It is not necessary to own a dog to understand that there are many different breeds of dogs. However, what you may not know is that the same applies to rabbits. The ‘American Rabbit Breeders’ Association‘ (ARBA) currently recognizes about 48 unique rabbit breeds, although the ‘British Rabbit Council‘ (BRC) currently recognizes more than 60 breeds. Of all the rabbit breeds in the world today (including those that have not yet been recognized by the ARBA or the BRC), there are 19 different breeds of lop-eared rabbits.
What you need to know about lop-eared rabbits is that they are not a specific breed. On the contrary, the word “lop” simply describes a particular type of ear in rabbits. Ears that hang on both sides of the head instead of standing. So, all those 19 breeds of lop-eared rabbits can be very different in terms of size, fur, and color, but they have one thing in common: lop ears.
Lop Eared Rabbit Breeds
Although there are 19 different breeds of lop-eared rabbits in the world, only 5 of them are actually recognized by ARBA in the United States and the BRC recognizes 9 different lop-eared breeds. Below you will find a list of the lop breeds recognized by ARBA and BRC.
Lop-eared rabbit breeds recognized by the ARBA:
- American Fuzzy Lop-eared rabbit
- English Lop
- French Lop
- Holland Lop
- Miniature Lop
Lop-eared rabbit breeds recognized by the BRC:
- Cashmere Lop-eared rabbit
- Cashmere miniature Lop
- Dwarf Lop
- English Lop
- French Lop
- German Lop
- Lop Meissner
- Miniature Lop
- Miniature Lion Lop
American Fuzzy Lop-eared Rabbit
The American Fuzzy Lop-eared rabbit has a short and well-coupled body and weighs no more than 4 pounds at maturity. This breed has dense and woolly fur that is slightly coarse in nature. The length should be at least 2 inches and should be uniform throughout the body. This breed is very muscular, compact and balanced, with wide and full ears that are cut vertically from the base and are well placed on the top of the head.
Recognized color groups include agouti, broken, pointed white, self, shading and white band.
The English Lop is a large breed with a round and round chest and a mandolin shape. The average specimen of this breed weighs 11 to 12 pounds at maturity. This breed has long ears that measure at least 21 inches from end to end with a proportional width. The ears are soft and flexible, free of blemishes. The English Lop has a medium coat that is thin and silky to the touch.
It comes in the following color group: agouti, broken, shaded, ticked and wideband with or without colored marks.
The French Lop has a solid and thick body with wide shoulders and a smoothly curved top line. This breed is the largest of the lop-eared breeds, weighing 10 to 13 pounds at maturity. French Lops has shiny fur that is an average of 1 1/4 inches long with uniform thickness and density.
These rabbits can be displayed in the following patterns: agouti, broken self, shaded, ticked and wideband.
The Holland Lop has a short, thick body with a wide chest and strong muscles. The ears hang near the cheeks from a suitable position on the crown: they are thick, wide and well rounded at the tips. This is the smallest of the lop-eared breeds with adults show rabbits weighing between 2 and 4 pounds.
Accepted color groups include agouti, broken white, pointed, shaded, tan pattern, ticked and wideband. Rabbits are shown in two classifications: solid pattern and broken pattern.
Also called sometimes Dwarf Lop, the Miniature Lop is a fairly small breed but not the smallest that exists. These rabbits usually weigh between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 pounds at maturity with a very muscular, compact and balanced body type. The Mini Lop has a medium-length coat that is shiny and lustrous, in addition to being thick and dense. The ears are well placed on the top of the head, hanging near the cheeks.
These rabbits can be displayed in the following categories: agouti, broken, pointed white, shaded, ticked and wideband. There are many colors accepted.
The Cashmere Lop has a thick and firm body that is short and well-muscled. The maximum weight is 5 1/4 pounds, although the ideal weight is closer to 4 1/2 pounds. These rabbits have dense fur that is 1 1/2 to 2 inches long with the upper coat longer and heavier than the undercoat. The ears are wide and thick with rounded tips, hanging near the cheeks.
The color categories allowed for this breed include self, agouti, shaded and tan. There is also a Miniature Kashmir Lop breed that weighs no more than 3 1/2 pounds at maturity.
The dwarf Lop is sometimes identified as the same breed as the Mini Lop, although there are actually some differences between the two. The Dwarf Lop is slightly larger, weighing up to 5 1/4 pounds at maturity with a minimum weight of 4 1/4 pounds. Dwarf Lops have short bodies with deep chests, wide shoulders and short legs.
These rabbits have dense fur with wide and thick ears that are worn near the cheeks. Accepted color categories for this breed include self, agouti, shaded, and tan.
The German Lop is a medium-sized breed with a cobby body. These rabbits have a Roman nose with wide-open eyes and well-developed cheeks. The ears are 11 to 14 inches long and are broad and thick in substance, worn near the cheeks. The fur is of normal length and very dense with strong protective hairs.
This breed of the rabbit comes in all recognized colors, except the broken pattern. These rabbits weigh at least 8 1/2 pounds at maturity.
The Meissner Lop is medium in size, weighing 7 3/4 to 10 pounds at maturity. This breed is a little less robust than larger lop breeds with a wide chest and a well-arched back. The fur is medium and dense, interspersed with guard hairs. The ears are 15 to 16 inches long and are well placed on both sides.
The Meissner Lop comes in the following accepted colors: black, blue, yellow and Havana. The top color should be uniformly silver.
Miniature Lion Lop
The Mini Lion Lop has a short and muscular body that is thick and firm. It is a very small breed, which weighs no more than 3.8 pounds with an ideal weight closer to 3.4 pounds. The Mini Lion Lops have dense coats with a longer hair mane around the neck that is 2 to 3 inches long, also extends to a “V” along the back of the neck, which extends along the Rabbit length to tail. The ears are wide, thick and very hairy with rounded tips. This breed comes in all colors and patterns accepted by the BRC except for the broken pattern.
When it comes to differentiating between different breeds of rabbits, there are more factors to consider than the type of ear. Another important distinguishing factor between different types of lop-eared rabbits is the type of skin. Some rabbits (such as Rex breeds) have very short and velvety fur, while others have long fur (such as the American Fuzzy Lop and the Angora rabbit). There are also rabbits with medium fur.
In addition to considering the rabbit’s fur, you should also consider the shape of the rabbit’s body.
The ARBA identifies five different body shapes in rabbits:
- Full arch: A rabbit with an arched back that begins at the back of the neck and arches to the tail ·
- Semi-arch (or mandolin): a rabbit with an arched back that begins behind the shoulders and arches to the tail.
- Compact: These rabbits are lighter and shorter than meat rabbits, they are usually kept for shows or kept as pets. ·
- Cylindrical: A rabbit that has a long, thin and rounded body with small bones and a long, thin head.
- Commercial: Medium-sized rabbits with bodies almost as wide as they are deep.
Colors And Patterns Of Lop Eared Rabbits
Different breeds of lop-eared rabbits come in different colors and patterns. For a more detailed description of these colors and patterns, see the breed standards set by ARBA and BRC. However, if you want to have a general idea of the colors and patterns of lop rabbit, check the list provided below:
The agouti pattern has a hair shaft that has three or more bands of color with a definitive break between each color. This pattern is generally dark slate at the base with two or more alternating bands of light or dark color. The head, feet, and ears are generally marked and the circles of the eyes, the belly, under the jaws and the lower part of the tail are generally lighter in color and without ticking.
Agouti colorations include chinchilla, chestnut, lynx, opal.
The broken pattern includes any breed color recognized in combination with white and with the breed pattern. The body pattern can be spotted, patches or a blanket with head markings to show the color in both ears, in the nose and in both eye circles.
The self-colored pattern consists of a single color throughout the body, head, ears, feet, legs, and tail.
Self-colored colorations include black, blue, chocolate, lilac, and white.
The shaded pattern shows a gradual transition from a basic color, usually from dark to light. The darkest color appears in the areas of the back, head, ears, tail, feet, and legs, shading down a lighter color in the belly and sides.
Shaded colorations include: frosted pearl, saber, saber point, seal, smoked pearl and turtle
The pointed white pattern consists of pure white body color with markings on the nose, ears, feet, and tail. The marks can be black, blue, chocolate or lilac. The color of the eyes is pink.
The ticked pattern shows protection hairs interspersed throughout the coat, either solid or tipped, with a color distinct from the under color or the surface color.
Ticked colorations include: silver, silver fox and steel
The wideband pattern consists of the same coloration on the body, head, ears, tail, and feet. It can include a lighter coloration in the circles of the eyes, inside the ears, under the tail, the jaws and the belly areas.
Wideband colorations include cream, fawn, orange, and red.
Another way to classify different breeds of rabbits is by purpose. There are three general types for rabbits: meat, fur, and wool. Meat rabbits include larger breeds such as Californian and New Zealand breeds. They grow rapidly and are generally ready for sacrifice between 8 and 12 weeks of age.
Fur rabbits are bred for their soft and thick skin that can be used for coats and ornaments on clothing. Examples of fur rabbits include Rex and Mini Rex; Some fur rabbits are also meat rabbits.
The third type is the wool type: these are rabbits that produce wool in the same way that a sheep produces wool. Examples of wool rabbits include Jersey Woolies and Angora rabbits.