The lop eared bunny is characterized by the big, floppy ears that hang down the sides of its head.
These ears make the rabbits extremely lovable, and no one can deny how cute they are!
It may surprise you to find out that lop eared rabbits aren’t a single breed – there are many different types you can choose from. Their ears are simply a common factor linking the breeds!
However, the skull size and ear shape of these cute bunnies does make them prone to a multitude of health problems that you need to be aware of before bringing a lop into your family.
This article will give you all the information you need to know about why you should consider choosing one of the many breeds of lop eared rabbit, but also the health problems you might encounter!
Why choose a lop eared bunny?
Lop eared rabbits are particularly popular for their looks; people can’t help but fall in love with their long, floppy ears and small button-nosed faces.
If you want a pet that is going to be adored by your friends and family for its cute appearance, a lop eared rabbit is a perfect choice.
These rabbits are known for being relatively placid, but social and affectionate, which makes them a popular choice with many families.
However, lops are prone to a multitude of health issues, which means they can be expensive pets. Vet bills can add up quickly.
Maintaining and watching out for the health issues lop eared rabbits can get can mean that they are quite high maintenance pets.
Other factors, like grooming and diet, will depend on the size of your lop, and the length of its fur.
We will look at the requirements of different lop eared breeds later on in the article.
Despite their popularity, there are lots of adult lop eared rabbits available on breeding websites.
Most people looking for a new bunny want baby lop eared rabbits, as those huge ears on a newborn rabbit are irresistible. But adult lop eared bunnies are just as rewarding, and can make perfect pets!
Problems with lop eared bunny breeds
Lop eared rabbits, unfortunately, are prone to certain health problems.
Many of these issues are more likely to be seen in lop eared rabbits, as they’re related to the rabbit’s lovable ears.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues a lop eared rabbit might experience.
One of the key health problems lop eared rabbits are particularly prone to is otitis. Forms of this condition include externa, interna and media.
Otitis Media refers to an inflammation of the middle ear, otitis interna is an inflammation of the inner ear, and otitis externa refers an inflammation of the passage of the outer ear.
Each of these health problems could seriously affect your bunny’s comfort and happiness, so it’s important to know how to identify a potential inflammation of the ear.
Here are some of the symptoms to keep a watch for in case your lop eared bunny is unfortunate enough to develop one of these infections:
- Head shaking
- ear scratching
- extreme or sudden weight loss
- swelling in or around the ears
These health issues often require surgery to fix, so if you see any potential symptoms, you should quickly ask your vet for further advice.
Lop eared rabbits also have a predisposition for ear canal stenosis.
This is the abnormal narrowing of the ear canal, which can lead to clogging and infections.
Regular ear cleaning is important to minimize this risk.
Another ear problem lop eared rabbits are prone to is abscesses, so it’s important to check inside your rabbit’s ears to notice any unusual bumps.
When checking for abscesses, keep an eye out for ear mites too!
Because of their shortened skull, lops can also encounter issues with their teeth and eyes, so make sure to be aware of any changes in your rabbits behaviors that could indicate a health issue.
This smaller skull shape means many lops can be prone to a loss of sight, and the shape of their ears can lead to partial or complete losses of hearing.
Don’t forget, lops are also prone to conditions that other bunnies get. These include overgrown teeth, hairballs, uterine tumors, snuffles infections, myxomatosis, and calicivirus.
This long list of health problems can seem daunting. This proves that choosing a lop eared rabbit is not a decision that should be made lightly.
However, provided you have the time, money, and energy to care for a lop that potentially will develop any of these issues, they can still make a great choice for a pet!
Lop eared rabbits
So, we’ve looked at some reasons to choose a lop eared rabbit and some issues to be aware of.
Now it’s time to look at the different lop eared rabbit breeds you can find!
Surprisingly, lop eared rabbits come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colors.
Let’s look at some of the different types of lop eared rabbits you can get!
Miniature lop eared rabbit
Confusingly, Britain and America have different names for the same rabbit breeds.
Miniature lop eared bunnies in America are actually the same as Dwarf lop eared rabbits in Britain.
Mini lop eared rabbits were discovered at a German National Rabbit show in 1972.
More mini lops were created by the breeding of agouti and white lop eared rabbits by the promoter Herschbach.
The mini lop eared bunny generally has an easygoing, loving personality and a short coat that makes it a quite low maintenance choice.
These rabbits have small heads, which means they can suffer from malocclusion (misaligned teeth) and the continuous growing of teeth.
This can cause further health problems, like weight loss, pain and swelling.
To prevent overgrown teeth you should make sure your rabbit’s diet is coarse and fibrous, so they will wear down as they would in the wild.
However, malocclusion prevents the teeth from wearing down properly – if you think your mini/dwarf lop eared rabbit suffers from this you should consult your vet.
If you’re interested in reading more about dwarf, or miniature lop eared rabbits, or just the different type of dwarf rabbits you can get, here is the perfect article.
Giant lop eared rabbit
The category of giant rabbits is given to bunnies that normally weigh over 11 lbs. You read that right!
There are a couple of lop eared rabbits that fall into this category: French lop eared rabbits and English lop eared rabbits!
Giant lop eared rabbits can be difficult to handle due to their size. They’ve been known to harm owners unintentionally with kicks and scratches when trying to escape from being held!
Despite their size, giant lop eared rabbits also need careful diets.
Just because they’re big rabbits does not mean they’re necessarily overweight, and they still require a healthy lifestyle!
Let’s look in more detail at the French and English giant lop eared rabbit breeds.
French lop eared bunny
The French Lop eared rabbit is a relatively large rabbit breed that was created in 19th century France through the breeding of the English Lop eared rabbit and the Flemish Giant or French Butterfly rabbit.
The French lop eared bunny began to gain popularity in Britain in the 1960s, and in America in the 1970s.
French Lops reach an average weight of between 8.5- and13 lbs.when they’re fully grown. They have soft, thick coats.
They’re known to have good-natured personalities and are full of love, part of what makes them such great pets.
Because of the size of this lop eared breed, French Lops require a lot of space to live.
This means you’ll need to invest in a large hutch to keep your French Lop eared rabbit comfortable and happy.
English lop eared rabbit
The English lop was first bred in 19th century England.
English lop eared rabbits tend to reach around 11 lbs. when they’re fully grown. This puts them squarely in the category of giant lop eared rabbits.
These rabbits tend to have quite short coats, making them less high maintenance than long-haired rabbits.
However, as mentioned previously, these larger rabbits need a lot of space to stay happy and healthy, and will need a well-balanced diet.
Lop eared lionhead rabbit
Lop eared lionhead rabbits get their name from the mane around their head, neck, tail and ears, that gives them a wild, lion-like look.
Their appearance will vary slightly depending on the rabbit and its parents.
Therefore, it is difficult to determine how much grooming your lop eared lionhead will need – requirements will change from rabbit to rabbit!
Normal lionhead rabbits are popular, but the lop ears completely perfects these adorable bunnies!
These rabbits are affectionate, social and happy, which makes them great pets.
Adult lionhead lops will usually weigh between 2 and 5.5 lbs.
Their personalities and unique fur style make them very popular, but potential owners need to have the time to socialize with their lionhead lop and to keep it well-groomed.
Holland lop eared bunny
These cute lop eared rabbits were recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1979 and are sometimes referred to as Dutch lop eared rabbits.
Known as Miniature Lops in Britain, Holland lops shouldn’t be confused with the American Mini Lop!
This is one of the smallest breeds of lop eared rabbits. They grow up to 4.5 lbs. in adulthood.
Holland lops were bred by Adriann de Cock in the 1950s to be smaller versions of the French lop eared rabbit.
He bred a cross between a French lop and a Netherlands Dwarf with an English lop eared rabbit.
These bunnies have thick, soft fur that tends to grow to about an inch long. This requires some regular grooming.
These rabbits, like many others looked at in this article, are known for having good personalities, but are known for being quite docile in comparison with other rabbit breeds.
American Fuzzy lop eared rabbits
American fuzzy lop eared rabbits have strikingly similar appearances to the Holland Lops that we just looked at. Their history demonstrates why!
They came into existence when breeders decided to add the broken fur color pattern to the Holland lop breed.
They bred Holland lops with English spots, and achieved their goal of a broken color, but this offspring retained the shorter, stiffer fur of the English spots.
In an attempt to breed in the rollback fur of Holland lops, they bred this offspring with French Angoras. This produced rabbits with longer, woolly coats – the American Fuzzy Lops as we know them today!
This fur is beautiful and popular but requires grooming to keep it from the tangling and matting that it’s prone to.
These rabbits are energetic with affectionate personalities.
This, combined with their unique fur, has made them popular with rabbit owners!
Colors of lop eared bunny rabbits
These lop eared rabbit breeds all vary in shape and size, as we’ve seen, but they also have a huge variety of colors.
Many of the breeds we’ve looked at in this article have been bred for many patterns and colors.
This means whether you’re after a black lop eared rabbit, a white lop eared rabbit, a brown lop eared rabbit, or gray lop eared rabbit, you’re guaranteed to find breeders that can provide you with one!
You can also find lop eared rabbits with broken fur patterns. These lops are not just one solid color, but a mixture of several different ones!
Love those lop eared bunny breeds!
Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever had any experiences with the breeds we’ve look at here!
Perhaps you have some tips for people looking to buy a lop eared rabbit in the future. Or, you want to share a story about one of these beautiful bunnies. Please do!
Resources and Further Reading
- Csomos, R. et al. (2015). Surgical management of ear diseases in rabbits. Department of Surgical Sciences, 19.
- Eatwell, K. et al (2013). Partial ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy in rabbits. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 54.
- Haberfield, J. (2015). Otitis Media in Rabbits. Tokyo Vets.
- Mosallanejad, B, et al (2010). Prevalence of dental malocclusion and root elongation in pet rabbits of Ahvaz, Iran. Iranian Journal of Veterinary Science and Technology, 2.