What to Know About Jersey Wooly Rabbits

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on December 10, 2022

A Jersey Wooly is a domestic dwarf rabbit with a fluffy, wool-like coat and small upright ears. They are also called "mug heads" for their square-shaped heads. Their coat is typically black, white, brown, or gray. Jersey Wooly rabbits are sweet and docile, making them an excellent breed to adopt as pets. The Jersey Wooly was first introduced in 1984 at the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and was officially recognized in 1988. Since then, they’ve become popular rabbits for show and exhibition.

A Jersey Wooly rabbit is a very small rabbit that is popular as a pet and for shows. They have long and soft woolly fur and bold square-shaped heads. Usually weighing around 3 pounds, their small size makes them excellent domestic rabbits.

Jersey Wooly rabbits are named after their place of origin and type of wooly coat. Other nicknames they go by include:

  • The Jersey Wooly
  • The Fluff of Fancy
  • The Mug Head Rabbit
  • The Mug-Head Bunny
  • The "No-Kick" Rabbit
  • The "No-Kick" Bunny
  • The Wooly Bunny

The Jersey Wooly rabbit combines traits from its parent rabbits, the Netherland Dwarf rabbit and the French Angora rabbit. The Jersey Wooly’s dwarf size and compact body shape came from the Netherland Dwarf rabbit, and its soft wool coat with long fur came from the French Angora rabbit.

The Jersey Wooly rabbit size is about 1 to 3 pounds. Jersey Wooly rabbits for shows and exhibitions should be closer to 3 pounds, with a maximum weight of 3.5 pounds. Their erect ears are usually 2 to 3 inches long. 

The Jersey Wooly rabbit colors are typically black, white, brown, or gray, though there is a variety of recognized colors and patterns. The different colors and patterns can be grouped into six categories:

  • Self. Having the same color all over the body. Colors include Black, Blue, Chocolate, and Lilac.
  • Agouti. Colors that include Chestnut, Chinchilla, Opal, and Squirrel.
  • Broken. Having a white body with color patches or spots on the ears, eyes, nose, and body.
  • Shaded. Colors on the face, ears, feet, and tail that go from darker to lighter. Colors include Blue Tortoiseshell, Sable Point, Seal, and Smoke Pearl. 
  • Tan pattern. Colors that include Black Otter, Blue Otter, Sable Marten, Silver Marten, and Smoke Pearl Marten.
  • Pointed. Having a white body with black or blue colors on the nose, ears, feet, and tail. 

The Jersey Wooly rabbit lifespan is usually seven to 10 years. Spaying or neutering and regular health checkups can extend their life expectancy.

The Jersey Wooly rabbit is gentle and sweet-natured. The breed is not known to be aggressive, making them a good pet for first-time rabbit owners. One of their nicknames is the "No-Kick" rabbit because they do not bite or kick. Jersey Woolies are intelligent, playful, and affectionate. With the proper training, you can teach them to recognize their name and come for food when you call them.

Jersey Wooly rabbits are most active around daybreak and sunset. They do better indoors but should have enough space to run around in the house. Allowing your rabbit to run outdoors will help it get fresh air and sunlight, which makes for a healthy life. However, make sure it is in a secure area away from other animals or possible predators.

The Jersey Wooly was first introduced in 1984 at ARBA by an American rabbit breeder named Bonnie Seeley of Highbridge, New Jersey. Seeley wanted to develop a breed that was small, with wool that was easy to take care of. She eventually developed the Jersey Wooly breed by crossing a Netherland Dwarf Rabbit with a French Angora rabbit. 

In 1988, the ARBA recognized the Jersey Wooly as a new breed. The rabbit quickly became a popular show rabbit and domestic companion because of its unusual but beautiful floppy ears and soft fur.

Jersey wooly rabbits are mainly bred as show rabbits or pets. They are gentle and are better suited to indoor living, making them the ideal pet for first-time rabbit owners. 

Spaying or neutering. Your Jersey Wooly should be neutered or spayed early to decrease the chance of it developing life-threatening tumors or cancers in its reproductive system. Spaying can also help calm rabbits and reduce behavioral issues.

Training. Potty training your Jersey Wooly is relatively easy, especially if you start early. Help your rabbit recognize its litter box by putting your rabbit next to it and putting the droppings in the litter box. Eventually, your rabbit will know the place by odor and habit.

Crate setup. Jersey Wooly rabbits only need a small hutch, a box made of wood with a wire front specifically for rabbits, or a cage to live in. The recommended crate size for an adult rabbit is to have the width be 1.5 times the rabbit length and the crate length be three times the rabbit length. 

Have proper bedding along the crate floor for your Jersey Wooly to sleep on and dig in. Because your rabbit may try to eat its bedding, don't use material that comes apart easily. Your rabbit may ingest the material, which can block its digestive tract. Hay is an ideal bedding material and doubles as nutritious food.

Feeding. Rabbits are herbivores, so do not feed them meat or dairy. Hay should make up 70% of your Jersey Wooly rabbit’s diet. You may also feed them vegetables, pellets, and some fruit. The amount of food you give your rabbit will depend on its weight and energy level. 

Grooming. The Jersey Wooly rabbit requires very little maintenance. Brushing its fur once a week is usually enough. Rabbits are very clean by nature and will lick their own paws, face, and ears thoroughly.

Cleaning. A rabbit’s ears control body temperature and should be cleaned to prevent dirt or wax buildup. Provide food and toys safe for your Jersey Wooly to chew on to prevent its teeth from overgrowing. The rabbit’s toenails grow quickly and will need regular trimming. 

Show Sources

American Rabbit Breeders Association: “Recognized Breeds.”
Animal Corner: “Jersey Wooly Rabbit - Breed Info & Top Guide.”
National Jersey Wooly Rabbit Club: “About the Jersey Wooly.”

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