Dwarf rabbits comprise the smallest domestic rabbit breeds, most frequently due to the effects of a single dwarfing gene.
Netherland Dwarfs are usually the breed most people think of when the topic of dwarf rabbits arises. These rabbits have a compact body with a short neck and a rounded face. Netherland Dwarf rabbits generally range from 1.5 to 2.6 pounds in weight and have an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years. Nevertheless, any rabbit breed with a maximum accepted weight of 4 pounds (1.81 kg) or less can be considered a dwarf rabbit.
Most dwarfed rabbit breeds have a significant Netherland Dwarf influence in their genetic background because of the appeal of tiny rabbits to a wide segment of the population. These are:
American Fuzzy Lop: a dwarf, lop-eared rabbit with angora wool. Its maximum weight is 4 pounds (1.81 kg), making it one of the larger dwarfs.
Dwarf Hotot: a snow white dwarf with upright ears and a narrow band of color around the eyes like mascara. Its maximum weight is 3 pounds (1.36 kg).
Holland Lop: a cobby, dwarfed lop-eared rabbit with normal fur. Its maximum weight is 4 pounds (1.81 kg).
Jersey Wooly: a dwarfed rabbit with upright ears and angora wool. Its maximum weight is 3.5 pounds (1.587 kg).
Lionhead: a maned rabbit weighing no more than 3.75 pounds (1.70 kg)
Tan: a black furred bunny with a brown belly weighing no more than 4.5 pounds (2.00 kg).
There are two rabbit breeds that have attained a tiny size through careful selective breeding, without the use of a dwarfing gene from the Netherland Dwarf. These two breeds are the Polish rabbit and the Britannia Petite Rabbit (Polish in the UK).
The UK recognizes several very small rabbit breeds which are not recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association:
Miniature Lion Lop: a somewhat smaller version of the lionhead, with lopped ears, weighing no more than 3.5 pounds (1.60 kg)
Miniature Cashmere Lop: a tiny lopped rabbit with a short angora coat, weighing no more than 3.5 pounds (1.60 kg)
While some rabbits sold as dwarfs in pet stores are mixed breeds, many are the type of dwarf known as a "false dwarf," a purebred dwarf rabbit that did not inherit a dwarfing gene.