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What to Know About Dwarf Hotot Rabbits

Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on November 26, 2022

Dwarf hotot rabbits are a relatively recent addition to the world of rabbit breeding. They’re small, endearing animals with distinct physical features. 

Dwarf hotots are kept as pets across the globe. Just make sure that you’re ready to care for a rabbit before you bring one home.

What Are Dwarf Hotot Rabbits? 

Sometimes called the “eye of fancy,” dwarf hotot rabbits were developed in Germany around the end of the 19th century. Originally they existed in two slightly different varieties that merged into the breed that exists today. 

The dwarf hotot rabbit was officially acknowledged by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1983. These rabbits have unique traits which make them difficult to breed. Advanced breeders should consider them a fun challenge.

Physical Characteristics of Dwarf Hotot Rabbits

Dwarf hotot rabbits share most of their key physical features with two other species of rabbits — Blanc de Hotots and Netherland dwarfs. 

One of their most striking features, the dwarf hotot rabbit’s colors, comes from the Blanc de Hotots. Both of these rabbit breeds have entirely white fur except for a well-defined black band around their eyes. 

Instead of being a perfect circle, the bands should follow the lines of the rabbit’s eyelids. They look like they’re wearing a thick coat of eyeliner.

Although the breed standard prefers a black band, the genetics behind the trait can create other colors. These include: 

  • Blue
  • Lilac
  • Chocolate 

The rest of these rabbits’ physical features closely resemble the Netherland dwarf. They have broad heads and no visible necks. The bodies are short and compact. Their shoulders should be as wide as their hips. 

Dwarf hotots carry their ears erect, not drooping down towards their faces. These ears should be short and slightly rounded at the tips. Their ideal length is 2.25 inches — but an individual's ears could be longer or shorter than this. 

They have soft, fine fur that densely coats their bodies. When properly fed and groomed, their fur develops a lustrous appearance. 

The average dwarf hotot rabbit size places them in the miniature category. Miniature rabbits weigh anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds. But a healthy dwarf hotot shouldn’t weigh more than 3 pounds. 

The typical dwarf hotot rabbit lifespan depends on how well it’s cared for. With a good diet, exercise, and minimal stress they’ll likely live for at least a decade. Make sure that you’re prepared for a long-term commitment before you bring one home.

The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Temperament

When dwarf hotot rabbits were first introduced to the ARBA, they developed a reputation as being strong, frequent biters. But this isn’t actually the case. Dwarf hotot rabbits are no more likely to bite you than any other breed of rabbit. These pets can be loving additions to any household that’s properly prepared for their needs. 

Most rabbits don’t like to be held. This can make them bad pets for young children. But the dwarf size of these rabbits means that they’re particularly appealing as childhood pets. Make sure that your children are old enough to treat the rabbit with respect — not like a toy — before you allow them to interact with it.  

You can keep a dwarf hotot rabbit on its own. But — as a species — rabbits are very social creatures and like to live in groups. For the sake of your rabbit’s mental health, you may want to adopt two at one time, ideally a neutered pair of one male and one female. 

If you’ve had your rabbit for a while and suddenly find that its temperament has changed, it might be time to get it neutered. It’s safe to neuter most rabbits once they’re six months old. This simple procedure can make your rabbit: 

  • Less aggressively territorial
  • Happier on a day-to-day basis
  • Better with its litter box habits

What Do Dwarf Hotot Rabbits Eat?

The main food source for rabbits in captivity is the best-quality commercial food pellet that you can find. You may need to try a few different brands before finding one that your rabbit is happy with. General recommendations for nutrient balances are as follows:

  • No more than 18% protein and no less than 12%
  • A high percentage of fiber — no less than 18%
  • The presence of some fat — but no more than 3%
  • The presence of some calcium — but no more than 1%

Small rabbits only need 2 to 3 ounces of pellets each day. Since dwarf hotots are a miniature breed, they need even less. 

Regularly supply your rabbit with lots of grass hay, which is full of dietary fiber that will help its digestive system. It’s also fun for them to chew. But try to avoid alfalfa hay because it’s too high in protein for many breeds. 

You can also feed your rabbit occasional treats to round out its vitamin and mineral intake. Good treats include: 

Make sure that your pet has access to clean water at all times. You can find a rabbit-friendly water bottle at most pet stores.

Basics of Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Care

Before bringing a dwarf hotot rabbit home, make sure that you have a suitable environment for them. This includes: 

  • A safe enclosure — it needs to be a minimum of 4 feet by 2 feet with a good amount of height, but a 6-foot length is recommended
  • A bright light source — breeding rabbits need 16 hours of light a day
  • A controlled temperature — they prefer temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 78 degrees Fahrenheit and can die from excessive heat
  • Proper ventilation — you need to increase airflow if you can constantly smell ammonia within the enclosure
  • A litterbox or puppy pads
  • Toys and things to chew on

Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Health Issues

Rabbits are particularly sensitive creatures. They can become very sick very quickly. So it’s important to pay attention to your pet daily. Get it to a veterinarian that works with rabbits as soon as you notice any symptoms. 

Common signs that something’s wrong with your rabbit include: 

  • Not eating 
  • Not drinking 
  • Diarrhea
  • Visible discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Behavioral changes — like having less energy

Many rabbit health problems can be fixed by simple changes to diet and environment. Keep your rabbit as healthy as possible by staying up to date on the best care practices for your particular breed. 

Overall, the dwarf hotot can be a very rewarding companion. With proper care, your pet rabbit will be part of your family for years to come.

Show Sources

SOURCES: 
American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club: “Color Genetics of the Dwarf Hotot,” “Judging the Dwarf Hotot 'The Eyes of the Fancy.'”
American Rabbit Breeder’s Association: “Dwarf Hotot.” 
House Rabbit Society: “How Long Do Rabbits Live,” “Living With a House Rabbit.”
Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: “Inadequate housing for pet rabbits.” 
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: “Rabbit Disease: What You Need to Know.”
Utah State University Extension: “Discover 4-H Rabbits Club.”

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