Dutch Rabbits as Pets: Lifespan, Size and Temperament

Dutch Rabbits as Pets-Everything You Need to Know

Dutch rabbits easily count among the cutest breed of rabbits. They hail from the Netherlands as can be readily inferred from the name. Dutch rabbits were moved to England in the early 1860s, where they gained their universal fame. Dutch rabbits are meek and friendly. If well taken care of, you can expect your Dutch rabbit to live at least 5 years or even as long as 15 years.

Dutch rabbits are extremely friendly once you have gotten their trust. These rabbits don’t bite unprovoked and are naturally meek. Yes, they are intelligent and attentive, with notable curiosity. Dutch rabbits mostly feed on hay. The pregnancy period for a Dutch rabbit is about 31 days.  

While Dutch rabbits are lovely pets to have around, you need to accurately know how to take care of them to gain and sustain their trust and also increase their lifespan. You need to know to provide the right food for them in healthy proportions; you need to know how to cater to them when they shed and identify when they are pregnant. You also want to ascertain if they should live indoors with you or be kept outside. Let us learn about all these.

Are Dutch Rabbits Good Pets?

Yes, Dutch rabbits make excellent pets for adults and children as well. The Dutch rabbit is appreciably sociable and friendly. While your little kids (below 10 years) may need a bit of supervision from an adult while handling these rabbits, older children and adults could freely enjoy the company of Dutch rabbits.

Inherently, rabbits are good-natured and ecstatic so long they have gotten used to you and trust you. They will perpetually run around and even jump on your laps, expecting cuddles and attention from you generally.

Dutch rabbits are, by their nature, smart. They are far easier to train and can answer to their names, be cultured to use litter boxes, and even memorize routines.

So long the Dutch rabbit in question had before now experienced sustained human contact, the chances are high it is going to make a great pet.

How Big Do Dutch Rabbits Get?

Basically, the Dutch rabbit is small that it is easily mistaken for a dwarf breed of rabbits; however, it is not. The size of each rabbit actually depends on the rabbit itself and the living conditions within which it was raised.

The ideal weight range of a matured Dutch rabbit is within 3.5-5.5 pounds. Thus, you should have a more accurate idea of how big your Dutch rabbit would go by the sixth month.

How Long Does a Dutch Rabbit Live for?

As stated, if a Dutch rabbit has the perfect living conditions and well cared for, it can live from anywhere between 5-8 years. The average lifespan of a Dutch rabbit is around 5 years.

A Dutch rabbit can also live up to 15 years. The major determinants of the duration your Dutch rabbit would live are its diet, housing (and hygiene conditions), and owner’s care.

Do Dutch Rabbits Bite?

Naturally, Dutch rabbits are not aggressive. This means that they wouldn’t bite you unprovoked. Nonetheless, as it is intrinsic to most animals, rabbits bite as well, however very seldom. When a rabbit bites you, 85% of the time, it is in a protective mode when it perceives you as an acute threat.

Dutch rabbits are some of the friendliest and most domestic animals you can find around. They easily bond with humans. There are certain conditions a Dutch rabbit may be compelled to bite you. Some of these are:

  • Stress: When a rabbit is stressed (just like any animal) from poor living conditions, it can bite. This includes when it is poorly fed or facing extensive and debilitating noise and agitation.
  • Thinking you are food: Dutch rabbits can mistakenly bite you if it mistakes you for a delicacy. There are cases where your hand may smell like food to it. It may thus bite you in an attempt to feed.
  • Fear: Most times, Dutch rabbits bite when they are frightened. This, you will agree, is just a natural mechanism to protect themselves. This explains why you shouldn’t chase a Dutch rabbit around or pick it up when it has not bonded or gotten accustomed to you. The Dutch rabbit could panic and bite you.
  • Mistaking you for an intruder: If your Dutch rabbit is yet to be neutered, it is likely the rabbit will be very keen to protect its space. Therefore, this rabbit may take you for an intruder if you are getting too close to it and bite you to fend you off its territory.

Generally, hese bites are harmless, and you can be confident there will be no medical complications arising from that so long the bite is not infected. Admittedly, the bites from this beautiful animal hurt. While they could bleed, the majority of such bites are superficial skin cuts, lacking depth.

Do Dutch Rabbits Like to be Held?

Yes, Dutch rabbits have no problems with being held so long they are already bonded with you. This way, they know that you holding on to them is a show of affection. They will also return the love, always encouraging you to hold them.

It is the complete opposite if the Dutch rabbit has not trusted you. In such scenarios where you hold the rabbit, it will perceive you as a burly predator attempting to make a meal of it. This way, they get on their defensive mode in an attempt to break out from your grip. This could instigate them to bite you or wriggle vigorously.

Also, note that rabbits being intelligent beings are also moody as well. There are emotional phases where they prefer to stay on their own and observe their privacy.

They may not be too comfortable with you holding them or coming close despite already trusting you. They may grunt at you in such situations. This is common with ill Dutch rabbits, the pregnant ones, or those undergoing pains.

Are Dutch Rabbits Friendly?

Yes, Dutch rabbits are very friendly and sociable. At first, your Dutch rabbit (an adopted bunny) could appear shy and reclusive. This is mostly because they have not acclimatized to you, or they have not fully trusted you.

Once they do, expect them to jump on you (and your loved ones) frequently, requesting your attention. They would want you to hold and cuddle them regularly. Overall, Dutch rabbits can be very energetic and playful during their active times – especially in the evening.

Are Dutch Rabbits Smart?

Rabbits are, in fact, quite intelligent creatures able to memorize, solve problems, and react to cues. Bunnies can count and remember a routine.

Rabbits can be trained to answer to their names. This way, they would come running to you when you call these names.

Do Dutch Rabbits Shed?

Yes, Dutch rabbits shed as is common with rabbits generally. This shedding process is called molting. In this situation, the rabbit would lose its coat as it grows a new one. During this interval, you notice that when you pick up your Dutch rabbit, you see huge bunches of its fur on your body.

This molting exercise can take as short as 2 weeks or as long as 6 weeks in rabbits. Dutch rabbits particularly shed at least once in every 9 weeks.

Many owners mistake molting for sickness – but it is not. You don’t have to worry about your Dutch rabbit shedding its coat provided you don’t notice skin irritations or find bald spots on the Dutch rabbit.

There are cases where the shedding process appears longer (with a slower rate of blowing its fur). This is typical if the house temperature is relatively constant.

When your Dutch rabbit sheds, you have to pay more attention to it and brush the rabbit regularly. If you can’t brush it every day, try to brush it at least once every 7 days.

Are Dutch Rabbits Nocturnal?

Contrary to popular opinion, Dutch rabbits are not necessarily nocturnal. Agreed, they don’t stay active in the day and sleep in the night either.

Precisely, Dutch rabbits are crepuscular. What this means is that Dutch rabbits are at the peak of their activity at dusk and dawn. This makes them quite curious pets, right?

For an undomesticated Dutch rabbit living in the wild, there are far reduced chances of encountering a predator at the intervals of dawn and dusk. This gives them the freedom and safety to confidently emerge from their burrows to feed or even socialize.

Before this time, they prefer staying underground in their burrows. They could be eating by then or sleeping. For a regular house rabbit, they enjoy peak activity in the mornings and evenings. When you are away from the house – possibly at work – domestic Dutch rabbits would be sleeping their time away.

A healthy Dutch rabbit wakes up promptly at dawn and would be very active until around 9-10 am. By this time, they would play with their toys, forage, and eat (or probably dig). When time strikes 9 or 10 am, you notice them get residual with fading levels of activity.

By this time, they prefer to recede to their resting zones to sleep. Intermittently a trained Dutch rabbit would come out from its sleeping area to use the litter tray or munch a bunch of hay and then go back to rest.

By dusk, they are active again, coming out to groom themselves, socializing with their owners, and foraging a bit. Practically, Dutch rabbits tend to be friendliest at dusk.

This is why you notice your rabbit very welcoming to being fondled and cuddled in the evening. By night proper, they go back to rest and sleep till dawn.

How High Can Dutch Rabbits Jump?

Rabbits are furnished with strong hind legs. These legs are powerful enough to propel an animal of reduced size as the bunny. It is common to see your rabbit hopping in small leaps.

Consequent to such strong legs, Dutch rabbits can spring up or jump forward. Typically, a Dutch rabbit could leap up to 2 feet vertically.

However, this leaping height varies depending on the health, weight, and urgency of the Dutch rabbit. There are isolated cases when a rabbit can leap as high as 4 feet vertically.

Dutch rabbits can also jump horizontally. For this, they can leap as far as 15 feet. Wild Dutch rabbits are less cultured and tamed than their domestic colleagues.

Such Dutch rabbits have adapted to wild living conditions (like hunting and escaping from predators), which enables them to leap much higher than domesticated Dutch rabbits.

This is also because wild Dutch rabbits are generally leaner than domesticated Dutch rabbits. Such reduced weight gives them more sprint and mobility.

What Do Dutch Rabbits Eat?

Rabbits eat sporadically, unlike humans that have structured dieting patterns. This explains why you should make food and water perpetually available to your Dutch rabbit.

Make sure to provide clean water where they can readily reach it for your Dutch rabbit. This way, it doesn’t have to exert itself when it is relatively thirsty. It is essential for the health of the rabbit for the water to be clean.

Hay is a crucial part of a rabbit’s meal. This hay plays a pivotal role in trimming the rabbit’s teeth. This also enhances their digestive health by providing the necessary fiber. Rabbits love foraging.

A wild Dutch rabbit feasts on a variety of hay cutting across leaves, vegetation, herbage, shoots, and grass. Rabbits chew for long periods when they are active. Dutch rabbits generally adhere to a high fiber, low-calorie diet.

Aside from hay, Dutch rabbits need a healthy fraction of their diet to be pellets. Rabbits tend to spend around 20-35 minutes daily on kibble. You also have to be critical of the amount of pellets you feed your Dutch rabbit. Understand that an extreme intake of pellets will lead to spontaneous and unhealthy weight gain.

Such weight bursts will bring with it unhealthy conditions like skin infections, arthritis, and sore hocks. We also recommend that you steer clear of muesli type dry foods.

This is because of the penchant of your Dutch rabbit to pick on the tastiest parts and abandon the areas they don’t have a high taste concentration.

This is most times unhealthy because those areas high in taste have high calorie composition and reduced calcium and fiber content. You see, this is unfortunate because calcium and fiber should form a significant portion of your Dutch rabbit’s diet.

We also advise that you proffer a significant amount of fresh foods to your rabbit. Where possible, feed them with fresh vegetables and fruits daily. Again, watch out that you are not excessively feeding your rabbit with fruits.

This is because fruits have a high composition of sugar. Hence, excessive consumption can spur large bursts of weight gain. Furthermore, keep away from fresh foods like yew, poppies, tomato leaves, rhubarb leaves, and potato tops.

Can a Dutch Rabbit Live Outside?

By nature, Dutch rabbits are meek animals and more domestic. They are also docile, with a curiosity to learn. This makes them more suiting for indoor residence. However, rabbits intrinsically also have a penchant for exploration.

This is why you see them relentlessly digging and burrowing. These habits could be adverse to staying indoors (like digging your home or chewing on your valuables); hence you may be compelled to keep them outdoors.

If you want to keep your rabbits outside, bear in mind the dangers that exist outdoors. First, always remember that your Dutch rabbit would be a soft target for predators.

Predators like dogs, foxes, and cats can attack your Dutch rabbit. Also note that being domesticated, your Dutch rabbit will not have sufficient defensive skills like its counterpart out there in the wild.

Keeping your rabbit outside could means freedom to graze on just anything. If you allow your bunnies such free rein to forage on whatever they desire, there are high chances they would land on poisonous vegetation, which they would excitedly feed on.

Having Dutch rabbits aside makes them liable to be stolen or giving them a consolidated chance of escape (or getting lost). Dutch rabbits are beautiful pets that easily catch attention. Possibly when you are away, an “admirer” could move off with your rabbits.

Also, if you don’t keep your Dutch rabbits in an enclosed space, there is a strong possibility their intense curiosity will cause them to wander off and even escape if the rabbit is not happy around.

If you must keep your Dutch rabbit outside, ensure that you keep it in an enclosed space. This can be in a shed, in an area surrounded with a wire mesh, or even in a garage you are no longer using.

Irrespective of where you keep your rabbits outdoors, make sure to procure adequate ventilation and natural lighting. You also need to procure extra space for the rabbit to exercise and at least hop around in its merry moods.

You also need to factor in the weather outside. Dutch rabbits are delicate bunnies and are not resilient enough to survive extreme weather conditions. When winter or bad weather comes in, make sure to protect the shed or residence of your Dutch rabbits with tarpaulin.

How Much Should I Feed My Dutch Rabbit?

Overfeeding will do your Dutch rabbit more hurt than good. Let us explore the appropriate composition of serving you should feed your Dutch rabbit. Starting with hay, the food your bunny should be supplied with should consist of 70-80% hay.

This diet should also contain an average of 12% of fresh food. Let us look deeper into the individual components of this average 12% fresh food. If the rabbit is on a strict diet, you can keep off high-fiber fresh fruits.

Otherwise, high-fiber fresh fruits should make up about 10% of the fresh food your bunny takes. Another 15% of this fresh food portion should be allocated to non-leafy fresh foods. The remaining 75% should go to fresh leafy food. How about pellets?

Since pellets make rabbits very prone to weight gain, the amount of pellets you feed your rabbit should be dependent on their body mass index.

We recommend that you should feed your Dutch rabbit ½ cups of pellet per day for every 12 lbs. of body weight. Vegetables can be 1 cup daily per 3 pounds of body weight.

What Age are Dutch Rabbits Fully Grown?

Rabbits grow quickly, unlike humans that take a long while to mature. Within 4-5 months, your Dutch rabbit should have fully grown if it is healthy and well-fed.

How Long is a Dutch Rabbit Pregnant for?

The standard gestation period of a Dutch rabbit is 31 days. During this period, the bunny is “in kindle”. There are some tell-tale signs that your Dutch rabbit is pregnant.

You could notice pronounced nest building when they are pregnant. In such instances, they could be building with the hay you feed them with or straw.

Most Dutch rabbits can experience mood swings when pregnant. You may notice your erstwhile hyperactive and fun-filled bunny recede and become unusually grumpy. If you get too close to it, it could growl a bit. This is a signal for an increased need for privacy on the side of your rabbit.

If you have your Dutch rabbit in a cage and you notice it is regularly digging its cage, this is a strong signal that it is pregnant. Such digging activity becomes very pronounced about 14 days after conception. If it is not digging, it could be scratching at the extremes of its cage.

Overall, the most assured away of confirming if your Dutch rabbit is pregnant is by palpating its abdomen. Caress its underneath and watch out for significant lumps.

If your rabbit is pregnant, you should feel notable lumps after the second week of its pregnancy.

These lumps should be around the size of a grape and are typically lined up horizontally on both sides of its belly.

How Many Babies can a Dutch Rabbit Have?

In one litter, a Dutch rabbit can have anywhere from 1-12 babies. It is also curious to learn that a rabbit can immediately conceive after birth.

This explains why rabbits can give birth almost every month. The standard mating period for Dutch rabbits is the springtime.

How Do You Care for a Dutch Rabbit?

The lifespan of your Dutch rabbits directly depends on how well you take care of them. It is not unusual that a Dutch rabbit that is well cared for and fed appropriately can live as long as 13 years.

Taking care of your rabbit largely means feeding it well. The core diet of rabbits is hay and water. Your Dutch rabbit needs a hefty diet of hay as it needs to regularly chew to wear down its teeth, which is perpetually growing.

The hay and water should be preferably clean and fresh (especially if it a nursing Dutch rabbit). All-round-the-clock accessibility to the hay and water matters as well.

If your rabbit is ailing, try to incorporate more protein, calcium, and calories into its food intake. These can be readily sourced from alfalfa hay. Hay will not do it all; your rabbit’s diet should also be laced with fruits and vegetables.

Note that your rabbit shouldn’t attempt to replace its allocated 70-80% of hay food with these fruits and vegetables. Not all fruits and vegetables are healthy enough, considering the sugar content.

It is best to consult your veterinarian to map out the ideal intake of fruits and vegetables, depending on the health and age of the rabbit.

Pellets also form part of the accessories that should be added to the rabbit’s meal. In all, make sure that your Dutch rabbit’s diet is balanced, avoiding overfeeding.

Aside from feeding, your rabbit needs to stay in a healthy environment to stay healthy. We recommend that the abode of your rabbit should be regularly cleaned and ventilated.

Make sure to provide bedding and litter boxes facilities. It should also be sufficiently spacious. If you can clean it daily, ensure you clean it at least once a week.

If you have more than one Dutch rabbit (particularly when they are all adopted), they should safely socialize. Pregnant rabbits take a lot to nurture. So, if you are not comfortable with unplanned pregnancies, then we advise that you don’t keep opposite sexes together.

In that case, you should keep them in clusters of the same sex. If you don’t want this sex-based segregation, then you should just have the rabbits neutered. Spraying rabbits also go a long way to suppress the frequency of reproductive cancers.

For grooming, most Dutch rabbits have a habit of grooming themselves, especially when they are in their company. They share this self-grooming behavior with cats. When they are together, Dutch rabbits will groom each other.

However, when it comes to brushing their coat or trimming their nails, they would need a bit of superior assistance. This is where you come in as the owner. Such frequent brushing significantly prevents the formation of mats.

Unlike dogs, your Dutch rabbits don’t need frequent bathing. Make sure you are not fully submerging your Dutch rabbit in the water when you wash them. Dipping them 1-2 inches deep in the water would suffice.

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