s are rabbits that have been bred small, usually weighing less than 4 or 5 lbs
. Lots of people like them because they're small
and therefore take up very little space, don't eat as much, and are easier to care for, as well as looking kind of like baby rabbits for their entire lives. I have never had a good experience personality wise with any rabbit bred small, however, just so you know. There are three main varieties of dwarf rabbits, although most people don't make distinctions between the Netherland Dwarf and the Polish Dwarf.
The Dwarf Hotot was bred by two different breeders, one in West Germany and one in East Germany. The lines were crossed in the 1970's, and the breed was brought to America to be recognized for show in 1983.
The ideal markings of a Dwarf Hotot are fairly simple: completely white, except for a thin band of black fur around each dark-brown eye. It looks earily like the rabbit is wearing eyeliner. Sort of 'Goth' I guess. They should weigh between 3 and 3 1/2 lbs. Once in a while you get one that has a black dot somewhere else on it's body, which means it isn't acceptable for show, but it's still a Dwarf Hotot. They are described as social rabbits, demanding of attention and curious about things and very playful.
The Netherland Dwarf is the smallest of any breed of rabbit at 2lbs. They come in almost all possible colors, (black, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, white, etc) broken and solid.
They originally appeared in the early 1880's in England, a breeder working with Dutch Rabbits had a couple mutations: white rabbits with red eyes and a short body like a Dutch and soft fur. These 'mutations' were brought to Germany in 1884. In Germany the white rabbits were crossed with small wild rabbits which resulted in different colored rabbits. Mr Otto Lippolt was said to have perfected the breed, which was then called "Hermelin". They were very popular in Germany and exported to Holland. In Holland, a man named Jan Meyering and some collegues began crossing these with other breeds to get different colored dwarfs. After lots of careful breeding, the "Hermelin" evolved into something more closely resembling modern Netherland Dwarfs in many different colors, but with the same small size. They were brought to England after the second world war by English rabbit breeders who wanted to help out the Dutch breeders whose rabbitries (yes, that's a word) were damaged during the German Occupation. In 1947 the breed made a huge impression on breeders who attended a rabbit show in Amsterdam. Unfortunately there were only 17 in existence due to the ravages of war (I wonder if they suffered survivor guilt?). 9 of them were brought to England in 1949, and they made their way to America in 1965.
There is far less information about the Polish Dwarf's history. (They are unknown in Poland.) It is possible that they are distantly related to the Netherland Dwarf, since those were originally called "polish". They are believed to be related to the Dutch breed, like Netherlands, so this is possible. Polish Dwarfs have compact bodies and generally weigh under 3 1/2 lbs. They come in black, blue, and chocolate, broken and solid, also blue eyed white and ruby eyed white. They are probably the most common breed of dwarf rabbit, possibly the most common pet rabbit breed ever.