History of the

Netherland Dwarf in the USA
edited by Tom Mason

The Netherland dwarf,s origins go back to the early 1880,s in England. Some litters of Dutch rabbits had mutations, white colored kits with red eyes, a short cobby body similar to a Dutch, and a soft coat. They were given the name "Polish". These mutations were able to reproduce and through careful line breeding more of these red eyed white rabbits appeared. The new breed was first exhibited in 1884 in Hull, England and were exported to Germany. Their arrival in Germany brought great excitement and a standard was created which was similar to our current dwarf standard. The white rabbits were crossed with small wild rabbits to improve the type which also resulted in agouti colored rabbits. The next generation resulted in black colors and finally the whites reappeared. Mr Otto Lippolt was given credit for perfecting the breed, now known as "Hermelin". They were becoming very popular in Germany and some were exported to Holland.

Until the late 1930's color choice was limited to Blue-eyed whites and Red eyed whites. At this time the Dutch fancier Jan Meyering and some close associates began crossing the REWs with other breeds to get different colored dwarfs. After years of careful breeding colored dwarfs appeared that resembled our present day animals and were given a standard in 1940.

After the second world war the Netherland Dwarf arrived in England. Some English Rex fanciers visited Holland to help the Dutch fancier's whose rabbitries had become non-existent or depleted due to German occupation. This was 1947 and the English first saw and feel in love with the dwarf at an exhibition in Amsterdam. They wanted some to take home, however at this point only 17 dwarfs had survived the occupation. Finally in 1949 Joyce Naylor and some other fanciers were able to get a hold of 9 of these precious gems. On October 13, 1949 these fanciers formed the Netherland Dwarf Club in England. Popularity grew quickly and in 1950 the British Rabbit Council gave them official recognition. A total of 18 rabbits were entered in their first dwarf show at New Malden in Surrey.

Netherlands come to the US

As early as 1965 Netherland Dwarfs were exported from England to the US by fanciers to improve the Polish breed. In 1969 Darrell Bramhall met with English fancier Jack Turnbull and began a life long interest in Netherland Dwarfs. Mr. Bramhall bought some dwarfs from Mr Turnbull, a pair of himmies. Mr Bramhall suggested that they form a specialty club to promote and encourage the breeding and showing of Netherland Dwarfs in the US. He also began work on a standard for dwarfs to be accepted by the ARBA. The English standard formed the basis and a few minor changes were made. The standard was presented to ARBA at the 1969 convention in Calgary Canada. At this show there were a total of 6 dwarfs shown by 2 exhibitors. Alot of interest was generated at the convention and ARBA accepted the proposed standard.

The American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club, the proposed specialty club for dwarfs, was granted an ARBA charter on Jan. 15, 1970. At the 1970 ARBA convention in Syracuse NY the number of dwarfs exhibited dramatically rose to 85 from 6 the previous year. The following year the ANDRC held it's first National show at Montpelier, Ohio, with eighty-five dwarfs shown by 26 exhibitors. During this time a club newsletter called Netherland News was created. Membership saw rapid growth during this time to 550 members in 1973 and over 1200 by the end of 1974. The newsletter name was changed to Dwarf Digest. Today the ANDRC is considered one of the best and largest specialty clubs in ARBA and offers many services to it's membership. The Dwarf Digest and club guidebook offer invaluable information to both new breeders and old timers. The ANDRC also has a scholarship program for youth members.

In 1984 at the ARBA convention in Orlando, FL, Ruth Terna of Hawaii won Best Fancy (Best 4 Class) with a REW senior doe. This was a first for a dwarf in open competition at an ARBA convention. In 1988 a new color was accepted, the otter variety, this color was sponsored by Les Everett.

At ARBA conventions Netherland Dwarfs are among the largest entries. At the Louisville, KY 1995 convention 1,602 dwarfs were entered. ANDRC membership now stands around 2,250 and there are almost 1,800 dwarf shows sanctioned each year. The popularity of dwarfs are still increasing, they are now being raised in every rabbit raising nation of the world!

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