Rabbits are incredibly cute animals, but when they’re small breeds, they’re undeniably adorable! Although my bunny was medium-sized, some of the rabbits I’ve worked with in small animal centers and rescue centers have been tiny. They’re so much fun to be around!
Not only are small bunnies endearing, but they also take up less space and, for some people, are more realistic to keep as pets than larger breeds. Let’s take a look at 12 small rabbit breeds and some basics about them. Stay tuned for the smallest species in the world at the end of our list!
Small Rabbit Breeds
1. Netherland Dwarf
When it comes to small domestic bunny breeds, the Netherland Dwarf had to top of the list! These rabbits weigh no more than 2.5 pounds as an adult!
This little breed was first developed in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. Since then, they’ve become increasingly popular in other areas, including America.
No matter how old Netherland Dwarfs get, this tiny rabbit still looks like a baby! They have a little body, a large head, and a small face. Their short ears stand upright most of the time, giving them an alert, curious appearance.
2. Britannia Petite
The Britannia Petite is one of the smallest rabbit breeds in the world, weighing no more than 2.5 pounds.
In the UK, they’re referred to as the Polish rabbit, which can be confusing, but they’re the same breed. However, the US Polish rabbit and the Britannia Petite are two separate breeds.
Despite their small size, they’re very feisty and active. They can be pretty tricky to handle, so they’re usually better suited to experienced owners. I love their alert little expressions and their enthusiasm for life!
3. Dwarf Hotot
Dwarf Hotots are a newer breed, only recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1983. Their stark white coat with black fur only around their eyes makes them unique and beautiful to look at. As adults, they weigh a maximum of 3 pounds.
Their little bodies, big eyes, and erect ears are simply adorable. They have dense, soft coats which need regular brushing. Once this breed settles into their home, they can be very affectionate.
4. Jersey Wooly
The Jersey Wooly breed was created by crossing a French Angora with a Netherland Dwarf, producing a cute little rabbit with a woolly coat. Their coat is incredibly soft to the touch and needs regular detangling.
Their head is small and square, resulting in the slightly unflattering nickname “mug head.”
The Jersey Wooly is a dwarf breed. They weigh around 3 pounds on average, with a maximum weight of 3 and a half pounds. They tend to enjoy affection from their owners and are known to be quite playful by nature.
A personal favorite of mine, Lionhead rabbits are absolutely adorable to look at. They are fluffy with a wool-like mane around their head, like a lion’s mane! Interestingly, their mane can be either double or single.
Double-mane Lionheads have wooly fur around other areas of their body, such as their rear end, as well as around their head. Single mane Lionheads primarily have the mane around their head and ears.
As adults, Lionheads weigh a maximum of 3 pounds. They are quite a timid breed and can be easily startled, especially when they first move into a new home. However, once they settle in with their owners, they’re loving and enjoy attention.
6. Miniature Lion Lop
The Miniature Lion Lop breed was created by crossing a Lionhead with a Mini Lop rabbit. This created a little rabbit with the floppy ears of the Mini Lop and the wooly mane of the Lionhead. It’s quite the combination!
Mini Lion Lops are very cute and sometimes even comical to look at, depending on how furry their mane is.
Like many other small breeds on this list, they weigh a maximum of 3 and a half pounds. The furry mane around their head and ears requires regular grooming to prevent matting.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association does not yet recognize this crossbreed.
7. Holland Lop
One of the smallest lop breeds, the Holland Lop weighs between 2 and 4 pounds. They were originally bred in the Netherlands to create a smaller lop breed that was easier to handle.
Now, they’re among the most popular rabbit breeds in the world!
Holland Lops have a large head compared to their body and a reasonably flat face. Their floppy ears are their most popular feature, and no wonder! Their ears are so cute! This breed can come in a wide range of colors and patterns.
8. Mini Rex
The Mini Rex breed was developed in 1984 in Texas. They’re slightly bigger than the other rabbits we’ve discussed so far, with a maximum weight of 4 and a half pounds. Essentially they’re a smaller version of the standard Rex rabbit with the same velvety fur.
Mini Rex rabbits have upright ears that are very close together and alert eyes. They come in a lot of different color combinations. They’re a friendly breed and tend to bond well with their owners or handlers.
The Himalayan is one of the oldest known rabbit breeds. The first known mention of the breed in writing was published in 1857 in Europe. Despite the name, they’re thought to originate from China!
The breed goes by many names, including Russian Rabbit, the Black Nose Rabbit from China, the Egyptian Smut, and it’s sometimes referred to as the “Majestic Beauty of the Ages.”
They’re undoubtedly unique, with a stark white body and darker markings around the nose, feet, ears, and tail. Slightly bigger than many other rabbits on this list, they weigh an average of 4 and a half pounds. They’re very laid back by nature and tend to enjoy getting affection from their owners.
10. Mini Satin
As the name suggests, Mini Satin rabbits are a smaller version of the Satin breed. They are the largest breed on our list, but they’re still very small, weighing a maximum of 5 pounds. They have a dense coat that feels like satin and is a joy to stroke.
Mini Satin rabbits come in 16 colors, all of which are beautiful to look at. They have compact bodies and big, pointed ears. The breed is very active and loves to play. They can be quite mischievous and curious, especially when exploring new areas of the home.
11. American Fuzzy Lop
Finally, we have the American Fuzzy Lop. They were produced by breeding Angora rabbits with Holland Lop rabbits. They have the traditional floppy lop ears and a fuzzy wool coat similar to Angora rabbits. They reach a maximum of 4 pounds as adults.
American Fuzzy Lops are as cute as their name sounds! They’re also very sweet-natured, and when they’re appropriately socialized, they make fantastic companions. They love being petted and spending quality time with their owners.
12. Columbia Basin Pygmy
Technically, the smallest rabbit is the Columbia Basin Pygmy rabbit. This tiny creature weighs less than a pound! Although these bunnies aren’t kept as pets, I had to mention them due to their tiny size.
Columbia Basin Pygmy rabbits are very rare. They’re protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
There are so few of these little cuties left that they’re only found in two small areas in the Columbia Basin in Washington state as of 2021. The population in this area is only present as a result of reintroduction efforts as conservationists work hard to save the species.
Small Rabbit FAQs
Are there bunnies that stay small?
Yes, quite a few rabbits stay small even when they reach their adult weight. Some are known as dwarf bunnies and carry the gene for dwarfism, while others are small without the dwarf gene. Many breeds are crossbred to create a smaller version of larger rabbit breeds.
What is the smallest rabbit breed?
The smallest rabbit species is the Columbia Basin Pygmy, which is at the top of our list. They weigh less than a pound! How tiny! However, this is not a domestic rabbit breed and shouldn’t be kept as a pet. They’re wild, and the species is endangered.
What is the smallest domesticated species of rabbit?
The smallest pet rabbit breed is the Netherland Dwarf. They weigh no more than 2 and a half pounds as an adult.
What are the benefits of owning a small rabbit?
Owning a small rabbit can have some advantages, as they take up less space. They also tend to eat less and need smaller supplies like litter trays, toys, and bowls. Therefore, they can cost less to keep.
However, it’s crucial to remember that even small rabbits need quite a lot of space. They need to be able to stand up on their back legs, run around, and stretch out comfortably in their living area.
The minimum recommended size for any rabbit’s enclosure is 9ft x 6.5ft x 3.2ft (3m x 2m and a height of 1m).
They also need plenty of time out of their enclosure and lots of stimulation. Rabbits are social animals, and it’s better to keep them in pairs where possible, so this means you need extra room and resources.
No matter the rabbit’s size, they’re a big commitment, so you must do plenty of research before bringing a bunny into your life.
Are there any problems with owning a small rabbit?
All breeds of rabbits need careful and gentle handling as they can get hurt easily. Since they’re prey animals, they’re easily frightened. Therefore, building up handling over time is key.
Smaller breeds need even more care. Imagine just how small and delicate their little bones and internal organs are! Since they can get hurt easily, small breeds might not be the best option for very young children.
While all rabbits can have health issues, some health problems are more common in small and dwarf breeds. Due to the way they’ve been bred, many smaller or dwarf breeds have a small, flat face. This can cause dental malocclusion, which means the teeth don’t line up correctly. Dental issues in rabbits can lead to a range of other health problems.
The shape of their faces also causes a condition known as Brachycephalic Syndrome, the same condition that’s seen in flat-faced dog breeds. It causes breathing issues, making them more vulnerable to respiratory problems when they’re stressed, too hot, or unwell.
Some small breeds also have lop ears, meaning floppy ears rather than ears that stand upright.
Rabbits with lop ears can potentially struggle with social interaction with other rabbits, as erect ears play a significant part in their body language.
It can also make them prone to ear infections, which my lovely bunny Hopkins had towards the end of his life.
Despite these issues, small-breed rabbits can make excellent pets as long as you understand potential problems so you can address them quickly.
Adopting a rabbit or buying them from a reputable breeder can help to reduce the risk of health issues. It also allows you to play your part in promoting healthier breeding lines of rabbits over time.
Small breed rabbits are cute, cuddly, and fun to be around. Despite their tiny size, they’re usually full of personality! Although all the breeds on this list are under five pounds, each has individual characteristics that make it stand out.
What’s your favorite small breed? Have you owned a small rabbit breed? We always love to hear about your experience in the comments.