A Few Facts About The Lop Bunny
A lop bunny is one of several breeds of bunnies characterized by their floppy ears. While it may be thought by some that the floppy ears are a kind of defect that a normal rabbit would not have, the lop bunny has been around a long time. In fact lop bunnies are among the oldest breeds of rabbits that have been domesticated.
While the majority of lop bunnies are kept as pets, many are bred and groomed for a place in the show ring. The American Rabbit Breeding Association recognizes five major breeds of lop bunny and has published very precise standards that rabbits belonging to one of these breeds must meet in show competition.
Five recognized Lop Breeds – We’ll start with the English Lop, as all other major breeds were developed from the English lop. The English Lop has the longest ears of any rabbit, measuring on the order of 21 inches from tip to tip. Though not the largest of the breeds, the English lop generally weighs 9 pounds or more. Its ears touch or drag on the ground. A larger lop bunny is the French Lop. The French Lop breed was developed by crossing the English lop with one of the larger, or giant, French breeds. It is generally believed, though not proven, that the breed selected was the Giant Normandy rabbit. The French Lop has ears that are shorter than the English Lop, but the rabbit itself is larger, typically weighing 12 pounds.
The Holland Lop is the smallest of the lop breeds, a so-called dwarf variety. It typically weighs around 3 pounds and has ears shorter in proportion to its body than either the English Lop or the French Lop. The Holland Lop bunny is a very compactly built, heavily muscled little animal Its head appears to be somewhat massive in relation to the rest of its body, and it is characterized by somewhat bell-shaped ears that are fairly short, extending no more than about an inch below the chin. The American Fuzzy Lop is similar in size and bodily structure to the Holland Lop, its main defining characteristic being that the American Fuzzy Lop has a coat of angora wool.
The fifth recognized breed is the Mini Lop, called the Dwarf Lop in England, the Mini Lop is the second smallest of the major lop breeds. It weighs between 4 and 5 pounds, a pound or two more than the Holland Lop. The Mini Lop was apparently developed from a Holland Dwarf Lop but is virtually the same is size and physical characteristics what the English refer to as a Dwarf Lop.
Other Lop Breeds – There are other breeds of the lop bunny of course, even though they may not be recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Popular breeds in Europe include the German Lop, which was developed from the French Lop, and the lesser known Meissner Lop, another German developed breed. A Cashmere Lop breed has been developed in the United States but has yet to be recognized as an official breed. There are also at least two breeds which have been developed in Australia, a Plush Lop and a Mini Plush Lop.
Care And Feeding – The care of a lop bunny is not much different than the care and feeding of most other rabbit breeds. Commercial rabbit pellets are the food of choice in most instances, although for young rabbits, alfalfa pellets are often preferred. Any rabbit of course will like a few greens in its diet, and fresh lettuce, spinach, and other fruits or vegetables will be welcome and healthy supplements to the regular diet of pellets. It goes without saying that clean fresh water is a must as well, and the lop bunny living quarters should be kept clean. Rabbits in general are fastidiously clean animals and spend a good deal of time cleaning and grooming themselves. They do not need to be bathed, nor should they be, and usually don’t require brushing. A lop bunny may take a little time in bonding with its owner unless handled from a very young age. You can expect most breeds of lop bunnies to live for anywhere from 5 to 8 years.