11 Rabbit Breeds that Stay Small

rabbit breeds that stay small

Most people think of rabbits as quite small animals. You might imagine the size of a little stuffed animal, or think a rabbit is usually not much bigger than a guinea pig. So what would you say when I told you the average sized adult rabbit is about the size of a medium watermelon? 

The average rabbit is actually about 5-7 pounds (and some rabbits are much bigger, reaching 10lbs and more). So, if you want a rabbit who stays as small as you expect, you’ll have to look for specific mini and dwarf rabbit breeds. 

These breeds will typically max out at 4 to 5 pounds, which is small to me. However, even these breeds may seem large to someone who is not used to rabbits. There are only a few truly petite breeds of rabbits that stay teeny tiny even as adults.

This article is based on ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) standards. But remember, there are also many rabbits who are mixed breed and don’t cleanly fall into rabbit breed categories. I’ve come across a number of teeny tiny bunnies of undetermined breed during my time volunteering with rescue rabbits, so you never know what you’ll find at your local animal shelter.

When looking to get a rabbit, keep in mind that small bunnies tend to be more energetic and skittish than larger rabbits. This means that they can be a bit more difficult to care for and are not ideal for families with young children.

britannia petite rabbit
Britannia Petite
Netherland Dwarf

The rabbit breeds that stay smaller than 3 pounds

When you’re looking for a truly tiny bunny, there are only two breeds that will pretty much never weigh in at more than 3 pounds (unless they are overweight). These breeds are the Britannia Petite (a fairly rare breed) and the Netherland Dwarf (much more popular).

Let’s take a closer peek at these pint-sized bunnies:

  • Britannia Petite: Known for their arched body shape and full of energy. They typically weigh around 2 to 2.5 pounds as full grown adults. They are most well known for being white with red eyes, but they can also have blue eyes or spotted coats.
  • Netherland Dwarf: One of the most popular small breeds, Netherland Dwarfs have a reputation for being spunky with a big attitude for such little rabbits. You can recognize them by their relatively small ears compared to other rabbit breeds. Their weight usually hovers around 2 pounds as adults.
holland lop rabbit
Holland Lop
himalayan rabbit

Rabbit breeds that will sometimes stay smaller 3 pounds

Some rabbit breeds have a little more wiggle room in the size to expect. Some Holland Lop rabbits, for example, are under 3 pounds when they are fully grown, but they can also be up to 4 pounds. 

Other breeds that can end up staying teeny tiny forever include:

  • Holland Lop: These rabbits are known as the puppy dogs of rabbit breeds because of how friendly they are. My sister has a couple of Holland Lops, and they are as friendly as their reputation suggests.
  • Himalayan: These are one of the oldest breeds of small rabbits, so they’ve been bred to have a more laid back personality than most other small rabbits. They have red eyes with distinctive markings on their nose, feet, and ears.
  • Jersey Woolly: Don’t let the woolly hair fool you; this breed carries a lot less bulk than its fur suggests. These rabbits tend to be gentler than other small rabbit breeds.
  • Lionhead: They have fur around their head that looks like a lion’s mane. They are usually friendly rabbits, but require some extra care to maintain their long fur.
jersey wooly rabbit
Jersey Wooly
lionhead rabbit

Holland Lops and Lionhead rabbits are breeds that I frequently see at the animal shelter where I volunteer. I highly recommend checking out your local animal shelter to see what rabbits are available. There’s a pretty good chance that there is a small rabbit waiting for you even if you have your heart set on a specific breed.

Remember, their weight can vary depending on diet and lineage. If you’re adopting, meeting your potential new bunny buddy can give you a good sense of their size, something you might not get if you’re adopting them when they are babies and still growing.

American fuzzy lop rabbit
American Fuzzy Lop
dwarf hotot rabbit
Dwarf Hotot

Other rabbit breeds that are smaller than 5 pounds

As I said in the introduction, I think of rabbits as small if they are under 5 pounds. In addition to the breeds mentioned in the previous section. There are quite a few more rabbit breeds that will typically clock it somewhere around 4 pounds.

These breeds include:

  • American Fuzzy Lop: These rabbits are related to Holland lops that I mentioned in the previous section, but they have angora-style wooly fur. Fuzzy lops will usually be slightly bigger than Hollands lops, at around 4 pounds.
  • Dwarf Hotot: You can’t miss them with their distinctive “eyeliner” look with the black marks around their eyes and ears. Typically Dwarf Hotots will be somewhere between 3 and 4 pounds.
  • Mini Rex: Rex rabbits are the velveteen rabbits that you’ve heard about in stories because of the way their short fur resembled the soft feel of velvet. Mini Rex rabbits will usually be around 4 to 5 pounds.
  • Mini Satin: Similar to the Mini Rex but with a longer, glossier coat, the Mini Satin rabbits have extremely soft fur that shines like silk. These beauties usually weigh between 4 and 5 pounds.
  • Polish: This is another breed that tends to be calmer and friendlier compared to other small rabbits. They usually weigh somewhere around 4 pounds.
Mini Rex
Mini Satin

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Amy Pratt

Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals.

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