Welcome to our complete guide to the Dwarf Hotot.
Small bunny breeds have the potential to make excellent pets. If you’ve been looking at tiny bunnies, then the Dwarf Hotot might just have caught your eye.
Their distinctive markings certainly help them stand out.
Pure white bodies combine with beautiful dark eye markings to make these little bunnies instantly recognizable.
In this article we’re going to delve deeper into this breed than just considering their appearance, though.
We’ll take a look at how this breed came to be.
What is their temperament like? And are they prone to any particular health conditions?
In short, we’ll find out everything you need to know about this breed.
Where Does the Dwarf Hotot Come From?
This tiny breed can trace their roots back to the larger Blanc de Hotot rabbits.
In the 1970s, rabbit breeders decided to try and produce a miniature version of this larger breed.
Funnily enough, one breeder in West Germany and another in East Germany were both working on achieving this, totally separate from one another!
One breeder decided to cross the Blanc de Hotot rabbit with a red-eyed-white (REW) Netherland Dwarf. The other didn’t use a Blanc de Hotot at all.
Instead, he bred a Dutch rabbit with a Netherland Dwarf. Then, he bred for the specific combination of markings he wanted through successive generations.
Eventually, these two separate strains were bred together, and the result is the Dwarf Hotot.
Dwarf Hotots were imported to the US in the early 1980s, with the American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club being formed in 1982.
By 1983, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) had recognized the breed.
Dwarf Hotot Appearance
The most striking characteristic of Dwarf Hotots is the markings around their eyes, which earned them the nickname “the eyes of the fancy.”
These little bunnies weigh no more than 3 pounds.
Dwarf Hotots are compact and short in shape. Their ears are reasonably short, and sit erect. Each ear has softly rounded ends.
Dwarf Hotots have soft fur, of a short length. Their coats are dense, but the fur within it should be fine. Their coat should have a gentle rollback.
For a long time, there was only one accepted color for Dwarf Hotots, a pure white body with a black marking around the eye.
This eye marking is referred to as an “eye band,” not a circle. It should mirror the shape of the eye, but extend into the fur of the rabbit rather than just cover the eyelid itself.
The eye band should, in an ideal world, be the width of two pennies placed together.
In 2006, the ARBA started to accept chocolate colored eye bands, in addition to black.
Some breeders are also working to develop a blue eye band, but this has yet to be officially accepted.
Although some Dwarf Hotots do have small spots of color across their bodies, this is considered a disqualification for showing purposes. Of course, if you don’t plan on showing your bunny, this may not bother you in the slightest!
Here, you can read the full breakdown of the breed standard for showing rabbits.
Dwarf Hotot Temperament
On the whole, Dwarf Hotots have a friendly temperament.
In the past, they did have a reputation of having a tendency to bite when being judged in the showing ring. But luckily, this trait seems to have disappeared over the years.
As with many rabbits, they will benefit from regular handling. This is particularly important with a young rabbit.
They have engaging personalities, and enjoy spending time with their owners.
Dwarf Hotots are more sociable, and better with being handled, than some of the other dwarf breeds, such as the Mini Rex.
As a breed that is less active than some others, they will enjoy snuggling up on the sofa with you.
They are also independent little spirits, who will happily entertain themselves with toys while you’re out at work. A small ball or a cardboard tube stuffed with hay will give them plenty of playtime.
Dwarf Hotot Health
Dwarf Hotots are, on the whole, a healthy breed.
Due to their tiny size, it’s important to be careful when handling them. Dropping one of these tiny bunnies can cause serious damage, including broken bones.
Make sure visitors unfamiliar with how to handle rabbits are supervised, if they would like to interact with your bunny.
If your rabbit has the freedom to roam around your house, take care to check where they are as you’re moving around.
They are small enough to slip under your feet, and very difficult to notice until you move!
There are a range of health conditions to be aware of if you decide to bring a Dwarf Hotot into your home.
Let’s take a look at some of those now.
Remember that rabbits, as prey animals, often hide signs of illness. Make sure to watch your rabbit closely for symptoms.
As with many small rabbit breeds, the Dwarf Hotot can suffer from malocclusion.
Malocclusion is when a rabbit’s upper and lower teeth don’t line up correctly. This can lead to teeth becoming overgrown.
Malocclusion can become a life-threatening condition, as it affects the rabbit’s ability to take in food.
If you suspect this is a problem for your dwarf bunny, your veterinarian can trim his teeth regularly.
Myxomatosis is a virus spread by mosquitoes, black flies, mites, and fleas.
Wild rabbits can often carry the disease and function perfectly normally.
But if an insect bites a wild carrier of myxomatosis, then bites a domestic rabbit, the disease can spread.
And in domestic rabbits, it can be fatal.
You can check here to see if your area of the US has any reported cases of myxomatosis.
Precautions you can take include using a flea and mosquito preventative treatment, and keeping your rabbit inside if there are active cases in your area.
If you live in the UK, you might decide to vaccinate your Dwarf Hotot against myxomatosis. Especially if you live in an area with a high incidence of this disease.
This vaccine is not available in the US.
In some countries, a vaccine against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) virus is available. This virus can cause a fever, lethargy, and liver damage.
At the moment, the vaccine is not available in the US, but it is in Europe.
You can take a variety of precautions to reduce the risk of your bunny contracting this virus.
For example, keep the bunny hutch. Also, make sure no wild rabbits can get into any outdoor areas your rabbit uses.
GI Tract Stasis
Gastrointestinal stasis is a serious, fairly common health problem that pet rabbits face.
The digestive system slows or stops as a result of a buildup of bacteria, releasing gas. This causes bloating, loss of appetite, and lack of defecation.
Stress, diet, too little exercise, or underlying medical issues can cause GI stasis.
GI stasis must be quickly treated by a veterinarian, or it can be deadly. A vet can prescribe antibiotics to remove bacteria, and medication to reduce gas.
Also known as torticollis, this condition causes rabbit’s heads to tip to one side.
It can be caused by a wide variety of issues, including ear infections, head trauma, abscesses, or parasitic infestation.
In order to treat head tilt, it’s important that your veterinarian identifies the root cause.
The good news is that most rabbits can recover. Even though some rabbits will never regain their previous non-tilted head carriage, they can still have a good quality of life with proper management.
This is an infection caused by the bacteria Pasturella multocida. It can affect domestic rabbits of any size, and is a common disease.
However, it may be more common with dwarf rabbits because of their smaller craniofacial structures. These can be more easily blocked by respiratory issues.
It usually presents as an upper respiratory tract infection, hence its nickname, the snuffles.
The snuffles can usually be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough.
It’s thought that all rabbits carry the bacteria which causes snuffles. But only some will show symptoms of the disease.
If rabbits are stressed, or their immune systems are compromised, they may start to show signs that they may have developed the snuffles.
Female rabbits are at risk of developing cancer of the uterus.
If you have a female rabbit that you don’t intend to breed from, it’s best to get her spayed in order to remove the possibility that she will develop cancer.
Dwarf Hotot Life Expectancy
These cute little rabbits can live for 7 – 10 years.
Dwarf Hotot Grooming
While Dwarf Hotots only require minimal grooming, it’s important you do it at least once a week. If not, they can develop hairballs from ingesting hair as they groom themselves.
These hairballs can block their intestines. Regular grooming, as well as a diet high in fiber, can reduce this risk of this happening.
If your bunny does develop hairballs, your veterinarian may prescribe a mild laxative. Or, as a last resort, the doctor may recommend surgery.
Feeding Your Dwarf Hotot
While a Dwarf Hotot has a very good appetite, be careful not to overfeed. It can be tempting to feed a bunny as much as she can eat.
Along with timothy hay, these little bunnies only need a quarter of a cup of rabbit food a day. You can supplement this with carrots and leafy greens appropriate for rabbits.
It’s a good idea to become familiar with how much your rabbit eats on a daily basis.
Rabbits going off their food can be a good indicator that they’re not feeling well.
If your rabbit is not eating, drinking, or defecating normally, schedule a veterinary checkup as soon as you can.
Do Dwarf Hotots Make Good Family Pets?
Dwarf Hotots can make excellent family pets.
They enjoy regular interaction with their families. When roaming free in the house, they will often seek out their owners.
As long as younger family members are familiar with how to handle this tiny breed, they can thrive in a loving home environment.
On a practical note, their small size means they don’t require as much hutch space as some other larger breeds.
Rescuing a Dwarf Hotot
Rescuing a Dwarf Hotot can be a fantastic way to find a new pet.
Any rescue centers will already know the rabbit’s personality, meaning you have a good chance of finding a bunny which will suit your way of life.
Visiting a local shelter is a great idea.
You can find listings for Dwarf Hotots looking for their forever homes here.
Finding a Baby Dwarf Hotot
Once you’ve done your research and decided that the Dwarf Hotot is the breed for you, it’s time to find a breeder.
Don’t rush this process.
The American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club has a list of registered breeders on its website. This is a good place to start your search.
If you can, try to visit any breeders in your area. Ask them for details about the kits they have for sale.
Any reputable breeder will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
If it’s the cute and manageable size of the Dwarf Hotot that appeals to you, then another dwarf breed like the Netherland Dwarf could be a good alternative.
Of course, if it’s the markings of this breed that attract you, then the obvious contender is the larger, Blanc de Hotot!
The Blanc de Hotot may also escape some of the enhanced health concerns that the dwarf breed may face.
Is A Dwarf Hotot Right For Me?
If you’re looking for a rabbit with a big personality wrapped in a small body, then the Dwarf Hotot could be your perfect match.
While they do suffer from some general health issues, Dwarf Hotots are similar to what you’ll see in most other dwarf rabbit breeds.
Their endearing looks and cute characters have certainly made them a popular choice.
Do you own a Dwarf Hotot? Tell us about it in the comments!
References and Resources
- Cota, R. Judging the Dwarf Hotot “The eyes of the Fancy.” American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club.
- Fernandez-Fernandez, M R., et al. (2001). Protection of rabbits against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus by immunization with the VP60 protein expressed in plants with a potyvirus-based vector. Virology, 280(2).
- House Rabbit Society, GI Stasis in Rabbits: A Deadly Condition.
- House Rabbit Society, Myxomatosis in the US.
- Smith, M., et al. 2009. Rabbits – From the Animal’s Point of View, 4: Rabbit disease.
- Krempels, D. 2014. Head Tilt (Torticollis) in Rabbits: Don’t Give Up. University of Miami.
- Massacci, F. R., et al. (2018). Characterization of Pasteurella multocida involved in rabbit infections. Veterinary Microbiology, 213.
- Spibey, N. (2012). Novel bivalent vectored vaccine for control of myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. Veterinary Record, 170(12).
- Vetwest Animal Hospitals, Common Rabbit Diseases.
- American Rabbit Breeders Association