- Country of origin: England
- Weight – 2 to 2 ½ pounds (0.9 to 1.13kgs)
- Size: Dwarf (Extra small)
- Body shape: Full arched bunny
- Comparable breeds: Netherland Dwarf and Polish Rabbit
- Suitable for: Single people, experience owners, families who have children (not small kids). They are also good house or indoor rabbits.
- Lifespan: 6 – 10 years (it usually is 6 to 8 years, but it can live to up to 10 years).
History and origin
The Britannia petite evolved from the Polish Rabbit that originated from England where it was used as a show rabbit in the early 1800s. The name “Polish” refers to its glossy coat and not the country of origin.
According to pets4homes.co.uk, this bunny descended from wild rabbits, the Dutch and Silvers and they first came to England after being imported from Belgium where they were known as Belgian Table Rabbits (intended for delicacy despite their small size).
While in England, they were taught a “proper way to pose (sitting up on their forefeet, for example), and selective breeding created a rabbit with upright stances and refined bone structure,” states petguide.com.
The Britannia Petite were imported to the US in the early 1900s where selective breeding lead to a “rounded cobby” rabbit still with its natural poses while in Great Britain they preferred and retained their ‘hare-like’ appearance.
This variation saw the ARBA call it Britannia Petite since they already had the American Polish rabbit in their registry. However, in Britain, they are referred to as to Polish Rabbits.
Size, colors, and appearance
Petguide.com note that the Britannia petite has a “full-arch body type, which means the arch starts at the base of its short neck and continue to the base of the tail.” It is slim, with fine bones and looks like a hare with its tucked-in stomach and long forearms.
They have big eyes that appear almost to be protruding from their head that is wedge-shaped with a pointy nose.
Finally, they have short ears, which are in a vertical pointed position making these bunnies to look alert all the time.
Coat and shedding
These bunnies have a soft and short coat that requires little maintenance. It sheds it twice a year. Brushing your indoor bunnies twice a week while they are outdoors will reduce chances of their fur ending up on your clothes and house. Use a soft pet brush.
Originally, the red-eyed white (REW) was accepted by ARBA in 1977, but blue-eye-whites and broken patterns (a mixture of white and any other colors) were later accepted.
Note that this breed has several colors including sable, black otter, black, chestnut agouti, among others.
Care and diet
Its diet should constitute about 80% hay, and the rest can be fresh leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and pellets. Go for safe rabbit vegetables as well as fruits with low sugar given in limited amounts. Also, provide enough fresh drinking water.
Although they are small in size, they are more energetic compared to other dwarf bunnies such as Netherland Dwarf. Therefore, go for enclosures suited for medium size rabbits to give them room to have fun. Here is how you can decide on the right cage sizes.
A wire enclosure with a solid bottom will work well if they are indoors. Outdoor enclosures will make them vulnerable to predators. Therefore, they should be waterproof and predator-proof and let them be where there is free air circulation, and under shade if possible.
Ensure you spot-clean their beddings, remove any droppings daily, and thoroughly clean these hutches weekly, replacing their bedding, i.e., replace beddings used to line their sleeping area.
Finally, take them out of their cages or hutches to a secured garden where they can play. This will help burn calories since they are quite energetic and may cuddle you continuously.
Note that these bunnies love outdoor time as it gives them a chance to bond with owners, sunbathe and play. When indoors, toys such as a ball, tubes, boxes, empty tissue paper rolls and other rabbit toys you can buy from your local pet store will keep them active. This will help combat boredom.
Also introduce this bunny to other pets carefully, especially when it is still young.
If your bunny freely roams inside your house, give it a safe place to go away from other pets, owners or children and remove any cables and valuables and wires it might be tempted to chew.
This breed has no specific health concerns. However, check if they may be having overgrown teeth.
Overgrown teeth is a common dental problem if they do not get enough hay that grinds their teeth slowly. Gnaw toys can also help wear their teeth down. Signs of overgrown teeth include little appetite, not being itself and few droppings.
Provide proper diets to avoid any digestive problems since it can cause diarrhea characterized by its coat being soiled. This can attract flies during summer especially if your bunnies go outdoors and cause flystrike. Also, if they are unable to groom, expect flystrike – flies laying eggs near their bottoms and when they hatch, the maggots will feed on your rabbits.
Finally, deworm them twice annually and check for any ill-health signs including fleas, ear mites or other parasites. Ensure your bunnies are vaccinated against myxomatosis as well as Viral Hemorrhagic Disease if it is a requirement in the place where you live.
Temperate and personality
The Britannia petite rabbits are energetic, not the sweet kind you can cuddle, something that may not be appealing to everyone. They are fast and hop very high. However, they are not skittish or shy when compared to the Netherland Dwarf.
They are not ideal for seniors, first-time owners or those who do not know their needs. Because they are small in size, the can stay at home or apartments so long as it is well rabbit-proofed and spacious for them to jump around and about.
Although rabbit pets are not easy to train, the Britannia Petite just like some few other breeds can be taught to jump over obstacles, sit, or hold themselves up, if you are patient.
Avoid rough handling, as this can be remembered for long and it may make them be a little aggressive.
Finally, if you are patient, these bunnies are intelligent and they can be trained to use their litter boxes.
Britannia rabbit for sale and prices
There are various places where you can get these bunnies. Just search on listings from different rabbitries, reputable breeders or rescue centers.
Before buying them, check if they have an excellent temperament.