English lop rabbits are a large breed with soft fur and remarkably long, floppy ears. They are generally calm, gentle, and quiet animals that make good pets for older children and adults.
English Lop Rabbit Characteristics
The term "lop" means that the rabbit's ears hang down loose from the sides of the head and dangle close to the body. Male lops generally have longer ears than female lops. Lop rabbits are considered "fancy breeds," and people often breed or raise them to show in competitions. There are five breeds of lops, but the English lop is the original lop. The other four breeds were developed later from English lops. The only lop breed that is larger than the English lop is the French lop, which is a cross between the English lop and the Flemish Giant.
The English lop is known for its extremely large ears, the longest of all the lops and of any breed of rabbit. The length of an English lop's ears from tip to tip may be up to 27 inches. The world record is 31 inches. Over the years, breeders have chosen to breed English lop rabbits with the longest ears possible. This sometimes leads to health problems such as ear infections, frostbite, difficulty with temperature regulation, and ear injuries.
English Lop Rabbit Behavior
The extra-long ears of English lop rabbits make it harder to move around. They can trip on their ears or may stand on their ears while trying to walk forward. Their heavy ears make it difficult to jump and climb. Because of these problems, English lops aren't usually very active. With little exercise, it is common for the English lop to be overweight.
On the other hand, pet owners enjoy the calm, gentle nature of the English lop. It's so easygoing, it's sometimes called "the dog of the rabbit world".
However, English lops don't make good pets for young children. They prefer quiet environments and may be scared by children's noises and sudden movements. Rabbits don't like it when people pick them up or carry them around. A rabbit is fragile, and a young child could easily drop and accidentally injure it. Older children can spend time with a rabbit without trying to pick it up.
If you decide to keep rabbits, consider getting two. Rabbits are social creatures and are happiest when living in pairs (a neutered male and a neutered female).
Rabbits are also happier and healthier if they have a large space where they can run and dig and play rather than spending all their time in a small cage. They enjoy toys for mental stimulation and an occasional food treat, such as a small serving of fruit.
English Lop Rabbit Care
Make sure there is always fresh, clean water in front of your rabbit so that it can drink whenever it needs to. Every day, feed your English lop rabbit a bunch of timothy hay as big as the rabbit’s body, along with small servings of leafy greens and store-bought rabbit pellets.
The English lop rabbit has short hair, so it doesn't need to be brushed as often as a long-haired breed like the Angora. You do need to groom an English lop at least once a week. Do not give your rabbit a bath; baths can be too stressful for rabbits. Follow these steps to groom your rabbit:
- Check the underside of your rabbit for urine and droppings and remove any you find.
- Spot-clean the rabbit's fur with a washcloth. Use a small amount of white vinegar to rub out any stains.
- Gently brush your rabbit with a bristle brush, ideally every three days.
- Check your rabbit's feet for any sign of injury or sore spots. Trim its nails if they're getting a little long.
- Look for signs of fleas or mites on the rabbit's skin or in its ears.
- Check the rabbit's eyes for redness. Rinse out any dirt or fur in the eye with eyewash.
- Enjoy grooming as bonding time with your bunny.
Keep your rabbit's cage clean and dry. If you use straw or other bedding, take it out every day and put in fresh bedding. Once a week, clean the cage itself:
- Use a wire brush and disinfectant spray to clean off urine and droppings.
- Use a vacuum cleaner or a stiff bristle brush to get rid of fur clinging to the cage.
- If you find a white coating on the wire of the rabbit's cage, clean it off with a mixture of vinegar and water.
English Lop Rabbit Lifespan
English lop rabbits usually live around 5 to 7 years. They are one of the larger types of rabbits, and larger breeds tend not to live quite as long as smaller breeds.