The Dwarf Hotot rabbit is, as their name suggests, a dwarf breed of rabbit, weighing no more than 3.5 lbs. Contrary to popular belief, they are actually not just the miniature version of the standard Blanc de Hotot rabbit, but still feature many of the same characteristics. These bunnies are known for their white coat and specific markings and are often seen as show rabbits.
However, the Dwarf Hotot rabbit is also popular as a pet rabbit thanks to their small size and great temperament. If you’re interested in learning more about this breed and seeing whether they might be the bunny for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit
Although it is often thought that the Dwarf Hotot rabbit breed is simply a smaller version of the larger Hotot, this breed was actually developed by crossing several breeds with the normal-sized Hotot. “Hotot” is correctly pronounced “oh-toe,” but in the United States you may hear it pronounced “hoe-toe.”
The American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club was created in 1982, and the breed was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA) in 1983. Let’s take a look at their origins below.
The standard Hotot, also known as the Blanc De Hotot or White Hotot, was created in Hotot-en-Auge, Normandy, in 1902 with the purpose of breeding a bun that was perfect for meat and fur. This breed was developed by Eugenie Bernhard, chatelaine du Calvados, who was the second woman in history to develop a new rabbit breed.
The Dwarf Hotot came about after some breeding in both East and West Germany in the 1970s. Two breeders independently bred the same rabbit, but came together to cross them. They created the Dwarf Hotot by crossing the Blanc De Hotot rabbit with a Netherland Dwarf rabbit.
Elizabeth Forstinger of California is credited with bringing seven Dwarf Hotots from West Germany to the United States in 1970. She began showing them in 1980, soon after which they were accepted by the ARBA.
Characteristics Of The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit
The Dwarf Hotot rabbit is known for it’s small size and coloring. These white rabbits are often used as show rabbits, but are also popular as pets because they don’t take up a lot of room! These bunnies are normally born in litter sizes of between 2 to 4 kits
These small rabbits usually weigh between 2.5 to 3.5 lbs once they are fully grown and have a compact body type. Their head is round and they have a short neck. Their hindquarters should be rounded and in line with their wide shoulders and their ears are short, thick and erect.
The Dwarf Hotot rabbit has a short, dense and shiny coat that does not require too much attention. It is rollback fur, which means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it returns to its original position.
Fortunately, they do not require too much grooming and, thanks to their short fur, you may not notice them shedding. We will go into more detail about grooming your Dwarf Hotot later on.
These rabbits have a unique coat. They come in one recognized color — white all over. Their eyes are dark brown and the only marking they should have is a dark ring around their eyes resembling eyeliner. According to the breed standard set by the ARBA, the eye bands should not be over an eighth of an inch thick.
These bunnies can be very friendly and docile, making an excellent pet, but they need to be socialized properly and given lots of human interaction. They need to be regularly taken out of their hutch from a young age so they can bond with their owners.
Once bonded and socialized, the Dwarf Hotot rabbit is very affectionate with their family members. They like to be around you and won’t want to be stuck in their cage all day. Although they are not a particularly active rabbit, they will still like to explore the house or garden.
Like any with rabbit, you should always respect your Hotot’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The Dwarf Hotot has an average lifespan of between 7 and 10 years which is longer than a lot of rabbits. They can live even longer if they are cared for properly.
Known Health Issues
Fortunately, the Dwarf Hotot is not prone to any breed-specific health problems, but they can be susceptible to many of the same issues all rabbits face. We have laid out these main concerns below
– Woolblock — this can be a serious and sometimes fatal issue within rabbits. As they clean and groom themselves, they can ingest fur which can become trapped inside the digestive system and create a furball. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot regurgitate furballs and it will become bigger and bigger. This can lead to loss of appetite as your rabbit will believe they are full, or it can block the digestive tract.
– Malocclusion — this is when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned so that the normal process of chewing doesn’t wear down your rabbit’s teeth. Regular dental checkups are very important. You should also make sure your rabbit eats plenty of hay.
– GI Stasis — this is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely. Symptoms include loss of appetite, small or no fecal pellets and lethargy. It can be treated if caught quickly.
– Ear Mites — this is a common parasite of pet rabbits. You may see your rabbit shaking their head a lot if they are affected. Your vet will be able to treat them.
Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped.
Regular vet checkups will ensure that you catch any health problems before they become too serious. You should also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Dwarf Hotot, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these rabbits is like on a day to day basis. Thanks to their small size, they do not have very high care needs and are a great pet for first-time owners. Keep reading below to find out more.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your Dwarf Hotot rabbit should be based on their size, age and activity level. As a smaller rabbit, they are not going to need as much food as larger rabbits, and you should monitor their weight so you can be sure they don’t become obese.
They should be eating a portion of hay that is at least as their body size every day, alongside pellets and fresh vegetables. Fresh water should also always be available to them.
Hay is very important as it helps to keep your Dwarf Hotot’s digestive system moving, as well as helping to wear down their teeth so they are less prone to dental issues. At least 70% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay.
High-quality supplementary pellets help to provide extra vitamins and minerals that keep your rabbit healthy. You should feed your rabbit roughly 1/4 cup of high-fiber pellets everyday for every 5 lbs they weigh, so keep this in mind when feeding your Dwarf Hotot, as they are small.
In the wild, rabbits run around three miles a day. Therefore, it is very important that you give your pet rabbit enough exercise every day to keep them active and entertained. They should have at least three hours of free-range time, whether this is out of their hutch in the garden or just around the house.
Thanks to their small size, the Dwarf Hotot rabbit does not need as much exercise as a larger rabbit. However, this doesn’t mean that they should be kept inside their hutch all day! Give them space to move around, otherwise they can become bored and destructive without exercise and this can reduce their life expectancy. You can also buy some toys for your bunny to play with to keep them engaged and stimulated mentally.
Dwarf Hotot rabbits are often kept as house rabbits to keep them safe from predators. However, they enjoy time outside just like any other bunny. If you have the space, you can buy a large enclosure for them to run around in the yard during the day time. This will keep them safe and secure and you won’t need to be monitoring them all the time.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
These bunnies are very easy to take care of and therefore are perfect for individuals, couples, the elderly and families with children. They need a lot of human interaction and so you must be prepared to spend time with them, but they do not take up a lot of room and can be kept in apartments and homes with or without a backyard.
Training a rabbit can be more difficult than training a cat or a dog. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t be done. You can train your Dwarf Hotot rabbit to use a litter box and you can even try to teach them to come when their name is called!
The Dwarf Hotot rabbit only requires minimal grooming — once a week or once every two weeks will suffice. During shedding season, they do require slightly more grooming. Although you may not realize that they are shedding a lot thanks to their short coat, you’ll need to keep on top of brushing them otherwise they can ingest the loose hairs as they groom themselves. This can cause health issues and potentially be very dangerous.
You should very rarely bathe your rabbit. It is not really necessary, unless they are really dirty. Bathing can be a traumatic experience for them, too. You should also trim their nails as and when is needed.
How big should my rabbit’s cage be?
The rule with rabbits is: the bigger the better! If you have the space for a big hutch then your rabbit will always appreciate the extra room to roam and exercise. No one wants to be stuck in a cramped space!
If you do not have a lot of space, then the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24″ by 36″ for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs) or 30″ by 36″ for larger rabbits. Hutches with multiple stories are also popular as they give your bun more space.
The Dwarf Hotot rabbit is a small and very cute breed of rabbit that makes an excellent pet to many. Their unique coat and markings also makes them a great show-rabbit and, weighing no more than 3.5 lbs, they don’t take up a lot of space and don’t have very high care needs. Make sure to keep this bunny indoors unless you can supervise them outside to keep them safe from predators and remember to socialize them properly when they are new to your home. Once bonded to you, your Dwarf Hotot will love you for life!