Netherland Dwarfs

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Mary Ellen

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I love the look of the Netherland Dwarf bunnies, and my neighbor got a one at our local state fair (this was many years ago). She came and showed it to me and it was so adorable. I called her a few months later and she said she had to get rid of it because it would lunge at her when she put her hands inside the cage. I've read they can also be nippy, which I hope isn't true. I'd like to know what your experiences have been owning a little Netherland. I like small bunny breeds with the up ears, so if you have another breed you think I'd like better, please share it with me. I want a friendly, house bunny that I can potty train, interact with and doesn't mind being held. What should I look for when buying a Netherland? I'm look forward to your replies and input.

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JBun

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Any rabbit may be cage aggressive, particularly females. It's not limited to n. dwarfs. It can be a natural territorial behavior that some rabbits have, that just needs some adjustments made to that rabbits living area and handling of the rabbit. It can also have to do with each rabbits individual personality, sometimes learned behavior from previous interactions with people, and to some extent, hormones. But cage aggressiveness doesn't mean a rabbit doesn't like the owner, and it doesn't mean that they still won't make a perfectly happy and affectionate pet rabbit.

While there can be some traits more common in certain breeds, like dwarfs being more active than larger breeds like flemish giants, what a rabbit is like comes more down to individual personality. I've had several dwarf breed rabbits, and all of their personalities have been different. Friendliness, litter training habits, liking to be cuddled and held, all has to do with each individual rabbits personality(just note that the majority of rabbits dislike being picked up and held, though will accept affection and petting on their terms).

My suggestion to you would be to do a lot of research first, so that you are knowledgeable and informed on the type of pet a rabbit makes, so you can decide if it's going to be the right pet for you. Then if you do decide a rabbit would be a good fit, my other suggestion would be to look at rescues/shelters for an already spayed/neutered rabbit or bonded pair, so that you can find a rabbit(s) that is the right fit of personality for you, is already at the adult stage so you know that rabbits adult personality(baby rabbits can change with the onset of hormones), and one that is already fixed(hormones will affect a rabbits true personality).

Rabbits can make wonderful pets, but they are unique and have their own unique traits, personalities, and needs, so may not be the right pet for some people because of these things.




 

Niomi

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I have a Netherland Dwarf and if I were to compare rabbit breeds to dog breeds, I would say that he has the personality of a chihuahua. He is very feisty. With people he doesn't know, he shows cage aggression. I talk to him before I pick him up. Then I pet him and he willingly lets me pick him up. If I were to just put my hand in his cage and grab him, he would put his teeth on me. He likes to snuggle, as long as I treat him with respect, and not like a toy. The biggest problem is that I have had to take him to the vet to have his teeth ground down. The vet said that he has too many teeth for his mouth, which he says is typical for this breed. A small rabbit that I have heard makes a very nice pet is the Polish rabbit. They are naturally small and do not carry a dwarf gene, so they might have less problems with their teeth. I have never had a Polish rabbit, so I can't tell you what they are like from my experience.
 

Space Monkey

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I have a Mini Satin named Freya. She's almost 6 months old and is 3 pounds. I also got her from the State Fair. She's so sweet and has never been aggressive. When we first brought her home she was scared, but never once did anything aggressive. It took her maybe 3 days to warm up to us and become a new rabbit. It's been nearly two months. We couldn't imagine not having her in our lives at this point. I'd recommend a Mini Satin based on her.

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SableSteel

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I've had about a dozen netherland dwarfs. Their personalities varied. All of them were high strung. The does usually leaned towards being feisty. The bucks were usually pretty personable and friendly.

I see a couple comments above it says that Polish do not have a dwarf gene. Most lines of polish do have the dwarf gene; I used to raise that breed as well and out of the two I would recommend a netherland dwarf for a pet, as the polish were a bit more flighty.

If you want a small breed with upright ears (and no dwarf gene) look into Himalayans. They are known for being extremely laid back and usually enjoy being picked up. I take my Himalayans to the book store and places with me; they walk on a leash. Super fun breed, they just don't care what you do with them.

Attached are 3 pictures of netherland dwarfs I had, and two pictures of my himalayans
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Moonshadow

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I have owned two male dwarf bunnies. My first was a dwarf hotot mix, Bandit. He never bit anyone, was tolerant about being picked up and didn’t mind being held. He loved to lick my face and played chase with our cat.

Once a month in the bunny club I was in, we’d take our bunnies to nursing homes once a month so the elderly could see them. We’d place our bunnies on towels on the residents laps as they petted them. My bunny seemed to know they were old and sat in place being petted. He never urinated on anyone and the same cannot be said for the other members who brought their rabbits.

My current bunny (on my profile photo) is a netherland dwarf I got at 8 weeks old from a breeder. I researched netherland dwarf breeders and found one who mentioned they worked on “socializing the kits, and started litter training with them” as well. If you look for a breeder I recommend definitely looking for these two criteria.

Minyeong is a very energetic and mischievous. When customers come into our showroom (he has free roam there) he will come up to greet them and if they stay long enough, he lets them pet him. Sometimes he circles them to get them to chase him then binkies away. We have practiced with him enough where he tolerates being picked up and he likes being held if we’re standing. If we’re sitting he wants to get down and run around.

Between 3-4 months old he got a bit nippy but he quickly grew out of it. Now we can actually feed him pellets by hand and he gently picks one out piece by piece. When I put my hand right in front of his face, he’ll place his head in my palm so I can stroke him.

Neither of my bunnies have been cage aggressive but that may be because they’re free roam and their cage is actually a ‘home base’ that’s always open. With both my bunnies, we had a family member around almost all the time to interact with them so they were very well socialized.
 

Roo1234

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I have 3 netherland dwarfs and they are a little protective of there space, I would not say they tried to bite or scratch me though. Mine stand on there hind legs and kind of try to bounce one me with there front ones especially when there hungry
 

NYAngela

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I had a Netherland dwarf, he was a ball of energy. Never bit or lunged but he didn’t like being picked up so we respected that. Now we have a dwarf Hotot, which I believe have ND’s in their lineage and he’s the same loves to be pet but not picked up. Never nips or lunges.
 

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SirLawrence

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I have two boys, and they are both as sweet as can be. Lawrence will lunge if you put your hand in his house in his enclosure, but he's never bitten. I think it's just a reaction... and that's his safe space, so I don't hold it against him.
 

Niomi

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I had a six pound mix breed that would lunge and bite if I put my hand in her cage. I had her spayed and she stopped the aggressive behavior. She was about six months old when she was spayed. I don't think that spaying or neutering always works to stop aggression, but sometimes it does.
 

dogwoodblossoms

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I have to agree. I own several ND’s and they are high strung, and ARE the Chihuahua of rabbits. I love them though, and after bonding with them super sweet rabbits. If their handled daily they’re great pets. The females can be cage protective (I also have a male that cage protective)
 
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