GERMAN LOP - Nikki White (Reguli Cavy & Rabbit Stud)
The German Lop is a comparatively new addition to the Lop family, at least in Australia where a handful of dedicated breeders have worked to re-create it since we have not been able to import rabbits from Britain since the 1990s. This is a good thing, especially if you like your Lops on the large side with nice typey heads. But not so large and heavy-looking as a French Lop. These bunnies have all the personality, friendliness and in-your-face cheek of their smaller cousin, the Dwarf Lop plus are a big squashy armful of cuddle if you so choose.
The minimum weight is 2.984 kg and the maximum is 3.855kg (compare the Dwarf lop range of 1.93kg to 2.381 kg). They take an L ring. Their type is described as ”very cobby, massive and muscular” with no visible neck, a slightly curved back, powerful muscular legs, broad lopped ears and a curved nose. Geoff Russell maintains that the massive shoulders, as broad as the hindquarters, are what distinguishes the exhibition German from the pet. All recognised colours are accepted
As the name implies, they originated in Germany where they mixed Holland Lops (and others) with French Lops to create a chunkier, smaller version of the French Lop with a Roman nose. Known in Germany as the Deutsche Klein Widder, it was recognised in Germany in 1970 and in 1976 in the Netherlands where it was imported. The fortuitous move to Britain of Evelyn van Vliet led to the introduction of the German Lop there where it achieved what the human Germans had failed to do a few generations back: the invasion and subjugation of Britain. It was recognised by the BRC in 1990 and is now one of the most popular of the Lop breeds there.
SO, A GERMAN LOP, THEN?
Very similar to the Dwarf Lop in temperament, they are friendly, a bit in your face, cheeky with loads of personality. And like all Lops, they can be greedy and do the "I am a poor starving bunny" routine like experts. Some can be very lively and active - mine regularly gets up on his back legs and practically dances for his food. Like the Dwarf Lop they can be trained to walk on a leash. Though they are a bigger rabbit than the Dwarf Lop, they are not so massive as the French Lop so are quite manageable as pets. In fact several writers have commented on their eminent suitability as pets. They have no real health issues though some can develop a weepy eye when moulting but malocclusion is rare.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
They are said to be at their prime at 18 months as by then they have finished growing and filling out. They have a fairly long show life, able to be shown as 4 year olds. They should not sit up like a Mini Lop but sit naturally with their heads off the table .In other words, pose them like a cavy. Their ears should hang well, not flick forward (a tight crown could be the cause of this) and they should not be folded. There should be a good width between the eyes and well developed cheeks.
They are good breeders, but the doe should not be mated before 8 months. She makes a good mother and a good foster mother. The average litter is 8, though 5 is better to ensure a good size on the youngsters.
HOUSING AND CARE
A hutch 120 x 60 x 60 cm is recommended by Eleanor Padwick as they don't take up much room. Geoff Russell suggests they are better kept outside as a shed is not conducive to a dense longish coat. Like all rabbits, they should have plenty of hay as well as dried food (either pellets or a good mix) plus kale, Jerusalem artichoke leaves, chicory, dandelions, dock and similar fed from time to time. Don't overfeed. They don't eat very much more than a Dwarf Lop, though they will probably tell you otherwise.
“Lop lore 6: the German Lop” Fur & Feather February 2005 p. 7
Padwick, Eleanor, “A newcomer’s guide: German Lop” Fur & Feather January 2007 p. 10-11
Sandford, J. C., The Domestic Rabbit. 5th ed. Oxford, Blackwell Science, 1996
Russell, Geoff, “ The German Lop” Fur & Feather June 2007 p. 72-73
Russell, Geoff, A Fancier's Guide to the Lop Rabbit. Ipswich, K.D.S. Publishing, 2004
Russell, Geoff, Mini Encyclopeda of Rabbit Breeds & Care. Dorking, Interpet Publishing, 2008
Verhoef-Verhallen, Esther, Encyclopaedia of Rabbits and Rodents. Lisse, Rebo Productions, 1998
Vriends-Parent, Lucia, The New Rabbit Handbook. Hauppage, NY, Barrons, 1989
Whitman, Bob D., Domestic Rabbits & Their Histories: Breeds of the World. Leawood, KS : Leathers Publishing, 2004
Williams, A.E. Ted, Rabbit Breeding for Perfection. Melbourne, AE Williams, 1992.
National German Lop Club