If you are a bunny lover, you probably want to know: what is the smallest rabbit breed—particularly if your bunny is so huge that even the local cats are too afraid to enter your garden.
There are several species of domesticated rabbits that are considered to be very small, but the smallest rabbit breed in the world living in the wild is the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits. These rabbits are also the rarest of all wild rabbits as they are only found in one small area of Washington State in the US.
Over the years, the wild population steadily of Basin Pygmy rabbits declined due to loss of habitat and an increase in predators. By the mid 1990’s the numbers left in the wild had dwindled so low that in 1993, biologists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife took the decision to remove the remaining fourteen rabbits living in the area and place them in an emergency captive-breeding program.
To begin with the Cross Basin pygmy rabbits did not breed very well in captivity and biologists were forced to cross breed them with Idaho Pygmy rabbits. Thankfully, this has proved successful and the numbers of Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits are now steadily increasing once again.
What is the smallest rabbit breed amongst the domestic species? Generally speaking, a small rabbit breed is classed as one weighing less than four pounds once it has reached maturity.
The Britannia Petite weighs less than 2.5 pounds and is considered to be the smallest of the standard breeds of rabbit. This old British breed is also known as “Polish” and is believed to have originated from native common rabbits. The American version is usually white with red eyes, but in Britain there are lots of different color varieties.
Another miniature breed of rabbit of a similar size to the Britannia Petite is the Netherlands Dwarf. It is one of the more popular breeds of domestic rabbits and although bucks have a reputation for being bad tempered, adult dwarf does make great pets for children as they are very docile. The breed is recognized in many different colors including fawn, grey, orange, and tortoiseshell.
Adult Jersey Woolly rabbits weight between 2 ¾ and 3 ½ pounds. They were artificially created in the 1970’s through a cross-breeding program and they are notable for their luxurious woolly coat available in many different colors. Unlike regular rabbits, the Jersey Woolly requires lots of extra grooming and a special diet in order to remain healthy.
Holland Lop rabbits weight between 2 ¾ and 4 pounds and have the characteristic lop ears and a prominent crown between the ears. Whilst they are popular as pets and some love to be petted, like many of the domestic rabbit breeds, temperaments will vary widely between individual rabbits. You might be lucky enough to end up with a sweet, docile bunny, or you could be unlucky enough to find yourself the owner of an evil rabbit that growls like a dog every time you get within ten feet of its hutch.