The smallest rabbit breeds include mature species whose weight is usually less than 4 pounds.
American fuzzy lop
The American Fuzzy Lop weighs 3 to 4 pounds. These small rabbits have a large, flattened “bulldog” face and lopped ears, and look somewhat like a Holland Lop with long fur. They have been bred in many different colors. This is a wool breed and will require extensive daily grooming and a special diet. This is a short rabbit with well-developed shoulders and hindquarters.
The head is held high and close to the shoulders. The ears sit high on the head and then flop down to ½ to 1 inch below the jaw. The show standard requires the wool to be slightly coarse, very dense and equal in length throughout the body. The American Fuzzy Lop is shown in six different groups based on its color pattern: broken, pointed white, wide band, agouti, shaded, and self. Within these groups, the agouti colors of chestnut, chinchilla, opal, and lynx can be seen. A number of other colors are also available in this short and stocky breed.
The Britannia Petite is an old English breed known in UK as “Polish” (under 2.5 pounds). It is generally thought to have been developed from small, common rabbits. The breed is currently recognized as the smallest of the standard breeds. In the United States, the Britannia Petite is commonly recognized as being white with red eyes, although they are bred in many color varieties in Britain.
These tiny, compact rabbits have relatively narrow heads and a trim, arched body line. Ears are medium long and erect. Experienced rabbit breeders have claimed these rabbits have a tendency to be more hyper and nip more often than other breeds, and that they require especially careful handling because of the delicate arched body type.
The show standard requires the head to be wedge-shaped and broad across the forehead. The neck is short, and erect ears are in contact with each other for their full length. The Britannia’s fur is sleek and silky. This breed is known to be curious, alert and is suitable for older children who can handle this light-statured breed gently.
The Dwarf hotot (2 – 3 pounds). This rabbit is of compact type and has a gentle rollback coat. The head set is not as high on the shoulders like that of a Netherland Dwarf, and the ears are carried in an upright V shape. The eyes are encircled with narrow bands of colored fur. The Dwarf hotot is strictly a fancy breed. They are too small to be of commercial value. As a rule, they are friendly rabbits and well suited to pet life.
The Himalayan is popular in China and Russia (2.5 to 4.5 pounds). It is more bred around the world than any other rabbit breed. Its distinctive white coat and blue, lilac, chocolate or black markings make it unique. A friendly amenable rabbit, this breed may have originated in the Far East.
If you are planning to buy a rabbit as a pet, the most suitable is Himalayan, which is a small, easily-handled and wonderfully placid rabbit with novices. The young rabbits are white and slightly tinged with silver-gray. As the rabbit matures, the silver-gray disappears and its coat becomes snow white with the nose, ears, feet and tail becoming very dark colors.
The Holland Lop’s head is slightly flattened, the body is short and looks massive (2 ¾ to 4 pounds). Holland Lops have lopped ears and a prominent “crowns” (the ridge of cartilage between the ears). These popular rabbits come in many colors and have soft, fine furs. The wide, thick, furry ears hang down vertically from the “crown”.
The show standard requires that the ears should be no longer than 1 inch below the jaw. Pointed, narrow or thin ears are disqualified. Some Holland Lops like to be petted, but in general, temperament varies by individual.
- Self-group (black, blue, chocolate, and lilac)
- Broken (any color in conjunction with white)
- Shaded (must have the color darker on the feet, ears, tail and head than on rest of body)
- Agouti group colors include those that have the top side of the body banded (a ring pattern in the coat) and ticked (the tip of the hairs are a different color)
- Pointed group (also know as himalayans) comes in 4 different colors, black,blue, chocolate and lilac
The Jersey Wooly was created specifically for its luxurious coat (2 ¾ to 3 ½ pounds.). The fur of the Jersey Wooly is available in agouti (chestnut, chinchilla, opal and squirrel), pointed white (black or blue markings), self (black, blue, chocolate, lilac, blue-eyed white and ruby-eyed white), shaded (sable point, seal, Siamese sable, smoke pearl, tortoiseshell, and blue tortoiseshell) and pattern (black otter, blue otter, silver marten, sable marten, and smoke pearl marten) color groups.
A small rabbit, Jersey Wooly weighs about 3 pounds and has a rounded, compact body. The fur on the face and upright ears is short; the rest of the body has long, dense fur. These rabbits require extra time for grooming and special diets.
The Lionhead has a normal rollback coat of medium length over the saddle, and some have “transitional wool” on their flanks (3 ¾ pounds). Some Lionheads have noticeably longer wool on the cheeks and chest. Lionhead rabbits have outgoing personalities and are a popular pet in the United States.
Mini Plush Lop
The Mini Plush Lop (2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds) have playful, friendly personalities, but they are also docile enough to allow their owners to hold them for reasonably long periods of time. While they are adventurous and outgoing, they are easy to catch and quite affectionate.
The Mini Rex rabbit has a compact body with narrow shoulders, short, thick, upright ears, and a rex coat (2 ¾ to 4 ½ pounds). This breed is growing in popularity as a pet and show rabbit because of its luxurious coat. Rex coats have guard hairs which are fine, straight, and no longer than the underhairs, resulting in a plush coat that looks and feels somewhat like velvet.
The Mini Rex rabbits have been bred in many colors. The breed was developed using the standard size rex. Weighing about 4 pounds, the Mini Rex is available in the same color varieties as its larger cousin, the Rex. Foot disease is more common in rabbits with Rex fur because of the lack of a heavy protective fur on the foot pad.
The Netherland Dwarf is the miniature of the rabbit fancy and the smallest of all domestic rabbits (up to 2 ½ pounds.). What it lacks in size, it makes up in popularity. It makes an ideal pet for small children. Although the breed is noted for its bad temper, especially among the bucks, the adult dwarf doe is the most docile pet animal and makes a great pet.
The Netherland Dwarf comes in a wide range of colors including self group, agouti group, shaded group, tan pattern group, fawn, Himalayan, steel, orange and tortoiseshell. This breed has the distinction of being recognized in more different colors than any other rabbit breed. The Dwarf rabbit has ears that seem short even for its small body. The show standard requires the ears to be erect, well furred, and 2 inches long. The eyes are round, bold and bright.
The Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is the world’s smallest rabbit with adult weights from 375 to about 500 grams (0.827 to about 1.102 lb), and a body length from 23.5 to 29.5 centimeters (9.3 to 11.6 in); females are slightly larger than males. It distinguished by its short ears, gray color, small hind legs, and lack of white fur on the tail.