Thinking of getting a pet rabbit but worried about onegrowing too large for your home? The good news isthere are dozens of breeds that stay pint-sized and compacteven once fully grown! From fluffy dwarf breeds weighing just over a pound to lops and rexes under 5 lbs, small rabbits make wonderful pets. Read on to discover 15+ breeds of bunny that you can count on to stay tiny and find out their ideal care. You’ll be hopping with joy as we cover everything from average rabbit sizes to whether dwarfs need different housing than big buns. We’ll even dish on if little rabbits and large rabbits can live happily together!
What Is The Average Size And Weight of a Rabbit?
The average size and weight of a rabbit depends on the breed. Rabbits come in a wide variety of sizes, from the tiny Netherland Dwarf at just 1-2 lbs, to the giant Flemish Giant at 14-20 lbs.
Most pet rabbit breeds fall into the small to medium size category of 3-8 lbs. The most popular pet rabbit breed, the Netherland Dwarf, weighs just 2-3 lbs when fully grown. Other small rabbit breeds include the Holland Lop, Mini Rex, Mini Lion Lop, Jersey Wooly, Britannia Petite, and Himalayan.
Medium sized rabbits in the 5-8 lb range include breeds like the Dutch, Mini Lop, English Lop, French Lop, English Angora, Satin, and Harlequin.
On the larger end, breeds like the Flemish Giant, Checkered Giant, American, Beveren, Chinchilla, and New Zealand can weigh anywhere from 9-20+ lbs.
In general, smaller rabbit breeds will reach their adult size by about 6 months old. Larger breeds can take up to 1 year to reach their full mature weight and size.
The average size and weight of a pet rabbit is likely to fall somewhere in the 4-6 lb range. Knowing what size your rabbit is expected to be when choosing a breed is important, as care and housing needs can vary greatly between dwarf and giant breeds. Be sure to research whether a breed stays small or grows quite large before bringing one home.
How Quickly Do Rabbits Grow to Full Size?
Rabbits reach their full adult size at different rates depending on their breed. Smaller rabbit breeds tend to reach their mature size faster, while giant breeds can take up to a year to finish growing.
On average, most rabbits will reach about half their adult weight by 12 weeks old. Small breeds like the Netherland Dwarf will then be fully grown by about 6 months old.
Medium rabbit breeds reach their adult size between 6-9 months old. Larger rabbit breeds continue growing the longest, reaching their maximum size anywhere from 9-12 months of age.
During the rapid growth phase when rabbits are maturing, it's especially important to ensure they are eating a healthy diet with plenty of hay, vegetables, and limited pellets. This helps support proper bone and muscle development.
You'll also need to keep an eye on housing size as your rabbit grows, providing more space to accommodate an increasing body size. Litter boxes and other supplies may need to be changed out for larger versions too.
While the timelines vary across breeds, you can generally expect your rabbit to be fully mature in size by their first birthday. Dwarf breeds finish growing the quickest, followed by middle sized rabbits, and finally giant breeds taking up to one year.
Difference Between a Small Rabbit and a Dwarf Rabbit
There are some key differences between a small rabbit and a true dwarf rabbit breed. The main distinction is that dwarf rabbits carry a genetic dwarfing gene that makes them extra tiny in size.
Small rabbit breeds are on the smaller end of an average rabbit size, but don't have dwarfism. For example, a Netherland Dwarf is considered a true dwarf breed, while a Mini Rex is just a naturally small rabbit.
Some ways to tell the difference include:
Weight – Dwarf rabbits weigh less than 3 lbs as adults, while small rabbits are in the 3-5 lb range.
Body Type – Dwarf rabbits have compact, rounded bodies with short limbs. Small rabbits have more elongated builds.
Head Size – Dwarfs tend to have large heads compared to their body size. Small rabbits have proportionate heads.
Ear Size – Dwarf rabbit ears are very short and small. Small breeds just have slightly shorter ears rather than tiny ears.
While their small size is similar, true dwarf rabbit breeds can be distinguished from other small rabbits by their genetic mutations resulting in dwarfism. This gives them their signature squatty, disproportionate appearance compared to pet breeds that are small in stature.
Which Rabbit Breeds Carry the Dwarf Gene?
There are several true dwarf rabbit breeds that carry the genetic mutation for dwarfism:
Netherland Dwarf – The most popular dwarf rabbit at just 1-2.5 lbs when full grown. Comes in a wide variety of colors and coat patterns. Round, compact body with very short ears.
Holland Lop – A dwarf lop-eared rabbit weighing 2-4 lbs. Distinguished by their floppy lopped ears.
Jersey Wooly – A fluffy dwarf rabbit with long coat of wool. Weighs just 1.5-3.5 lbs.
Britannia Petite – The smallest rabbit breed at 1-2.5 lbs. A British dwarf with short, upright ears.
American Fuzzy Lop – Lop-eared dwarf breed with a wooly coat. Weighs 2-4 lbs.
Mini Lion Lop – Miniaturized lionhead dwarf mix originally bred in Germany. Weighs 3-4 lbs.
These true dwarf rabbit breeds all exhibit the characteristic rounded, disproportionate body shape associated with dwarfism. Other small rabbit breeds don't have the genetic mutation, so they don't develop the signature squished dwarf look.
When choosing a dwarf rabbit, be sure to consider the potential health problems associated with dwarfism. Reputable breeders are working to strengthen the gene pool.
Can Two Dwarf Rabbits Breed?
Yes, two dwarf rabbits are able to successfully breed and produce kits. Breeding dwarf rabbits comes with some extra considerations though.
Since dwarfism is caused by a genetic mutation, breeding two dwarf rabbits can increase health risks. The dwarf gene may be amplified in the offspring, which can result in more exaggerated bone and muscle abnormalities.
To reduce risks, it's recommended to breed a dwarf rabbit to a small but non-dwarf breed. This helps balance out the dwarfism genes. Mini Rex or Polish rabbits make good pairings with dwarf breeds.
Pairs like a Holland Lop doe bred to a Netherland Dwarf buck can produce perfectly healthy kits. Take care not to continually breed two dwarfs for multiple generations, as this concentrates negative traits.
It's also extremely important to carefully screen breeding rabbits for signs of health problems associated with dwarfism. Only breed from stock with good body condition and no obvious bone or joint abnormalities.
With responsible selections from healthy bloodlines, two dwarf rabbits can successfully be mated while minimizing risks to kits. Proper breeding practices preserve dwarf breeds while improving welfare.
Breeds of Rabbit That Stay Small
There are many breeds of domestic rabbit that stay small when fully grown. Some of the most popular small rabbit breeds include:
Netherland Dwarf – Tiny dwarf rabbit weighing just 1-2.5 lbs. Round compact body with very short ears. Comes in a wide variety of colors and coat patterns. One of the smallest rabbit breeds.
Jersey Wooly – A true dwarf rabbit with a fluffy wool coat weighing 1.5-3.5 lbs. Distinctive wooly appearance.
Holland Lop – One of the original dwarf lop-eared rabbits. Weighs 2-4 lbs with signature lopped ears. Comes in a variety of color patterns.
Mini Rex – Petite rabbit with plush, velvety rex fur. Not a true dwarf, but naturally stays small at 3-4.5 lbs.
Himalayan – White rabbit with color markings on face, ears, feet and tail. Calm temperament. Weighs 3-4 lbs.
Mini Lion Lop – A dwarf lionhead and lop cross originally from Germany. Weighs 3-4 lbs with a mane of fur around head.
Britannia Petite – The smallest rabbit breed, weighing just 1-2.5 lbs. Short upright ears. Docile personality.
Polish – Naturally small rabbit weighing 3-3.5 lbs. Distinctive narrow, arched body type.
Holland Lop – Another diminutive lop-eared rabbit weighing 3-4 lbs with signature lop ears.
These breeds all stay small when fully mature, whether they carry the dwarf gene or are just petite rabbit breeds. Their compact size makes them popular as pets.
Do Small Rabbits Need a Hutch?
Yes, even small rabbit breeds still require a properly sized hutch or enclosure. Just because they are little doesn't mean they don't need adequate housing.
For a small dwarf rabbit weighing 1-3 lbs, the recommended minimum hutch size is 30 x 36 inches floorspace or larger. This gives them room to stretch and move around comfortably.
Despite their tiny size, small rabbits are active and energetic. Lack of space can lead to boredom, frustration, and behavior problems. Ensure your rabbit hutch is big enough.
Small rabbits also need a hutch tall enough to allow standing fully upright on hind legs without ears touching the roof. A minimum 18 inches interior height is best.
Remember to accessorize the hutch with a hide box or house so your small rabbit has a sheltered, cozy spot to retreat to. Ramps, toys, and litterbox should also be sized appropriately for a little bun.
While you can often use a multi-level hutch to provide more space for a small rabbit, make sure ramps are safely enclosed and any falls aren't far.
Don't try to house a dwarf or small rabbit in a critter cage or tank meant for rodents. Even tiny rabbits require proper hutches that allow natural behaviors.
Do Small Rabbits Eat Less Food?
Small rabbit breeds do require slightly less food compared to their larger cousins, but they still have healthy appetites and need proper nutrition.
The average dwarf rabbit should be fed about 1/4 cup of vegetables and 1/8 cup of pellets per day. Compared to a medium 6 lb rabbit eating 1/2 cup veggies and 1/4 cup pellets daily.
Always provide unlimited hay as the bulk of a small rabbit's diet. Dwarf breeds still need to eat their body size daily in hay. Don't reduce hay – high-fiber hay aids digestion and tooth health.
When giving treats, break pieces into small nibble sizes for dwarfs. Some treats and chews made for bigger rabbits may be too large for tiny mouths.
Small rabbits should also have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Use a bowl heavy enough not to tip over but sized for little lips.
Weighing your small rabbit weekly helps fine-tune portions. Increase or decrease amounts as needed to maintain optimal body condition. Don't starve small rabbits – they require balanced nutrition.
While small rabbits eat slightly less than big breeds, they still need a varied diet with plenty of hay, vegetables, and monitored portions of pellets and treats. Don't reduce portions too severely.
Can Small and Large Rabbits Live Together?
It's generally not recommended to house small and large rabbit breeds together. The size difference can create some problems.
First, larger rabbits may bully or intimidate more diminutive breeds. A Flemish Giant and Netherland Dwarf don't make good roommates due to the drastic size difference.
Smaller rabbits can also get accidentally injured. A giant rabbit sitting down can crush a tiny dwarf underneath. Larger rabbits may also hog food and resources.
Different sized breeds have different nutritional needs. Feeding appropriate portions of veggies and pellets gets tricky when housing different sizes together.
You also need to provide each rabbit adequate space without cramping their style. This usually means connecting two properly sized separate hutches.
It's best to bond rabbits of similar sizes and temperaments. But if housing different sizes, provide adjoining pens and resources for each to prevent injury and resource guarding.
Sometimes a very gentle giant rabbit can coexist with smaller breeds if properly introduced. Just take precautions and separate them if signs of aggression or stress appear.
Are Small Rabbits Better Pets Than Large Rabbits?
Whether small rabbit breeds or large rabbits make better pets comes down to individual preference and lifestyle factors. Neither size is necessarily better.
Some advantages of small rabbits as pets include:
Less expensive to feed and provide housing for
Easier to pick up and handle
Take up less space
May be permitted in apartments with pet weight limits
Can be litter box trained just like larger rabbits
Some benefits of larger rabbit breeds include:
May be calmer and less skittish
Enjoy being cuddled and held
Easier for small children to handle
May be more suitable for outdoor housing
Can be litter trained but may need a larger box
Appropriate for families looking for a larger pet
No matter your living situation or preferences, there's likely a rabbit breed that will make a great pet. Do your research to find the right size rabbit for your home and needs.
While some properties limit animals over 25 lbs, many rabbits in the 4-12 lb range can live very happily indoors. There are wonderful pets available in both small and giant sizes with the right care.
From tiny 1 lb dwarf rabbits to 20 lb Flemish Giants, rabbits come in a wide spectrum of sizes. Whether naturally small breeds or true genetic dwarf rabbits, petite bunnies make sweet, popular companion pets. Ensure you provide adequate housing, nutrition, and care tailored for your rabbit's size for a long, happy life together.