The Polish rabbit is a small breed that weighs less than 4 lbs. Despite what their name suggests, these bunnies were actually created in England and were one of the first rabbits under 4 lbs to be recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).
With a wonderful temperament, the Polish rabbit makes an excellent pet to many and is great for first time owners. They also do not have very high care needs and, thanks to their small size, don’t take up too much space either! If you’re interested in learning more about the Polish rabbit and seeing whether they could be the bunny for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Polish Rabbit
The Polish rabbit was originally developed as a meat breed, but today is popular as a pet. They are also widely seen as show rabbits.
It is thought that this rabbit was named “Polish” because of the “polish” on their glossy fur. Although they were developed in England, they were exported to the United States in around 1912. Let’s take a look at their origins below.
The exact origins of the Polish rabbit are unknown, but is thought that they were developed by breeding a Dutch rabbit and Himalayan rabbit and first appeared in the early 1800s. By the 1900s, they were one of the most popular meat breeds in Europe, especially in Belgium. Despite their small size, their meat was considered a delicacy.
Arriving in the US in 1912, the Polish was recognized by the ARBA shortly after. Since then, they have become popular as a pet but have also been used to create other breeds, such as a the Netherland Dwarf rabbit.
Characteristics Of The Polish Rabbit
The Polish rabbit is a dwarf breed with a super cute appearance! These bunnies are usually born in litter sizes of between 2 to 4 kits and are very popular as a house rabbit, while also excelling as a show rabbit.
A small breed, these rabbits usually weigh between 2.5 to 3.5 lbs. They are compact, round and short in appearance, with a short head, full cheeks and large eyes. Their ears are short and pointed, standing erect on top of their head.
The Polish has short and soft flyback fur. This means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it returns to its original position. They do not require too much grooming and their fur is easy to maintain, but we will go into more detail about this later on.
There are six different colorways that are accepted by the ARBA for the Polish rabbit. These are: ruby-eyed white (REW), blue-eyed white (BEW), chocolate, blue, black and broken (which is any color mixed with white).
The Polish rabbit has a fantastic temperament which makes them a great bunny to have in the home. Not only are they cute and cuddly, but they are a docile and affectionate breed that loves to be around their people.
These bunnies will seek you out for attention and will enjoy being picked up, held and petted and won’t enjoy being cofined to their cage for too long! They’ll also enjoy playing with toys and being active, especially if you are around too.
You should always respect your Polish’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The Polish rabbit has an average lifespan of between 5 and 6 years, although this can be more if they are cared for properly.
Known Health Issues
The Polish doesn’t have any breed-specific health problems, but they can be prone to the same issues other rabbits are susceptible to. We have laid out these main concerns below.
– Malocclusion — this is when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned so that the normal process of chewing doesn’t wear down your rabbit’s teeth. Regular dental checkups are very important. You should also make sure your rabbit eats plenty of hay.
– GI Stasis — this is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely. Symptoms include loss of appetite, small or no fecal pellets and lethargy. It can be treated if caught quickly.
– Ear Mites — this is a common parasite of pet rabbits. You may see your rabbit shaking their head a lot if they are affected. Your vet will be able to treat them.
– Flystrike — this is when flies lay their eggs on soiled patches of fur and, when their eggs hatch, they begin to eat the rabbit from the inside out. Symptoms include seizures, loss of motion (listlessness) and skin irritations. Always ensure your rabbit’s rear end is clean, especially as they get older.
Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped.
Regular vet checkups will ensure that you catch any health problems before they become too serious. You should also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Polish rabbit, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these rabbits on a day to day basis is really like. Thankfully, due to their small size, they do not require too much care and are great for first time pet-owners. Below we will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs, their grooming requirements and their living space requirements.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your Polish rabbit should be based on their size, age and activity level. You won’t need to feed your Polish as much as other rabbits thanks to their smaller size.
They should be eating a portion of hay that is at least as big as their body size every day, alongside pellets and fresh vegetables. Fresh water should also always be available to them.
Hay is very important as it helps to keep your Polish’s digestive system moving, as well as helping to wear down their teeth so they are less prone to dental issues. At least 70% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay.
High-quality supplementary pellets help to provide extra vitamins and minerals that keep your rabbit healthy. Take a look at a supplementary pellet food we recommend below.
Best Food For The Polish RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Small Pet Select rabbit food for the Polish. These pellets provide your rabbit with a high fiber, timothy hay based food that is fortified with all essential vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. Your rabbit won’t be able to selective feed and will only be eating natural ingredients that will help them stay healthy.
Being timothy based, this food is high in fiber and low in calories and calcium, and the hay is completely fresh — being only from the current crop year. Milled in small batches and only available online to ensure freshness, this food is 100% made in the USA and only contains quality ingredients.
In the wild, rabbits run around three miles a day. Therefore, it is very important that you give your pet rabbit enough exercise every day to keep them active and entertained. They should have at least three hours of free-range time, whether this is out of their hutch in the garden or just around the house.
Some owners may think that because the Polish rabbit is a small breed, they do not need as much exercise. This is not true! Make sure you give them lots of time to run around, as well as lots of toys to play with so they are kept entertained. The less bored your rabbit is, the less likely they are to become destructive and chew through household items.
If you want to leave them alone outside unsupervised, they will need a large secure enclosure. This will keep them safe from predators and means you won’t need to be on the lookout all the time. It is advised you don’t leave them outside for too long by themselves and constantly check on them to make sure they are safe.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
These bunnies make an excellent family pet for many. With their small size, they don’t take up too much room and so can fit well into any home. They do well with individuals, couples, the elderly and families with children and will love any attention they get! Always supervise very young children around the Polish because they are small and can easily be dropped.
The Polish rabbit can be easier to train than other larger breeds of rabbit. While training a rabbit is never going to be as easy as training a cat or a dog, it can be done! You can teach them to use a litter box and you can even teach them to come when their name is called.
It is recommended that you keep the Polish bunny inside as a house rabbit, instead of keeping their hutch outside. Their small size means they are easier for predators to get at, and so keeping them inside will ensure they are safer. They can be let outside to roam around, just make sure you check on them and their enclosure is safe.
These rabbits do not need a lot of space thanks to their size, but their hutch should be large enough that they can easily move around inside. Try to stay away from hutches with wire floors as these can cause sore hocks within rabbits. Take a look at the hutch we recommend below.
Best Hutch For The Polish RabbitBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Petsfit rabbit cage for the Polish rabbit. With a size of 36” L x 22” W x 30” H, it is large enough to fit one to two rabbits and, although it doesn’t have multiple levels, gives a large space for your bunnies to run around in. There is an enclosed section of the hutch that can be used for sleeping or as a bathroom and the bottom tray is easily removable for cleaning.
Prefect for indoor use, this hutch is sturdy and easy to assemble. There are two access points for this hutch — one on the side and one on the roof. Buying an extra ramp will also allow your Polish in and out access whenever they want.
Thanks to their short fur, the Polish does not require a lot of grooming. You should groom them once or twice a week during non-shedding season and then in the spring, when they begin to shed, you should be grooming them more often. This can be two to three times a week to help their coat stay tidy and to keep your house fur-free!
You should very rarely bathe your rabbit. It is not really necessary, unless they are really dirty. Bathing can be a traumatic experience for them, too. You should also trim their nails as and when is needed.
Polish Rabbit FAQ’s
How big should my rabbit’s cage be?
The rule with rabbits is: the bigger the better! If you have the space for a big hutch then your rabbit will always appreciate the extra room to roam and exercise. No one wants to be stuck in a cramped space!
If you do not have a lot of space, then the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24″ by 36″ for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs) or 30″ by 36″ for larger rabbits. Hutches with multiple stories are also popular as they give your bun more space.
Why should I keep my Polish rabbit indoors?
It is often recommended that you keep your Polish Rabbit as a house rabbit because they are small. Their size means they are more easily accessible to predators if they are kept outdoors all the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t ever let them go outside — just make sure they have a secure hutch or enclosure to exercise in and make sure you check on them frequently. It is always advised you bring your Polish indoors at night time.
The Polish Rabbit is a dwarf breed that makes an excellent family pet thanks to their size, temperament and low care needs. These bunnies do not need a lot of room and can therefore happily live inside in small apartments. They love to be cuddled and given attention too, seeking you out so you can pet or hold them. Make sure you keep the Polish inside the majority of the time so they are safe, but allow them adequate time to roam and play and they’ll live a healthy and happy life. Do you think one of these small rabbits could be for you?