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Rabbits USA: The Wee Ones & Half Pints

The history of some of today’s most popular breeds might surprise you.

By Bob D. Whitman; Photos By Daniel Johnson

Prior to 1969 the American, rabbit-minded public was transfixed with the larger, more commercial-type breeds like New Zealands, Californians and Satins. These were kept for meat, fur, show or simply as a household pet.

Although the small breeds maintained a following, their numbers were nothing compared to the larger breeds. The tide began to turn with the importation of some of the first Netherland Dwarfs from England in the mid to late 1960s. Today, the small breeds reign supreme. So what are these breeds and how did they get here?

The Wee Ones
Britannia Petites are the Polish breed of the United Kingdom. Flo and Ted  Gordon of Oregon imported them to the United States in 1973. Because a Polish breed already existed in the United States, this breed was renamed Britannia Petite and recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1978. The ideal weight of an adult is 21⁄4 pounds.

Britannia Petites are extremely spirited rabbits  less suited for interaction with children or life as a pet. The breed’s maximum weight is just 21⁄2 pounds. They are currently recognized in five varieties in the United States, but the United Kingdom recognizes many more colors.

**For the full article, pick up the 2008 issue of Rabbits USA or click here to buy the issue.**

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