The World’s Smallest Rabbit Breed Fits in the Palm of Your Hand

The Columbia Basin Pigmy Rabbit is the smallest and perhaps the rarest rabbit breed in the world. It is native to just one part of the Washington State Area, and weighs under 500 grams.

There are plenty of tiny domestic rabbit breeds to choose from if you’re looking for an adorable pet rabbit, but the tiniest of them all is actually a wild breed that doesn’t make a great pet. The Columbia Basin Pigmy Rabbit is skittish and nervous, but the main reason why you’ll most likely never own one is its critically endangered status. The breed was declared extinct in the wild in 2001, when the last 14 specimens were scooped up from their native habitat and put into a captive breeding program.

Photo: US Government National Park Service

Despite the best efforts of scientists, Columbia Basin Pigmy Rabbit did not breed as well as expected in captivity, partially due to inbreeding within the tiny population. The last purebred male died in 2006, while the last purebred male perished in 2008. The pure DNA of the breed died with them, but conservationists managed to save the breed by cross-mixing it with the Idaho pygmy rabbit.


The Columbia Basin Pigmy Rabbit feeds on sagebrush almost exclusively in the winter, and the loss of its sagebrush-rich habitat to agricultural development and wildfires is one of the main reasons it was declared extinct, along with predation.


Adult pigmy rabbits weigh between 375 and 500 grams, and have a body length between 23.5 and 29.5 centimeters (9.3 and 11.6 in), with females being slightly larger than males. There are no records of domesticated pygmy rabbits, and with their numbers in the wild still critically low, we probably won’t hear of them as pets anytime soon.


If you’re set on owning a tiny bunny, your best option would be the smallest domestic rabbit, the Netherlands Dwarf Rabbit. Prices range between $30 and $90, depending on the breeder.