The English Lop is a fancy breed of domestic rabbit which first made its appearance in 19th century England; it is believed to be the first breed of lop-eared rabbits developed by humans. Possibly one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbit, the English Lop is a medium-sized rabbit, averaging 11 pounds. English Lops have a short flyback-type fur coat and come in several different colors. The absence of a dense undercoat makes their coat lower maintenance, but also means extra vigilance in keeping them out of chilly household drafts.
The English Lop is responsible for a number of other breeds of lop-eared rabbits, including the French Lop, which is a cross of the English Lop and the Flemish Giant, and the Holland Lop, which was developed from crossing the French Lop and the Netherlands Dwarf.
The most impressive characteristic of the English Lop is its distinctively long ears – the largest ears of any domestic rabbit - which can reach an impressive length of 22 inches from the tip of one ear to the tip of the other. The world record for longest rabbit ears was set in 2003 by an English Lop with an ear span of 31.125 inches! These long ears undergo the most rapid period of growth during the first 16 weeks of an English Lop's life. A baby English Lop is usually born with normal-sized ears, but the ear size will then double each week for a month. At about four weeks of age, the ears will be longer than the baby bunny’s body, and the baby will be prone to accidents or injuries from tripping over their ears.
Due to the large ears, English Lops are slightly more prone to ear infections, and their ears need to be checked regularly for excess wax that can accumulate in their deep ear canals. As they are prone to stepping on their ears, their toenails need to be kept trimmed to avoid scratches on the ears.
As with all bunnies, the English Lop needs several hours out of its indoor pen for daily exercise, but the pen needs to be relatively large so that the English Lop can stand up and move around without standing on its ears. If you provide water in a crockery bowl, make sure your English Lop's ears are not resting in the water bowl! You may wish to provide a water bottle for the pen time and a water bowl for when your pet is outside of the pen exercising.
Adult English Lops are usually pretty laid-back, and climbing and jumping can be difficult due to the likelihood of the bunny standing upon his ears. A good idea is to provide cardboard cement mold tubes and/or cardboard boxes with holes cut in them so the bunny can move around and play in them. A Cottontail Cottage is another good option, owing to the ramps inside.
English Lops are placid and content sorts of rabbits but can fearful if handled incorrectly. They are not suitable for young children and are not necessarily ideal for the novice rabbit owner due to the extra time and care needed in ear care.
Maggie (pictured) is a beautiful tan/grey English Lop girl that came to the Humane Society of Greater Dayton from a neglect case. Maggie was not likely handled much in her previous home, so she is currently somewhat shy and unused to human touch, although she has not shown any aggression in the shelter, and with time and gentle handling should become a lovely house rabbit. Because she will require some special care (see ears and toenails in the above article), potential adopters should either have previous experience with this breed or come prepared to show they have done research on how to care for her properly. Maggie has good litter box habits and will need a large living space (larger than just a cage) to accommodate her size. Large breeds like Maggie should live 6-8 years with proper care, and tend to have a lower than average activity level. Nonetheless, she will still enjoy exploring and roaming free about your family room. If you're looking for a quiet companion that deserves care and love in a new home, look no further than Maggie!
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