Is a Netherland dwarf right for me?

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Hello everyone. I am Lovetta Nandina Paulina (the III), and I am 14 years old. After 3 years of trying to persuade my father to allow me to have a rabbit, he has finally caved. However, he insists that my first pet must be a Netherland dwarf. I've heard that Netherland dwarves absolutely hate being touched and refuse to sit still for more than a few seconds. However, most of these accusations have been from random people lamenting on yahoo, many of whom, I feel, could stand to learn a bit more about rabbits. I am far more inclined to believe the articles written by organizations like the House Rabbit Society, which claim that Netherland dwarves are gentle and affable pets. Either way, I believe that the way a rabbit is treated and cared for largely defines its personality. I have seen videos of snuggly Netherland dwarves and aggressive Flemish giants. I just think these "yahoo" people simply don't know how to care for their rabbits properly and are experiencing the bad side of owning their pets. As I said, most of the more official articles portray Netherland dwarves as gentle, friendly, and affectionate. I don't expect my rabbit to let me "hug him and kiss him and name him George", but I want my first experience with a mammalian pet to be a good one. So can you tell me if Netherland dwarves can be gentle, affectionate, and cuddly pets? If not, would a Holland lop be a good alternative?
-Lovetta
P.S. if you have a Netherland dwarf, would you mind attaching a photographand telling me a little about him/her?
 

Devi

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With any rabbit, it all comes down to personality. Not all rabbits will be cuddly, affectionate and gentle while some will be no matter what breed they are. Some will be gentle but not affectionate it just depends on the Rabbit.
 

stevesmum

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Please consider adoption as a way to find your new friend and give a beautiful animal a good home. Hopefully he/she will be fixed so that takes care of that worry too!
 

whiskylollipop

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This is my mini lop and my nethie. Nethies are in general high-energy, always bobbing around exploring and being mentally superior to all but the most seasoned bunny people. They can be more skittish because of their size, but I find that in a healthy environment my nethie is much bolder than my mini.

Of course, personality has more to do with individual buns than their breed or even upbringing. You might want to start off by visiting some rabbit shelters or rescues to see what personalities are out there. Many people love getting a cute little baby, but you never know what kind of personality they'll have as an adult. Take my mini, for example. I had him from a baby, brought him up in a loving environment with lots of food and freedom, and he just grew up to be a huge jerk.

And then my nethie, who was an adult rescue, grew up in an awful home and was left to die, but now she is bold, sweet, wily, and incredibly people-friendly.

It's a crap shoot! If you are not prepared to deal with any and all types of personalities that might surface when your bun hits puberty, then I always say it's safest to spend time with grown buns.

View attachment 1419373941557.jpg
 

Blue eyes

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Darn... I just wrote a whole long post and then hit the wrong key and it erased everything. :no:


Anyway, in the meantime I see that Whiskey lollipop posted. She basically wrote the same things that I was going to suggest.

Devi makes the same point that the innate personality of an individual rabbit will only marginally be effected by upbringing. A very shy rabbit is just always going to be shy.

Stevesmum also makes a great point (like Whiskey) that rescue rabbits have visible personalities.

However, since you had such a hard time convincing your Dad, I would especially encourage you to get an already fixed rabbit. Otherwise, with a baby, Dad may not be pleased to find out that just a couple months after getting bunny that he now has to spend a couple hundred dollars to spay a misbehaving (hormonal) rabbit.
 
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I thank all of you for your input. However, my parents want me to have a baby rabbit, so it can grow up and bond to me, my family, and my friends. My father has, in fact, already located a Netherland dwarf breeder in our vicinity, and I am sure that a reputable breeder such as this one will be able to predict the rabbit's personality in the future to at least some extent. I do believe, also, that my father is aware that spaying/neutering is necessary. I know adopting a rabbit would be the "good" thing to do, but I am more attracted to a purebred, hand raised pet with a stable background. And I am sure even the friendliest, cuddliest rabbit would become timid and aggressive in poor conditions and vice versa. I can assure you that my new rabbit will be kept in only the best of circumstances, and that is will be raised to be friendly, affectionate, and cuddly.
~Lovetta
 

stevesmum

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I wholeheartedly agree with whisky lollipop. You never know what you're gonna get. I personally support rescue 100% and cannot be swayed on that point, knowing how many pets are homeless and unloved out there. But good luck.
 

JBun

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It's best to keep in mind when reading the posts of other members - many of us are quite experienced with rabbits and are passing on what we have learned as owners. and the type of problems that can be encountered. If someone is advising to get an adult rabbit, it may be that they have learned the hard way that baby bunnies don't always turn out the way you expect. For a first time owner, I would always recommend getting an already spayed/neutered rabbit, that has a personality that you like. It usually makes the first time owner experience a lot easier, and can also make it easier to bond with your rabbit because you are picking a rabbit that you already know the personality of, and this personality isn't likely to change much, which can't necessarily be said for a baby bunny. It is also good to spend some time sitting with and getting to know the rabbit before you actually pick one. It can take time of quietly observing a rabbit, to get to know what the personality is really like.

Being that you are new to rabbits and don't have the experience yet, you are making some wrong assumptions about them. First off, rabbits are not at all like dogs or cats, so socializing them is very different. Socializing a baby rabbit has limited impact on what they will be like as adults. It can make some difference for a rabbit to be raised from a baby, being used to being handled and around people, but each rabbits individual personality can have a far greater impact on what they will end up as as an adult. Example, I have 10 rabbits, 7 that I raised as babies. One of the babies, a dwarf hotot, I held all of the time when she was younger, loved cuddling and was completely fine with being held. She hit those teenage years and everything changed. She detests being picked up now and being held. She'll struggle and grunt at me, and fly out of my arms if I'm not keeping a good hold of her. She was spayed, is 2 now, and is still the same. It's just her personality. She isn't terribly people friendly and likes to be just left alone to play, but is totally fine with people being around her as long as they don't try and touch her. Even with her bunny friends that she grew up with, she is a bit of a loner now and likes to be off napping by herself instead of snuggling with the rest of them. She was completely different as a baby than she became as an adult, despite being socialized and held all of the time.

One of my rabbits that died earlier this year, I got as an adult. He was a one year old dwarf hotot and wasn't socialized or handled much before he came to me, and as a result was very nervous being around people and being handled. This lead to him getting sick, in which I had to handle him constantly for several weeks, hand feeding him and giving him meds. As a result of this handling, he got used to me and actually he turned out to be the sweetest most affectionate boy. Whereas the 4 baby dwarf hotots that I raised from birth, were constantly handled, held, and around people, this didn't make them any more people friendly or like being held. They are grown up now and are 2 yrs. old, and are all sweet bunnies, but all of that socialization as babies certainly didn't make them really people friendly or like being picked up and held. They are used to people and house sounds, but none of them are particularly cuddly(though a few do like their nose rubs), don't really want to interact with people much, and though they tolerate being held because they have no choice, none of them really likes it. So despite all of the socialization as babies, their adult personalities win in the end. Breeders can make an educated guess on a rabbits personality, based on what the bunnies parents are like, but they can no more predict the personality a rabbit will end up with than any of the rest of us non breeders can .

Your assumption that a rabbit raised in poor conditions will end up with behavioral problems, or a rabbit raised in good conditions won't have behavioral problems, is also not accurate. Case in point. One of my rabbits that I raised from 4 weeks old, which required extra hands on care because of her young age, is one of the moodiest rabbits that I have now, despite being spayed. She was held all of the time as a baby, and had lots of play time and lots of interaction with me and other people. And now at 2 yrs. she is the most cage aggressive territorial rabbit that I have, and I have been bitten many times as a result. Though once you are holding her, she is just a puddle in your arms and loves to be cuddled. She was socialized very well as a baby, but still her adult personality is what she ends up with. Yet my bunny that died had little socialization as a young rabbit, and he was one of my sweetest most affectionate rabbits that loved to be held, once he knew he could trust me.

Rabbits can bond at any age. They don't have to be a baby to bond with you. In fact baby bonds don't necessarily last once the rabbit matures. It's the same if the bunny has another bunny friend. Baby bunnies usually all get along and have 'baby bonds', but once they hit maturity, everything changes, and often those bonds can break resulting in fighting. You may bond with a baby rabbit and find that once they become an adult, it all changes. It's really much better to find an adult rabbit that you seem 'drawn' to and like the personality of, and not have the risk of that personality changing.

I'm not saying that getting a baby rabbit isn't the way to go, I've gone that route myself, but it's best to go into it realistically aware of the potential, that despite your best efforts to nurture your bunny and socialize it, that it may still end up with a personality that is different than what it had as a baby, with behavioral problems that can be difficult to handle for a first time owner. You have my experience testifying to this, as well as the others that have posted with similar experiences. Not to mention the countless people that come on here looking for advice because their once sweet baby bunny that used to like to cuddle and be with them, has now reached maturity and completely changed into a grumpy teenager that bites, doesn't want to be held, and/or doesn't want to cuddle anymore. Just start looking back in the 'Nutrition and Behavior' threads if you want to find out for yourself.

I'm just saying this because this happens SO often. And many times the result of this happening, is that the owners get discouraged or disenchanted with the whole 'cute cuddly baby bunny' thing once the rabbit matures and changes, and the rabbit ends up getting dumped. Pick which ever route you want, but go into it eyes wide open and with the correct knowledge, so that you can be prepared if things don't turn out the way you think.
 
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funnybunnymummy

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Agreed with the others. There are more bunnies in rescues than there are homes for them. Which means there are many sweet, affectionate, cuddly bunnies looking for homes. Not just the "problem" animals. Many are mixed breeds, which can be just as lovely pets as purebreds.

Hope that helps!

Rue
 

whiskylollipop

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Jbun's covered it all. I completely agree with the fact that baby bonds are not the same as adult bonds. A baby will get along with anyone and let you do almost anything to him without protest, but you'll find that once puberty hits, your sweet docile baby will suddenly have sprouted very strong opinions about what he'll tolerate from his humans!

Everyone here has tried our very best to raise our baby buns well. But the reality is that a bunny is going to be what he's going to be. Even breeders cannot guarantee affectionate personalities in all their buns. It can vary wildly even within one litter. I had two littermates, both of whom loved me as babies, but once they grew up, bam - one was dopey and only cared about food, while the other developed heaps of attitude, became very fickle and temperamental, and is weirdly possessive of me.

We're not trying to shame you for getting a baby instead of rescuing an adult, many many of us started out with babies ourselves. We're just letting you know that it's not all it's cracked up to be. They are the most adorable things when young, but it barely lasts a couple of months, and then you have the next decade to live with the adult.

Too many baby buns are dumped because they grew into personalities that their owners didn't want to deal with. I hope you are prepared to love him/her no matter what. :)
 

Azerane

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Everyone has made some very fair and valid points and I do largely agree with them. However, given that you are 14, I think most people forget that even if you did want to adopt an adult instead of getting a baby, if that's what your dad wants to do for you and thinks is best, I know that as a 14 year old it can be hard to get a parent to change their mind and those sorts of decisions are largely out of your hands. Ultimately, we can't make you (or your dad) do anything, just offer up the best advice we have and you make whatever decision you feel is best for you from there. Of course Nethies can be gentle, affectionate and cuddly, but many of them are not. The same with any breed of rabbit, it really is the luck of the draw when it comes to young rabbits.

Rabbits are gentle, however you do have to teach them not to nip, and you have to be careful when handling because of their powerful kick. Most importantly you have to remember that they're prey animals, being held and carried inspires fear because it's like being captured by a predator, you have to earn their trust. Most rabbits are not cuddly at all, though they are affectionate. For example my rabbit, Bandit. I can pick him up easily and carry him to and from places, but he doesn't like to be held in my arms for very long. If I pick him up and put him on my lap, he doesn't like to sit in my lap. However, if I place him next to me and give him head rubs, he'll melt into a pile of bunny goo for half an hour while I rub his head before coating my arm in licks. But he doesn't like being restricted on my lap or in my arms.
 
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Thank you for your input, everyone. All your information has got me thinking. I thought rabbits' personalities only varied from breed to breed, not individual to individual. I want to know if breeders sell adult rabbits as well as babies? Does anyone know?
I find it interesting that you are all warning me that if I purchase a baby, it may grow up wanting nothing to do with me, but if I adopt, my bunny will be everything I want it to be because it's an adult. All those shelter rabbits were once babies with unknown personalities. But many of them grew up to have darling personalities and were put in shelters? Why? Couldn't a breeder rabbit have the same personality? It may be a roll of the dice, but it's a risk I think I'm going to take. Who knows, the breeder may even have some adults for sale.So thank you all very much for your responses to my post. They were very helpful and I will bear them in mind. Even if my rabbit turns out to be a little Scrooge, I will always love it and I won't put it up for adoption.
~Lovetta
 

ShreddersMom

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I think what people were trying to say is that as a baby, there is potential for the personality to change into something that wants nothing to do with you. However, with an adult, the rabbit has gone through puberty and established its personality and likes/dislikes already.

Like everyone has said, the decision is ultimately yours. I know now it is easy to say I will love and care for them no matter what. But make sure you know what you're going to have to do for the next 9-12 years. They might be not littertrainable, might chew on everything, might even nip you every time you come near it.
That being said, the baby bunny might also grow up to be a loving bunny that will be affectionate and not have problems. So as you said it is a bit of a coin toss.
 

Blue eyes

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. All those shelter rabbits were once babies with unknown personalities. But many of them grew up to have darling personalities and were put in shelters? Why?
~Lovetta
Most are put in the shelters once those hormones kick in and the new owners aren't willing to pay for spay/neuter surgery. They see a misbehaving hormonal rabbit and send it off to the shelter. They never even see the bunny's established personality.

The shelter, then, has them fixed. Once fixed (and hormones dissipate) the true personality is now visible -- some are shy, some are not, some are cuddly, some are not. But whatever they are is now apparent, so a new owner knows exactly what kind of rabbit they are getting from the start. And, yes, many of the rabbits do have absolutely darling personalities (and some don't). But at least one knows and it is not a coin toss.

If you get a rabbit from a breeder, it should be at least 8 weeks of age. That is 2 months of age. Rabbits are adult at 6 months of age. So you get just 4 months (out of 10+ years) to "experience" babyhood. Most of that time will be when they are hormonal.
 

bunnyman666

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My Trix (who is a Dutch Dwarf) would have been a handful for most neophyte bunny stewards. She still likes to get into mischief and she is 11.5 years old!!!! I have known a few Netherland Dwarf rabbits over the years. I have fostered a few. They are funny as hell. But some rabbits, no matter what the breed, have very odd dispositions. Trigger, who was my mini lop merely tolerated me DESPITE being the one who took care of him mostly. He really only liked food and hot vet techs (wish that part was fiction, as it was embarassing sometimes).

Really, I have nothing to add except to try and reinforce what everybody else has to say about adopting an adult.
 

bunnyrabbit12345

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We( my 11 year old daughter ) have a mini rex just under a year when she was young under 4 months she loved to be pick up after she was spayed she no longer likes to get picked up at all!!! She still loves to cuddle on your lap she will jump up and if you put your hand down she will run over to get pat. My point is she changed as she got older . We still love her !!
 

stevesmum

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Another reason they end up in shelters is that people don't realize how much work rabbit ownership is. To give them the life they deserve you have to put in a lot of time, love, sometimes money, and effort. You give up some aspects of a social life so that they can be happy. It's not a cute thing sitting in a cage in the corner of the room to look at and show off. Some people don't get that. And they are not the right pet for little kids. That's another huge misconception out there. It's a commitment, it's a lifestyle choice, it's a joy. I adore my bunnies. My husband says I love them first, my new car second and him third haha.
 
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