DWARF LOP - Nikki White (Reguli Cavy & Rabbit Stud)
The Dwarf Lop is one of the most popular breeds for pets, being cheeky, in your face and friendly with loads of personality. They also come in a full range of colours. It is one of the eight breeds of Lop rabbit, meaning the ears hang down rather than stand up. Those eight breeds are: English Lop, French Lop, Dwarf Lop, Mini Lop, Cashmere Lop, Mini Cashmere Lop, Meissner Lop and German Lop. Of these, all but the Meissner Lop and the English Lop are available in Australia, though the French Lop is very rare, having had to be re-created.
The BRC standard calls for a short, cobby body with well rounded loins, a deep chest and short strong legs. The head should be well developed with a good width between the eyes, the crown (ridge between the ears) should be prominent and the ears broad, thick and well furred and sit close to the head in a horseshoe shape. The insides should not be visible. Eyes are round and bright, coat should be dense with good rollback and plenty of guard-hairs. Maximum weight is 2.381 kg and minimum weight is 1.93kg. Faults include narrow shoulders, long in body, narrow head, hear not fully lopped or carried back, coat to short or flyback. Disqualifications include being over the maximum weight, malocclusion, runny eyes, poor condition, white toenails in coloured exhibits. Basically they should look likea brick with ears, ideally as broad across the shoulders as they are across the hips.
They are not an old breed, being developed by Dutch breeder, Adrian de Cock during the 1950s, culminating in 1964 when he was able to show the finished product, a miniaturised French Lop. He achieved this by crossing them with Netherland Dwarfs. They were an immediate success and spread through Europe under the name "Mini Lop". They did not arrive in Britain until 1970 shortly before the ban on importing rabbits into Britain (Australian fanciers aren't the only ones to suffer from unhelpful import restrictions). So the British fanciers set to work to improve these original imports which suffered from various faults such as being overdeveloped, non-lopping ears or ears sitting in incorrect positions. Their hard work plus the BRC's hard line on meeting the weight restrictions paid off and by the late 1970s, rabbits were appearing which met the standards. In the meantime, work continued in the Netherlands to improve the miniaturisation of the Dwarf, getting them down to as little as 1.134 kg (which is even less than a current Miniature Lop) while still retaining the massive French Lop type. By 1978 the import ban had been lifted and fanciers were able to import some of this further miniaturised stock. The breed standard has changed little from the 1977 one except that the minimum weight was raised from 1.60 kg to 1.93 kg in 2000.
SO, A DWARF LOP, THEN?
Dwarf Lops are known for their outgoing natures. They are usually even-tempered and lively. They are usually complete attention-hogs. It is rare to get a bad-tempered or spiteful one, even the does are pretty good, though some can be right little madams. They are inquisitive and can be escape-artists so make sure the cage door is bolted securely. They know they are cute and trade on it. They are experts at charming food out of owners and visitors. But resist at all costs otherwise they will get fat which is bad for them.
Remember: Greed, thy name is Lop
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A solid, stocky rabbit with sturdy front feet, ears which are fully lopped and hang round its face like a horseshow with a square body. They should be bigger than the Miniature (Mini) Lop. Coat should be soft and dense and roll back slowly when pushed opposite the hair growth.
CARE AND HANDLING
This is a small to medium rabbit so requires a hutch either 110-120 x 50 x 50 or 80 x 80 x 60. Feed is as for other breeds - pellets, mix, fresh fruit and veg, as treats. Don't over feed. Their coats can be brought to a fine sheen by brushing with your hands and/or a piece of silk or satin cloth or mitt. Like all rabbits, they should be brushed with a slicker brush or comb in moult and given plenty of roughage (meadow hay or lucerne) during these times. They are basically an easy care rabbit provided you observe commonsense as outlined above
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Australian Lop Circle Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org (03) 9747 8517
National Dwarf Lop Club of Australia
National French and Dwarf Lop Club (UK)