If you are in the market to add a rabbit to your family, there’s a good chance you have heard of the Holland Lop and the French Lop. Deciding between these two popular breeds can be tricky, but everyone has a perfect fit.
Before we dive into the world of lop eared rabbits, it’s important to understand that rabbits are complex creatures and require an exceptional deal of care. If you are thinking about getting an “easy” first pet, you may want to look in the goldfish department.
Rabbits are personable, have ranging personalities, need both exercise and attentive dietary care. Each breed has specific needs regarding grooming, and even have needs for the kind of flooring in their cages.
If you are still set on becoming a rabbit family, then let’s dive into some of the pros and cons in owning French and Holland Lop rabbits.
The French Lop
French Lop rabbits are largre. They fit within the rabbit category of giant and will require a giant rabbit’s worth of care.
Rabbit breeders first developed the breed sometime in the mid 19th century, combining the Giant Papillon, the French Butterfly rabbit, or the Flemish Giant rabbit (depending on whose story you believe) and the English Lop breeds.
Used mostly as a source of meat for farmers, they eventually gained prominence in rabbit shows once rabbit showing became more than a simple county fair exhibition.
Their fur comes in the following variety of solid (all one color) and broken (multiple colors combined):
- Off-white and brown
A fully grown French Lop will weigh in between ten and fifteen pounds and have a shorter lifespan than other house pets like dogs and cats. They will live between five and seven years, depending on care and temperament.
Because of their size, they will not require as much exercise as smaller rabbits but will still need some hours outside of their enclosure and even time in the outside, if you have the yard for it.
Just attend to the fact that French Lops are also incredibly clever so if you take them outside or let them loose in your home, both the area outside, as well as your living room need to be “rabbit proofed.”
Attend to fences that there aren’t any big holes underneath for you rabbit to squeeze through. Make certain that any ventilation access in your home is covered securely.
Put quite simply, this is one of the most patient breeds of rabbit in the world. While great care still needs to be had in learning how to hold any breed of rabbit, especial care needs to be taken for a large breed as a common mistake is to over-handle the rabbit and injure them.
Many people with French Lops report that they have been trainable to come when called by name. Their personality is highly sociable, which means they will want to be where you are and will occasionally want where you are to be outside.
Simple Fur Care
French Lops rarely need to be bathed. Their fur is rollback, which means that if it is stroked opposite its growth direction, it will roll back to its original direction of growth. That style of fur generally needs to be brushed with a firm brush.
During their high-shed times, which will happen one to two times a year, they will need to be fully brushed two times a week. Outside of that, one time a week will suffice.
Socialization With Children
As they are generally very forgiving of mistakes and mishandlings, French Lops are great pets for young children. It is advised that if very small children will handle the rabbit that adults supervise.
If provoked or made fearful or nervous, French Lops will occasionally nip or even kick in a moment of self-defense. But they will otherwise enjoy the company of children and love playing with their toys.
Socialization With Other Pets
French Lops can be easily socialized with other pets in the house, given that the other pets do not treat them like prey animals.
Older cats and dogs have been known to revert to old hunter tendencies when rabbits are introduced. Mostly, however, pets will respond to you, the owner, on how you treat the animals in the house.
As we discussed before, if a French Lop is improperly handled, their entire personality can shift overtime. A nervous rabbit can become a biter. A rabbit that is dropped often can develop severe back problems.
Common Rabbit Illnesses
- Malocclusion, a misalignment of the teeth in rabbits can occur in this species, preventing their teeth from connecting properly and adversely effecting diet.
- Ear mites can build up in their long ears, infecting their aural channels.
- Intestinal problems can develop for rabbits, especially under duress.
Even though the care is minimal, ignoring their grooming for too long, and avoiding taking care of matting can cause woolblock. Since a rabbit’s fur is so dense and their mouths and throats so small, they can develop breathing and digestive distress from lodged fur.
The Holland Lop
Holland Lops are tiny and playful. On the opposite end of the size spectrum, they carry the dwarf rabbit gene, having been bred specifically for their small size and lopped ears starting in the 1950s.
Although the breed did not gain recognition as a legitimate breed until about thirty years after breeders began to attempt to create them, they infiltrated culture much sooner.
Their fur types are essentially every color, shade, and combination that is found within rabbits at large.
The legitimate breed of Holland Lop, when fully grown, will not exceed four pounds. Any Holland that exceeds four pounds does not carry the actual dwarf rabbit gene. It’s still a Holland, but cannot be taken in for show.
A Fun Bunny
Because they need perpetual exercise, Holland Lops will need to be out of their cage as much as possible, meaning they will maximize their time with you family. As a social pet, they will seek out your company and then entertain you with their antics.
Great With Family
Due to their breeding, these tiny rabbits enjoy the company of most humans, rather than just a select few. It means they will become a true family pet.
Easy to Care For
Like their giant cousins, they will require a very rare bath and weekly brushing. No other care is needed for their rollback fur.
Easy to Keep
For families that have limited space in your home, this is a good breed to keep. When compared to the French Lop which needs an enclosure that is more suited to a large dog than a rabbit, the Holland Lop only needs an enclosure that is large enough to turn about in and sleep.
Easy to Lose
Because they will need substantial time outside of their enclosure, and because of their diminutive nature Hollands are very easy to lose as they go exploring through your home or in your back yard.
Because of their popularity, corners are sometimes cut by breeding farms and proper care is not given to the doe while she is getting ready for her litter. That can lead to distress in the rabbit and a shortened lifespan.
General Health Problems
Holland Lops generally suffer from the same problems as their giant cousins, also occasionally suffering from worn out feet because their owner put them in a wire frame cage.
Holland Lops will require nearly as much time out of their enclosure as they spend being awake, which means you almost need a stay-at-home caretaker simply to do right by them. Lack of exercise will make them become destructive and nippy.
Rabbit ownership isn’t for everyone. It definitely isn’t a starter pet. But if your family knows how to care for animals and has the time and the space to dedicate to love one properly, these two breeds are definite good breeds to acquire to explore the rabbit world.
Let’s look at two breeds of lop eared rabbits, one large and the other tiny, and see which one is right for you.