How Big Do Dutch Rabbits Get?

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how big do dutch rabbits get

Dutch rabbits weigh 3.5 to 5.5 pounds. The ideal weight for show rabbits is 4.5 pounds.

Dutch rabbits from some pet lines might fall outside the typical weight range, but a bunny who falls very wide of it might have an underlying health problem that needs veterinary attention.

Dutch Rabbit Size

Dapper Dutch rabbits are one of the most enduringly popular rabbit breeds, thanks to their compact size, affectionate disposition and trainability.

Often described as being ‘medium-small’, Dutch rabbits are Goldilocks of rabbit sizes.

They’re small enough that they’re cute and easy to handle.

But big enough that they don’t feel excessively fragile.

And because how much hutch space a rabbit needs is linked to how big they are, most people can accommodate the right sized habitat for a Dutch bunny in their house or yard.

How Big Do Dutch Rabbits Get?

According to their breed standard, the ideal size for a Dutch rabbit is 4.5 pounds.

Of course, rabbits aren’t cut from cookie cutters though! So they actually come in a range of sizes with 4.5 pounds being about in the middle.

Factors which affect how big a Dutch rabbit grows include:

1. How big their parents were

A male and female Dutch rabbit from the top of the normal size range are more likely to have babies that also weigh over 5 pounds.

And two small Dutch bunnies are more likely to have babies which grow into petite individuals.

2. How many siblings they have

The birth weight of Dutch rabbit kits is negatively correlated to how many siblings are in their litter.

Or in other words, the fewer brothers and sisters they have, the more they’re likely to weigh when they’re born.

Within a litter, the biggest babies also tend to secure the most milk from their mom, and grow into larger adults.

Whilst the smallest babies get pushed aside and remain small into adulthood.

3. Breeding choices

Sometimes Dutch rabbit size is shaped by breeding decisions, either purposefully, or unintentionally.

For example, a breeder might continue a line of Dutch bunnies they’re really proud of because they have reliably affectionate, sociable and fun loving personalities, and live to a ripe old age.

Since they’re breeding for temperament and health rather than size, their rabbits might drift to the edge of the normal weight range for Dutches, or even beyond it.

And that’s fine, as long as they’re honest with buyers about the rabbits’ suitability for show.

how big do dutch rabbits get

On the other hand, a bad breeder might deliberately breed from successive runt Dutches to produce rabbits which weigh less than 3.5 pounds fully grown.

They might be hoping to achieve extra profit on those rabbits, by selling them as ‘teacup’ pets.

But, runt rabbits are more likely to have congenital health defects than their normal-sized siblings, which they may pass onto their offspring.

So this kind of breeding for non-standard sized Dutch rabbits is not ok.

4. Neuter status

Rabbits are famous for their reproductive prowess.

So in mixed sex groups, it’s wise to eiter neuter the males, or spay the females.

Professional opinion on whether neutering causes weight gain is mixed.

It’s probably safest to say that it does make rabbits more susceptible to weight gain, but that gaining weight isn’t inevitable.

And that rabbit owners can keep their neutered Dutch rabbit at a healthy size by feeding them correctly and giving them plenty of opportunities for exercise.

5. Health

There are lots of ways a rabbit’s overall health and condition can affect their size.

So we’ll look at that properly in our next section.

How Health Affects Dutch Rabbit Size

Let’s start with a condition that is increasingly significant for all pet species: obesity.

How big should Dutch rabbits get?

Usually, Dutch rabbits get no bigger than 5.5 pounds.

A few individuals can be healthy outliers.

But when a Dutch rabbit weighs more than 5.5 pounds, it’s also worth considering whether they might be carrying a bit too much weight.

Rabbits aren’t typically prone to gaining weight by over eating. But the way their digestive system works means they do need to consume a minimum volume of food everyday to stay alive.

Which means they can gain weight if the food they’re eating is too dense in calories.

When rabbits get overweight it puts them at risk of a wide range of additional problems, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal stasis
  • Urine scalding
  • Cystitis
  • Fly strike
  • Sore hocks
  • Arthritis
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Dental disease
  • Complications under anesthetic
  • Fat deposits in the liver
  • Vitamin deficiencies

The importance of diet and exercise

To keep a Dutch bunny a health size, it’s important to feed them a suitable diet, and make sure they have room to exercise.

Rabbits should receive as much fresh hay as they can eat every day, and high-fiber, low-sugar fresh produce such as kale.

These can be supplemented with nutritionally balanced rabbit pellets, but avoid mueslis which they can cherry pick only the unhealthy bits out of!

This article has more information about choosing the right diet.

And this article will help you make sure their habitat is the right size.

Other Health Conditions Which Affect How Big Dutch Rabbits Get

When a Dutch rabbit is much smaller than average, it might be a sign that they have an underlying condition.

These common problems affecting pet rabbits all have weight loss as a possible symptom:

  • dental problems
  • digestive problems
  • parasites.

If you can feel you Dutch rabbit’s bones sharply through their skin, or see their hips, ribs or spine without touching them at all, that’s an indication they are underweight.

Consult a vet to find out the underlying cause of their weight loss, and how to treat it.

Young rabbits who suffer these conditions while they’re still growing might have their growth stunted and always fall below the usual size range for Dutch rabbits.

How Big Do Dutch Rabbits Get – Summary

Most rabbits weight between 3.5 pounds and 5.5 pounds when they are fully grown.

But there are a lot of reasons why an adult rabbit might fall outside of that range.

Being able to recognize a rabbit’s ideal health weight is an important part of looking after them.

Rabbits are prey species which instinctively hide any signs that they’re in pain.

So spotting changes in their weight might be the first sign that something is not right with them.

How Much Does Your Dutch Rabbit Weigh?

Let us know and compare with other Dutch rabbit owners in the comments box down below!

References

Drummond. Competition for Milk in the Domestic Rabbit: Survivors Benefit from Littermate Deaths. Ethology. 2000.

Mullen & Main. Survey of the husbandry, health and welfare of 102 pet rabbits. Vet Record. 2006.

Perpinan. Rabbit neutering. Companion Animal. 2019.

Prayange & Eady. Factors affecting litter size and birth weight in rabbits. Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics. 2001.

Rooney et al. The current state of welfare, housing and husbandry of the English pet rabbit population. BMC Research Notes. 2014.

Stapleton. The chubby bunny: a closer look at obesity in the pet rabbit. The Veterinary Nurse. 2014.

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