Dwarf Papillon rabbits have unique coat markings, making them popular on rabbit shows. Besides their looks, they are also playful, so kids cannot resist their charm. They also get along with other rabbit companions. Taking care of them is pretty easy since they are low-maintenance. Find out more about these bunnies below!

Dwarf Papillon rabbit

Dwarf Papillon rabbit


Facts about Dwarf Papillon Rabbits


Body Size Dwarf
Body Weight 2 lbs to 4 ¼ lbs
Body Shape Full-arch
Life Span 12 years
Colors Black, white, dark brown
Similar Breeds Papillon rabbit
Best Suited for First-time rabbit owners, families with children, senior citizens, couples, singles
Origin Germany


Background and History

Randy Shumaker discovered Dwarf Papillons during European Show. These bunnies originated in Germany, typically called by locales as Zwergschecken. In English translation, it means “Dwarf Check.” The Papillons presented during the show came from European countries. Germany, Sweden, France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland were some of them.

Although it was tough competition, Randy and Allen successfully purchased six Dwarf Papillons. They returned to France to buy the bunnies from French and Swiss breeders. With the help of their friend, they were able to bring the rabbits to the United States. 

Randy and his friends applied for a Certificate of Development (COD) in January 2016. The team used the Zwergschecken standard to apply for a Foreign Breed COD. They named the breed “Dwarf Papillon”. In 2020, ARBA recognized the Chocolate Dwarf Papillon as the 50th recognized breed.


Features of Dwarf Papillon Rabbits


Body Size

The full-arch, compact body of a Dwarf Papillon can only grow from 2 to 4 ¼ lbs. In rabbit shows, the junior bucks and does must weigh a minimum of 2 pounds. For the senior bucks and does, the minimum weight is 2 ½ pounds while the maximum weight is 4 ¼ pounds. These bunnies have an average lifespan of 12 years.

Its relatively stock body has proportionate shoulders and hindquarters. This bunny’s muzzle and forehead are broad and pronounced. Meanwhile, its bold head is in proportion to its body. Ideally, a Dwarf Papillon’s well-furred ears are erect in a slightly V-shape position. They can grow over 3 ¼ inches.


This breed is easy to groom because of its short, fine, flyback fur. However, what makes it distinct is the markings in the different parts of its coat. The side markings are an individual or group spots that you can find on both sides of the bunny. It also has a spine marking that starts from its ear base and ends on the tip of its tail.

Furthermore, a Dwarf Papillon has a unique butterfly marking on its face. Besides that, it also has ear markings, eye circles, and cheek spots. The ARBA-recognized varieties of Dwarf Papillon are black, chocolate, and blue. 

Temperament and Behavior

Since Dwarf Papillons are playful and curious, they have become popular family pets. As long as your kids don’t mishandle them, they are a good fit. You can also put them in a hutch with other breeds since they are very friendly. These charming bunnies express their enthusiasm by hopping around their hutches. But don’t be surprised if you see them relaxing in their cage.

Because of their playful nature, you must let them go outdoors once in a while. However, you must be watchful since these tiny bunnies are more prone to predator attacks. They can also get along with other household pets like cats and dogs. But you don’t want to take a risk, especially if your bigger pets are aggressive.

Unfortunately, Dwarf Papillon rabbits are not for everyone. If you are a busy person, you may want to get another rabbit. These bunnies love attention from their owners. They are ideal pets for children, senior citizens, singles, and couples. Because they are easy to groom, they are also highly recommended for new rabbit owners.

Dwarf Papillon rabbit roaming outdoors

Dwarf Papillon rabbit roaming outdoors

Grooming Dwarf Papillon Rabbits


Thanks to their short furs, Dwarf Papillon rabbits are not challenging to groom! However, you must not neglect brushing their coats, especially when they are molting. When they are in non-shedding seasons, you can brush their coat at least twice a week. If they are shedding their furs, you must groom them daily. 

Other groomers recommend using a slicker brush. But a bristle brush is more gentle on the sensitive skin of rabbits. You can also use it to untangle the coats’ knots by brushing gently. You can also pluck the loose hair of the bunnies, but do it gently to prevent hurting them. Another way is sprinkling water and running your hand over their coats. You will see the loose hair sticking in your hands.

Trimming the nails of the Dwarf Papillon rabbits is also essential. Letting their nails grow may lead to injuries. These bunnies are tiny, so cutting their nails is hard, especially for new owners. If you are unsure what to do, you can ask the vet to trim the nails of your bunnies.

Before starting to trim your rabbit’s nails, here are some reminders:

  • Use nail clippers that are specifically designed for rabbits
  • Make sure that the nail clippers are sharp to prevent prolonging the procedure
  • Look for a partner who can help you hold the bunny
  • If the bunny is moving a lot, you can wrap it in a towel so it will feel comfortable
  • Avoid cutting the quick by not trimming the nails too short

Proper Diet of Dwarf Papillon Rabbits



Similar to other breeds, a Dwarf Papillon needs a balanced diet. It requires high-fiber foods to ensure good digestion. Hence, it must be given an unlimited supply of hay. Besides promoting motility, hay also helps trim its teeth, preventing malocclusion. You can choose from timothy hay, grass hay, orchard grass, and brome hay.

You must not also forget to give pellets to your bunnies. The number of pellets they need every day is ½ cup. As much as possible, never give them more than what is required since they may suffer from obesity. Also, choose pellets that are high in fiber. You can check the nutrient facts label first.

An unlimited clean water supply is necessary for bunnies, especially during hot days. Two dishes of water a day is enough to keep a bunny hydrated if you use a dish. But if you are using a large water bottle, fill it up.

There are some treats that you can give to Dwarf Papillon rabbits. Some are leafy greens, herbs, vegetables, oats, and dandelion flowers. Although these treats are highly nutritious, they must be given in moderation. It is because bunnies have a sensitive digestive system.

Instead of giving bread or crackers to your bunny, you can provide fruits as alternatives. But make sure that you only give them these treats occasionally. Slice the fruits before feeding them to the bunny. Also, wash them first to ensure they are free from any chemicals.




Providing a safe and comfortable space for bunnies like Dwarf Papillons is vital. Dwarf bunnies are ideal for staying indoors. But if you don’t have enough space inside your home, you can also build a hutch outdoors. For indoors, the perfect size of a wire bottom cage is ½ foot by 2 feet. Ensure you put on a resting mat to prevent injury to your rabbit’s feet.

For outdoors, you can build a solid bottom cage with at least 2 feet by 3 feet area. You must ensure the hutch is closed to protect the bunny from predators. Place it where there is enough breeze and shade. You can place a frozen water bottle during summer so your bunny won’t suffer heatstroke.

Since bunnies love tight spaces, you can also provide tunnels inside your pet’s cage. The diameter of the tunnel must be at least six inches. It is big enough for a dwarf breed to move around and not get stuck. And it is also small enough to make the bunny feel safe. Besides the tunnel, you can add extra levels to the hutch so your bunny can hop around.


Health Issues of Dwarf Papillon Rabbits




One of the most common diseases experienced by dwarf breeds is malocclusion. It is the improper position of the teeth caused by teeth overgrowth and incorrect tooth wear. When ignored, it may affect the overall health of the bunny. Because of discomfort, your pet may lose its appetite, and it may also injure its mouth. 

Below are the other symptoms of malocclusion:

  • Swollen jaws due to abscesses
  • Weight loss
  • Drooling
  • Pulling off the fur
  • Putting the paw on the mouth

Suppose the case of the bunny is already severe. In that case, the vet may perform surgery on your bunny to remove the affected teeth. To prevent this condition from happening again, the vet will ask you to feed more hay to your bunny. You must also provide chew toys for oral exercise.




Pododermatitis, commonly known as sore hocks, may also be experienced by your bunny. It occurs when there is inflammation on your bunny’s feet due to constant pressure. It may only start as a skin problem, but it may worsen once ignored. Sore hocks are caused by obesity, arthritis, spinal injury, or old age.

To treat this condition, the vet may prescribe topical ointments. He may also provide anti-inflammatories or pain relievers to your pet. You will also be asked to provide soft bedding to your bunny and ensure a proper diet. Restricting your bunny’s activity is also necessary.




Dwarf Papillon rabbits are good contenders on rabbit shows and ideal domesticated pets. Because of their markings, they are very easy to remember. Since these bunnies are curious and active, you will have fun having them. But like other breeds, they also need proper care and special attention.


Additional Information


Introducing the Giant Papillon Rabbit and the Checkered Giant Rabbit – both stunning contenders in rabbit shows, ideal pets, and a joy to have at home. With their impressive size and captivating markings, these Giant Papillon rabbits and Checkered Giants are easy to remember. With their majestic presence and friendly nature, and known for their striking coat pattern and playful personalities, they will undoubtedly steal your heart. Their curiosity and playfulness ensure endless fun, but like any other breed, they need proper care and attention. Whether you choose the Giant Papillon or the Checkered Giant, you’ll have an extraordinary and affectionate companion by your side. Embrace the charm of these majestic rabbits and create unforgettable moments together!



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