The Miniature Lop Rabbit is the smallest of the Lop family, and is also known as the Holland Lop.
The Miniature Lop normally weighs up to 1.6 kgs, and females are usually larger than the males.
The breed comes in all the rabbit variety of colours. They are usually self-coloured or have patches of white on the head, chest or legs.
The Miniature Lop or Holland Lop in the US is not to be confused with the Mini Lop which is the American name for what we in the UK call a Dwarf Lop.
This is a relatively new breed, originally developed in Holland and coming to the UK in the 1990s, and is the smallest of the lop family. The rabbit has a short thick set body with short strong legs. There is a broad head, with ears that hang down by the side. The rabbit is cobby and its coat is dense with plenty of guard hairs.
Even this little rabbit needs plenty of space to move around and exercise and a hutch that is large enough for it to stretch to its full height and length in all directions.
Feed a standard rabbit diet to ensure good digestion, avoid obesity and give proper wear on the rabbit’s continually growing teeth. See our article on feeding your rabbit.
Despite their ‘cute’ appearance rabbits are not ideal for very small children to handle unless they are closely supervised together. Rabbits should be socialised young to human company and young people should be told how to hold a rabbit properly, so that it feels secure.
If any rabbit becomes frightened, the rabbit’s desire to escape means that its powerful back legs can injure the human handler and can cause the rabbit to be dropped and injure itself.
Not recommended for children under 10 as it is a fragile little rabbit, but they do make good pets for those people who are gentle enough to handle them as they are very affectionate and friendly.
All rabbits will chew electric cables around the home and these very small rabbits can fit into very small spaces, so you must ensure that, if they are allowed to roam in your house, they cannot get access to any electric cables.
Always keep your rabbits safe from dogs and cats who may harm them. Even where pets ‘get on’, they should be supervised at all times when together and you must ensure that your rabbit is not stressed by being exposed to other pets or people.
The medium length coat needs a good brush at least once a week more during moulting. Additionally, as rabbits’ teeth keep growing throughout their lives, eating the right food will help to keep the teeth properly ground down, but you do need to check, on a frequent basis that this is happening properly, or your pet may need to have its teeth ground down by the vet.
Dental problems are inherent in this breed given its unnaturally tiny size. Malocclusion (misalignment) at the front and back of the mouth is common. Speak to the breeder about this in the rabbit’s parents as problems may not become apparent until the rabbit if full grown.
As with all rabbits, check that its bottom is clean of any debris and is kept dry to avoid the danger of flystrike. Please see our article on flystrike. Keep your rabbit at the correct weight so that it can move easily to groom itself.
Toe nails should also be checked frequently to ensure they are not growing too long.
Female rabbits (does) should be neutered if you do not intend to breed from them to avoid cancers in later life. Males (bucks) will become less aggressive if neutered too.
As with all pedigree pets, it is very important to obtain a young rabbit or rabbit kit from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding any inherent problems found in the breed.
The Miniature Lop can expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 7–14 years.
A pedigree Miniature Lop rabbit will cost around £40.
While the initial cost of a pedigree rabbit may seem very low compared to pure bred dogs or even cats, the costs of the following items and procedures make the cost of owning a rabbit mount up:
Rabbits should also be kept in pairs. It is estimated that two rabbits together could cost around £1800 a year throughout their lives (including the initial outlay). See our article on working out the cost of keeping a rabbit.