The Britannia Petite is not a true dwarf, but only a very small rabbit. True dwarf rabbits share the rounded head and body, extra large eyes, and tiny ears. Instead, the Britannia has a body type more like a hare. They resemble the larger breeds like the Belgian Hare, the Checkered Giant, the English Spot and the Tan. They have an arched spine, a tucked in belly and tend to sit upright.
They are known as the Polish in Britain, but when they were first imported to America, there was already a small breed known as the Polish. A full grown Britannia Petite should not go over 2-1/2 pounds, with the ideal being 2-1/4 pounds in weight. This breed has straight, upright ears and an alert expression, not unlike the wild rabbits you see in a field.
This tiny rabbit breed is known for its fine boned appearance and slender body. They have a lively temperament, which is thought to trace back to its wild ancestry. The breed is known to be temperamental at times, and is to be expected. They can be very challenging for the first time rabbit owner, who may do better with a more laid back breed.
This is not a good breed for small children. Older children who have grown up handling rabbits on a daily basis may do fine with them. They require a lot of patience and handling to train them as good pets and show prospects. They must be trained to pose for show.
The Petites need a lot of exercise and toys to keep them occupied. They enjoy running about and do best with an exercise pen or a safe place to run. They would make an excellent choice for the sport of rabbit hopping due to their energy level.
The Britannia Petite is recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in five colors: white with ruby eyes, black otter, chestnut agouti, black and sable marten. It is common for other colors to pop up in litters, but they are not accepted for showing and registration.
The best place to purchase one is from a breeder who has spent a lot of time raising this breed. They can give you excellent tips on how to handle them, what to look for, and how best to keep them happy and healthy.
Not too long ago, they were in danger of disappearing from the United States. If it weren't for a small group of devoted breeders, this breed of rabbit may have become extinct. They have brought the breed back to the point that they are well represented at the annual show and convention that the American Rabbit Breeders Association sponsors every year.
Like other small rabbit breeds, the Britannia Petite should not be free fed. One quarter cup of pellets is adequate for the day's rations, along with high quality hay. Fresh foods should be given only as occasional treats. Overweight Petites are not healthy and may develop problems in their digestive, cardiac and other body systems.
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