserts. You can give it to them up to two times a week, depending on your rabbit’s appetite. These are the fruits you can feed them:
- Apples (without seeds)
Lastly, here is the list of the foods that you should never feed to your Dutch Rabbit. Some of these can be poisonous or even deadly:
- Human treats
- Beet greens
- Iceberg lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Most rabbits don’t adapt well to hot weather because of their thick fur coats, but they can’t also do well in intense coldness. Although they can be kept outside with an enclosure, make sure to consider the climate conditions first to keep your Dutch Rabbit safe.
Just like any other breed, the Dutch Rabbit is vulnerable to certain diseases. The most common health conditions they may acquire in their lifetime are the following:
Parasites, particularly the Cheyletiella mites, can cause itching and hair loss if not treated immediately. Fortunately, experts can resolve this quickly with anti-mite preparations or spot treatments.
Another parasite that can infect them is E cuniculi which are far harder to manage. It can be passed to other bunnies through the spores in the urine and are often symptom-less, which makes them hard to diagnose. It is difficult to remove, but some medications like worming treatments can help.
- Dental diseases
The teeth of rabbits are constantly growing, requiring a good diet of hay that wears it down. Dental problems might sometimes occur, such as misalignment and altered teeth position, but vets can improve these.
- Gastrointestinal disorders
The digestive tracts of Dutch rabbits are quite more sensitive than others. It requires fiber stimulation to maintain its healthy process. Gastrointestinal disorders occur when the gut becomes damaged, which can lead to bloating.
- Uterine cancer
Uterine cancer is a disease that affects female rabbits, and it can cause fertility problems, stillbirths, and blood in the urine. Sometimes, it can even affect the lungs and cause difficulty in breathing.
- Respiratory tract disorders
Dutch rabbits have small lungs, making respiratory infections the most common condition across all rabbit breeds.
Many pet owners admire Dutch rabbits, and there is nothing to question why. People of all ages can enjoy the happiness and charm they emit. They will brighten up your days by simply existing because their sweet nature speaks for themselves.
If you want one for yourself, don’t forget the things listed above. It will help you in providing a safe space for your Dutch Rabbits.