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Britannia Petite

Britannia Petite

No Additional Pictures
Breed Organizations

American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA)
The British Rabbit Council (BRC)
The House Rabbit Society

Native Country
Other Names
Polish Rabbit
Fur Type
ARBA Registry Accepted:
Ear Type
BRC Registry Accepted:
Yes - "Polish Rabbit"

Breed Appearance
They are small rabbits with short ears that touch each other all the way to the tips. They should have a short head with full cheeks and bold eyes. Due to their small size, the Polish rabbit is often confused with the Netherland dwarf, although the Polish is a little larger and the head is not rounded. There are many other differences between the two breeds, such as coat structure, body type and colors. Known as "Polish" in Britain, this breed was renamed in the United States as there already existed an ARBA-recognized Polish rabbit in the U.S. at the time of the Britannia's import to the States. The Britannia Petite is thought to have been derived from small wild rabbits and is known for sometimes having a wild temperament; because of this they are often found unsuitable for pets. However, when handled properly these rabbits can be calm.

Breed Description - The British Rabbit Council
Body: Type - The Polish is a miniature, fine-boned rabbit with a fly back coat, the essence of the Polish is all round balance. The exhibit should be narrow in shoulder, relative to other breeds, and much is made of the way in which the Polish is posed or stood. Ideally in this position, when viewed from the side, the front legs, chest through the head and ears should form a vertical line and at the same time the back should arch in a quarter circle from the back of the neck to the tail, with the belly and chest well tucked up. The head should be well rounded although not necessarily as bold in does. The ears should be carried erect and should be roughly the same length as the distance from the base of the ears to the nose although again the overall balance of the exhibit is the important factor. The Polish should weigh a maximum of two and a half pounds.
Fur: The construction of the hair shaft to be short and fine to lie very close to the body. When coat is stroked in the reverse it should sharply fly back to its original position with a degree of density.
Color: Pure white with Red or Blue eyes, other as per the normal color depicted.
Ears: Set well together carried erect on top of the head, well covered and rounded when viewed from the front or side. To touch all the way up without showing a flange when presented. The length to be in keeping with the overall balance of the exhibit. The color to match the body where appropriate, otherwise to pattern.
Eyes: Bright and very bold, well positioned on upper side of head. The color in Red Eyed Whites to be as near blood red as possible and in Blue Eyed Whites to be as deep a blue as possible. Other colors as per the normal color of the exhibit depicted.

Despite the name, the Polish rabbit is thought to have originated in England from the common white hutch rabbit, but the exact origins of the breed are unknown. They were first exhibited in England in 1884. The original imports to America were small ruby-eyed white rabbits which did not carry the dwarfing gene. English breeders selected for a leaner, more upright body type and active temperament. The British version of the Polish rabbit is equivalent to the American "Britannia Petite". Selective breeding of rabbits began in the Middle Ages, when they were first treated as domesticated farm animals. By the 16th century, several new breeds of different colors and sizes were being recorded. In the 19th century, as animal fancy in general began to emerge, rabbit fanciers began to sponsor rabbit exhibitions and fairs in Western Europe and the United States. Breeds were created and modified for the added purpose of exhibition, a departure from the breeds that had been created solely for food, fur, or wool. The rabbit's emergence as a household pet began during the Victorian era.

Domestic Rabbits have been popular in the United States since the late 19th century. The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) was founded in 1910 and is the national authority on rabbit raising and rabbit breeds having a uniform Standard of Perfection, registration and judging system. The domestic rabbit continues to be popular as a show animal and pet. Many thousand rabbit shows occur each year and are sanctioned in Canada and the United States by the ARBA. Today, the domesticated rabbit is the third most popular mammalian pet in Britain after dogs and cats.

Due to their small size, Polish rabbits need less space in cage and barn facilities and take up less space in apartments than some of the larger breeds. Cage bottoms should not be slippery, as this can cause hip injuries and splay leg. The American Polish rabbit is generally calm and friendly, especially the bucks. Does can be territorial if not spayed As with other rabbits, Polish rabbits do not do well in high or low temperatures. They are prone to hairball obstructions and matted coats if not cared for properly. Other health concerns include earmites, Pasteurella, respiratory disease, dental problems, urinary bladder stones and fractured backs. Rabbits can make good pets for younger children when proper parental supervision is provided. As prey animals, rabbits are alert, timid creatures that startle fairly easily. They have fragile bones, especially in their backs, that require support on the belly and bottom when picked up. Older children and teenagers usually have the maturity required to care for a rabbit. Rabbits may grunt, lunge and even bite or scratch. Usually they do not bite hard enough to break skin. Rabbits become aggressive when they feel threatened or are cornered.