Dwarf Hotots originated from Germany by two breeders, one in east Germany and the other in the western part of Germany. These breeders crossed a REW and black Netherland Dwarf which produced a dutch marked rabbit which was bred back to the black Netherland Dwarf. From these parings emerged a uniquely marked rabbit with black rings around its eyes. Meanwhile on the other side of the country the other breeder crossed a REW Netherland Dwarf to a Blanc De Hotot producing an Hotot marked baby. Then these two breeders began exchanging stock and thus developing a dwarfy Hotot marked rabbit that was shipped to the United States in 1980. The Dwarf Hotot became a recognized breed in 1983 and continues to be known in the rabbit world as the "eyes of the fancy". To learn more, visit the National club website at: www.adhrc.net
Dwarf Hotots can comfortably live in 18"x 24" cages as they are a small breed. 24" x 24" is also a good size and can be found in most retail stores. The buns love the extra room! I suggest that cages with wire flooring be used as any solid bottom floor will collect feces and urine even with shavings. The rabbit could inhale the shaving dust and become soiled on the feet, hocks, and bum due to constant contact with a solid floor.
Rest pads are optional and really not needed. Most of mine chew it up and never sit on them anyway. I have Never had a sore hock problem due to my rabbits being on wire. Their foot pads are thick and this is mostly due to good genetics.
I clean cages every other day to reduce the ammonia smell. There are products on the market to add to their water that claim to eliminate the urine smell. I find that good hygiene and cleanliness in the rabbitry goes a long way with bunny smells. For their pans, I first put down newspapers (2 ply thick) and then a heaping cup of compressed pine pellets (used for horse bedding) in their potty spot or in a litter box if one is used. I do not recommend shavings of any kind as it can be inhaled, irritate the eyes, or even eaten by the bunnies. Compressed wood pellets are best.
Rabbits love toys! Any dry, untreated wood is a great thing for them to chew. Apple wood branches seem to be their favorite! All of mine have hanging wood chews in the cages and whiffle balls to roll around. Whiffle balls can be found at Target or the Dollar Store. Just be sure it is all one piece and not two halves glued together.
Rabbit feeders with screened bottoms are ideal to have. Currently, I use two feeders, one is a metal one with holes in the bottom to let the fines of the feed fall through and the other is a crock or solid bottom bowl. Either is fine but if you are going to use a crock, be sure to dump the fines out before the next feeding.
I feed Purina Show Rabbit, but whatever feed you decide, be sure that the protein is no higher than 16%. Manna Pro PRO can be purchased in a 25# size which is ideal for owning one or two rabbits. Our feeding program for the Dwarf Hotots consist of: 1/3 cup of feed daily(in the evening) and given a handful of quality timothy hay. Our Chins are given 1/2 cup of feed daily. 1 tsp of a show supplement can be given every 2 or 3 days approximately two weeks before a show. Craisins, sweet potato slices, and slices of banana can be given as treats but be sure to give in moderation as too much sugar can cause diarrhea.
I do Not recommend giving any greens, unless it is dandelion leaves and even then it should be occasionally given. Lettuce and other greens cause diarrhea, moderation is key. The best plant material they can eat is a good quality hay.
I use water bottles instead of crocks. It is easier to monitor how much your rabbit is drinking and is much more sanitary. I see so many crock pictures where you'll find a poo ball floating in their water. Yuck. Water bottles keep a fresh and clean supply of water at all times.
Rabbits Love their exercise time! Supervised play in an enclosed area is obviously ideal, however mine are usually walked on a harness/leash. Some rabbits don't mind it and others refuse to have it on. A quick scamper in the house or yard is usually all that is needed to burn some extra energy built up.